To whet your appetite for LSU Hilltop Arboretum's big Plantfest later this month, a "teaser" is being held Oct. 4 featuring Tammany Baumgarten.

In an online presentation, the New Orleans-based landscape architect will talk about her favorite native plants, tips on how to grow them and how they change from season to season.

All plants featured in the video will be available for purchase online from Oct. 4-10, and can be picked up by Oct. 11 at the arboretum, 11855 Highland Road.

Cost of the presentation is $20 for the general public. You will receive links to the video on YouTube, descriptions and pictures of all of the plants featured and a link to purchase plants online. To register or for more information, visit lsu.edu/hilltop, call (225) 767-6916 or email hilltop@lsu.edu.

An avid proponent of native and wildlife gardening, Baumgarten weaves ecological principles in her landscape designs while promoting native plants. As a passionate wildlife and butterfly gardener, she likes to share her experiences in attracting birds, bees and butterflies to outdoor spaces and believes you can create a space where wildlife is as much of an attraction as the plants.

“Every yard can be a habitat, whether it’s 25 feet or 25 acres," she said. "Very small yards can pack in lots of plant density, which is exactly how nature does it.”

In addition to discussing her favorite native plants, Baumgarten will suggest trees to plant after storms.

"In Louisiana, we see a lot of failing trees due to old age. Trees more suited to our environment can help withstand toppling due to storms,” she said.

A few of Baumgarten’s favorites plants include:

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Liatris: Commonly known as blazing star, this is a late-season bloomer that attracts the yellow sulphur butterfly in particular.

Buttonbush: A small, fast-growing native tree that grows near water, but does well in just about any environment. Great for pollinators and a good substitute for crape myrtles.

Arrowwood: An excellent native shrub for privacy screening, seasonal interest and wildlife. Spring blooms are followed by late summer fruit, with foliage that changes from red to burgundy in the fall.

Native fringetree: Also called grancy greybeard, this deciduous tree can grow 30 feet tall. Produces white flower clusters in the spring.

Winterberry holly: This native wetland holly loses its leaves in autumn, but shows red berries in winter. Offers beautiful color changes each season.

Spruce pine: The most shade tolerant of the pines, it resembles hardwood.

Black cherry: Great species for pollinators as well as birds and wildlife. The berries were used to make “cherry bounce,” an alcoholic beverage.


This information is presented in conjunction with Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater Baton Rouge which seeks to advance awareness, understanding and stewardship of the natural environment. For more information, email info@lmngbr.org.