Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

The Midwestern Native Garden
Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants

By Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz

The Midwestern Native Garden
Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants

By Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz

Winner of the 2012 Helen Hull Award, presented by the National Garden Clubs.

“At last, an idea whose time has come! This is the only book I know of, for the Midwest, that systematically suggests native plants of similar appearance and growing requirements, to replace nonnatives we might otherwise plant in our landscapes. Importantly, The Midwestern Native Garden alerts the reader to the natives’ unique roles in attracting and sustaining increased biodiversity in our gardens.”

Maryann Whitman, Editor, Wild Ones Journal

“This book helps you transform your existing ornamental gardens to native ones by providing lists of native plants with similar form, color, and growing conditions to the ornamentals you may have now. Five years ago, my gardens were approximately one-third native. Now they are more than four-fifths native. This book helped me do this.”


“For Midwestern gardeners this is an excellent reference book to have on your native plants, and some of them look nicer than their city cousins.”

The National Gardener

“Midwestern gardeners who aim to create native landscapes that provide important habitat to birds and other wildlife have a valuable new resource.”

Audubon Magazine

Midwestern gardeners and landscapers are becoming increasingly attracted to noninvasive regional native wildflowers and plants over popular nonnative species. The Midwestern Native Garden offers viable alternatives to both amateurs and professionals, whether they are considering adding a few native plants or intending to go native all the way. Native plants improve air and water quality, reduce use of pesticides, and provide vital food and reproductive sites to birds and butterflies, that nonnative plants cannot offer, helping bring back a healthy ecosystem.

The authors provide a comprehensive selection of native alternatives that look similar or even identical to a range of nonnative ornamentals. These are native plants that are suitable for all garden styles, bloom during the same season, and have the same cultivation requirements as their nonnative counterparts. Plant entries are accompanied by nature notes setting out the specific birds and butterflies the native plants attract.

The Midwestern Native Garden will be a welcome guide to gardeners whose styles range from formal to naturalistic but who want to create an authentic sense of place, with regional natives. The beauty, hardiness, and easy maintenance of native Midwestern plants will soon make them the new favorites.

Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz are the authors of Prairie Directory of North America – The United States, Canada, and Mexico and The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants, winner of the 2012 Helen Hull Award from the National Garden Clubs. In 2014, Adelman was awarded an Audubon Chicago Region Habitat Project Conservation Leadership Award.   More info →


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Retail price: $26.95, T.
Release date: September 2011
288 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: September 2011
288 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for The Midwestern Native Garden

“Although this book was written for the Midwest, many of the natives it recommends are found in other parts of the continent, or have closely related counterparts. As a result, (The Midwestern Native Garden) is useful to gardeners well beyond the Midwest.”

Bluebird: Journal of the North American Bluebird Society

“This book will be a welcome guide to gardeners whose styles range from formal to naturalistic but who want to create an authentic sense of place with regional natives.”

Michigan Gardener

“Midwestern gardeners have the great good fortune to be the targeted readers for this beautiful guide that offers native alternatives to the conventional plants sold by mainstream nurseries.… The Midwestern Native Garden is a fascinating and informative book.…”

Blazing Star: Newsletter of the North American Native Plant Society

“Organized by blooming season, lists of non-natives (printed in red) and their alternative native counterparts (printed in black), simplify gardening considerations and choices…. The photos and illustrations are numerous, colorful, and enticing.”

Illinois Audubon

“Adelman and Schwartz have written an informative, beautifully illustrated book.… Every Midwestern gardener interested in the reintroduction of native plants will want to own this book. Applicable to gardens in adjacent states as well.”

Library Journal

“(The Midwestern Native Garden) is a rare book, one that systematically, season by season, suggests native plants to replace the exotic plants we are accustomed to planting in our Midwestern gardens… . This book belongs on the reference shelves of all plants people.”

Wild Ones Journal

“We can’t all hire a local prairie expert to help us design our gardens, but we can read The Midwestern Native Garden...(The authors) have compiled a reference that is both comprehensive and extremely accessible.”

Maria Ionotti,, Gardening

“What a great idea! Local authors Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz compiled a wealth of information for those of us who are looking to add a few native plants to our gardens or for those who intend to go all-the-way native. I had the luxury of spending a morning in their beautiful gardens.… I saw firsthand how native plants will bring the birds, butterflies and other pollinators as only a balanced eco-system will do. Color and motion!”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Adelman and Schwartz present information on plants…in an easy-to-read manner appropriate for a beginning gardener or the college-level instructor…. Readers will appreciate the lengthy introductions to each section, interspersed as they are with quotes from historical figures and early pioneers viewing the landscape for the very first time. In emphasizing the importance of using native plants, The Midwestern Native Garden will engage gardeners, landscape professionals, and land managers alike.”

Great Plains Research

“This book has a beautiful layout with color photos or crisp illustrations on virtually every page. There is something field guide-like about the book even though the text is arranged seasonally rather than by identification key. Each of the four seasons is given a chapter.”

Butterfly Gardener

“At the heart of this very practical, well illustrated book is the fact that every garden is an interdependent community of plants, birds, insects, and micro-organisms.… Each page presents much detailed information and requires some careful reading, but the entries are well organized, very useful, and written in an appealing style.”

Missouri Prairie Journal

“This lovely and inspired book will turn your mind to the future, to gardening, and to creation, of whatever divine, authorial, or arboreal inspiration. Get your green fingers at the ready.”

ReadWorthy Books

“The material in this book—comprehensive, impassioned and highly focused—is valuable and supportive for the gardener who is tentative about growing natives. It offers a huge menu of plants for a person who is committed to creating a dynamic, healthy environment of native plants.”

Rapid City Journal

"The authors make it simple to reform your gardening practices by using the book—whether you are a simple city or suburban homeowner with annuals and a few bushes and shrubs—or a muncipal entity in charge of big parks and major public landscapes—the book provides plenty of alternatives that are just as pretty and easy to care for...The book also calms fears that a native garden means a weedy and messy look. It can be just as neat and manicured as a nonnative conglomeration."

CBA Record (Chicago Bar Association)

The Midwestern Native Garden will be a welcome guide to gardeners whose styles range from formal to naturalistic but who want to create an authentic sense of place, with regional natives.”


“Also helpful (in The Midwestern Native Garden) are the highly detailed, well-researched sections at the back of the book. There’s a glossary of terms, an extensive bibliography and resource guide, plus an index that’s color coded to correspond to the text of the book with non-natives listed in red type and natives in black.”

Chicagoland Gardening

“The 268-page paperback is flush with possible substitutes of common garden plants from ajuga and day lilies to tansy and chrysanthemums.… Adelman says the book’s goal is to raise awareness of the vital role that native plants play in the ecosystem and prompt gardeners to consider options.”

The Columbus Dispatch

“The use of native plants in a garden preserves both our native beauty and the pollinators, such as butterflies, that evolved with these plants. This book is a key resource for achieving these goals.”

David Parshall, The Ohio Lepidopterists

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