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Plant List

UPDATED April 18 2018 


-Plant sales from the garden gate only - no shipping (except for books). Open Fridays through Sundays 10 am to 5 pm from May 11 to June 30 2018, or by appointment at a time and date that suits you. Open by appointment in July. Closed in August.
-Payment: E-transfer, cash or
cheque. Or credit or debit card. 
-Location: Huronia, inland from Georgian Bay, north of Barrie, Ontario, east of Wasaga Beach. Map 

All plants - trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses etc. - are potted and are hardy in the Huronia area. Most are grown from seed at the ROTN nursery, where no pesticides or chemicals are used; some are sourced from other Ontario native plant propagators. The height cited at the beginning of each entry is what it can grow to, the plant's present height is at the end. Inquire about discounts for orders of 10 or more of a species. 'New' means new to this list this year, not a new introduction to the plant world as those are not on offer. 

Slideshow photographs by Anne McArthur


Also on offer: a selection of seeds

Services include:
  • Advice on creating an ornamental garden that works for you, your birds, your bees etc...
  • Advice on controlling invasives (See also, what not to plant)
  • Consultations: $100 for an on-site consultation in Barrie/Midland/Wasaga Beach area (includes written report with suggested plantings). Mileage charge of 55c/km to go further afield
  • Speaker, on topics related to native plants, pollinators, birds in your garden, the nature of soil, invasive species
  • Contract growing, contract potting
  • Find-a-plant. We are always interested in trying to track down a native plant if you have a specific request


Actaea pachypoda – White Baneberry
Up to 70 cm Also known as Doll’s Eyes, for the black-dotted white fruit on red stalks that appear in August. Lovely frothy white flowers in June. Finely dissected grey-green foliage. Deciduous shade (needs sun in spring). Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 1 gal pot $8

Actaea racemosa - Black Cohosh
Formerly known as Cimicifuga racemosa. Other common names are Black Bugbane, Black Snakeroot and – the most descriptive of this plant that can light up a shady area - Fairy Candles. Dramatic arching spikes of fragrant cream flowers are among the last bloomers of fall – from September onwards - and are a magnet for butterflies and other pollinators. Beautiful dissected foliage. Larval host for the Spring Azure butterfly. Average soil, shade or partial shade  1 gal 60 cm tall $12 

Agastache foeniculum – Anise Hyssop
100 cm approx. Our all-round favourite pollinator plant! Recently 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. One of last plants to stay in flower in fall, providing sustenance for late pollinators. Sun. 10 cm pot $4, 1 gal pot $7 

Ageratina altissima - White Snakeroot
90 cm Previously known as Eupatorium rugosum. Great fall-flowering (August to late September) plant with bright white panicles of flowerheads that 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. Spreads and self-seeds. 1 gal, 60 cm tall $13

Allium cernuum - Wild Nodding Onion
20-60 cm. A stand-out among members of the onion family that are grown for their decorative flowers. Nodding white-pink flowers in July-August. A Carolinian plant that's now rare in the wild, found principally on the Lake Erie islands. Attracts butterflies, bees. Full sun, average soil conditions. 1 gal $6 

Anaphalis margaritacea – Pearly Everlasting
See under groundcovers 

Anemone virginiana - Thimbleweed
Also known as Tall Anemone, up to three feet tall, small white flowers in early summer, long-lasting thimble-shaped seedheads in summer and fall, burst into fluffy cottony masses for winter interest, and wildlife food and nesting material. Pleasing deeply divided foliage. Does best in poor soil. Self-seeds readily. Sun or shade. 10 cm pot $5, 1 gal pot $7

Antennaria neglecta - Field Pussytoes
See under groundcovers

Aquilegia canadensis – Red Columbine
60 cm Showy flowers are red and yellow, loved by hummingbirds. Blooms late May-early June, likes dappled shade. Vistas of red columbine spreading through deciduous woods are one of the delights of early summer in central Ontario. 1 gal $7

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil
See under groundcovers

Artemisia ludoviciana - White Sagebrush
60-80 cm Also known as Silver Wormwood and Western Mugwort. Aromatic pale grey foliage. Prefers poor soil and dry conditions. Can spread aggressively. One of the four medicine plants, used in purification ceremonies (smudging) 1 gal, 60 cm tall $7

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed
Up to 120 cm. Also known as Rose 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 like Common Milkweed and it's a very important plant to have, being a host to the Monarch butterfly. A wetland plant, it does require some moisture in the soil. Sun or part shade. 1 gal $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 - in the right circumstances, but as is pointed out on the Monarch Watch website, being a good colonizer does not necessarily mean that a plant species is a good competitor for light, space and nutrients. In fact, Common Milkweed, by far the best colonizer among our milkweeds, tends to be out-competed and disappear as plant succession progresses.1 gal $7

