Plants at Know Waste Lands
Plantas en Tierra Sin Desecho

The plants at Know Waste Lands change every season. Below are some of the plants the volunteer garden group has planted and cultivated over the years.

Las plantas en Tierra Sin Desecho cambian cada temporada. Abajo hay algunas plantas que los voluntarios han sembrado y cultivado durante los años. (Los nombres y descripciones solo están en inglés, perdonen la inconveniencia.)

Anise Hyssop
Agastache foeniculum

Anise Hyssop is a native perennial that is a bee, hummingbird, and butterfly magnet. A longtime culinary and Native American medicinal herb, it is commonly used in teas and cold remedies. When its leaves are crushed they smell like licorice.

Job’s Tears
Coix lacryma-jobi

Native to Southeast Asia, these grains are useful as a source of food and medicine. The beautiful seeds can be used as beads for jewelry, rosaries, or in musical instruments. Here in the garden we are growing this plant for its beauty, its seeds, and their creative uses.

Lamb’s Ear
Stachys byzantina

Lamb's Ear is a commonly grown plant for children's gardens. It is easy to grow and the thick felt-like leaves are fun to touch. Originating in the Middle East, its name derives from the shape and feel of its leaves. A relative to mint, this sweet old-fashioned plant seems like a blend between plant and animal. In early summer stems bearing flowers bloom.

Black-Eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed Susan is a pioneer plant, one of the first plants to grow in a new field. These native plants are also biennials, meaning they live for two years. Butterflies, bees, flies, and other insects visit their flowers from June to October. Some species of fungi grow on their roots serving to pull nutrients from the roots to the soil and also pass nutrients from the soil back to the plant.

Lavandula dentata

A non-native to the Americas, Lavender is a flowering perennial in the mint family. Its blooms throughout the summer attract pollinators - bees, butterflies, and ladybugs. It has a long history of culinary and medicinal uses worldwide and is known for its aromatic soothing properties. Beautiful and useful in the garden, it is drought tolerant and a calming host to humans and beneficial insects alike.

Tanacetum vulgare

Tansy is a perennial with flowers that bloom July through August. This useful plant is indigenous to Europe and Asia. A relative of the aster, it was used medicinally by the ancient Greeks. Usually grown for ornamental purposes it is also used as a source for dye. Planting tansy is said to improve soil by increasing its potassium content. Both the growing and the dried plant are said to repel flies, ants, and fleas.


Goldenrods are very common native wildflowers throughout North America. They are extremely important to wildlife, especially insects. Many animals come to Goldenrod to drink nectar, collect pollen, nibble leaves and stems, prey on other insects, or lay eggs. They are insect pollinated and have a pleasant aroma - sit near, watch the bees and enjoy the smell!

Salvia officinalis

Native to the Mediterranean, Sage is a perennial evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, green/gray leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. Its blooms in late spring or early summer feed honeybees, native bees, and parasitic wasps. To this day it has a long history of culinary and medicinal uses worldwide. Visually simple and beautiful, it is useful in the garden helping to build populations of beneficial insects.

Beach Plum
Prunus maritima

Beach plums are coastal area shrubs that spread by root suckers to form thickets. The plant is salt-tolerant and cold-hardy preferring full sun and well-drained soil. Its flowers bloom in mid-May and June and its resulting fruit ripens to a bluish dark purple in August and early September. It is a wild northeastern favorite of foragers who love to eat the small fruit right off the branch or collect it to make jam or jelly.

Elephant Head Amaranth
Amaranthus gangeticus

Amaranth is an ancient grain originally cultivated on a large scale in Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. These prolific annuals produce thousands of seeds in the playful shape of an elephant with a trunk. Planted here in the garden, this small but mighty plant helps loosen hard soil and offers its seed as food for birds. Most amaranth is usually grown for its grain, interestingly this type is cultivated for its leaves in Bangladesh.

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow is a perennial frequently found in disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests of the United States. This native plant is drought tolerant and its height is determined by the amount of water it gets. Flowering from June to September, Yarrow attracts beneficial insects, such as ladybugs who like to lay their eggs on the flowers. It is also used as a medicinal plant, as a dye plant, and is known as a compost activator.


Originating in North America, Sunflowers have a long relationship with humankind. As food for humans, insects, and wildlife, one plant grown from a single seed can produce a beautiful geometric spiral of hundreds of new seeds. By leaving the heads on the plants throughout their lifecycle, we share food with the birds and bees. Some seeds we save to replant.

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