Think About Wildflowers
The plant breeders have been especially busy working on the native species of coneflowers. Some are more vigorous than others, Echinacea ‘Sundown’ struggles here but the orangey pink shades are worth finding that perfect spot where it might be happy. We are still working on it.
Echinacea ‘Sunrise’ finds our conditions much more hospitable. Both Sundown and Sunrise are from a cross of E. purpurea and E. paradoxa introduced by Itsaul Plants of Georgia, part of the Big Sky series. The straight species purples and whites are the easiest and most visited by the pollinators however. We have two plants of E. paradoxa started from seed a couple of years ago, still awaiting the yellow blooms on them.
Lysimachia ciliata ‘Purpurea’ came with a warning when purchased from Mouse Creek Nursery that it could spead aggressively in moist soil. Since we don’t have anything like that on this steep slope, we took a chance on it. It still spreads but is planted in a difficult spot so its habit is welcome. The reddish foliage and glad yellow blooms have won us over.
Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’ attracts many friends both human and insect. Orange, dark and lighter yellows and a reddish orange are all represented in the frontage of the Azalea Walk, formerly known as the hedge bed but since our visit to England the name has been upgraded. Packages of mixed seed and purchased Hellos have filled the space nicely.
Ratibidia columnifera joins the butterfly weed. This dies out after a year or so and attempts at seed sowing have produced no successors so these will be the end of the line here. The plants we have were all mail ordered from High Country Gardens. They are too expensive to keep adding new each year. Too bad, the quirky hat is too cute.
Hemerocallis fulva, H. ‘Pardon Me’, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and Lavandula ‘Provence’ in the foreground are a nice blend in the old gravel driveway bed of the garage, the harshest of growing conditions. Don’t always believe what garden manuals say about what will grow where is the lesson here.
Hyssop officinalis is wrapped in a shawl of Nasella tenuissima, looking quite the coquette. This also seems to struggle here, but new plants are cheap and readily available in the herb section of our local nursuries. Bees love them.
New England Aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is the first of that family to bloom each year in the Fairegarden. Seed plugs from Seed Savers Exchange provided us with pink and blue shades several years ago. They have self sown to the point of weed-dom, almost. A hard cutting back will produce another flush of blooms in the fall.
Veronicastrum virginicum, new to the garden last year joins white astilbe and bronze fennel among others in the yellow/white bed. The candelabra branching will add interest in fall and winter according to the books of Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury. These look promising to fulfill that vision.
Veronicastrum and Mondarda didyma ‘Marshall’s Delight’ in the heather bed also hold promise. This bed is more shady so it remains to be seen how things stand up. Why didn’t we plant all the Veronicastrums together, one might ask? Why indeed, is the answer. We know it is the right thing to do, really, but cannot resist trying things in several places to see how they do first. Or at least that is our alibi. Also, please ignore the ladder. Sheesh.
This fine recognition of deserving natives and wildflowers is all thanks to dear friend Gail of Clay And Limestone on the fourth Wednesday of each month.