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed
40-80 cm. Brilliant orange flowers from June to September make this a most desirable garden plant. Clump-forming - doesn't send out underground runners, but does form a large taperoot, making transplanting difficult. Drought-tolerant. Late to break dormancy. Host to the Monarch butterfly. Sun or part-shade. 1 gal $7 

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. Full or part shade. Some moisture needed in the soil.  1 gal, 40-90 cm tall  $7

Coreopsos tripteris - Tall Coreopsis
A tall (2 metres plus), picturesque plant with long stems. Daisy like yellow flowers with maroon centres from July to September. Makes a nice clump that sways in the wind. Accommodates to most soils, good in sand. Sun. 1 gal $8

Doellingeria umbellata - Flat-topped White Aster
1-1.5m Also known as Tall White Aster. An elegant tall aster with a flat-topped cluster of white flowers and a rigid, often purplish stem. The lance-shaped leaves have prominent veins on the underside and feel smooth when stroked away from the stem, rough when stroked backwards. Attracts many pollinators. Full or part sun, moist soil (good for rain gardens). 1 gal $7 

Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower
70 cm A classic: large pink daisy-like flowers with orange-bronze centres on erect stems. One of the joys of an Ontario summer.  A nectar plant that's visited by many pollinators, including hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies. Sun or light dappled shade. Average soil. 10 cm $4 1 gal $7

Erigeron pulchellus - Robin’s Plantain NEW
15-30 cm Daisy-like flowers with white to pink florets surrounding a yellow disk, from May to June. Spreads slowly through underground rhizomes, nice on a dappled bank. Sun, part sun in average to dry soil, but accommodating to most conditions. Nectar plant, attracts native bees and butterflies 1/2 gal $7

Eupatorium perfoliatum – Common Boneset
100-160 cm (3-5 feet) Showy clusters of white flowers really brighten up a shady spot. 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 August-October. Pollinator plant. Shade, part shade. 1 gal $7 

Euthamia graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
30-150 cm. Also known as Lance-leaved or Grass-leaved Goldenrod. Pretty fragrant bright yellow flowers. Spreads by seed and underground rhizomes. Sun, average soil. 1 gal $8

Eurybia divaricata - Wood Aster  
Approx 30 cm Also known as Heartleaf Aster. Blooms late summer and early fall in dry shade (few plants are this accommodating). Spreads into large clumps, useful as a groundcover. The clouds of white stars contrast sharply with its wiry black stems and show up well in shade. Shade, part shade. 1/2 gal pot $6 

Eurybia macrophylla - Large-leaved Aster
Approx 80 cm Large white flowers in flat-topped flower heads, mainly white, some with tinges of blue or lavender. Blooms in August-September. Shade or part shade. 1 gal $8 

Eutrochium maculatum – Spotted Joe Pye Weed
1.8 m 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. Sun. 1 gal, 65 cm tall $7 

Fragaria vesca – Wild Strawberry
A low-growing, spreading groundcover for sunny spots. Accommodates to average soils, from sand to clay to loam. Good pollinator plant. Sun or shade. Produces tiny fragrant fruit in sun. 10 cm pot $4

Helianthus divaricatus - Woodland Sunflower
90 cm plus Bright yellow daisy-like flowers, about 4 cm across, from July to September. Grows in dry shade and attracts a variety of pollinators, which makes it a useful plant for the woodland garden. Larval host for the Silvery Checkerspot, Gorgon Checkerspot and Painted Lady butterflies. Spreads by underground rhizomes, so can be aggressive, but less so if grown in shade. 1/2 gal $8

Helianthus giganteus - Giant Sunflower
2 m. A dramatic narrow-leaved perennial sunflower with numerous pale yellow flowers on reddish stems, July-October. Likes full sun, moist ground. Use in naturalizing, not in perennial beds, as it spreads and self-seeds aggressively. Like Jerusalem artichokes, produces edible tubers (but fewer and smaller).  From Heather Holm’s Bees: 'Sunflowers have a high wildlife value as they support many species of specialist bees, several moth and butterfly species and produce seeds sought after by songbirds.' 1 gal $8

Hypericum ascyron - Giant St. John's Wort
70 cm Robust shrub-like perennial with large yellow flowers bearing many stamens that produce large quantities of pollen (no nectar); attracts bees and butterflies. Leafcutter bees cut pieces of leaf for lining and dividing brood cells. Part shade, moist soil. 1 gal $7

