July Wildflowers-Return Of The Natives


Hunting down the wildflowers for Gail’s Wildflower Wednesday meme is always enjoyable. The main problem is determining which ones are natives. The last deciduous azalea to bloom here, Rhododendron prunifolium is right on schedule, late July. This shrub was purchased a couple of years ago at the University of Tennessee Bloom Day festival, in bloom around the end of July. The leaves are a more chartruese color which sets off the red orange flowers nicely. It is a native.


New to the garden last fall, from Arrowhead Alpines are three little Verbena stricta plants. As these small specimens grow and mature through the seasons, more height and girth are expected. For now, all we are looking for is alive, flowers are gravy. Natives.



By far the longest blooming period for any wildflowers here belongs to the ox eye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare. Some of the petals are showing this curly characteristic. Nice natives! Added: These are native all right, but to the UK, not the US! I still like them, though.


Common and easy, good descriptions of how wildflowers should be, apply to Gaillardia x grandiflora. The bright colors stand up to the intense summer sun and lack of rainfall without blinking. There is a tiny little plant with ball like flowers mixed in, does anyone know what it might be? Is it a native?


July sees the beginnings of the Big Guy bloomings. Even though the florets are not fully open, the Joe Pye, Eupatorium purpureum subsp. maculatum ‘Gateway’ gives a stunning performance back in the old Ferngully area. The heads are huge, the plants are tall and the pollinators are waiting at that gate to begin feasting once the petals peel back to reveal the goodness inside. Natives.


Unfortunately named Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale is just beginning to bloom. Started from a mixed packet of seeds last year, several colorways of reds and yellows were a pleasant surprise. Many did not return over the winter, but this plant is strong and healthy looking, having been moved from the shed bed to more pampered environs in the yellow/white bed. (Closer to the hose spigot.) A post about this native flower can be seen by clicking here-Helen’s Flower.


A most beautiful seedhead is that of Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota. Every phase of this plants life, from lacy, chic green foliage, white snowflake flowers and caged prickly seeds is exquisitely detailed. It can be seen along every roadside and non-cultivated field here, yes, native. No, not native, but it has been around for so long it is considered one of us! (Thanks Monica!)


Hooray for the seedheads that managed to mature and open on the Asclepias tuberosa! Normally they shrivel up and produce no viable seeds. These little darlings will be scattered and planted carefully for this butterfly weed is a plant that is hardly a weed at all. There is no such thing as too much of it. Happy to report, native.


The same can be said for Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’. There are finally seedlings of blooming size, much to the delight of bees and butterflies like this little Pearl Crescent. Something is chewing the gold petals without mercy, probably the dastardly grasshoppers. They are always a problem in hot, dry summers. There is no such thing as a summer here in southeast Tennessee that is not hot and dry.


It was thrilling to find some of these came with the property Datura metel plants this year. Even though seed was saved and scattered, there were no plants at all last year. 2010 has shown several, one already blooming size. We love their exotic good looks, considering them friendly aliens.


Public Service Announcement: This foliage that looks something like marigolds is ragweed, Ambrosia sp., seen this past weekend at offspring Semi’s house. Mr. Semi is so allergic to this plant, among many other things, that it requires doctor visits and prescription pharmceuticals. I have shown both of them what this looks like, even pulling much of it myself in her garden, and yet it still is growing there. I believe the term is passive aggressive on her part. I cannot explain the Mister’s lack of enthusiasm for eradicating it from their property. You can lead a horse to water….


Also seen at Semi’s is this member of the asteracea family, a Hawkweed of some kind, most likely Hieracium paniculatum. Native.


Here it is in situ. This is a true wildflower haven, showing what becomes of a garden when there is no actual gardening done. The pollinators love it and things sort of work it out by themselves, led by the natives.

Frances

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27 Responses to July Wildflowers-Return Of The Natives

  1. The Gaillardia is doing wonderful in the garden this year. My Joe Pye weed has been run over by the Monarda this year, will have to fix that problem for next year. But your Asclepias tuberosa is ahead of mine as the seed heads are still green and have not opened. Take care and have a great day.

