rescue plants

I went to a nursery yesterday and the first thing that caught my eye was a butterfly bush. It was more than a bit bedraggled – the blooms were droopy and some of the branches were missing or hanging limp. When I asked what happened to it, the worker said, “it just got a little banged up moving from one place to another.” Turns out, the owner had purchased this and some other plants from a wholesaler, who had purchased them from a nursery that had gone out of business. So, I figured what I had here was a “rescue” plant. What else could I do, but buy it?

This is the butterfly bush, only minutes in the ground before a Diana’s fritillary came to check it out. (Please correct me if my identification of the fritillary is wrong)

That was the second of my “rescue” plants. A couple weeks earlier I had seen several small trees for sale at our Tractor Supply store, but I resisted the urge to buy one. A week later, I was back at the same store and noticed that only two of the trees were left. I checked the tag of a little dogwood and saw that it had been marked down. It hadn’t sold because the leaves were starting to yellow from lack of nutrients and a couple of limbs were broken off. Besides being a sucker for a good deal, I pictured how beautiful the tree would look after some fertilizer and a little TLC, so I took it home with me.

The dogwood was so spindly it had to be staked. After one dose of fertilizer, the leaves are greening up and there’s some new growth.

Building our new house turned out to be more expensive than we thought (isn’t that always the case?) so we’re on a very tight landscaping budget. It felt good to get two native plants at a bargain price, especially when a year from now, they will have acclimated to their “forever” home and look like a million bucks – especially in the eyes of the birds, bees, and butterflies!


10 thoughts on “rescue plants

  1. Oh, you lucky girl. You mean Butterfly Bush is PERENNIAL in your neck of the woods??? I have yet to have one survive, even if I bend it down, anchor it, and mulch like crazy. North of the 49th Buddleia is primarily an annual.

    Just sign me,

    Envious 🙂

  2. In the rural area where I live it’s really hard to find native plants, so I guess I’ll have to go online and hope to find some bargains there.

  3. These are great finds. Already the butterflies in your garden are thanking you. I’m stuck in the city this year and won’t be able to tend to my garden in the forest, but my parents have a nice backyard to enjoy while I’m here. I’ll have to keep my eye open for rescue plants 🙂

  4. Hi Jo Ann. I don’t want to add a negative note to your enthusiasm about the butterfly bush, but this plant is now on the invasive list in many states. Butterflies do like its nectar, but like many Asian species it is becoming a problem in the U.S. You may want to check out this link for more information: . I’m sure there are varying opinions on the seriousness of invasive plants, but there is cause for concern and many $$ are being spent to eradicate ones that have gotten into natural areas. Just thought you might want to know.

    • If you go on to read the comments on Rodale’s website, you’ll see that many “butterfly bush” plants are native to the southern U.S. We also have a great deal of diversity since we don’t mow our fields, providing lots of other sources for nectar, food, and larval host plants.

  5. You save money, plus you get the satisfaction of giving a little TLC to a “tired” plant. It just takes a little time, but they spring back to life.

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