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris
See under pond plants

Liatris spicata - Dense Blazingstar
30-60 cm Spikes of blue-violet flowers from July-November attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees. A Tall Grass Prairie plant that is threatened in the wild by habitat loss. Full sun. Moist conditions preferred. 10-cm pot $5 1 gal $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.1/2 gal $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. Part sun, average to moist soil. 1 gal 50 cm $8

Lupis perennis - Blue Lupine 
40-60 cm. NOT one of the multi-coloured hybrids. Spikes of blue flowers, host plant for the caterpillars of the Karner Blue and the Dusky Wing, two butterflies that are extirpated in Ontario, as well as the endangered Frosted Elfin. Grows in dry sand, tolerant of a wide range of soils. Full sun. 10 cm pot $7

Mentha arvensis - Wild Mint
65 cm Aromatic foliage, fragrant mauve flowers that bloom July-September in whorls around the axils of the leaves. Attracts small bees, wasps, butterflies. Sun or part sun, moist to average soil. Can be used to make tea. 1 gal 10-35 cm $7

Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells
30 cm A magical woodland plant, producing dramatic blue bells in May, and then going dormant and disappearing until next year (so mark the spot). Shade. Adapts to a variety of soil conditions. Spreads by self-seeding. 10 cm pot $6

Monarda didyma - Oswego Tea
80-100 cm approx Also known as Crimson Beebalm or Red Bergamot –striking red blooms on tall stalks, aromatic foliage, a great favourite with humming birds. Full sun, will tolerate some shade, average to moist soil. It does spread - so give this striking plant some space to run or dig it back to its allotted space every spring. 10 cm pot $4 1 gal $7

Monarda fistulosa – Wild Bergamot
60-80 cm approx Also known as Bee Balm. Similar in appearance to M. didyma, not quite as keen a spreader. Soft mauve flowers, sweetly scented, attractive to pollinators - bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. A Xerces Society favourite. Flowers all summer long. 10 cm pot $6

Oenothera fruticosa – Common Sundrops
To 60 cm No-problem plant with bright yellow flowers that flourishes in poor soil, sun or shade. Member of Evening Primrose family, but blooms in daytime. Drought-tolerant. Spreads. Shallow-rooted so easily controlled or transplanted. Blooms June-July. 1/2 gal pot $6

Opuntia humifusia - Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus
Ontario’s only native cactus. A low (up to 25 cm / 10 inches) spreading succulent, with dramatic large pale yellow flowers in June, followed by fruit that turn red in fall. Natural populations are listed as endangered provincially and federally. ROTN plants are grown from seed, the parent plant was purchased from a nursery. Needs full sun, well-drained sand or gravel. Keep clear of weeds. 1 gal $8

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. 10 cm pot $8

Penstemon digitalis – Foxglove Beardtongue
Penstemons are one of the most beautiful North American flowering species. This one grows up to 3 feet, with clusters of white bell-shaped flowers. It's not a member of the foxglove family. Clump-forming, drought tolerant, sun or part sun/shade, average soils. 1 gal $7

Penstemon hirsutus – Hairy Beardtongue
Lavender bell-shaped flowers, gets its name from the hairs on the stem. A little shorter than the Foxglove Beardtongue, clump-forming, drought-tolerant. Sun or part sun/shade, average soils. 1 gal $6

Phlox divaricata – Woodland Phlox
20 cm Delicate ale blue flowers in May, one of the best blues, packing a great impact for a small plant. A good ground cover (great native alternative to the invasive periwinkle/Vinca). Spreads slowly. Adaptable to a variety of soil conditions, shade or sun. 1/2 gal $8

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. A tendency to be invasive in damp soils, more well-behaved in dry sun, in any case easy to control as it is very shallow rooted, it just pulls out. 55 cm 1 gal $7

Polemonium reptans - Jacob's Ladder
30-50cm Clusters of deep blue flowers with brightly contrasting yellow stamens in May-June and excellent foliage, the compound leaves arranged like the rungs of a ladder. Adaptable to dry, moist, sun, shade. 1 gal $8

Polygonum pennsylvanicum - Pennsylvania Smartweed
Attractive pink bottle-brush shaped flowers in June. The large seeds are an important food source for birds. This plant is said to be invasive, but I find it's easily controlled if planted in hot dry sun; it's a wetland plant, so the dry conditions keep it in check. Of course, if you have a wetland, let 'er rip. $7

