Beautiful Native Plants

Blog HOME ***Our team of bloggers writes about all aspects of ecosystem gardening, from native plants to pollinators and wildlife.***

Friday, December 27, 2019

Ring in the New Year with Bluebells!

The bells are ringing!

A new decade fast approaches, but your optimism is challenged by reports of the Sixth Extinction; what to do? Why not make a New Year’s Resolution to ring in the new by using more native plants in your garden? That’s a win-win resolution - you’ll have fun instead of dreading its fulfillment, and you will be helping sustain all the life in your local ecosystem. Renew your sense of hope with bluebells, a native plant as intriguing as it is beautiful. 

With nearly 40 species native to the U.S. there is likely one you can grow, more on that later. You can’t beat their showy clusters of flowers, each one an exquisite tiny bell, all clustered together on a coil that lengthens into a graceful arch as the plant matures. Buds begin their journey clothed in pink, but four to six hours before each individual flower opens, its color is transformed by changing levels of PH within into robes of blue. Deeper blues appear on plants in more acidic soils. Occasionally a plant will stay pink, and even a few, same species, that are white. 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Giant Ironweed, a Tough, Eastern North American Wildflower

Many butterflies visited the new ironweed including this  
beautiful giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes).

Why do we love native wildflowers in our yards? 

It's the butterflies, the birds, and the bees. As Doug Tallamy says, the plants in our yards need to do more than just be pretty. They should support wildlife and become part of the local ecosystem. And the best way to do this is to have a wide variety of native plants. This is why I was pleased when a giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) volunteered in my yard this year. I didn't notice it until it bloomed in the fall.