Updated August 18 2022

This is the 2022 Plant List (scroll down), being updated regularly. The height listed at the start of an entry is what the plant is likely to grow to. The height at point of sale will be added  (when time permits) at the end of the listing. The size of the pot is an indication of the size of the plant.

Hours: By appointment - no fixed hours. Let us know what time works for you. Email. NB: We will be closed in August.Re-opening early September, precise date TBA.

Advance orders: We accept advance orders. Email your order to us and we will reply with the total and how to make a 25% down payment to secure the order.

PAYMENT OPTIONS: e-transfer, cheque, cash. No credit or debit cards.

Just north of Elmvale, Ontario, inland from Georgian Bay, north of Barrie, east of Wasaga Beach, south of Midland, west of Orillia. The postal address is 1186 Flos Rd. 10. E., Elmvale ON L0L 1P0. Map.

About our plants: Our plants are potted and hardy in the Great Lakes area. All are native to Eastern North America and most are native to Ontario. Non-Ontario plants, as determined by the US Department of Agriculture plant database, are indicated with a 'x'. You can find a map of the plant's native range on the USDA database, just enter the plant's Latin or common name. 

How we grow: We use no pesticides or non-organic fertilizers, to ensure that our plants are safe for pollinators and other insects and therefore safe up the food chain. Most are grown from seed at the ROTN nursery. Some are sourced from other Ontario native plant propagators. No peat is used in the ROTN potting mix, which relieves pressure on the world's dwindling wetlands. The soil-based mix helps your plants accommodate quickly to the natural, non-peat conditions you probably have in your yard, and guards against frost penetrating root systems in winter.

About this nursery:
This is not a garden centre. It is a small enterprise located in the gardens of our family home. Think of it as a boutique operation, with a varied selection of perennial species, some not easily found. Quantities may be limited according to availability. No bulk orders. Prices subject to change.

No shipping (except for books - Heather Holm's books on pollinators and bees and native plants - full of useful gardening information like flowering period and habitat - can be ordered year-round).

Please recycle:
We are always happy to have our pots and labels returned.

Prices and availability subject to change. 

Helpful reference for lakefront residents and cottagers: Lake Huron Coastal Dune Plants Guide 
Also useful:
-Ontario hardiness zone map (note that microclimates can be created through protective planting and landscaping, allowing for plants to thrive outside their oficial zone).
-Ecozones and Ecoregions
-Keystone plants by Ecoregion

Slideshow photography by Anne McArthur

Services include:
  • Advice on creating an ornamental garden that works for you, your birds, your bees etc...
  • Advice on creating a traditional Medicine Wheel Garden
  • Advice on controlling invasives (see also what not to plant)
  • Onsite consultations: $100-$200, payable on the day of the visit, for an on-site consultation in the Barrie/Midland/Wasaga Beach area (includes written report with suggested plantings). Call 705-322-2545.
  • Speaking engagements - in person or virtual. Topics include native plants, Monarch butterflies, seed collection, pollinators, birds in your garden, creating habitat, the nature of soil, invasive species and related topics - Fee: $100.
  • Find-a-plant - we are always interested in trying to track down a native plant if you have a specific request.

Annuals & Biennials


Agastache foeniculum - Anise Hyssop
100 cm approx. Our all-round favourite pollinator plant! Highlighted as a top performer by the Xerces Society. Member of the mint family. Bees and butterflies are irresistibly drawn to these pretty blue-purple flower spikes with leaves that smell and taste of anise (delicious in teas, salads and cooking). Grows into effective clumps, not fussy, not aggressive, self-seeds readily. Flowers early and late, in fact it's one of the last plants to stay in flower in fall, providing sustenance for tardy pollinators. Sun, part shade. 8.5 cm pot $6 1 gal $8

Agastache scrophulariifolia - Purple Giant Hyssop
1.8 m Strong square stems bear flower spikes that aren't purple but pale lavender to cream. The tubular flowers are nectar-rich and attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Blooms August-September. Seedheads offer winter interest and food for birds. Similar in form to the related Anise Hyssop but taller, with only a faint anise scent. 9.5 cm pot $7

Ageratina altissima - White Snakeroot 
90 cm An older binomial name is Eupatorium rugosum. A star of the late summer / fall garden - brilliant white flowers in flat-topped clusters on slender, branching stems clothed in toothed leaves. Light up the shade garden at a time when there’s not much else. Often fragrant. Attracts pollinators. Habitat is woodland edge, so part sun part shade in moist soil is best, but this is a very adaptable plant and will tolerate a range of conditions. 1 gal $9

Amsonia ciliata - Fringed Bluestar x
50-80 cm Clump-forming perennial with clusters of lovely star-like, pale blue flowers. Blooms in June. Attractive narrow leaves turn gold in fall. Not native to Ontario*, but further south on eastern North American continent. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun with some shade. 8.5 cm pot $5 8.5 cm $5

Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone
See under Groundcovers

Anemone cylindrica - Thimbleweed 
60 - 100 cm. Small white flowers in early summer, with long-lasting thimble-shaped seedheads in summer and fall that burst into fluffy cottony masses for winter interest, and wildlife food and nesting material. Pleasing deeply divided foliage. Does best in poor soil. Drought tolerant. Self-seeds readily. Sun or shade. 1 gal  $6