Pycnanthemum virginianum - Virginia Mountain Mint
30 to 90 cm - Grown for its wonderful fragrance, medicinal and culinary uses, but most of all because it is an amazing nectar plant, beloved by pollinators for its densely packed clusters of white flowers with purple dots and long bloom time (July-September). A spreader, not as aggressive as mint, but give it its own space. The bees and butterflies will be grateful. Full to partial sun, moist to average soil. 13.5 cm pot $7

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 gray 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. 10 cm pot $4 1 gal $7

Rudbeckia spp - Black-eyed Susan
60-80 cm The cheerful face of summer in Ontario. Short-lived perennial.Self-seeds. Assortment of varieties. Full sun to part shade, most soils. 30-40 cm 1 gal $6

Sanguisorba canadensis - Canadian Burnet
60-120 cm Graceful spikes of white flowers with conspicuous white stamens. Attractive compound foliage. Pollinator plant. Full sun and wet to moist conditions preferred. 1/2 gal $7

Sanguinaria canadensis – Bloodroot
A little miracle of spring – each flower stalk emerges wrapped in a leaf; the striking white flowers bloom in May, and then the leaves unfurl, large deeply scalloped saucers, held about 25 cm off the ground. Then the show fades away to go dormant in summer – but below ground, the thick clump of rhizomatous roots (blood-coloured) is slowly spreading. Shade, average soil. $7

Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant
One of the tallest native perennials – 2 to 2.5 metres. 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. 60 cm 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. 10 cm pot $6

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. 1 gal $8

Solidago flexicaulis - Zigzag Goldenrod
45-90 cm 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. Very shade-tolerant. Spreads by underground rhizomes, forming a mass in the woodland garden. 1 gal $8

Solidago graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
See Euthamia graminifolia.

Symphyotrichum novae angliae - New England Aster
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, part shade. Pink or purple. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 1 gal $7 1.5 gal $9

Symphyotrichum urophyllum - Arrow-leaved Aster
30-90 cm Small white flowers (occasionally pale blue to lilac) in dense clusters, yellow discs turn purple. Blooms August-October. Great pollinator plant. Partial sun. Variety of soils. 1 gal $7

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, but continues flowering through summer and into fall, albeit less intensely. Develops a spreading fibrous root system that is hard to dig up - so plant it where it is to stay. 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. $6

Verbena hastata – Blue Vervain
60-180 cm Candelabra-like inflorescences of slender spikes of purple-blue flowers, often seen in ditches. Will self-seed. Attracts butterflies and bees. Larval host for the Common Buckeye Butterfly. Sun, moist soil. 13.5 cm pot $7

Verbena stricta - Hoary Vervain
60-90 cm A standout showy vervain with spikes of large blue or purple flowers in July-August and hairy leaves. A preferred nectar plant for butterflies and bees. Flourishes in arid conditions - needs sun and sandy or dry soil. Drought tolerant. (Very different habitat requirements to those of Blue Vervain, which prefers more loamy moist conditions). 25 cm 1/2 ga pot $7 

Vernonia noveboracensis - New York Ironweed
160 cm Impressive. 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 $8

Veronicastrum virginicum - Culver's Root
70-160 cm Beautiful accent plant. 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. $7

Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders
Up to 75 cm. Brilliant yellow flower umbels in May and June resemble Queen Anne's Lace (both are members of the carrot family and like others in the family is host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly). Attracts pollinators. Drought tolerant. Sun or part shade, grows in a wide range of soils. 1 gal pot. $7

Grasses & Sedges

Carex hystericina - Porcupine Sedge
Grows to 1 metre (3 feet) A sedge of marshes and wet meadows with an attractive bristly flower spike, provides food for many species of wetland birds. Full sun. 35 cm 13.5 cm pot $5

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. 13.5 cm pot, 60 cm in height $7 

Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats
60-150 cm 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 spreads vigorously by underground rhizomes. Prefers partial shade, moist conditions, but does fine and is less prone to spreading if planted in full sun. 1 gal 35 cm in height $7

Eleocharis palustris - Marsh Spike-rush
Grows in thick mats into the water providing erosion control and habitat for fish and frogs. Attracts dragonflies and damsonflies. 10 cm pot. $4

Elymus canadensis – Canada Wild Rye
120 cm 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 $7

Elymus hystrix - Bottle-brush Grass
1-1.5 m Plants form loose upright tufts of rough textured bright green blade, with pale green bottlebrush-like inflorescences. This species is found in woodland and shaded meadows. It is unusually shade-tolerant for a grass. Part sun to full shade. Adapts to wide range of soils. 13.5 cm pot 70 cm in height $7