    Hi Jennifer, thanks and welcome. I believe the Gaillardia to be unappreciated, as so many of the easy to the point of weediness natives are here. Don’t you love when the Monarda runs rampant though? What a fabulous plant, ours did the best ever as well, though there would be no way it could run over the Joe Pye. That one is a monster! You too have a wonderful day! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Frances,

    Very nice, I do love Wildflowers and am always thrilled to see so many people embracing the idea of using natives in the garden to help with the wildlife.

    Hi Liz, thanks. My appreciation for the natives is relatively new, but growing with each passing season. I am on the bandwagon now and like new converts am shouting it from the rooftops! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. Gail says:

    Good morning Frances~I am so glad, beyond excited even, to have you on the bandwagon with me to celebrate wildflowers! The critters thank you, too. Love the hawkweed and am sorry that grasshoppers are munching on the Susans! What a year for bug damage. Love having a piece of Ferngully’s Joe Pye! He’s not as tall as yours, but he’s getting there. Scatter those butterflyweed seeds~they need a cold, wet winter and should take off~Fantastic photo of the caged QAL seeds! gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. It is all your doing! Glad to hear the passalong Joe Pye is doing okay. It took several years for ours to get to the size it is now. I will indeed plant those Asclepias seeds, that is a plant we definitely need to have en masse.
    xxxooo
    Frances

  4. tina says:

    That rhododendron is beautiful. I think I saw it on Volunteer gardener and put it my mind to look for. So great it blooms late. All your lovelies are stunning.

    Hi Tina, thanks. The azalea is quite eye catching. I don’t know if the foliage is supposed to be so yellow, but it always has been. Maybe it is a mutant! I have never seen coneflowers like yours before, stimply stunning! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. gardeningasylum says:

    Hi Frances, It is amazing how many natives you can find when you look around! Didn’t know ‘Goldsturm’ was considered native – I do love it though. I gathered seeds from butterfly weed last year and had no luck – will you just scatter them or winter sow?

    Hi Cyndy, thanks. I might be pushing it with Goldsturm, but hey, the susans are all natives here so included that one. Don’t tell Gail. I will direct sow the Asclepias seeds soon, barely covered and well marked with an overturned plastic nursery tray over them to prevent critter digging, such a huge problem here. They need a chill period of several weeks. I expect to see babies in the spring, with luck. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Valerie says:

    Hi Frances: It is nice to see that we grow the same plants in the garden. Can’t grow azaleas in this alkaline soil though. The mystery plant with the gaillardia maybe in the mint family. I see hairy stems that are square.

    Hi Valerie, thanks. What is the saying, great minds….? Thanks for the tip about the mystery plant. I know that is not a very good photo of it. The stems are quite wiry and the foliage very ferny.
    Frances

  7. lotusleaf says:

    So many wild flowers! I loved the Rudbeckia with the butterfly. Gaillardias are a favourite with public gardens here, as they need very little water and care.

    Hi Lotusleaf, thanks. We are still learning what it native and what should be considered a thuggish pest. Some of these might fall into both categories in some gardens, in fact. I adore the Gaillardias for those same reasons that they are used in your land. Go with what works! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Beautiful blooms Frances. I have some datura blooming in the garden and I haven’t sowed the seeds for quite a few years. Perhap one of the prickly seedpods fell off and it has taken that long for the plant to develop.

    Hi Linda, thanks. That is the same as here. I have been scattering seeds for years with nothing happening in those spots, then this year I have noticed the daturas in several places, none where I scattered, BTW! Happy to have them. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. Jake says:

    Nice Rhododendron! I had no idea that there were any that bloomed that late. I am glad to know what Ragweed looks like now as well. I believe that is the plant that makes my allergies go crazy in the fall.

    Jake

    Hi Jake, thanks, so nice to see you. I have a couple that bloom in June, one is Summer Lyric and the other a species of some sort, no ID, with pink flowers. This is the latest. I love it, and that gold foliage! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Alice Joyce says:

    Morning, Frances!
    Stopping by to say hi… I’ve not had much luck with Datura metal. Yours looks stunning.
    warm mid-summer wishes to you.

