Posts By

Dr. Liessa Bowen

Liessa started learning everything she could about plants, animals, and ecosystems at a young age. Since then, she's earned a Master’s degree in wildlife biology (Iowa State University) and a PhD in forestry (North Carolina State University), both with an emphasis on conservation biology and birds. She has worked as a greenhouse technician, wildlife biologist, educational consultant, and writer.

A small bee about to land on a sprig of violet lavender.


31 Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

Are you looking for a few plants, or an entire garden’s worth of plants, to entice beneficial insects to visit your landscape? Fortunately, a great wealth of beautiful flowering plants can provide food, shelter, and habitat for insects that provide valuable services in your garden. In this article, gardening expert (and bug enthusiast) Liessa Bowen shares her favorite plants to attract the insects that help your garden.

Close-up of a cauliflower growing on a wooden raised bed features broad, thick, blue-green leaves that form a protective canopy over its dense, white, tightly-clustered flower head.

Raised Bed Gardening

How to Grow Cauliflower in Raised Beds: A Complete Guide

Are you looking for something a little different to fill your raised beds this spring or fall? Cauliflower is a uniquely delicious, beautiful, cool-weather vegetable that you can grow in your garden and even in a raised bed. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen shares some insights on how to successfully grow cauliflower in a raised bed.

A pineapple sage plant showcasing red tubular flowers amid lush green leaves.

Ornamental Gardens

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Pineapple Sage

Are you looking for a showy perennial to attract hummingbirds and add some summer flare to your flower garden? Pineapple sage is a vibrant, showy flower that’s perennial in warmer climates and easily grown as an annual in cooler zones. In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will discuss the proper care and maintenance of these spectacular plants.

Purple coneflowers in full bloom, surrounded by lush green foliage and orange milkweed flowers in a garden setting.

Ornamental Gardens

Are Native Plants Better Than Cultivars?

When you look at plants, do you ever wonder where they came from? Every plant originated somewhere but some have been bred to enhance certain characteristics. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen takes a closer look at the differences between native plants and cultivars and attempts to answer the question, “Which is better?”

Vibrant purple American Wisteria flowers, gracefully hanging in groups, catch the warm sunlight, showcasing their delicate petals. The vibrant hue contrasts beautifully with the lush green leaves, forming a picturesque scene of nature's vibrant and harmonious beauty.

Ornamental Gardens

15 US-Native Climbing Plants and Vines

Are you looking for some interesting vines to add to your landscape? How about looking into some ornamental native vines? In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 15 easy-to-grow native vines and climbing plants that will make themselves right at home in your garden!

A close-up of flowering Bee Balm, Monarda Didyma. Vibrant pink petals burst forth from the center, attracting bees and butterflies alike. Surrounding the blooms, lush green leaves provide a verdant backdrop, enhancing the flower's beauty.

Gardening Tips

Can Native Plants Be Invasive?

You’ve probably heard terms like native plants, exotic plants, and invasive species. But do you know what these terms mean and whether or not they overlap? In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen explores some differences between native and exotic species and explains what makes a plant invasive.

The native ladybug has larger and not many distinct black spots on an orange background, while the Asian lady beetle has a red background with frequent black spots.

Gardening Tips

How to Tell The Difference Between Native US and Asian Ladybugs

You probably already know that ladybugs are beneficial insects that are good for our gardens. These brightly colored beetles are easily recognized by their bright colors and black spots. But did you know that there are more than 5000 species of ladybugs around the world? In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen compares the most common native and non-native ladybugs in the United States.

Converted lawn into a flowering meadow with various plants including Heleniums, Leutratal-Anthericum, Veronica spicata, Lavender and various ornamental grasses.


How to Convert Your Lawn Into a Flowering Meadow

Are you ready to say goodbye to the hassles of maintaining a grassy lawn? Flowering meadows are beautiful habitats with a rich diversity of plants and animals. The adventurous gardener can replace turfgrass with a much more natural assortment of ornamental grasses and easy-to-grow flowering plants. Garden expert Liessa Bowen will share some useful tips to help you get started.

Wood betony flowers, featuring tall stems adorned with purple and lavender petals, contrast beautifully against a backdrop of lush green leaves.


How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Wood Betony

Are you looking for a showy, long-lasting flower for your perennial garden? This easy-to-grow plant adds plenty of color to your garden and attracts pollinators, too! In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen introduces the allure of wood betony and how to grow these spectacular plants.

A close-up of clusters of ripe blue grapes on a branch, showcasing plump, juicy fruit with a deep hue, surrounded by vibrant green grape leaves.


9 Tips For Growing Grapes in Raised Beds

Would you like to try growing your own grapes but have limited space available? You can grow productive grapevines in a raised bed! In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen will look at nine practical tips to help you grow the best grapes with all the convenience of raised bed gardens.

Ginkgo biloba is a tree with unique fan-shaped leaves of glossy green color.


29 Trees With Unique Foliage

Are you looking for a tree to add structure and diversity to your yard? Consider a tree with showy, unique leaves that will really stand out in your landscape! In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 29 tree species with uniquely different foliage.