Monarch Milkweed a Crop?

After a recent Plant Exchange Monarch butterfly feature, tidbits from Kate-Lyn Bunney’s blog related to her nonprofit MonarchJointVenture.org came to light.  She featured an article about some of the Monarch’s favorite food and habitat, milkweed.   Milkweed grows foliage and blooms in this region near the end of June when some migrating Monarchs might be headed north, … Continue reading

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day–February 15th

Most animals are smarter than we give them credit, including wild turkeys near our country home. The temperature was -26 degrees F.  this morning. These turkeys break their daily pattern on worn trails through fields on cold, snowy days.  They walk on less vehicle-traveled roads instead of slogging through snow. You came to Plant Exchange on the … Continue reading

Beloved Monarchs

Many recognize Monarch butterflies on garden flowers in spring as they arrive, or in late summer, on their way south to Mexico or beyond. Our region is on the western edge of eastern monarch migration, while a western migration is along America’s west coast.  Interest in Monarchs and their wellbeing can be a marker of the … Continue reading

Chill Outside

In winter on the Northern Plains, everything pauses in layers of snow.  Nature highlights what is hidden.  Favorite plants around us receive ornaments. In our suspended animation, tree buds swell in the promise of coming spring.  We are so fortunate to see it.

Dibbles and Bits

It’s a reflective time of year. Even bunnies are pausing a moment as they find today’s path. Plant lovers thinking about next gardening season have all the seed catalogs a table can hold and plenty online besides. At Plant Exchange, garden magazines are a hit for reading and reflection now. Articles in the January/February 2021 … Continue reading

Recharge Garden Interest

At Plant Exchange blog, we depend on a few indoor plants to recharge our interest for next season’s gardening. Amaryllis is an easy-care plant with its battery to supply kick-start energy for the plant to grow and bloom.  Amaryllis bulb in its native Africa comes to life with spring rains, has 2-5 sparkling blooms for … Continue reading

Three Easy-Care Houseplants

Adequate quality light in winter is necessary for healthy houseplants. In this USDA 4-5a growing zone on the Northern Plains, lack of satisfactory light quality indoors can be a problem. Choosing plants with a tolerance to lower light increases the chance they can adapt to the indirect winter sunlight they receive.  These houseplants can be … Continue reading

Versatile Boston Fern

Boston or Sword Fern is a familiar light shade porch plant in summer. It grows well in a container, and its 3-foot arching fronds move in the breeze. While some treat it as an annual to buy and discard each year, it adapts well to bring it indoors as an easy-care house plant.  A friend … Continue reading

Almost Missed It

In the middle of the growing season, when container sunflowers on the deck look as beautiful as these, it would be easy to miss a not-so-showy failsafe of Nature.  When we think of a flower’s role in plant longevity, producing seeds come to mind. Then we look for friendly pollinators that help make that happen.  … Continue reading

A Little Myth Dispelled about Ants

Because people sometimes find common ants on a bouquet of peonies, a mythical explanation is that peonies need ants to bloom. Not true. Ants and peonies do help each other. Ants eat the sweet nectar on peony blooms, and the pugnacious ants discourage some other floral-feeding insects, to the ant and peony mutual benefit.  Ants don’t … Continue reading