Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday

I was going to do an update of our front yard again for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, but when I looked at my last WW post, the photos looked almost identical, which means a lot of the plants in our yard have a nice long bloom time.  There are also some that were not yet blooming, but are now.  I decided to include a few, and then find some that weren't blooming yet last month.

The wild quinine has had a long bloom time.

These liatrises, which I think are pycnostachya, are almost finished blooming.  I have been deadheading the gray headed coneflowers, and they are sending out new blooms.

You can see where I've cut some off here, and some lovely new blooms.

Even though I've left the seedheads on the purple coneflowers, this plant is sending up some new blooms.

Pitcher sage is one of my favorite flowers.  They will soon be opening up their lovely blue blooms.

I've had this helenium for over ten years.  I'm thinking it may be autumale, which is native to our area.  Can you tell? 

The beauty berries are ripening!

The rigid goldenrods held onto their buds for quite awhile, and I am excited they are finally opening up.

The pollinators are glad, too.

The liatris, I'm pretty sure, aspera, is still showing some color.

There are two wild sennas within 6 feet from each other.  Both were a few inches tall last year, when I planted them.  While this one was blooming away this summer, the other one got taller and wider.  It had had a few blooms early on, but no seed pods like these.  I thought maybe one was a male and the other female plant, since I don't know that much about them, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Now, the other one, which was a give away at a garden tour at Benjamin's place in 2011, is putting on quite a show.  His blog is The Deep Middle.

This cup plant was pretty small when I got it at a plant sale in some folks' yard this spring.  I am a proud mama, but don't plan on letting this self sow as much as it could.

It's another one I've seen a number of pollinators on.

I am pleased the ironweed I transplanted from another part of the yard is doing well.

The taller type of wine cup plants have been blooming all summer.

The Joe Pye weeds are doing well, and still attracting the bees.

This short toothed mountain mint is a different kind than the one in the background in the above photo.

I remembered to go to the vegetable garden to take photos of the brown eyed Susans.  I plan to take some seedheads to the front yard this fall, and let them grow there.  I'll just have to be careful not to let them take over.

The toadflax have been growing in a wash tub for a number of years.  They are too aggressive for the ground here.

I just got this wild ageratum, or blue mist flower this summer.  After finding out it can be a spreader, I decided to plant it in a washtub.  I keep having this feeling like I grew it many years ago, and did some battle with it.  I love the bloom, though, and am hoping it survives winter.  Oh, and I saw a monarch butterfly on it today.

I have to protect the purple prairie clover from the rabbits.

The other butterfly milkweeds are finished blooming, so I am glad this one still has color.

I'd like to find more narrow-leaf ironweed.

The Virginia mountain mint blooms didn't seem to last as long this year.

I have been watering this summer, partly because I have new plants that won't need it as much once they get established.  As the days of no rain continue, and I start to feel guilty, I think of all the critters that benefit from the growth and blooms.  Most of the flowers are doing pretty well.  Here are some wider views.  Not all of them are wildflowers.  You can see Joe Pye weed on the left, and farther down, is the cup plant.

I'm pretty sure this switchgrass is panicum 'Prairie Sky'.  I may have called it 'Northwind' in another post, but I think that is what is next to one of the wild sennas.

I'm glad I planted tithonia, Mexican sunflower, right in front of the porch.  I've really enjoyed seeing the butterflies and bees on it.  There is another one planted on the west edge of the yard.

Here's a wider view with one of the wild sennas, with the switchgrass, 'Northwind' behind it.

I want to close with a word of caution to those who have their blogs on Blogspot.  For some reason, I was signed out today, and when I signed in, I got to a page that talked about the new look of Blogger.  I didn't know if this was a more recent new look than the last one I knew of.  I decided to look at my blog through a new format to see what it looked like.  I wasn't even sure what it was.  In the past, when you pushed "apply to blog" you weren't really changing it until you also saved it.  Well, in this case, it changed without that next step.  I didn't like it enough to want to change, so I had to go back and try to figure out how I had it before.  I couldn't remember which template I had used, so I had to start over.  I have been tweaking it this evening, but am not satisfied, so I will be doing more messing with it.  I figured out that you now click on the picture of the template to just have a look at your blog in it.  That's a major change.  It would have been nice if Blogger would have cautioned people before experimenting.

I hope you and your gardens are thriving.


  1. Hi Sue, the white counterpart here of that last violet flower is very invasive and a problem to erradicate. If that senna is the Casia alata, then it has a wide range of habitat because we have it in our property too!

  2. Hi Sue
    My son gave me some seeds for the purple prairie clover this year-I'm anxious to try it--it sure looks pretty (even with the fencing around it!)
    You have many beautiful things in bloom-it's been fun to watch the transition over summer.

  3. Sue, A long bloom time is a good thing. Your resident pollinators must be thrilled to have you as the head gardener! When do you get your first frost? Ours isn't till mid October, but, with the weirdness of weather who knows! I love the sennas and just planted a few seeds that I purchased from Prairie Moon Nursery. I hope they grow! Cup plant is very assertive, I've found seedlings far far away from the parent plant. Happy WW! gail

  4. I've never seen wild senna before--that is an impressive plant! I can't wait to see your pitcher sage in bloom--did you get yours locally or order it from somewhere? I saw a planting of this at the Chicago Botanic Garden a few years ago and liked it so much, but didn't have any luck finding it locally.