Antennaria neglecta - Field Pussytoes
See under Groundcovers

Aralia racemosa - American Spikenard ADDED 
120-180 cm Attractive shrub-like plant (it is a herbaceous perennial, dying back each fall) with widely spreading branches of compound, heart-shaped leaves, bearing racemes of delicate greenish-cream flowers in August that attract large numbers of pollinators, followed by plentiful purple-red berries that are great for wildlife. Sun or dappled shade. Moisture preferred but accommodates to range of average soils. Interesting write-up. 1 gal pot, number available 2 $9

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil
See under Groundcovers

Artemisia ludoviciana - White Sage
60-80 cm Also known as Silver Wormwood and Western Mugwort. Aromatic pale grey foliage. Prefers poor soil and dry conditions, grows in shade, can be mowed and used as a ground cover. Can spread aggressively. One of the four medicine plants, used in purification ceremonies (smudging) 9 cm pot $6

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed
90-120 cm. Also known as Rose or Red Milkweed. One of several milkweeds native to Ontario, this one is particularly beautiful, with a round cluster of pale and dark pink blooms in June-July. Don't be put off by the "weed" part of its name - it's elegant, it doesn't spread with underground runners and it's a good plant to have, being a host to the Monarch butterfly (its caterpillars feed only on native Milkweed foliage). A wetland plant, it does require some moisture in the soil. Sun. 9 cm pot $7 1 gal pot $9

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed
40-80 cm. Brilliant orange flowers from June to August make this member of the Milkweed family, also a host to the Monarch butterfly, a most desirable garden plant. Clump-forming - doesn't send out underground runners, but does form a large taproot, making transplanting difficult if you change your mind about where you want it. Drought-tolerant. Slow growing, but worth the wait. Late to break dormancy. Sun or part-shade. These are first year seedlings. Will be putting down root this year, good growth next, excellent flowering in third. 8.5 cm pot $7

Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed
80-100 cm. The perfect Monarch host, a beautiful plant with fragrant dusky pink flowers held in drooping globes from end of June to early August. Attracts a wide variety of pollinators. Dry to moist soil conditions, sun or shade. Spreads. There will be a network of underground roots but you can discourage it from popping up where you don't want it by yanking it out. 8.5 cm pot $5

Callirhoe digitata - Fringed Poppy Mallow x
90 cm Also know as Standing Winecups for the chalice shape of the strikingly beautiful flower - magenta with a spot of white at the centre of the bloom. Hardy, but not native to Ontario,* the range of this species is from the southern shore of Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike other Poppy Mallows, this one stands tall, making it a good addition to a meadow planting. Blooms July-August. Full sun. 8.5 cm pot $5

Callirhoe involucrata - Purple Poppy Mallow x
30 cm Another Winecup - but this one's a sprawling, mat-forming groundcover that thrives in dry heat because of a deep taproot (which makes it difficult to move after a few years). Native to Eastern North America,* to Indiana, Illinois and points south. Host and nectar plant of the Grey Hairstreak butterfly, native to our area. Drought-resistant, full sun to part shade. Blooms July-September. 8.5 cm pot $5

Chelone glabra - White Turtlehead
30-90 cm Spikes of white flowers in August- September, the distinctive shape of the flower gives the plant its common name. Narrow lance-shaped leaves. Larval host for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.  Visited most frequently by worker bumblebees and hummingbirds -  bees must push their way into the flower by forcing open the upper and lower lips to access the nectar. Interesting info in Lorraine Johnson's Garden for the Rusty-patched Bumblebee: bumblebees infected with an intestinal parasite seek out this plant because its nectar has a medicinal effect. Full sun or part shade. Some moisture needed in the soil. 1 gal $8

Conoclinium coelestinum - Blue Mist x
70-90 cm Native to points south and west of the Great Lakes* - USDA map. Blooms in September, with beautiful flat-top clusters of delicate powder-blue flowers that look like Ageratum. Closely related to the white-flowered Bonesets (Eupatorium spp.), and sometimes referred to as Eupatorium coelestinum. Good cut flower, rain garden plant. It is an aggressive spreader so containment is advised. Full sun to light shade. 8.5 cm pot $5

Desmodium canadense - Showy Tick Trefoil NEW
60-90 cm Also known as Canada Tick Trefoil. Panicles of pink-purple flowers on tall stems provide nectar and pollen for bees. Larval host for several butterflies and moths. Edge-of-woodland plant, give it part-sun, part-shade. Accommodates to most soils and as a legume, is a nitrogen-fixer. 8.5 cm pot. $5

Echinacea pallida - Pale Purple Coneflower
Up to 90 cm Slim pale petals, lavender to pink, droop from the orange-bronze centre. An early bloomer, providing welcome nectar for returning hummingbirds and butterflies. Goldfinches feed on the seed. Full to part sun. Average soil. These are small plants that haven't put on much growth since spring - they've just been repotted with a mix to provide extra drainage. 1/2 gal pot $5

Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower x
Up to 80 cm A classic: large pink daisy-like flowers with orange-bronze centres on erect stems. One of the joys of an Ontario summer, flowering July into August. A nectar plant that's visited by many pollinators, including hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies. Surprise: despite its iconic status, the USDA map has its native range starting south of the Great Lakes, showing it as naturalized in Ontario. (Explanation of naturalized.) Sun or light shade. Average soil, most conditions. 8.5 cm $5

Eupatorium perfoliatum - Boneset
100-160 cm Showy clusters of white flowers that are delightfully fragrant, plant near a path to enjoy the scent. Leaves are "perfoliated," meaning they clasp the stem. This made it a folk remedy, based on the idea that a poultice of this plant could help broken bones knit together. Blooms July-October. Excellent pollinator plant. Full sun to part shade. Said to prefer moisture but does well in dry conditions. 1 gal pot $8

Eurybia macrophylla - Large-leaved Aster
15-80 cm Large daisy-like flowers, mainly white, some with tinges of blue or lavender. Blooms in August-September. Shade or part shade. Does best in moist soils but will survive as a ground cover in dry sandy shade. Host plant to Silvery Checkerspot and Pearl Crescent butterflies. 1/2 gal cm pot $7

Euthamia graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod 
30-150 cm. Also known as Lance-leaved or Grass-leaved Goldenrod. In fact, in a different genus to other familiar Goldenrods that are in the Solidago genus (both are in the Asteraceae family). Pretty fragrant pale yellow flowers and a delicate form make this a desirable garden plant. Most Goldenrods do seed, spread and try to take over. While this is not the worst offender, it is a spreader, and - like the others - a gorgeous celebration of the end of summer and a key pollinator plant. Sun, average soil. 1 gal pot $7

Eutrochium maculatum - Spotted Joe Pye Weed 
180 cm plus Formerly known as Eupatorium maculatum. One of the most glorious native plants in our area, Joe Pye grows six feet tall and is covered with a cloud of dusky pink flowers in July and August. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators. Later, the fluffy seeds are much relished by white-crowned and white-throated sparrows as they pass through on their fall migration. A wetland plant that accommodates to a variety of soils. But leaves will scorch if conditions are too dry. Sun 1 gal pot $8

Fragaria virginiana - Wild Strawberry
See under groundcovers

Geum triflorum - Prairie Smoke
30-60 cm Pretty red flowers in May - June that turn into tufts of pink feathery seedheads, drying into grey smoke-like whisps. Good front-of-border plant for dry sandy soil in full sun. Dislikes competition, don't allow other plants to encroach! Pollinated by bumble bees. 8.5 cm pot $7

Heliopsis helianthoides - Sweet Oxeye
1 to 1.5 m Also known as False Sunflower. A striking yellow daisy on multiple branching stems, member of the Aster family, not to be confused with the invasive, non-native white oxeye daisy. Grows in most soils in sun or part shade. Long blooming period of July-September. Self-seeds enthusiastically. Attracts butterflies and pollinators. 1 gal $6

Heuchera richardsonii - Prairie Alumroot
30 cm Basal clump with panicles of tiny bell-shaped flowers on tall (60 cm) wiry stalks. Members of the Heuchera genus are all native to North America. Wikipedia lists over 40 varieties from all over the continent. Alumroots, also known as Coral Bells, have been extensively hybridized to produce different coloured or patterned leaves for garden use. This one, native to Ontario and points north and west, has softly lobed green foliage and airy creamy-green flowers with stamens tipped in orange. Attracts pollinators. Good for a rock garden or edge of perennial border. Drought resistant. Accommmodates to most soils. Light shade to full sun 9 cm pot $9

Iris versicolor - Northern Blue Flag Iris
See under Pond Plants

Liatris ligulistylis - Meadow Blazing Star x
90-120 cm Said to be unsurpassed for attracting Monarch as well as many other species of butterfly. Birds enjoy the seeds later in the year. Branched spikes of brilliant purple flowers from July to October. A North American native from the prairie provinces and south of the Great Lakes. Full sun. Well-drained moist to medium soil.  10-cm pot $7

Liatris spicata - Dense Blazing Star ADDED
30-60 cm Wands of blue-violet flowers from July to November attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees. A Tall Grass Prairie plant that is threatened in the wild by habitat loss. Full sun. Moist to medium soil. 10 cm pot $7

Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower
60 cm Glorious spikes of scarlet flowers from July-September. The best red! Picky about where it will grow. Needs moisture and sun or part sun. Pollinated by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. 10 cm pot $7

Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia
Up to 90 cm Clump-forming perennial with dense spikes of clear blue tubular flowers from August-October. Attracts bees, hummingbirds, butterflies. Full sun, average well-drained soil. 1 gal pot $8

Mimulus ringens - Monkey Flower
60-100 cm Bushy plant with pretty mauve flowers that bloom for about a month some time from late June to mid-August. With all due respect to monkeys, I can't see why the plant was given this name, apparently because of the shape of the flower. Needs consistent moisture, good for a rain or bog garden. Sun 8.5 cm pot $6

Monarda didyma - Oswego Tea Beebalm
80-100 cm approx Also known as Crimson Beebalm or Red Bergamot. Striking red blooms on tall stalks, aromatic foliage, a great favourite with hummingbirds. Full sun, will tolerate some shade, average to moist soil. If crowded, downy mildew will apear on the leaves. Good air circulation solves the problem. Spreads slowly. 9 cm pot $7

