I’m at it again! Three days after we moved to our cabin, I had to grocery shop. But on the way, there is a Hardware Hank that sells plants from a greenhouse. I’ve bought plants from there before. Usually, at this time of year, they’re sold out and the greenhouse doors are closed. Luckily, when we drove by last Friday I noticed that they still had rows of perennials out front and a greenhouse half full of annuals! I told my husband then that I’d be stopping there.

And on my way back from grocery shopping, I did just that! I stopped and I bought some plants! Finally! What did I buy? I bought some perennials to add to my monarch butterfly habit here including Liatris and Butterfly Weed as well as some blanket flowers (Gaillardia). And, of course, for a pop of color, I bought some bright pink annuals. The annuals were half price and the perennials, with the exception of the milkweed were very reasonable. The milkweed? Well, it was $15.00 for a one-gallon pot. It’s a lot, I know. But, anything for my monarchs! Right?!

Yesterday was cold and rainy. Today is sunny and should be 80 degrees by afternoon. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get them in the ground.

I’ll have to get more of a sense of what grows well here in the Northwoods. I know we are in USDA horticultural zone 3 as opposed to zone 4, which means I need to choose plants that will tolerate colder winter temperatures. I’ve done well with my picks so far – a potentilla we bought two years ago is flourishing as are some other perennials on the east side of the house where we put in some gardens lined with stone.

Perennials that have survived the deer in the woods. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022

On top of watching the zones, I need to pick plants that are deer resistant. Being in a rural woodland setting is different than being in an agricultural area turned suburb. For example, I doubt we’ll hear coyotes here. But, we’ll have more deer, a porcupine or two, and maybe some bears. This means no hosta or other plants deer like to munch on.

Milkweed has done well here, as has lupine given the right amount of sun. Coneflowers, astilbes, and coral bells have all done well. I have a small patch of Stella d’Oro daylilies that seem to be weathering the wildlife without disappearing as well.

For fifteen years, I was an active master gardener volunteer (MGV). I stopped volunteering in 2020 for that organization mainly because my hours were garnered by giving community presentations and that ceased to happen due to the pandemic. I figured that 15 years was a good run as an MGV and I still retain all the knowledge and experience the role afforded me. I should be able to pick some appropriate plants.

In the meantime, I have a little frog pond where we also often find some baby turtles. It seems to attract fall leaves, so now that we are here as permanent residents, one of my missions is to clean it out and keep it clean!

Living in the woods will bring different challenges for both gardenings and providing for wildlife. But, it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to!

Prairie Smoke at the Holland Sand Prairie. Wisconsin. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2019.


You can now purchase my poetry book and sets of my photographic note cards right from my blog pages! Visit or navigate to this page using the menu running across the top of the blog, under the header, to view what is available and purchase! Thanks for your support of my creative ventures! As always, Carol!

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