Hierochloe odorata - Sweet Grass
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). 1 gal 30 cm in height $6 

Panicum virgatum - Switch Grass
Grows to 90-220 cm (36-100 inches) One of the three dominant native grasses of the North American tallgrass prairie. A versatile grass, with a variety of uses from livestock feed to erosion control to sand dune stabilization to bio-energy feedstock. Lovely grey-blue leaves topped by airy masses of tiny flowers in August-September. Remains standing in winter and makes a great effect in the snow. Flowers and foliage are good dried. Seeds feed songbirds. Drought-tolerant. Full sun, wide variety of soils. 1 gal 50 cm in height $7

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. Sun. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 1 gal $7

Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem
140-180 m. One of the three 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. Only one remaining. 13.5 cm pot 30 cm in height $7

Spartina pectinata - Prairie Cord Grass
1.2-2.1 m A dominant grass of the wet prairies. Dramatically tall wth gracefully arching foliage. Spreads rapidly by rhizomes, making it useful for wetland restoration and erosion control. Provides valuable cover and sometimes food for gamebirds, songbirds and small mammals. Pioneers and aboriginal peoples used it for thatching their dwellings and making rope and cord. 13.5 cm pot 50 cm in height $7

Pond Plants

Acorus americanus - Sweet Flag 
30-90 cm A pond plant with a curious pale yellow flower. The straplike leaves are aromatic, the root is favoured by muskrats. Sun to part shade, moist to wet soil. 1 gal pot $7

Caltha palustris - Marsh Marigold

30-60 cm Bright yellow flowers April-June, attractive glossy foliage. Not a true marigold, which is part of the Aster family, but closely related to Buttercup (Ranunculus) species. Moist soil or standing water. Full to part sun. 1/2 gal $5

Carex muskingumensis - Muskingum Sedge
See under Grasses and Sedges

Eleocharis palustris - Marsh Spike-rush
See under Grasses and Sedges

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris 
60-90 cm A plant for the edge of the pond, strappy foliage, elegant blue flowers with a yellow highlight, blooms from May to August. Attracts bees, hummingbirds. 1 gal $6 

Saururus cernuus - Lizard’s Tail
60-100 cm. The name comes from the shape of the pretty drooping cluster of tiny white flowers in July and August. Flowers are fragrant and so is the foliage, when crushed. Spreads through rhizomes, can form colonies which provide cover for fish and other aquatic life. Light shade to part sun, wet mucky soil or shallow water. 40 cm 1 gal $7 


Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich Fern
75-125 cm A tall, striking fern that works well in formal gardens. Moist shade, but adaptable to many conditions. Coiled spring shoots are edible (remove bronze-coloured sheath and boil in 3 waters). Sun, shade or part shade. Spreads. 1 gal $6

Polystichum acrostichoides - Christmas Fern
30-75 cm A striking fern with deep green glossy fronds that keep their colour through the winter, hence the name. Adapts to wide range of soil conditions. Shade. Allow leaf litter to accumulate around it. 1 gal $9

Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern
Up to 50 cm 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. Spreads. 1/2 gal $6


Anaphalis margaritacea – Pearly Everlasting
Soft grey foliage offers spring-fall interest, pretty white flowers bloom in August and make a great dried flower. Host plant for the caterpillars of the American Painted Lady butterfly. Shade. 1/2 gal pot $6

Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone 

30-60 cm Charming white flowers, good foliage with deeply cut sharply toothed leaves, blooms from late May to early July. Spreads. Dry to moist soil, shade or part shade. 1/2 gal $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 Painted Lady butterfly. Prefers full sun, sand or average dry soils but accommodates to a variety of conditions. Works in rock gardens, xeriscapes, can thrive in lawns (delay mowing until caterpillar development is complete). 10 cm pot $6

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil
25 cm Previously known as Potentilla argentina. Low-growing, attractive compound foliage with silvery hairy underside, spreads 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. 1/2 gal 25 cm tall $7

Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger 
Beautiful rounded leaf with a satin sheen, this is an excellent groundcover for shade. It's a myth, according to the Virginia Native Plant Society, that the intriguing tricorn maroon flowers that appear in April, lying close to the ground, are pollinated by flies. True fact: ants disperse the seed. Flourishes in moist conditions but will do fine in dry ground. Shade. 1 gal $7