Monarda fistulosa - Wild Bergamot Beebalm
60-120 cm Soft mauve flowers, sweetly scented, attractive to pollinators - bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. A Xerces Society favourite. Easy to grow, flowers all summer long, aromatic foliage, self-seeds nicely, drought tolerant, will grow in sun or shade. If crowded, downy mildew will apear on the leaves. Good air circulation solves the problem. Can't decide which is nicest, Oswego Tea or Wild Bergamot; best to grow both. 9 cm pot $7

Oenothera fruticosa - Narrow-leaved Sundrops
To 60 cm No-problem plant with bright yellow flowers that flourishes in poor soil. An Evening Primrose that blooms in daytime. Drought-tolerant. Spreads. Shallow-rooted so easily controlled. Blooms June-July. Visited by hummingbirds, butterflies and many insects (including its own bee - the native Lasioglossum oenotherae bee which is an Evening Primrose specialist and will collect pollen only from plants of this genus. No Oenothera, no bee). Songbirds visit for seeds. Sun or shade 8-5cm pot $5

Opuntia humifusia - Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus
Up to 25 cm  Now available in larger sizes, Ontario’s only native cactus. A low-spreading succulent, with dramatic large pale yellow flowers in June, followed by fruit that turn red in fall. Native populations are listed as endangered provincially and federally - only three exist in the wild in Canada: two in Point Pelee National Park and one in Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve on Pelee Island. Needs full sun, well-drained sand or gravel. Keep clear of weeds, handle with care or prickles will get you. 3 or more pads, 8-11 cm tall $12-$15 

Packera paupercula - Balsam Ragwort

35 cm Bright yellow daisy-like flowers with recessed petals grow from a basal rosette. This is a plant found in the Carden Alvar in challenging conditions of little soil, intense drought and seasonal flooding. Also said to prefer moist sandy soil and full or partial sun. Also to be ideal for rock gardens and xeriscaping. 8.5'' pot $5

Penstemon hirsutus - Hairy Beardtongue
40-60 cm Lavender bell-shaped flowers, gets its name from the hairs on the stem. A little shorter than the Foxglove Beardtongue, clump-forming, drought-tolerant, a pleasing front of border plant. Sun or part sun/shade, average soils. 1/2 gal $8

Phlox divaricata – Woodland Phlox
20 cm Also known as Wild Blue Phlox. Delicate pale blue flowers in late May to mid-June, one of the best blues, packing a great impact for a small plant. Plant this beauty instead of the invasive periwinkle (Vinca). Spreads slowly over time. Adaptable to a variety of soil conditions, best in dappled shade but will tolerate full sun. 9 cm pot $6

Physostegia virginiana - Obedient Plant
100-130 cm Mauve or white flower spikes. So named because the flowers can be bent into position and will stay that way for a while. Another name is False Dragonhead. An underrated plant that is very effective at the back of the border and is always buzzing with pollinators - hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc. Sun to part-sun. Spreads but easy to control as it is shallow-rooted. 9 cm pot $7

Phytolacca americana - American Pokeweed
120-200 cm Pokeweed has been called bold - it's a description that fits. Lovely racemes of small white flowers blooming July-August, followed by bunches of dark purple berries, stems red or tinged with red, huge oval leaves and a long taproot. Author Lorraine Johnson lists it as one of her favourites. The flowers are visited by a variety of pollinators, the berries are high value for birds and some mammals. Part sun, moist soil are best, but this tough plant flourishes in a variety of conditions. 1 gal pot $8

Ratibida pinnata - Grey-headed Coneflower
50-150 cm A tall plant of South-western Ontario's tall grass prairie. Blooms June-September. Showy flower - with a prominent central disk, which is initially light green or grey and later turns dark brown, and extremely reflexed yellow petals. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Thrives in dry soil, excellent for xeriscaping. Sun or part shade. 1 gal pot $8

Rudbeckia lacinata - Green-headed Coneflower ADDED
90-150 cm Also known as Cutleaf Coneflower. The Cherokee call it Sochan and consider it an important medicine and a nutritious part of their diet. Tall, branched, liberally flowering July through September, and then the plant gets worked over by birds enjoying the seeds. It has unusual light green central cones with drooping bright yellow petals and smooth, deeply cut foliage. Its natural habitat is along stream banks and in moist forests, but accommodates to drier soils. It does well in both sun or shade. 1 gal pot $8

Rudbeckia triloba - Brown-eyed Susan x 
Up to 90 cm - Short-lived perennial with yellow rays, purplish-black raised disk that self-seeds readily - prepare for it to move around. Blooms August to October. Densely branched, taller than R. hirta with smaller but more profuse flowers. Attracts many nectar-seeking and pollen-seeking insects. Not native to points south of Great Lakes.* Tolerates heat, drought and a wide range of soils. Full to partial sun. 8.5 cm pot $5

Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia x
45 cm Not a petunia. Gorgeous pale lilac petunia-shaped flowers from July to October make this plant a stand-out. Shape is a neat clump, leaves and stems are hairy. Self-seeds. Native to points south of the Great Lakes.* Full sun, flourishes in dry conditions in any type of soil. 1/2 gal $9

