Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East by Ms. Carolyn Summers (Feb. book)



Most of the Buds enjoyed the book, and it was noted that this text would be a good reference tool.  The book received a 4 smiley face ratting.  Nine people atteneded.


Preface:  Authors like the welfare of animals.  Looked at habitat by studding landscape architecture.  She liked indigenous plants.  If you support wild flora you support all wildlife.   Indigenous plant are the best sources of food and shelter for wildlife.  Some fruits and vegetables have come from other contents.  Us gardeners have much power for indigenous plants.  Gardeners can rebuild the world.

Acknowlegdements:  for digital camera, time….etc

Gardeners like to enhance the landscape for future generations.   Talk about planting Norway maples can’t provide a source of food (pleasing to the eyes and nose)..  Indigenous plants are a key to the food chain.

An indigenous plant is one that evolved over millennia in the same habitat in which it is currently found. (location 113) these plant evolves over thousands of years.

talk  about boundaries (NE America)  these plants migrated south to escape the glarciers.  Mountains from North  to South.  In Europe it’s East to West.  As the plants migrate so did the wildlife.

poppies seeds need pollination

these provide nectar, insects come, creates bird food

insects disrupt indigene\ous plants

Garlic Mustard threaten the canopy of forest trees

It poisons the forest

hurts butterflies

some insects need indigenous plants

lawns are resources dependent….plants do move around

Use indigenous plants to:  conserve resources, maintain a healthy web of life, preserve regional identity (location 203)

2.  Wildlife in field, forest, and garden

All species of wildlife need water, food, and safe hiding/resting/nesting places

plants are also wildlife.  Wildlife taught the plants how to be more efficient producers of essential needs.

Hosting Butterflies

90% of insect evolve to tolerate only a few specific plants as food

butterflies can be fooled by bigleaf lupine

Watch out for Chinese butterfly plants because they become invasive (location 238)

butterflies look for a quick snack of nectar

not used as a host plant

looks for a host plant to lay her eggs

butterflies have leg sensors to taste and smell (location 249)

need indigenous plants to servive (bees for polllination)

bees needing one plant for pollen are called Monolectic

bees think of themselves!!

a honeybee is a nonindigenous bee

Bring up Birds

human influences are changing thee world (303)

birds are controlled by the availability of food (insect larvae)

look at hawthorn branches for butterflies

berries do not provide enough nutrition

having an indigenous landscape will host the greatest abundance of birds

indigenous plants do host wildlife

trout feed on insects

butterflies see ultraviolet color range.

talk about asters as a host plant

butterflies do like white flowers, nectar plant to attack moths

try a fruiting hedge (for birds migrating) or evergreens

do you want your garden to be a source or sink

butterflies fly between 60 and 80 degree F.

look at spicebush

(location 445)  How butterflies spend the winter

an outdoor cat will be a sink

birds kill hundreds of millions of birds annually

cats with bell kill more birds

are deer pests?

10 to 20 deer per square mile

deer eats themselves out of house and home

this hurt other wildlife! (location 481)

deers are causing wildflower declines

deers are evolving eating ground cover lowar toxin

they are forced to evolve

it seen that there will bee deer barriers

nonindigenous plants can cause a wildlife to become extinct

old garden plant is the Franklin tree….it was saved by gardeners

limiting nonindigenous plants “having sex” controlling fruit

names of plants  scientific and common names

first is genius, and second is the part or species

pollinations:  insect with nectar, pollen on insects

cultivated plant varieties  works with cultivars (single species)

maybe these cultivars need to be clones.

Hybrid Plant is inter breeding.  Some hybrids can reproduce

crossing American with Asian or European

Hybrid Cultivars are cloned

hybrid vs. indigenous plants

open pollenated plant?  (location 607)

cultivar offer many benefits (showey…novelity)

these fit into the food web

they lack genetic diversity…can cross pollinate

hybrids are sometimes sterile…but some will reprodue

nonindigenous plants have uncontrolled reproduction.

choose wisely when you pick a tree to plant

indigenous trees are good for butterflies or catepillars

purple loosestrife  is invasive

think about using annuals for environmental changes

make sterile clone of Norway maple

If its sterile then no nectar

if you stick to one cultivar you won’t have any cross pollination

deadheading is good ffor the garden

girdling is removing a section of bark all the way around the tree, this disrupts its ability to pull water and nutrients up into the crown and the tree will die.

weed wacker is the best

TREES   Norway Maple produces many seeds

John Bartram imported the tree for landscaping needs.  32%

Massachusetts has taken action to ban the sale of the tree

pest don’t like Norway maples

look at Canada Red*  (produces red berries)