    Hi Alice, thanks for dropping in, so nice to see you! Happy summer days to you as well. The Datura seems to come up of its own accord. When I try to sow seeds it doesn’t work. Must not be holding my mouth right! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Tatyana says:

    Very attractive gang of wilds! Love the photos of the seedheads as well as the blooms.
    My Joe Pye decided to beat all records this year and got about 8 feet tall.

    Hi Tatyana, thanks. I love buds and seedheads as much as flowers. And leaves and stems, lol. Glad to hear your Joe Pye got the memo about being tall! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. VW says:

    Ooh, the Queen Anne’s Lace seedpod is so interesting – you’ve captured it well in your photo. And the butterfly – you must have a great time watching all the butterflies in your garden. We’ve seen only a few this year and have been super excited each time. Planting butterfly-attracting plants is on the to do list, but it’s so long that it never gets all the way done.

    Thanks VW. The list can never get done, but attracting butterflies should be moved to the very top! We don’t have a lot here either, but the checkerspots are more numerous than most. We do love watching them all, even The Financier gets into that. He’s getting there. lol πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Rosie says:

    We have a native Queen Annes lace here too Frances but its seedheads look nothing like the beauty you have photographed. So many of your natives are plants that I would love to be able to grow successfully each year in my garden. I don’t think any of my Heleniums have survived.

    Last week when we were out on our walk we watched one poor man digging up all the ragweed he could find in his field as he has 3 horses and its deadly for horses to eat.

    Hi Rosie, thanks. That is the problem with common names, not always the same plant! I am so sorry about the Heleniums. I see them used extensively in European gardens and figured they were hardier than that, maybe not liking out dry heat. That dadburned ragweed! I didn’t know about the horses, what a chore that must be!
    Frances

  14. Rose says:

    “All we are looking for is alive, flowers are gravy”…no matter what you’re writing about, Frances, there’s always at least one gem like this in your narratives that makes me smile:) I love all your natives, and for once I share some of the same plants. My Joe Pye weed–in its second season–is really living up to its promise this year. The butterfly weed has also taken off–I’ll have to look to see if it’s forming seeds.

    I also share a little in common with Semi–I do know what ragweed looks like and try to keep it from encroaching on the garden, but around the farm buildings it’s another story. No wonder I’ve been sneezing and wheezing this summer:)

    Oh Rose, you made my day, thanks! I do appreciate your literary opinions, being the English teacher and all. I come from a family of English teachers, if I never told you before. Glad to hear about your Joe Pye and Asclepias. I can imagine how lovely your garden is! And do get a handle on that ragweed, my friend! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. skeeter says:

    You have a lot of natives there girl πŸ™‚ All so pretty too… The iris weaving is interesting…

    Hi Skeeter, thanks so much. Glad you liked the recent postings. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. Carole says:

    Could the mystery plant be marsh bedstraw, Galium tinctorium? I can’t see any leaves so not sure.

    Hi Carole, thanks. The leaves are fern like, very airy. We have the bedstraw, not the same. I appreciate the suggestion and may do a post with better photos if I can get any. It is hard to photograph.
    Frances

  17. linda says:

    Lots of lovely natives in your garden Frances, and Semi’s too. The azalea is so pretty – I don’t usually think of them blooming this time of year. The daisies look so cool and fresh, in spite of the heat. Queen Anne’s lace is one of my very favorite wildflowers.

    I love that Gail started Wildflower Wednesday. It’s such a treat seeing the natives growing in everyone’s gardens.

    Hi Linda, thanks. I am glad Gail started this meme as well. It helps us remember the little natives. They are so often not showy and even considered weeds by some, including me, in the past! I love the Queen Anne’s Lace, always have. The azalea is fun, the golden yellow leaves really make it stand out.
    Frances

  18. Les says:

    That first hawkweed picture is very trippy-hippy.

    HA, thanks Les! Sometimes the camera does that and I just love it. The purple background is Echinacea.
    Frances

  19. Town Mouse says:

    Wow, amazing! It sure is a big country, I know nothing about a lot of those plants. Love the azalea in the first picture… Great color!