Scrophularia marilandica - Eastern Figwort
60-200 cm Also known as Late Figwort or Carpenter’s Square (the latter name comes from its squared-off stem). A tall plant with broad panicles of tiny dark red cup-like flowers that bloom from July through October, its exceptionally abundant nectar makes it highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, native bees and other pollinators. Because it becomes a high-traffic area for insects, I'd advise locating it in a spot where people aren't going to brush up against it. Figworts are given a special rating by the Xerces Society.Accommodates to a range of soils, including sand. Sun or shade, but does better in sun. 1 gal pot $7

Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant
2 to 2.5 m One of the tallest native perennials.. Showy yellow daisy-type flowers from July-October. Drought-tolerant. Leaves clasp the stem to make a cup that holds rainwater for several days where it is used by songbirds, butterflies and other insects. Develops deep roots. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun. 1 gal $7

Sisyrinchium montanum - Blue-eyed Grass
30 cm Actually not a grass at all, but a miniature iris, a jewel of a plant with bright blue flowers in June-July. Sun to part shade. 8.5 cm pot $5

Solidago caesia - Blue-stemmed Goldenrod
30-90 cm One of two shade-loving Goldenrods on this list, an elegant plant, blooms September to end of season. Yellow flowers appear in clusters along the wiry, often blue-green, stalks. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Does not spread aggressively. Dry to average moisture in loamy soil (forest floor conditions). Shade or partial shade. 8.5 cm pot $5, 1/2 gal $8 

Solidago canadensis - Canada Goldenrod
1.5 m Goldenrods are the number one herbaceous plant in terms of the number of pollinators they support - so finding the right spot for this species will enhance the ecological value of of your garden. Ragweed, a native that flowers at the same time, is the one responsible for people's allergies, although Goldenrod, being conspicuous, gets unfairly blamed. Canada Goldenrod has large branching heads of tiny yellow flowers. One of the most common Goldenrod species in Ontario, it spreads aggressively and creates a riot of colour in summer and fall. Great for naturalizing. Not advised for small gardens where plants are required to play nicely. 1 gal $7

Solidago flexicaulis - Zigzag Goldenrod ADDED

45-90 cm Another shade-loving goldenrod - yellow flowers on a zig-zag stem in September-October. Moist soils from sand to loam - forest floor conditions. Important source of nectar for many insects. Spreads by underground rhizomes, forming a mass in the woodland garden. 8.5-cm pot $5

Solidago rigida - Stiff Goldenrod
90-150 cm Recently reassigned from the Solidago genus to the Oligoneuron genus, so properly known as O. rigidum. Bright yellow flat-topped flowers from July to October provide abundant nectar for many pollinators and a reliable late-summer source for migrating butterflies like Monarchs. Seeds are consumed by birds. The plant’s deep fibrous root system doesn’t spread rapidly like some of the other rhizomatous goldenrods; it does self-seed. Full sun, dry conditions. Adaptable to a wide variety of soils - clay, loam, sand. 1 gal $7

Solidago graminifolia - Flat-topped Goldenrod
See Euthamia graminifolia

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae - New England Aster 
90-150 cm Also known as Michaelmas Daisy - the essential fall flower, much loved by pollinators feeding up before winter. Drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant. Blooms from September to October. Sun or shade. A lovely purple to offset the yellows of many fall-flowering plants. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 1 gal $7

Symphyotrichum oolentangiense - Sky Blue Aster NEW
45-90 cm Also known as Azure Aster, formerly classified as Aster oolentangiensis or A. azureus. More sun-tolerant and showy than many of the fall-flowering asters, this plant is happy in open meadows and woodland edges. The book Garden for a Rusty-Patched Bumblebee (available from Return of the Native) lists a couple of dozen specialist bees that need this plant's pollen, and many species of butterflies and moths for which it is a larval host. Among all the asters, Sky Blue is "particularly enchanting," the authors write. "Versatile and tough, this aster tolerates drought, poor soil, shallow soil and compacted soil - in other words, it's a garden-saver in difficult conditions, plus it's a beauty."

Tiarella cordifolia - Heartleaf Foamflower 
See under groundcovers

Tradescantia ohiensis - Ohio Spiderwort 
120 cm Very attractive to bees and other pollinators. Lovely blue three-petalled flowers with showy yellow stamens open early morning, closed by afternoon. Lance-like foliage. At its best in June and early July, but continues flowering through summer and into fall, albeit less intensely. Caution: Develops a spreading fibrous root system that is hard to dig up - so plant it where it is to stay; it also self-seeds and spreads vigorously. Good for a prairie planting, erosion control and bank stabilization. Most at home in full sun and well-drained  sandy soil, but adapts easily to part shade and a full range of soil conditions. 10 cm pot $7 1 gal pot $8

Vernonia gigantea - Tall Ironweed
160 cm plus or minus. An impressive addition to the summer / fall garden. Clusters of small fluffy, deep purple, composite flowers - August to October - attract pollinators. Tall stems bearing attractive tawny-golden seedheads remain standing all winter and are a resource for birds. Grows in damp in the wild but still flourishes in dry soil. Pamper it with a mulch of rotted leaf litter. 1 gal pot $9 8.5 cm pot $5