Norway trees are not a roadway tree

Oak is a substitute for Norways

good street trees

Elm make good backyard trees

beware of trees that don’t suppport insects

dogwoods host anthracnose, but attacks song birds

Instead of dogwood use hawthorns

Willow don’t invade that much…spreading out and covering indigenous plants

weeping willows invade moist area

Spicebush is a shrub has yellow flowers  produce bright red berries  up to 15 feet tall)

pussy willows are good for kids

Brambles for a hedge, its dense

Guelder Rose has spread to thirty states (white flowers)   vibururnum

Nonindigenous Honeysuckles.  face aa sales ban in the eastern states

plant better food for garden plants

butterfly bush produces a huge amount of seed.  Crowds out indigenous plants

Bottlebrush buckeye????, Elderberry, even burning bush from Asian (makes small berries)

alternative use a highbush blueberry

for fall foliage you could use winged or smooth sumac

maintenance needs to be done on any ivy ground cover, maybe honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckles destroy ground

trumpet honeysuckles can be found at good gardening centers

Use Golden groundsel as evergreen groumdcover

Connecticut and Mass. have stopped distribution of goutweed

Canada ginger is a very effective groundcover


purple loosestrife has been tagged as a weed

moves about 1 foot per year

look at New England aster

yellow iris can live without water (roots) for 3 months

plants were exported to Europe

are garden are not diverse as years ago

we need to look at plants sustainability

does nature = chaos?   gardening for control

  1.  what’s the purpose of the garden

2.  necessary resources

source of water that’s needed

inkberry is a hedging plant it takes pruning well

red bud 30-40 feet tall

Japanese gardens need much maintenance

perennial can be a border

discuss herb gardens

ink berry has tiny leaves instead of needles

New York aster

Street trees are inviting for people to get out of their cars and walk

do we want trees that have berries!

people like the panting of indigenous trees (street trees)

maybe trees can help defend the safety of a “sports field”

buffalo grass is the only indigenous grass that’s used

Yards take up about 50 thousand square miles (area equal to New York State)

Maybe a rain garden….plants needing more moisture

indigenous pollinators are needed

Do we want fragrant garden (flowers)

indigenous flowers have limited blooming time????   myth?????

seeds are imported from Europe (black-eyed Susan???)

plants (conifers) of all colors help provide shelters for birds

Gardeners like the “rush” they feel when exposed to nature

sees that roots are in harmony with the Earth

closed canopy of the urban garden (on openings for roads or houses)

there are “conditions” which hurts wildlife

In the Northeast there is a greater amount of forest cover than it did 150 years ago.

Consider having a meadow instead of a lawn

maybe use plugs  UAHHHH!!!!

for a meadow you need to learn about the soil

everything likes to grow in a meadow

need grasses for the foundation

extends the “magical season to late fall

Don’t expect much from your meadow.   (about the 3rd growing season)

a meadow allows a rare habitat for special plants

for plant throw some rocks into a field…then plant where the rocks fall

Discussion of ferns (location 1675)

Also heath plants

note:  replace Norway maple and use Buffalo grass

stay away from ivy and display the rocky summits

look at rock ledges for alpine or rock garden.

freshwater streams, ponds, and other wetlands

local topography (soil)

need more moisture for a marsh, meadow, or swamp

in a stream the placement of rocks are very important with ripples and waterfall

plant root to deep, it will drawn.  Plant about 6 inches deep group shrubs together.

white cedar swamp, also hardwood swamps including the silver maple, sweetgum, or swamp while oak

When starting out, look for examples close to home, and study throughout season.  Noting the moisture needs.

For Bogs you need shad

fertilizer is toxic to blog plants


plants like sand (maybe more than soil)  – around seashores

characteristic of your site  –  for seashore gardens

indigenous plants were sent to Europe

now its “wood lots”

indigenous plants are sustainable plants …  refer to the U.S. cars


need to know alternative sources.  Check out the appendix or look on the web.

if it’s grown at the nursey it’s not indigenous

Don’t use common name when requesting a plant  plant database

some shows the state where the plants are indigenous

attractive to birds and butterflies

American Beauties  (


Look and nursery propagated seed or nursery-grown or wild-collected


result is the type of look

buy in the rule of three….buy at least a pair (one extra)

plant fruiting trees in masses



we don’t need plants from around the world!

Appendix B for nectar plants that serve as hosts (moths nd caterpillar)

Appendix C for berries for birds   cross pollination (male & female)


devils walking stick (1783) 🙂

monkey flower 😉

shooting star 🙂

cardinal plant 🙂

weeping redbud 🙂


Kentucky COFFEE TREE  😦

hoptree 🙂  35 ft. max

Appendix k:  Indigenous annuals and bienials

field pumpkins

sun flower

black-eyedl Susan

Appendix  L  gives many http://www sites

Environmental concerns

Appendix M gives native trees and shrubs sold locally (+ wildflowers)



  1.  what’s an spp?
  2.   I’m a stranger to most plant that were referred to
  3.   whats a blog plant?
  4. Blue-eyed Mary
































2 thoughts on “Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East by Ms. Carolyn Summers (Feb. book)

  1. “Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East” is a practical go-to resource for developing a successful native garden environment if you live east of the Mississippi River. Beginning with three chapters concerning the natural history of native plants and their critical uses for wildlife, author Carolyn Summers then devotes several “guidebook” chapters for readers who want to give gradual native planting a try without converting their property into what looks to their neighbors like a week patch. We found the occasional “preaching” tone to be off-putting and unnecessary, since readers are probably already ready to try native gardening. In other words, why preach to the choir? Especially useful in this volume might be the “Appendixes”– lists of specific indigenous plants subdivided into all sorts of categories to take with you when shopping online, in catalogs, and in nurseries. Again, a very helpful resource to help gardeners, designers, and landscapers ease the transition from mostly nonindigenous to indigenous landscapes.


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