Eurybia divaricata - Wood Aster
Blooms late summer and early fall in dry shade – few plants are this accommodating. Spreads into large clumps, useful as a groundcover in shade. The clouds of white stars contrast sharply to its wiry black stems and show up well in shade. Also known as Heartleaf Aster. Shade, part shade. 1/2 gal $6

Fragaria vesca – Wild Strawberry
A low-growing, spreading groundcover for sunny spots. Accommodates to most soils, from sand to clay to loam. Good pollinator plant. 10 cm $4 

Hydrophyllum virginianum - Virginia Waterleaf
20-50 cm A low-growing woodland plant with pretty blue (sometimes white) flowers in May and June. Requires shade or part shade, moist soil, forest-floor conditions (mulch with leaf mould if you don't have a forest floor). Leaves are edible, raw or cooked, best when picked young. Self-seeds profusely, a feature that makes it a good ground-cover. 10 cm $4

Tiarella cordifolia – Foamflower  
15 cm (5 inches). An attractive woodland groundcover that spreads slowly 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). 1/2 gal $6


Apios Americana - Groundnut
A native vine with a showy dusky-pink fragrant flower that produces a tuber that's said to have 17 per cent protein content (three times what is found in potatoes). Moist soil, sun or partial shade. $4 per potted tuber

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. Prefers moist soil in sun or part shade. 1 gal $7 1/2 gal $6

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 $6


Amelanchier laevis – Smooth Serviceberry
2 m Shade or sun. One of the first to flower in spring, when it's covered with delicate white blossom. Purple berries by mid-summer are quickly taken by birds. Fall foliage turns golden-orange. Can be trained into shape of small tree. Larval host for Striped Hairstreak butterfly, Dagger moths. 60 cm 1 1/2 gal $9

Aronia melanocarpa - Black Chokeberry
1-2 m Multi- stemmed shrub, good hedging material, salt tolerant. White flowers tinged with pink in June, glossy green foliage turning deep red in fall, with dark blue berries for which many claims are made regarding health-promoting properties. Good for wildlife. Prefers moist conditions, adaptable to most soils. 30 cm 1 gallon $6

Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood 
See under Small Trees

Cornus racemosa - Gray Dogwood  
1.8 m Dome-shaped panicles of white flowers in June, turn into white berries in fall. Good naturalizer. Wild life food source, habitat. Full to part sun. Prefers some moisture, tolerates a variety of soil conditions. 80 cm in 1 1/2 gal pots. $7

Cornus sericea - Red Osier Dogwood  
1m Noted for its red branches that look great in winter against snow. Small white flowers. White berries. Excellent for erosion control. Sun. 40 cm $5

Corylus americana - American Hazelnut
2-3 m Edible nuts have easy to crack shells and are tasty for people, squirrels and other wildlife. Best to plant two or three to ensure cross-pollination. Tendency to sucker and form thickets, good for naturalizing. Remove root suckers promptly if this look is not wanted. Accommodates to a variety of conditions, dry to moist, loam to sand. Sun or part shade. 50 cm 1 gal $9

Hammamelis virginiana – Witchhazel NEW
3 m An edge shrub that likes some shade, some sun. The unique yellow flower with slender strap-shaped petals is its most prized feature because it appears in late fall along with the yellowing leaves. 20-40 cm $7

Lindera benzoin – Spicebush
1.5 m Leaves give off a spicy fragrance when crushed. Sometimes called wild forsythia for its early small yellow flowers that are in bloom for most of May. Important for the high-fat content of its berries that make it a quality food for migrating birds, but you need a male and female for fruit. If you only have room for one, it will still flower and is a very attractive specimen through the growing season. And, it's the host plant for the Spicebush Swallowtail. Moist, well-drained, partial shade. 65 cm 1.5 gal $11

Rhus aromatica – Fragrant Sumac
1 m No, it doesn't spread - this is the only non-colonizing sumac in our area. It doesn't grow too tall either, making it useful in situations where a view needs to be preserved. Clusters of yellow flowers. Lovely trilobed leaves that give off a citrus fragrance when crushed. Great fall colour. Adaptable to part shade, but best in sun on dry sandy, rocky or clay sites. 60 cm 1.5 gal $14

Rhus typhina - Staghorn Sumac
1 m and up. Yes, it does spread. Unrivalled for its fall colour, this is one of our most striking native shrubs. Feathery cream flower panicles in summer, deep red fruiting clusters in fall. Needs control in smaller gardens. Good privacy barrier, windscreen, erosion control, wildlife habitat. The astringent fruit make a delicious pink lemonade. Full sun or part shade, dry to medium moisture. 50-75 cm 1 gallon $8