Veronicastrum virginicum - Culver's Root 
70-160 cm Beautiful accent plant, showing best in a cluster of three. Tall unbranched stems bearing white candelabra-like flower spikes from mid-summer to fall. Leaves arranged in whorls around the stem. Shade or part-sun, part-shade, moist to average soil. 1 gal $8 

Zizia aurea - Golden Alexanders 
50-100 cm. Brilliant yellow flower umbels in May and June resemble Queen Anne's Lace. Attracts pollinators, including the Black Swallowtail. Drought tolerant. Sun or part shade, grows in a wide range of soils. 8.5 cm pot $6

Grasses & Sedges

Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem 
140-180 m. One of the dominant species of the North American tallgrass prairie prior to settlement. Highly ornamental with grey-green foliage turning bronze-red in autumn. Appearing in August, the inflorescences consist of three-pronged purplish spikelets from which depend pretty contrasting yellow anthers and resemble (some say) a turkey’s foot, giving it one of its alternative names, Turkeyfoot. Deeply rooted, forms a dense clump. A high-protein forage species, also being considered as potential feedstock for ethanol production. Songbirds eat the seeds, grasshopppers, katydids and other insects eat the foliage. Drought-tolerant. Full sun to part shade, accommodates to a wide variety of soils. 8.5 cm pot $6

Carex hystericina - Porcupine Sedge
100 cm An attractive sedge of marshes and wet meadows with a bristly flower spike, provides food for many species of wetland birds. Will grow in average dry soil. Full sun. 1 gal $8

Carex muskingumensis - Muskingum Sedge
40-100 cm. Also known as Palm Sedge. Native to the Great Lakes region. Beautiful form and lovely glossy green foliage which branches out from the main stem, resembling palm fronds. Native to wooded lowlands. Prefers moist soil and will grow in shallow water. Full sun sun to part shade. Spreads. 1 gal $8

Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats x 
60-150 cm Also called Uniola latifolia or River Oats. Not native to Ontario but to points south of the Great Lakes." A lovely grass with arching panicles of flat drooping spikelets in late summer that start a light green and turn a purplish bronze in fall. Great in dried flower arrangements. Leave foliage in place over winter to add interest and protect crowns from cold. Self-seeds and can spread vigorously by underground rhizomes, which makes it useful to stabilize banks and prevent soil erosion. Host plant of the Pepper and Salt Skipper butterfly. Prefers partial shade, moist conditions. 8.5 cm pot $5

Elymus hystrix - Eastern Bottlebrush Grass

60 to 120 cm Sometimes called (erroneously) Hystrix patula. A clump-forming woodland native that looks great in the shade garden. Attractive seedheads resembling bottlebrushes appear from July onwards, Can be used in dried arrangements. Medium to loam soil. Part to full shade. 1/2 gal $7

Elymus canadensis - Canada Wild Rye
1.2 m A native grass that grows in riparian woodlands, many types of forest, lakeside sand dunes, and tallgrass prairie. Arching stems are weighted by the nodding, whiskery inflorescences that appear in August. Can be used for stabilizing eroded areas. Seeds feed birds. Full to part sun. Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 1 gal $8

Hierochloe odorata - Sweetgrass
Aromatic grass, grows to about 20 cm (8 inches), spreads vigorously through underground rhizomes. One of the four medicine plants, used in North American indigenous purification ceremonies (smudging).8.5 cm pot $5

Panicum virgatum - Switchgrass
70 cm A plant of the tallgrass prairie in Ontario, adaptable to many soil types and conditions, used for sand dune stabilization, soil erosion control and wildlife habitat. Medium height, delicate airy panicles turn bronze in fall, very attractive in a continuous flow along a path or other edge. 8.5 cm pot $6

Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem
70 cm Another of the dominant species of the tallgrass prairie. Finely textured clumping grass with a blue-green summer colour. Purple-bronze flowers in August. In fall through winter, fluffy silvery seed heads on grass that turns a rosy rust colour. Adapts to most soils, except for wet or highly fertile ones. Full sun. Drought tolerant. Cut to the ground in late winter to early spring. 8.5 cm pot $6

Sisyrinchium montanum - Blue-eyed Grass
See under perennials

Sorghastrum nutans - Indian Grass
100-140 cm A dramatically beautiful tallgrass prairie plant, with bronze spikelets in June from which tiny golden flowers depend. Deep-rooted, clump-forming, great fall colour and continuing winter interest. Major wildlife value - various species of grasshopper (an important food for many songbirds) feed on the foliage. Birds consume the seeds and use the foliage for nesting material and cover. Host plant to the Pepper and Salt Skipper butterfly. Sun. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 10 cm pot $8

Pond Plants

Acorus americanus - Sweetflag 
30-90 cm A pond plant with a curious pale yellow flower. The straplike leaves are aromatic, the root is favoured by muskrats. Part shade, moist to wet soil. 1 gal pot $8

Caltha palustris - Marsh Marigold
60 cm One of the first wildflowers to bloom in spring, a conspicuous and showy yellow. Not a true marigold, which is related to the Aster family, but a member of the ranunculus spp (buttercups). Full sun to shade, moist soil or even shallow standing water. 8.5 cm pot $5

