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Everything comes with a learning curve, including landscaping. That means the pros responsible for the gorgeous gardens you “ooh!” and “ah!” over on television and social media feeds have made their share of mistakes. As Kelly Norris, director of horticulture and education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, sums it up: “The more you garden, the more you realize how little you know.” Fortunately, the greatest green thumbs want the world to be a beautiful place, so they’re happy to share their planting faux pas with you, the home gardener. Here’s your opportunity to learn from the best!

“I bumped off butterflies!”

It’s important to plant enough of a species to look good in your garden and serve the pollinators that depend on it. Just ask Laura Ekasetya, director and head horticulturist at Chicago’s Lurie Garden. Seven years ago, she was experimenting with wooly pearly everlasting (Annaphali triplinervis) when it became stricken with a seemingly mysterious disease that prevented it from flowering. So she cut away everything she believed to be infected parts. After some more research, however, Ekasetya discovered that wooly pearly everlasting was a host plant of the American painted lady butterfly—and she had unintentionally removed all the larvae! “The solution is to have a critical mass of a plant so that there is enough for pollinators and still look presentable in the landscape,” she says.

Excerpt from an article published in Bob Vila by Heather Blackmore.

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