Growing Milkweed

I found a foolproof way to grow milkweed starts from seed.  Last year I had a 100% yield


Oregon Native Milkweed – John Day, Oregon

on 3 different kinds of milkweed. (Seedlings are pictured on the second page of newsletter)

Click to download newsletter with instructions: Starting_Milkweed_RockbirdGardens

For anyone interested, I’ll be giving a presentation at the offices of the Pollinator Project in Phoenix, Oregon, on March 10th. “Planning and Growing a Butterfly Garden” 

Best regards,
Robin McKenzie
Rockbird Gardens

Horticulture Report: Gaillardia aristata


Plant Name: Gaillardia aristata
Common Name: Gallo Peach Blanket Flower
Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
Height: 12-16 inches
Spread:   12-16 inches
Bloom Time:  Spring to late summer  
Flower Color:  Yellow with peachy gold blush, Yellow-orange center.
Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Best in poor sandy soil,  does not like clay soil.  
Water Needs: Water well until established, then water occasionally  
Attributes:   Showy prolific flowers, Long bloomer, Drought tolerant once established, Deer resistant, Attracts Butterflies, Interesting globe seed pods 
Note:   Clip spent flowers to encourage repeat blooms. Cut back in late summer to encourage second blooming in the fall. Divide every 2-3 years.
Uses: Cut flowers, Borders, Perennial garden, Pollinator garden, Native garden, Butterfly Gardens. 
Native to: Patented plant
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-10

Butterfly Gardens


Monarch Butterfly

Robin McKenzie, Master Gardener and principal designer for Rockbird Gardens, gave an outstanding presentation on Monday at the Ashland Garden Club meeting. Robin specializes in creating sustainable backyard ecosystems for wildlife, and for people. Monday she talked about “Planning and Growing a Butterfly Garden”,  her talking points were:

• Research the items you need to attract butterflies
• Find a sunny garden location. ( 6-8 hrs of sun)
• Create a garden plan for your yard: flowerbeds, raised beds, and/or containers
• Know the timeline needed to create a garden
• Prepare the soil for your plants, add amendments, make sure you have good drainage
• Install borders and hardscape before you plant (*see mud-puddle below)
• Decide your plant choices: purchase and/or grow your plants, then plant according to their specific directions, don’t crowd your plants!


Butterfly Puddle

*Butterflies need water, so make them a mud puddle!
Use a shallow dish such as a plastic or terracotta plant saucer in a sunny area of your garden that is protected from the wind. Fill the bottom of the pan with sand, gravel, and a few small stones, add water to the dampen sand.

Host plants:
Attract more butterflies by having plants for larval food in your yard, for instance:



Milkweed for Monarchs
Tarragon for Swallowtails
Angelica for Anise Swallowtails
Violas for Great Spangled Great Spangled Fritillary
Note: Be prepared for heavy munching on these host plants, these plants are  caterpillar food!

See list of host plants here:

And here….

How to become a Certified monarch Butterfly Station:

Lecture was by Robin McKenzie
Monarch Butterfly image by Simon Koopmann‎ on Wikimedia Commons
Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas



Pollinator Plants

Butterfly Garden:
Black-eyed Susan  – Rudbeckia hirta
Blue Wildrye – Elymus glaucus
Butterfly Bush – Buddleia davidii
California Buckeye- Aesculus californica
Cardonna Blue Sage – Salvia nemorosa ‘caradonna’
Catmint – Nepeta faassenii
Coreopsis Coreopsis – sp. C. verticillata
Dwarf Goldenrod – Solidaga canadensis
Dwarf Maidengrass-  Miscanthus sinensus
Gay Feather – Liatris spicata
Idaho Fescue – Festuca idahoensis
Joe Pye Weed – Eupatorium maculatum
Junegrass – Koeleria macrantha (formerly Koeleria cristata)
Jupiter’s Beard – Centranthus ruber
Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
Mexican Sunflower – Tithonia rotundifolia
Michaelmas Daisy – Aster novi-belgii
Milkwood – Asclepias sp.
Oregano – Oregianum vulgare
Ornamental Oregano – Origanum x ‘Rotkugel’
Perennial Sage – Salvia superba
Purple Cone Flower – Echinacea purpurea
Rockrose – Cistus purpureus
Rose of Sharon – Hibiscus syriacus
Shasta Daisy – Chrysanthemum maximum
Sulfur Flower (buckwheat) – Eriogonum umbellatum
Sweet William – Dianthus barbatus
Vervain (Purple top) – Verbena
Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Amphibian & Reptile Garden:
California Black Flowering Sedge – Carex nudata
Compact Oregon Grape – Mahonia aquifolium
Kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos – uva-ursa
Oceanspray – Holodiscus discolor
Red-twig dogwood – Cornus stolonifera
Reed Grass – Calamogrostis acutiflora var. Karl Foerster
Scouler’s Willow – Salix scouleriana
Snowberry – Symphoricarpos albus
Soft Rush – Juncus effusus

Bird Buffet:
Amaranth – Amaranthus sp.
Morning Glory – Ipomoea sp.
Sorghum – Sorghum bicolor
Sunflower – Helianthus

(List from N. Mountain Park, Ashland OR – Habitat Gardens)