Iris versicolor - Northern Blue Flag Iris 
60-90 cm Also known as Harlequin Blue Flag Iris. A plant for the edge of the pond, it will stretch out into the water. Strappy foliage, elegant blue flowers with a yellow highlight, blooms from May to August. Attracts bees, hummingbirds. 1/2 gal $7


Cystopteris bulbifera - Bulblet Fern
60 cm Graceful rock-loving fern that will also grow in average soil in part sun / part shade. Round bulblets form on the light green fronds and can fall to grow into a new plant. 10 cm pot $7

Dryopteris marginalis - Marginal Wood Fern
30-90 cm Also known as Marginal Shield Fern. A vase-shaped form, with fronds of dark blue-green leaves that are evergreen, lasting through winter. This is a non-aggressive, non-colonizing fern, its natural habitat is rocky hardwood forest. Shade to part shade, average moisture, average soil. 10 cm pot $12

Onoclea sensibilis - Sensitive Fern 
Up to 50 cm Named for its sensitivity is to frost - its fronds will wither at the first touch - but the plant is hardy and will be back in spring. Moist shade or part shade. Slowly spreads. 10 cm pot $11


Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone
30-60 cm Charming white flowers, good foliage with deeply cut sharply toothed leaves, blooms from late May through to July. Spreads aggressively! don't plant unless you can give it space to run, or can contain it, like mint. Average soil, sun or shade. 8.5 cm pot $5

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil
25 cm Previously known as Potentilla argentina. Low-growing, attractive compound foliage with silvery hairy underside, spreads aggressively with red runners, yellow flowers from June to September. Attracts bees. This is a pioneer plant species that helps stabilize wetlands, dunes, and beaches. So, preference is for sandy or gravelly soil, but will accommodate to average conditions. Salt tolerant. Leaves and roots are said to be edible. 8.5 cm pot $6

Antennaria neglecta - Field Pussytoes
15-30 cm Low growing spreader has white flowers resembling a cat’s paw and grey foliage. Blooms from late April to early June and attracts many pollinators. Host plant for the American Lady butterfly. Prefers full sun, sand or average dry soils. 8.5 cm pot $6

Fragaria virginiana - Wild Strawberry 
5-10 cm A low-growing, spreading groundcover. Accommodates to average soils, from sand to clay to loam. Good pollinator plant, flowers April-June. Sun or shade. Produces tiny fragrant fruit if grown in full sun. Host to the Grizzled Skipper butterfly.  8.5 cm pot $4

Hydrophyllum virginianum - Virginia Waterleaf 
20-50 cm A low-growing woodland plant with clusters of pretty blue (sometimes white) flowers in May and June, deeply divided foliage. Shade or part shade, some moisture preferred. Leaves are said to be edible, raw or cooked, best when picked young. Spreads readily by seed and rhizome. 8.5 cm pot $5

Mitchella repens - Partridgeberry
5 cm Trailing evergreen woodland shrub with glossy oval leaves that have a pronounced pale centre vein, this is a good groundcover for a shady undisturbed location - whether under hardwood, pine or mixed forest. It's common in Huronia, but can be hard to establish under cultivation as it is sensitive to disturbance as well as to competition from other plants. Needs moisture: water if it starts to wilt under drought stress. Four-petalled white blossoms appear in June, with bright red (but tasteless) berries following in late summer, to be consumed by Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey and other birds and mammals. Best in rich well-drained soil in part to full shade. 8.5 cm pot $9

Tiarella cordifolia - Heartleaf Foamflower 
15 cm (5 inches). An attractive woodland groundcover that spreads by runners. White or pale pink flower spikes create a soft cloud-like effect mid-May to early June. Charming maple-shaped leaves offer continuing interest into fall. Shade or part shade. Average soil (prefers moisture but does fine in dry shade). 8.5 cm pot $5


Apios americana - Hopniss 
Also known as Groundnut. Twining, herbaceous vine with wonderfully ornate wisteria-like maroon flowers, Tubers and seedpods are edible by humans. It grows in moist low sites and thickets. As a garden ornamental or food crop, its tubers enlarge and become numerous and are said to compare favourably with potatoes. Also said to cause an allergic reaction in a minority of people. Cooking thoroughly seems to be the key. The root system fixes atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. Sun with some light shade, moist conditions, and loamy, gravelly, or sandy soil containing some organic matter. 1/2 gal pot with vine and 2-3 tubers - $5, 5 or more pots @ $4 each. More info: Wildflowers-and-Weeds.com 

Clematis virginiana - Virgin’s Bower
Up to 6 m Woody vine with clusters of pretty white flowers from June to September and fluffy seedheads that persist to provide winter interest. Full sun or part shade. 1/2 gal $7

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper
Beautiful five-lobed leaves that turn brilliant red in fall. Virginia Creeper is not destructive of masonry and adds a level of cooling insulation in summer. It's good nesting habitat and the berries are a high-quality food for birds. A vigorous grower that does have invasive tendencies – but easy to pull out where not wanted. 1 gal $7


