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Montana Native Plant Garden

Carroll Montana Native Plant Garden

On July 13, 2012, hard-working volunteers from across the campus, along with our fabulous Grounds crew, planted our native garden with over 200 plants of 32 different species. Many thanks go out to both the Kelsey Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society and the Last Chance Audubon Society for their generous support of this project.

The garden, located in front of the Corette Library, covers about 1,200 square feet. A gravel path bisects the plot, giving garden aficionados access to the interior. Visit throughout the year to see how it grows. Check at the Corette Library main desk for a list of established wildflowers, grasses and shrubs growing in the garden. Our plant list is also included at the bottom of this page. Questions? Send us an email at green@carroll.edu.

Garden Notes

All photos in the garden notes are taken in the garden on the day of the post, unless otherwise noted. Below are the notes from last year; following them are links to download PDFs of garden notes from previous years.

October 25, 2017

• The garden, filled with interesting texture and color, is beautiful, as always. The flax, blanket-flowers, and rabbitbrush still sport a few blossoms. The geranium leaves show striking fall colors and the snowberry shrubs still have white berries and green leaves.

Photos below, left to right:  Sticky geranium (Geranium viscossimum), common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), great blanket-flower (Gaillardia aristata), and our charming bird bath between the big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata) and rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)


September 28, 2017

•  Cooler weather and the rain and snow that has fallen in the last couple weeks have pepped up the garden. A few blooms are still in attendance: the blanketflowers, flax, rabbitbrush, geraniums, and snowberry shrubs are still flowering. The elderberry and the snowberry shrubs are loaded with berries, and bees, butterflies and other insects are  busy in the garden.

Photos below, left to right: Two photos of common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), prairie flax (Linum lewisii), and a butterfly.


August 31, 2017

•  August has been very hot and dry, so we turned on the drip irrigation a couple times this month. The extra moisture has brought a bit more green to the garden. Blooming today are the Maximilian sunflower, snowberry shrubs, geranium, blanketflower, cinquefoil and rabbitbrush. The milkweed pods are opening, the elderberry shrub still sports cool blue berries, and the bright-red rose hips are out. As usual, the garden is abuzz with insects, which are favoring the rabbitbrush today.

Photos below, left to right:  Sticky geranium (Geranium viscossimum), butterfly on rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa), showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), and Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)


August 11, 2017

•  Snowberry shrubs, flax, and rabbitbrush are blooming today in the garden. Also, the seed pods on the milkweed have started to emerge and the berries on the elderberry are turning a frosty blue.

Photos below, left to right:  Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), and blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea)


July 25, 2017

• Flax, snowberry shrubs, blanketfowers, and paintbrush are still in bloom in the garden today. The rose bushes are looking a little wilted, but the rabbitbrush and sage brush seem to be thriving in the heat. Flowers are emerging on the rabbitbrush.

Photos below, left to right:  Rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) and a garden overview


July 7, 2017

• It has been hot  and dry in Helena the last week or two and a few plants in the garden are looking a little tired. However, most plants are thriving. The elderberry carries both flowers and green berries, the milkweed are still in bloom, and one of the yucca plants is about to blossom. Also flowering this week are the flax, snowberry shrubs, paintbrush, and blanketflowers.

Photos below, left to right:  Great blanket-flower (Gaillardia aristata), small soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca),  and blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea)


June 23, 2017

• Today, to our delight, butterflies (not monarchs) are visiting the milkweed blossoms. The  harebells, stonecrop, cinquefoil, flax, blanketflowers, elderberry and paintbrush are also blooming. The rye grass is in seed and little pink flower buds are appearing on the snowberry shrubs.

Photos below, left to right:  Basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus), showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and a butterfly


June 8, 2017

• The garden is thriving in the warm June sunshine. This week roses, harebells, stonecrop, cinquefoil, penstemons, geraniums, prairie smoke, pussytoes, and paintbrush are blooming. The flax continues to fill the garden with cool-blue flowers, and the elderberry shrub sports fragrant white blossoms. The junegrass is topped by pretty seed heads that seem to glow in the sun, and the wheatgrass and Idaho fescue are also in seed. Flower buds have appeared on the milkweed.

Photos below, left to right, top row: Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia),  prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa); bottom row: Wood’s rose (Rosa woodsii) and a photo of the garden.


May 23, 2017

• On this warm May afternoon, the geraniums, penstemons, prairie smoke, flax, pussytoes, and paintbrush are blossoming in the garden. The milkweed stalks have emerged from the ground over the past few weeks and the elderberry is sporting tiny flower buds. 

Photos below, left to right: Little flowered penstemon (Penstemon procerus), sticky geranium (Geranium viscossimum), and prairie flax (Linum lewisii)


May 4, 2017

• Spring is in full swing on campus this week and the garden is blossoming. Prairie smoke, flax, pussytoes, and paintbrush are in flower today.

Photos below, left to right:  Prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), littleleaf pussytoes (Antennaria microphylla), and paintbrush (species to be determined)


Garden Notes from Previous Years

Click on the links below to download PDFs of the garden notes from previous seasons.

2016 Garden Notes

2015 Garden Notes

2014 Garden Notes

2013 and September 2012 Garden Notes


Established Plants in the Garden

Click here to download a list, with pictures, of established forbs and shrubs in the garden.

Click here to download a list, with pictures, of established grasses in the garden.


Littleleaf Pussytoes
Antennaria microphylla

Showy Milkweed
Asclepias speciosa

Campanula rotundifolia

White Prairie Clover
Dalea candida

Narrow-leaved Purple Coneflower
Echinacea angustifolia

Great Blanket-flower
Gaillardia aristata

Sticky Geranium
Geranium viscossimum

Prairie Smoke
Geum triflorum

Dotted Gayfeather
Liatris punctata

Prairie Flax
Linum lewisii

Little Flowered Penstemon
Penstemon procerus

Rubus parviflorus

Blackeyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Sedum stenopetalum

Small Soapweed Yucca
Yucca glauca


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Big Sagebrush
Artemesia tridentata

Curl-leaf Mountain-mahogany
Cercocarpus ledifolius

Alderleaf Mountain-mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus

Rubber Rabbitbrush
Ericameria nauseosa

Creeping Juniper
Juniperus horizontalis

Shrubby Cinquefoil
Potentilla fruticosa

Antelope Bitterbrush
Purshia tridentata

Wood’s Rose
Rosa woodsii

Blue Elderberry
Sambucus cerulea

White Spirea
Spiraea betulifolia

Common Snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus


Basin Wildrye
Leymus cinereus

Bluebunch Wheatgrass
Elymus spicatus

Prairie Junegrass
Koeleria macrantha

Idaho Fescue
Festuca idahoensis

Indian Ricegrass
Oryzopsis hymenoides



Native Garden Installation Slide Show

In pictures, the July 2012 installation of our native garden.