Rosa palustris - Swamp Rose
1 m. A mid-sized shrub rose with arching wood stems. Fragrant pink blooms in June and July. Red hips for birds or rosehip jelly. Full sun, prefers moist, acidic soil. Useful for erosion control, bank stabilization. 40-75 cm 1 gallon $9

Rosa virginiana – Virginia Rose 
1 m A wild shrub rose that adds grace to any garden. Pink single flowers over a long period of summer have a delicate fragrance and produce bright red hips enjoyed by birds in fall. Foliage turns yellow and red in fall. Not bothered by pests. Spreads, suitable for a low hedge, erosion control, bank stabilization. Full or part sun. 50 cm 1 gal $7

Rubus odoratus – Purple-flowering Raspberry
1 m An excellent shrub with large well-shaped aromatic foliage, fragrant deep pink flowers from June to September. Edible berries. Spreads. Sun, some shade. 1 gal $7 

Rubus occidentalis - Black Raspberry
1-2 m White flower clusters in spring, red turning to black berries in fall. Edible fruit good for humans and wildlife. This is a spreader – great for naturalizing a larger space, not suitable for a small garden. Sun / part shade adaptable to variety of soil conditions 1 gal $7FDOGWOO 

Salix bebbiana – Bebb’s Willow
2-4 m Also known as Beaked Willow or Diamond Willow, the latter name due to a fungus that creates diamond-shaped patterns in the wood which is then prized for canes and other ornamental craftwork. Silvery grey foliage, fast–growing. Larval host for Mourning Cloak and Viceroy butterflies. Sun or part sun, most soils, moist or wet. 1 gal 40-60 cm $6 $9

Salix discolor - Pussy Willow  
2 m plus A denizen of ditches and moist soils, the soft grey "fur" of the male catkins is one of the first signs of spring in Ontario. Of great value to wildlife as habitat and food. Full sun, moist soil. 125 cm 2 gallon $10

Sambucus canadensis - American Elderberry
3 m This is one of two native elderberry species, described as critical wildlife plants by the late Henry Kock of the Guelph Arboretum in his guide to growing natives. "Some 30 species of birds are reported to devour the seeds of both." Do not confuse with the invasive European black elderberry (S. nigra). Suckering shrub that grows in wet or moist soils. Flat-topped white flower clusters in July, edible black berries in fall. 30- 45 cm $8

Spirea alba – Meadowsweet
1.5m Multi- stemmed marshland shrub with fluffy white flowers in August-September. Like other late bloomers, it's of great value to butterflies and other pollinators. Tolerates range of conditions from moist to swamp. Host plant for the spring azure butterfly. Full or partial sun. 25 cm $6

Spirea tomentosa – Steeplebush
60-120 cm Showy clusters of pink flowers from July-September attract pollinators. Full sun, wet or moist conditions, acidic sandy soil. 10cm. $6

Staphylea trifolia – Bladdernut
3-4.5 m Textured bark has mottled stripes. Each twig ends in three leaves. Fragrant bell-shaped cream flowers in May become clusters of three-chambered papery pods that turn from green to yellow to brown. Fast-growing. Suckers, and can create thickets. This makes it a good naturalizer. If thickets not wanted, keep an eye out and dig out any unwanted shoots. Moist, well-drained soil. Sun or shade. 15 cm $6

Symphoricarpos albus – Snowberry
120cm This is a shrub that does well in dry shade so can be used in hard-to-fill spots like the north side of a house. The white berries (enjoyed by birds) show up well in the grey days of winter. 25-35 cm $6

Viburnum cassinoides – Wild Raisin 
3 m Also known as Witherod. A great native ornamental with permaculture and / or wildlife value. Emerging leaves are an attractive bronze in spring, turning dark green. Creamy white flower clusters in late June. Noted for an eye-catching display in the fall when the edible fruit turn from white to pink to bright blue to blue-black, often with two or more colours present in the same cluster – in dramatic contrast to foliage that’s turning from orange to purple. Host plant to the Summer Azure butterfy. Prefers moist loams but accommodates to a variety of soils. Full sun to part shade. 10 cm 1 gal $9

Small Trees

Acer pensylvanicum - Striped Maple
4-12 m Also known as Moose Maple, this understory tree (widespread in the white pine forest of Tiny Township) gets its name from the bark’s attractive vertical stripes. Its large, three-lobed leaves turn lemon-yellow in fall. Moist acidic soil, shade. 35-65 cm $14

