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.

The Willow tree features slender, flexible stems and long, narrow, lance-shaped leaves with finely serrated edges that flutter in the breeze.

Trees

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Willow Trees

Willow trees have a graceful, almost magical look to them. They are well suited to moist locations near ponds and wetland borders. In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen introduces the diverse world of willows and how to best grow these trees in your landscape.

The Astrantia plant showcases deeply lobed, palmate leaves and intricate, pink, star-shaped flowers surrounded by papery bracts.

Flowers

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Astrantia

Sometimes, you’re looking for a flower that’s showy but not gaudy, delicate looking yet hardy, likes a partially shaded location, and perhaps even makes an excellent cut flower. Astrantias certainly fit this description with their sturdy pincushion-like flowers and neat clumps of vegetation. In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will discuss everything you need to know to grow a beautiful, long-lasting astrantia patch in your moist, shaded garden plot.

A variety of different herbs with vibrant purple flowers grow abundantly in a wooden raised bed.

Herbs

How to Grow Your Own Herbes de Provence

Do you enjoy preparing and eating your own meals? Don’t forget that you can also grow your own food, including delicious herbs to spice up soups, salads, sides, and main dishes! In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen introduces a versatile assortment of herbs, collectively known as “Herbes de Provence,” and how to grow them in your garden!

Solomon's seal presents gracefully arching stems adorned with alternating, lance-shaped leaves and delicate, bell-shaped white flowers dangling beneath the foliage.

Ornamental Gardens

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Solomon’s Seal

Are you looking for a beautiful native plant for your shade garden? Solomon’s seal is showy, low-maintenance, hardy, and loves the shade. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces one of her favorite spring wildflowers, Solomon’s seal, and how to help these plants thrive in your woodland shade garden.

A sunlit Japanese barberry showcases vibrant foliage and clusters of red fruits, basking in the warm glow

Shrubs

21 Showy Shrubs to Plant Instead of Japanese Barberry

Are you searching for some shrubs to fill your landscape? You may be tempted to grow Japanese barberry because it is familiar and widely used commercially, but know that there are many showy and better-behaved alternatives to this invasive species. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen offers 21 fantastic alternatives to growing Japanese barberry in your landscape.

The Angelica archangelica plant stands tall with robust, hollow stems, large, deeply divided green leaves, and spherical clusters of tiny, creamy green flowers.

Herbs

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Angelica

Are you looking for a bold plant that adds both character and flavor to your garden? Angelica is an herbaceous perennial with a striking structure and uniquely zesty taste for your edible landscape. In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will discuss the proper care and maintenance of these dramatic plants.

Weigela Florida is one of the shrubs that grows in acidic soil, features oval, deep green leaves and clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, adorning its arching branches.

Shrubs

17 Beautiful Shrubs That Love Acidic Soil

You’ve discovered that your yard has acidic soil and are wondering what you can grow. Luckily, many beautiful plants love acidic soil conditions, including many showy shrubs and longtime garden favorites. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 17 of her favorite shrubs that thrive in acidic soil.

The jack-in-the-pulpit features a unique flower with a striped, hooded spathe enveloping a slender spadix, accompanied by three-parted, glossy green leaves.

Flowers

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Are you looking for a unique and highly ornamental native wildflower for your shade garden? Jack in the pulpit is unusual, showy, and surprisingly easy to grow, given the right conditions. Does your shade garden have what it takes to grow a Jack-in the-pulpit? Keep reading to find out!

A dense canopy of deciduous trees fills the frame, their vibrant green leaves shimmering in the sunlight, contrasting against the clear blue sky in the background, evoking a sense of tranquility and natural beauty.

Trees

What’s the Difference Between Deciduous and Evergreen Trees?

You’ve probably heard the words deciduous and evergreen, but do you know what they mean and what types of trees they are? Trees are classified into various categories, including whether or not they lose their leaves each autumn. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen explains the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.

A red-flowering currant, its vibrant leaves embracing clusters of delicate pink blooms, basks in the warm embrace of the radiant sun.

Shrubs

17 Best North American Native Shrubs For Your Garden

Do you want to diversify your landscape? By adding a few beautiful native shrubs, you can easily increase its structural diversity, color, and curb appeal. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 17 of her favorite easy-to-grow and super-showy native shrubs.

dry shade plants including Corydalis lutea in the shade garden grow in lush clumps among the rocky landscape. Corydalis lutea's leaves are intricately dissected, resembling delicate fern fronds, while its flowers consist of multiple small, tubular blooms arranged in loose clusters, each bearing a bright yellow hue with hints of gold, creating a charming and airy appearance amidst the shaded and rocky garden landscape.

Ornamental Gardens

25 Best Plants For Dry Shade Gardens

Do you have one of those tough landscaping spots with both dry soil and shade? Fortunately, there are plenty of showy plants to fill the gaps in your shady locations, regardless of what soil type you have. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 27 beautiful, drought-tolerant plants for your shade garden.

conifer types. The Cedrus libani, or Cedar of Lebanon, presents dense branches adorned with evergreen needle-like leaves, which are dark green and spirally arranged, culminating in large, barrel-shaped cones.

Trees

25 Types of Conifers for Home Landscapes

Are you considering a conifer to spruce up your yard? Conifers come in all shapes and sizes, from majestic towering trees to ground-hugging shrubs. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 25 uniquely different conifers from around the world.