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tolly-beckWritten by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.

What’s In Bloom

Trees
Callery Pear  Pyrus calleryana
Crabapple   Malus spp.
Dogwood   Cornus florida
Eastern Redbud   Cercis canadensis
Flowering Cherry  Prunus spp.
Korean Azalea  Rhododendron yedoense 
P.J.M. Rhododendron
Saucer Magnolia   Magnolia x soulangeana

Shrubs 
Azalea  Rhododendron spp. 
Dwarf Fothergilla   Fothergilla gardenii
Flowering Quince  Chaenomeles   spp.
Japanese andromeda   Pieris  japonica
Korean Spice Viburnum  Viburnum carlessii
Lilac  Syringa spp.
Mellow Yellow Spirea  Spirea thunbergii 
Purpleleaf Sand Cherry  Prunus x cistena  
Scotch Heather  Calluna spp.

Perennials  
Old-fashioned Bleeding Heart  Dicentra spectabilis
Lenten Rose  Helleborous  orientalis 
Mountain Pinks  Phlox subulata
Virginia bluebells  Mertensia virginica

Bulbs  
Daffodils
Grape hyacinth
Hyacinth  
Tulips

Butterfly Weed
Friend of the Pollinators

Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, is a valuable native plant addition to any sunny garden. The beautiful, long-blooming, bright orange flowers provide nectar for an array of pollinators including butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees. Butterfly weed also serves as a larval host plant for the monarch butterfly. The leaves of the plant provide food for the developing caterpillars.  Later, emerging  monarch butterflies benefit from the nutritious nectar found in butterfly weed flowers.

Butterfly weed ranges from 1-2 feet in height and has a similar spread. It does well planted with other mid-sized perennials in a dry and well-drained area that gets full sun. Butterfly weed will tolerate a part shade location, but that will reduce the amount of flowering. The orange flowers grow in a flat topped cluster that is especially appealing to butterflies who rest there while feeding on the nectar. Flowering continues from mid-summer to early fall. Deadhead the flowers to initiate more bloom. Don’t worry about deer as butterfly weed is deer resistant.

Seed pods are produced as late flowers begin to fade. The pods can be left in place if butterfly weed is planted in a naturalized area where seed dispersal is desired. If planted in a maintained garden just cut pods off of the plant as they begin to dry and split open.

Butterfly weed is slow to emerge in spring so be patient. It is a very hardy perennial growing in hardiness zones 3-9. When butterfly weed does emerge in May, it will bring with it the beauty of bright orange flowers and the knowledge that you are providing a nectar source for so many important pollinators.

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                    Look for Butterfly Weed at the Lasdon Plant sale on May 15th and 16th.