Amelanchier laevis – Smooth Serviceberry
2 m Shade or sun. One of the first to flower in spring, when it's covered with delicate white blossom. Purple berries by mid-summer are quickly taken by birds. Fall foliage turns golden-orange. A shrub that can be trained into shape of small tree. Larval host for Striped Hairstreak butterfly, Dagger moths. 60 cm 1 1/2 gal $9

Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood
About 7 m Just a joy - an elegant small tree that arranges its branches in layers – like a pagoda. It can 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. 35-55 cm 1 gal  $7

Staphylea trifolia – Bladdernut
3-4.5 m Shrub that can be grown as a small tree by pruning out any extra shoots that spring up from the base. Textured bark has mottled stripes. Each twig ends in three leaves. Fragrant bell-shaped cream flowers in May become clusters of three-chambered papery pods that turn from green to yellow to brown. Fast-growing. Suckers. Moist, well-drained soil. Sun or shade. 15 cm $6

Shade Trees

Acer rubrum - Red Maple
20-25 m Also known as soft maple, this is the tree that lights up a gorgeous red in fall (not to be confused with Crimson King and other dark red cultivars of the Norway Maple, an invasive species). Small bright red flowers in spring attract early pollinators. Grows best in moist soil, but adaptable to a variety of sites and conditions. 40-60 cm $7

Aescula Glabra – Ohio Buckeye
9-12 m Showy yellow flowers in May-June are pollinated by the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and various long-tongued bees. Attractive compound leaves and shiny brown ‘conker’ nuts in prickly husks. This is the North American cousin of the European Horse Chestnut and, as with that tree, all parts are toxic to humans and other mammals. Moist, humusy soil in sun or part shade. First-year seedings. 1 gal 20 cm $7

Carya ovata - Shagbark Hickory 
19-25 m Sweet-tasting nuts. Hickories are slow to grow in their early years as they work on putting down a long tap root. They grow quite quickly once established. Two trees are best for cross-pollination. Good fall colour, distinctive bark. Sun and rich moist soil preferred but will accommodate to variety of conditions from dry to moist, clay to sand, sun to shade. 30 cm 1 gal $9 

Celtis occidentalis – Hackberry  
10-15 m. Similar to elm in shape and size, but often considered superior. Withstands heat and drought. Yellow in fall. Interestingly ridged gray bark. Good for wildlife – the red-orange berries are said to be the favourite food of wild turkeys. Only host for the Hackberry Emperor butterfly. 50 cm $9

Juglans nigra - Black Walnut
30 m A majestic fast-growing tree that will provide you with your own nuts (check this blog for more information). 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. 60 cm 1 1/2 gallon $7 

Nyssa sylvatica – Black Gum
20 m Also known as Black Tupelo. This is an attractive shade tree that grows in the Carolinian region of southwestern Ontario but is hardy far north of its native range (Georgian Bay, Ottawa). Glossy green foliage in summer turns a spectacular scarlet in fall. Inconspicuous greenish white flowers in spring are an excellent nectar source for bees and other insects. Dark blue fruit attract birds and other wildlife. Adaptable to a variety of soils, including clay and ones that are poorly drained. Full sun to part shade. Slow-growing but needs to be planted in an area that has room for future growth (it sends down a long taproot, so is difficult to transplant). 60 cm. $14

Salix nigra – Black Willow
10-30 m The largest New World willow, it has striking black, deeply furrowed bark when mature. Flexible young stems are used in wickerwork furniture and basketry. Larval host to many showy butterflies, including the Mourning Cloak, Red-spotted Purple and Tiger Swallowtail. Fast-growing. Full to partial sun, wet to moist soil. Often planted along streams and rivers to prevent erosion and flood damage. 65 cm 1 gal $6


Abies balsamea – Balsam Fir
25 m Christmas tree shape with aromatic resin. A mixed conifer windbreak of Balsam Fir, White Spruce and Cedar makes good wildlife habitat. 1 gal 40 cm tall$7

Pinus strobus - Eastern White Pine

Up to 30 m Fast-growing, soft blue-green needles in groups of 5, gorgeous – the most striking tree in Ontario's forest. 1 gal 60 cm $8

Thuja occidentalis – Eastern White Cedar
12 m. Also known as American arborvitae. Beautiful fan-shaped leaves. Good wildlife habitat. 1 gal  35-50 cm tall $7 

Tsuga canadensis - Canadian Hemlock
12 m Elegant, slow-growing and long-lived (hundreds of years - a gift to the future). Small needles give a fine texture. Arching limbs. Shallow- rooted so protect from wind by planting among or in the lee of other trees. Likes moist soil with good drainage. Good in shade. 1 gal 50 cm tall $12