    As always, I am so impressed with all the natives you have, Sue--your garden must be filled with bees and butterflies.

    Thanks for the tip on Blogger, too; I switched to the new interface several months ago and had some problems so I switched back. Now they keep threatening we'll all be switched over automatically very soon. I wish their help section was more helpful!

  5. You have so much going on in your garden! It is just beautiful! Wild quinine. I never heard of such a thing. I've been thinking about quinine because my neighbor (a nurse) said that tonic water (club soda) is quinine and it helps prevent cramps. I've been getting more leg cramps during the night. Great post.

  6. Your garden is looking amazing, Sue! LOVE that your Vernonia is happy...those blooms are so stunning...the color always surprises me, for some reason...I never remember it being as vibrant as it is in real life! I agree about the Panicum...definitely not 'North Wind', but it's really pretty, nonetheless :-)

  7. Wonderful, except it reminds me of too many plants I want but don't have. (Or have room for.) I especially loved the helenium, beautyberry, and wild senna. For a person who really likes big flowers, I can't believe I've missed out on wild senna!.

    I never saw a cup plant like yours before. Is it a cultivar or hybrid? Mine has smaller flowers and the leaves go all the way up the stems. I thought maybe yours was a different silphium like rosinweed, but the leaves do look right for cup plant, just bigger than the ones on mine and differently placed.

  8. Your garden looks better than ever ! What don't you have ? :)

    Not crazy about blogger when they make changes. Too old for changes.

  9. Your garden is really maturing. I received a senna from Ben when he was in Wichita recently. I need to plant it it get it going, but I'm just waiting for the heat to die down. Not sure what changes are going on in blogger.

  10. Wow, you really have a lot of natives in your garden. Was that on purpose or just how it turned out?

  11. I'm terribly tempted to try the American Beautyberry. Most sources say it's hardy in zones 6-9 or 7-10. Sometimes I can push the zones in certain microclimes in my garden, and I'm sure it would have been right at home this past, mild year. But a deep, deep freeze would likely destroy it. Still, if it's planted near the house facing south... I'm so jealous whenever I see it on garden blogs. Dreaming of Beautyberry... Do you think I should give it a try?

  12. Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy them, even though I don't respond here to each one, unless there was a specific question asked. I like to come visit your blogs from here, though.

    Gail, we are zone 5b. I'm thinking our first frost is usually the middle or end of October. Now that you mentioned the cup plant seeding far from the parent plant, I'm thinking I better deadhead mine, and just plan on that one growing in the yard. I want to stay on good terms with the neighbors.

    Rose, For the last several springs, I have gotten pitcher sage plants at our Community Crops plant sale. It doesn't spread much here, but the same person has enough to bring to the sale each year. I could try sending you seeds, but I don't know when would be the best time to take them off of the plant, or what conditions they would need to germinate. Let me know if you want to try. Now, if I let the wild senna seeds ripen, those would probably germinate well for you.

    Pat, I've never tried doing anything medicinal with the quinine.

    Jason, I got the cup plant from a plant sale in an acquaintance's yard this spring. I'm pretty sure it's the wild kind. I don't know if there are cultivars of it.

    Les, I have always had a hodge podge of plants, including herbs and natives all growing alongside other plants. In the spring of 2011, we had to have the silver maple in our front yard cut down for safety reasons. I created a sitting area in the area of the stump, and chose to plant mostly natives in the area. There are some that are not, because after the guy tilled the area, he said to put in a retaining wall, or it would all wash away. I quickly planted moss phlox and some other plants in the lower section instead of putting in a retaining wall. I also have some nonnative plants that butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds like.

    Plantpostings, one thing you should know about beautyberry, is that the stems grow almost horizontally, and the plant gets wider than it is tall. I am zone 5b, and they die clear back each winter, and come up from the ground in the spring. I'm thinking I've had these 5 years or so.

  13. I am surprised that you have to water at all, because you have so many natives and wildflowers. Will that switchgrass turn red come fall? I am shopping for ornamental grasses, so I want to know all about the different kinds.

  14. You seem to have more variety than most blogs I read. So many natives too. They're doing well. Thank you for showing how great they look. I'm hoping to add some more next year.

  15. Robin, the reason we need to water is that there are many new plants. Once they get established, we won't need to water much, except there are a few plants in there, like the Culver's root and ironweed that will probably want more water than what rain provides.

    Thanks, GOSS. That was a nice thing to say. I'm thinking I need to do more drifts and not as many new plants next year, though.

  16. I forgot to answer Robin's question about whether the switchgrass will turn red in the fall. I couldn't remember, so I went to older posts to see. The 'Prairie Wind' ones did not, but there is one that does. The 'Heavy Metal' turned orangish. Wow, they have all grown larger this year!

  17. Sue, I love the seedpods on the wild senna, your goldenrod, ironweed, and the mountain mint. There is always something interesting blooming in your gardens!

  18. Another year I've forgotten to plant tithonia seeds, so it was lovely to see yours growing so beautifully - I just love the orange burst in a garden!!

  19. Sue,
    I don't know about your area, but in the south Lantana will re-seed itself. And come up with different flowers. Though they still sell them as annuals here the same plant will come back for about three years.

    With All That I Am
    Carrie "The Handmade Homemaker"


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