Best-selling author – Professional speaker – Horticulturist – Designer – TriathletePosts RSS Comments RSS

Archive for the 'Lecture' Category

Habitat gardens attract songbirds, hummingbirds, & butterflies

Let’s talk about “habitat gardens”.   There are so many outstanding plants that are not only beautiful and low care but they also attract songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, and perhaps even beneficial insects. These are wonderful additions to our backyard habitat gardens. Here are just a few of the ones I’ll talk about with Lisa Smith and Nancy Reid on Garden Gossip, Blend Radio, March 3, 2009 online at . Join us for this fun and informative program.

Giant Coneflower

Photos by Tracy DiSabato-Aust (c) 2009

Joe Pye Weed

Giant Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) yellow flowers on 6’ stems followed by seedheads that are great for attracting various insects and Golden Finch (photo) ‘Blue Fortune’ anise hyssop (Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’) long lasting blue flowers on this “Trophy” plant act as a butterfly and bee haven!! ‘Gateway’ Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum ‘Gateway’) towering clouds of rose-colored flowers attract butterflies in the summer and then are great food/cover for the Juncos and Tufted Titmouse in winter. (photo) ‘Graham Thomas’ woodbine honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas’) lovely fragrant pure yellow flowers on this vining plant are hummingbird magnets!! Crocosmia (Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’) gorgeous bright red tubular flowers have hummingbirds and gardeners loving it!!  And here is just one more… Korean Angelica (Angelica gigas) this is a great habitat garden plant because it attracts beneficial parasitic wasps that feed on soft bodied “bad” insects like spider mites & aphids. It also attracts bees.

4 responses so far

Notes from the road: January 2009

The January 2009 lectures launching 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Plants have been fun and exciting. I kicked things off with the Landscape Contractors Association in Maryland. We had 3.5 hours to discuss Tough But Beautiful Plants and the importance of “spreading the word” of all the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of gardening with dynamic yet sustainable plants. I flew from Maryland to West Virginia to talk with the West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association. The hour flew by there and then I went to Taylor Books, Charleston, WV for a signing. What a treat to find out that the owner Ann Saville had an interesting rooftop garden featuring several of the “50 Plants” in my new book. (see photos). A day later I was back in Columbus Ohio for the annual P.L.A.N.T. day sponsored by the Perennial Plant Association, The Ohio State University Master Gardener Volunteers, and my mentor Steven Still (see photo). What an honor to launch this new book as I had launched The Well-Tended Perennial Garden 11 years ago and The Well-Designed Mixed Garden 6 years ago. Lots of my long time gardening friends and associates attended the event and it was great to share in the joy of this new topic. The following morning I spoke at The Ohio State University Nursery Short Course and again it was a treat to be with so many colleagues. On Friday of that week I was the keynote speaker for The Western New York State Nursery and Landscape Association in Hamburg NY. Attendance was good despite yet more snow overnight and it was great to have not only professionals but numerous students in the audience. The Buffalo News ran a nice article that morning (see inset) as did in the days that followed. I’d like to thank all the sponsors of these talks for their support and commitment to education.

I hope to share with you along the way some of the frequently asked questions from lecture participants as I’m sure they may be some of the same questions you have.

Q. Are these plants readily available? A. Many of the plants are readily available while a few other will take a bit of digging to find—after all many things worth having take at least a touch of effort — as I responded to one e-mail “In the book High-Impact you will find 2.5 pages of sources listed in the back and another 5 pages in the back of Well-Designed. Also now with the internet at our fingertips all plants can be found by typing in their names and source. I’ve done design work for over 25 years and to create exceptional gardens a notch above the “ordinary” often a bit of diligence is necessary to obtain superior plants. Also our demand as designers/gardeners forces the market to supply quality material. At times I’ve ordered from over 60 nurseries nationwide. I hope this is helpful.”

Q. Is the Graham Thomas woodbine honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas”) invasive? A. NO none of the plants in 50 High Impact are invasive. The honeysuckle that are often considered invasive threats are L. japonica, L. maackii, and L. tatarica.

Q. You keep referring to “Trophy Plants”. What is that again?  A. A trophy plant has all 12 of the 12 maintenance traits we are looking for in a low maintenance plant. For example Arkansas amsonia (Amsonia hubrichtii) which is drought, deer, pests, & disease resistant, doesn’t require staking, numerous prunings or deadheading, frequent division, is cold/heat/humidity tolerant, non-invasive and long lived. On top of that it has season long interest, outstanding texture and architectural form.

Q. On a more personal note—“What do you eat?” A. I eat like and athlete because I compete in triathlons for the USA team—lean complete protein, good wholegrain carbs, fruits, veggies, good fats (olive & flax oil), and lots of water. Yum Yum!!

Q. How old is Zach now?—many readers remember Zach from his picture in Well-Tended when he was a toddler and local lecture participants remember him visiting nurseries or laying out designs with me while riding in a baby backpack. A. Believe it or not he’s 19 years old and he put the creative PowerPoint lecture together that we’ve been enjoying in this talk!

3 responses so far

Garden Rant interviews Tracy

The popular blog GardenRant catches up with Tracy on the lecture tour.  Read Elizabeth Licata’s coverage of the event in Buffalo and a brief interview here and here.

One response so far