Ceanothus americanus - New Jersey Tea ADDED
90 cm Small compact shrub with delightful clusters of bright white flowers in July, good nectar source for hummingbirds and butterflies. A nitrogen-fixing deciduous shrub with glossy leaves that make an excellent tea when dried. Along with Narrow-leaved New Jersey Tea (C. herbaceus), it's the only host plant used by the endangered Mottled Duskywing butterfly for egg laying, caterpillar feeding, and adult nectaring. Once established, its deep taproot makes it drought-tolerant. Full to part sun. Accommodates to a variety of soils, with dry to moderate moisture. Protect against rabbits. 1 gal pot, 15-30 cm now, number available 8. $14-$18

Cornus alternifolia - Pagoda Dogwood

See under Small Trees

Cornus racemosa - Grey Dogwood
1.8 m Dome-shaped panicles of white flowers in June turn into white berries in late summer. Spreads by suckering, which makes it a good naturalizer or screen. Wild life food source, habitat. Shade or part sun. Prefers some moisture, accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 80 cm in 1 1/2 gal pots. $9

Cornus sericea - Red Osier Dogwood
1m to 2m Noted for red stems that look great in winter against snow. Clusters of white flowers in spring. White berries. Wildlife value. Excellent for erosion control. Sun. 1 gal $7

Rubus occidentalis - Black Raspberry
90-120 cm - Also known as Thimbleberry. White flowers in June followed by edible berries that start out red and turn a dark purple-black. They are sweeter than those of the Common Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis), which is a more aggressive spreader. The Black Raspberry is distinguishable from the Common Blackberry by a whitish bloom on the rounded stem and a white underside to the leaf. The Common Blackberry has a stem with coarse ridges. Black Raspberry forms colonies that make for good wildlife habitat because of the thorns; berries enjoyed by birds. Thrives in any sunny or partly sunny location. 1 gal pot $14

Staphylea trifolia - Bladdernut ADDED
3 to 4.5 m A charming small understory shrub that will flower delightfully in part shade. Compound foliage with three leaves, bell-shaped white flowers in May, a papery capsule containing the seed in August, which hangs onto the tree well into fall. Looks good when trained as a tree, but it does sucker, so diligence is required to keep it to a single stem. If left to its own devices, a good hedging shrub. 1 gal, 15-25 cm now, number available 4. $8-$10

Small Trees

Ceanothus americanus - New Jersey Tea
See under shrubs

Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood

About 6 m Just a joy - an elegant small tree that arranges its branches in layers – like a pagoda. It can also grow as a shrub. White flowers in spring, blue-black berries in July-August that are devoured by birds. Fast-growing. Shade or part shade. Various sizes, priced accordingly $7-$15.

Maclura pomifera - Osage Orange x
7-15 m (height may be less in Ontario). Also known as Hedge Apple, for its large knobbly fruit. Grows as a tree or multi-stem shrub, prized by indigenous people for wood that was hard and rot-resistant (used for making bows, which led to its being named bois d’arc by French trappers). The same characteristics – along with ferocious thorns – led to its adoption by settlers as a vigorous hedging plant for confining livestock. It is dioecious, which means male and female trees are needed for fruit to develop seed. This is listed as native south of the Great Lakes* although there is debate, previously discussed. Full sun preferred, average but not acidic soil. 1 gal pot, 20-40cm now $7-9

Ptelea trifoliata - Hop Tree ADDED
3-5 m Rare. A Carolinian species found in the Windsor area but hardy in Huronia and to the north, this is a deciduous tree or shrub that grows along beaches and helps stabilize dunes. Adaptable to other conditions of average soils, it's an understory tree best in part sun. Lovely trilobed foliage, pretty clusters of white flowers and followed by greenish-white disk-shaped seed pods. Host plant for the spectacular Giant Swallowtail butterfly. It tends to sucker, so pruning is needed if the tree form is desired. Drought tolerant. Grown from seed from our trees. 1 gal pot, 15-30 cm, number available 9. $10-$15

Shade Trees

Juglans nigra - Black Walnut

30 m A majestic fast-growing tree that will provide you with your own nuts. Valuable timber tree. Grow in full sun and rich, moist soil. Some plants will not grow near it but the list of those that are juglone-tolerant is long and varied and includes most natives. 30-50 cm $7-10


Pinus strobus - Eastern White Pine ADDED
Up to 30 m tall, with a 12 m spread. Fast-growing, with soft blue-green needles in groups of 5. With age, this pine acquires the iconic windswept appearance celebrated by the Group of Seven. For indigenous people, she is the Tree of Peace, as Paul O'Hara writes in this tribute to the tallest and most striking tree in Ontario's forest. "White pine enjoys full to part sun and medium to dry moisture environments over a range of soil types," he says. "They make wonderful specimen trees in open landscapes, planted in clusters for windbreaks and screening, or as an evergreen anchor in a residential design. Along with asters, goldenrods and milkweeds, white pine is one of my first thoughts when choosing plants for the garden or restoration project." 1.5 gal pot, 40 cm now, number availabel 5. $9

x *Note: I am a supporter of assisted migration - which means I favour including plants that are native to further south on the Eastern North American continent. We still need to intensify our efforts to restore the plants that belong in our ecosystems here and now, but we should not take an exclusionary view of natives that may need to move northwards because of changing conditions but be unable to keep pace with the accelerating manmade disaster that is climate change. More details on the theory of assisted migration.