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks. You are so right about the big. Most all of your natives are quite foreign to me, nothing like them here, but I find yours very beautiful just the same. The azalea flower is a wonderful color that really stands out against its own gold leaves and the Gold Mops Chamaecyparis behind it.
    Frances

  20. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Oh, crud, I hate to hear that you’ve already seen ragweed seedlings. The Executive Producer is highly allergic, too. Fall is not a good season for him!

    The other wildflowers are lovely!

    Hi Cindy, thanks. The ragweed is already a foot high and seems to be on a growth spurt at the moment. It will reach well over my head, and it won’t be long. Now is the time to get it, when it is still smallish. But it doesn’t look like that is going to happen at Semi’s. Again. Sigh. So sorry about EP, I know that can really get those who are allergic down.
    Frances

  21. james says:

    Im amazed to note that the Rhodendron you have in the first picture look so much like a hibiscus flower. All the more to note that you keep a Datura as they are very much feared for their poisonous reputation.
    Have a nice day hunting for a native one though.

    Hi James, thanks for stopping by. The stamens of the azalea do look like a hibiscus, and that color too. Both plants are beautiful. The Datura is poisonous, as are many other plants in the garden, like foxgloves. Something still eats the datura leaves anyway, those must be some loopy insects! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. Joey says:

    A stunning post, Frances! The roadsides here are blanketed with Queen Anne’s Lace too … one of my favorites and fun to photograph.

    Hi Joey, thanks. I adore seeing the Queen Anne’s Lace in the wild, especially when it is paired with the sky blue chicory. I am going to try and get some chicory going here, it is quite common along the roads here. One year I made Christmas cards with pressed QAL flowers on homemade paper. Hmmm, the paper making might be a good post! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. I adore Verbena stricta but my seeds didn’t come up. I’m going to maybe dig out a plant from my friend’s garden. Also love Joe Pye. Queen Anne’s lace is indeed awesome, but it’s not, as far as I know, native. It came from Europe and has been here so long and is so prevalent, it sure seems that way.

    Hi Monica, thanks for visiting. You are exactly right about the Daucus, the post has been edited with a link to you. My Verbena stricta from your seeds did come up but have been eaten down to nothing by some kind of insect. Don’t know if they can survive that or not, they are quite tiny. We have a lot of insect damage this year. Boo.
    Frances

  24. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You have some real beauties here Frances. My Butterfly weed has some seed pods this year. I hope they become viable and I get a bunch of new plants. I would like to have a wide swath of them. Ilove that orange color.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. This is absolutely one of my most favorite plants and nearly all of them have been grown from seed. I am planting seeds, outside, today. 1/16 inch deep, barely covered in other words, with an overturned plastic nursery tray with a couple of rocks on the ends to prevent marauders from disturbing them. This is my new method and has worked well so far. The seeds are viable when the pod opens. Good luck! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  25. Kate says:

    Hi Frances! What a lovely post and such stunning photos! I particularly like the Azalea – the red and the lime green are such an incredible color combination.

    Hi Kate, thanks. I like the azalea too. This is the best year ever for it, third year in the ground. The colors are very eye catching. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. Hi Frances, The Joe Pye is a native here too… at least I think so … I love its full large form. You capture two plants in seed that I too enjoy … the Queen Anne’s Lace and Milkweed photos are great… especially love the Milkweed pods… it always amazes me how that milky liquid turns to silk. ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by. I too love the seed heads, and thank you for bringing up the change inside the milkweed pods. Pretty amazing stuff. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  27. Sandra Jonas says:

    Frances there is much controversy as to what constitutes a native plant. As we know when the sailors discovered the new world and came onshore emptied their matresses of BEDSTRAW complete with their seeds. so….

    Hi Sandra, thanks for visiting and adding to the conversation. My wildflower book does include many of the Europeans that have been here and naturalized, but makes note of their provenance. There are so very many that have adapted well here, like the Queen Anne’s Lace. I believe the native pollinators have evolved to consider some of them friendly. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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