Three For April’s Wildflower Wednesday

Three chosen wildflowers will be featured for Wildflower Wednesday, the showcase of wildlings sponsored by my dear friend Gail of Clay and Limestone, for April, 2012. These are true wildflowers, One is native, two of them just showed up here at the Fairegarden. The third was purchased from the local nursery Mouse Creek, but was dug from clumps found growing naturally on their acreage.

Golden alexanders, Zizia aurea is found in moist woodlands, prairies and meadows but can also survive in dry areas, such as my garden. Hardy in USDA zones 3-8, the yellow blooms last nearly the whole growing season, occasionally lasting into December.

Seedlings have been planted under the old wheelbarrow planter at the entrance to the back gardens. The mother plant was transported to the all native environs of the Fairegarden/North Carolina garden, divided and planted there behind the mailbox. It is the larval host to the black swallowtail butterfly.

Some people might call this one a weed. It can get large and rangey, so finding the place where it will not harm its neighbors is key. Lucky for us, it just happened to pop up in the wild center island in the front of the house.

Down by the street, it even gets run over by passing vehicles without harm. Now that is what we call a tough plant.

Enjoying a very long bloom time, this non-native red clover, Trifolium pratense has naturalized in the United States and has been seen blooming even in December, in a protected area by the back door. Who could pull out such as that?

The white flag has been strung up the pole on this one. I cannot get them all anyway, although the largest ones do get pulled in most places.

Many of the Euphorbia clan enjoy life in the conditions here, clay based soil with good drainage due to the slope of the land. Summers are dry and hot, winters are wet and cold. The clay is full of small rocks, the seeds of these chartruese bracts love to lodge themselves right between the rocks and a hard place to germinate. Doing that makes them especially difficult to pull once the clay turns to concrete in the warm months. I am unsure of the species, it might be Euphorbia peplus. Or not. Whatever it is, we are overrun with it. But the blooms are cheering, blooming in the most inhospitable places in spring.

So we leave them be. For a while anyway.


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10 Responses to Three For April’s Wildflower Wednesday

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I am not familiar with this last one. It is pretty if invasive. Happy WW.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for visiting. That Euphorbia is pretty, I pull most of them, but there is only so much energy and time allotted for such activities, so many get to stay. That is the way it is with most weeds wildflowers here.

  2. Rather nice wildflowers, I’d say. Thanks for posting. I like euphorbias a lot, even when they are weeds, and yours here are very nice. As long as they don’t take over. I know where you’re coming from.

    Hi Jeffrey, thanks for visiting. One thing about the Euphorbias, they are critter proof with that milky sap. We have a terrible vole and squirrel digging problem here, they leave all the Euphorbias alone. We have been adding named cultivars along the wall, where the voles have their kingdom and few things will grow well, with good results.

  3. indygardener says:

    Pretty. I say leave them be, too. Good choices.

    Hi Carol, thanks. The Zizia is my favorite, much more well mannered and a true native.

  4. gail says:

    Frances, I love all three, but, am especially enamored with Golden Alexanders. it’s growing and blooming wonderfully and is surely over two foot tall already! I noticed that the one that piggy backed on the hellebore from MOuse Creek is doing fantastic. In case I haven’t said this recently, I sure appreciate your embracing wildflowers and participating in WW! xoxogail

    Hi Gail, thanks. I am in love with the Zizia, and would never have noticed it in Chicago if not for you. I am so glad yours is also doing well. Watch for babies!

  5. Happy WW. I have several of those plants which have shown up in my garden. Some I absolutely love. Others, well . . . not as much. Take ageratum for example. I’ve been pulling up handfulls of it all spring. I’ll miss some of it though, and that will look really splendid in the fall. Love seeing yours.

    Happy WW to you as well, dear Dee! I have that same wild ageratum, and also have to pull lots of it or it would be a monoculture, but it sure does blend well with the pink and yellow sheffie mums.

  6. Linda says:

    I wouldn’t have thought of leaving red clover in the garden but it sure does look pretty in yours, Frances! I’m tempted. If I do let one be I’ll definitely be deadheading it.

    Love the zizias. Monica shared a few with me a couple of years ago, but they weren’t happy here and disappeared. I may try again in a different spot. Sometimes a few feet here can make a big difference in whether something thrives or dissappears.

    Happy WW!

    Happy WW, Linda, thanks for visiting. The red clover is not in my flower beds, that I know of anyway. The center island in front is full of large shrubs and liriope with the thuggish Moudry grass. The red clover fits right in with that crowd, HA. Do try the Zizia again, and good drainage seems to its liking, even though it is a water lover.

  7. I planted Zizia aptera because I thought Z. aurea would fry in my garden. I should have tried it, as it sounds like it blooms longer than Z. aptera. They are lovely and it’s such a boon that they host the black swallowtails. Now that I think on it, I have seen more black swallowtails since I planted it.

    Hi MMD, good for your black swallowtails! The Zizia was a gamble here, but I kept the fact that it shouldn’t like the conditions on my dry, hot rocky slope from its ears!

  8. Linda says:

    My last home (before moving to Kentucky), was Cloverdale, California (just north of San Francisco.) The clover was in many colors….EVERYWHERE! With California poppies and purple lupins mixed in. I miss that kind of automatic TA DA!!!!!
    I remember someone saying……”they are only “weeds” if you label them as such. They are flowers, in God’s eyes…and yours, if you choose”

    Hi Linda, thanks for joining in here. The term weed is a subjective one. I have hellebore seedlings that are weeds, plants in the wrong place, and way too many of them. The Cloverdale wildflowers sound wonderful!

  9. cathywieder says:

    Happy WW… yes, the clover is a pesky nuisance here, and the euphorbia needs a firm hand. But paired with something purple (dark purple coleus, for example), it really is a stunning combination. Love your photos!

    Hi Cathy, thanks. I can see how that red clover could get out of hand, here it is the white Dutch clover, with its sneaky running stems getting under what we are trying to grow that gives me fits. I will have to try the purple, like the purple perilla that grows like a ….weed, with the Euphorbia. In fact I think they are already growing together by the back door.

  10. Rose says:

    I still remember the sea of Golden Alexanders at the Chicago Botanic Garden in May of ’09. I’ve wanted to plant some ever since. I’m a little late to the WW meeting, but I always enjoy seeing all the different natives featured.

    Hi Rose, comments always welcome here. I get comments on very old posts sometimes, fun to see them. The Chicago Botanical Garden, and the Lurie, were so wonderful, so full of inspiration. I am glad to have found that the Golden Alexanders like it here, too.

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