Wildflowers Of May 2012

Welcome to this month’s installment of praising the wildflowers in our midst, Wildflower Wednesday, sponsored by my dear friend Gail of Clay and Limestone. It is Gail who has led me ever so gently toward the appreciation of our native flora, including the Eryngium yuccifolium, now budding upward and onward by the knot garden.

Continuing on a yucca-ish theme and planted right next to the Eryngium is the red yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora. Both of these love hot, sunny, dry spots in poor soil, conditions met up at the top of the slope between the shed and the knot garden. It used to be a gravel alley for the trash pickup trucks to access the back of the houses on two parallel streets.

Gail also introduced me to Echinacea tennesseensis ‘Rocky Top’, bringing a potted plant of it as a hostess gift on her first visit here to the Fairegarden.

There has been some seeding about and mixing of genes with E. purpurea for interesting offspring, too. Muchas gracias, mi bonita amiga!

Procured in the ongoing effort to defeat LLS, Little Leaf Syndrome in the sunny white/yellow bed is Rudbeckia maxima. You can’t see much of the leaf in this shot, but it is a very large and glaucous soldier in the battle against foliage monotony. And I just liked this image.

With nary an intact leaf, the insects are feasting on all of the Heucheras and many others at present, I just ignore it, Heuchera ‘Caramel’ has grown into a nice sized clump since I have stopped dividing it. The Heucheras that include the H. villosa gene, like Caramel, or H. americana do best on my rocky, north facing slope. All others need not apply.

The Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed has been showing color on the buds for what seemed like an eternity. Finally they have decided to open up. Sometimes gardeners are unsure what to plant with this pure, true orange color. Here is the answer, red, in this case Astilbe ‘Fanal’, but anything that blooms at the same time would do. It has taken years for this epiphany to enter the thought process here. Red to the rescue.

Yellow is also nice.


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15 Responses to Wildflowers Of May 2012

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I especially like the yellow with your orange. I can truly imagine you up and down your slope now.
    After reading this I am thinking that caramel heuchera planted at the feet of orange butterfly weed would bring the yellow and red into play.

    Hi Lisa, thanks and thanks especially for your kind gift! That spot is way too sunny for Caramel, or any heuchera here, but thanks for the color idea. There might be another goldy leaf that could work there. I am almost rested enough to begin the up and down on the slope again. Almost.

  2. Layanee says:

    I love your ‘wild’! Beautiful.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. This interpretation of wild is more like *native*, this go around! HA

  3. It has only been recently that I’ve opened my mind, heart and eyes to the magic of the red/orange combo.Your astilbe and butterfly weed look like excellent neighbors who bring out the best in each other. It was Mother Nature (and the helping hand of a hybridiizer) who got me over my timidity about putting red and orange together when I fell in love with a daylily called All Fired Up.

    Oh yes, I know all about All Fired Up and suspect I know where you saw them used to such advantage of those warm, summer colors. I was also smitten and All Fired Up is growing well on the daylily hill here. Orange and red are great color companions.

    Yep, that glorious display bed at Champion Daylilies is what hooked me. I bought several on that visit even though I know that is a bit indulgent with daylilies since they multiply so generously. However, I couldn’t help myself… I wanted instant gratification.

    I bet every single customer who saw that display bought that one. It was magnificent. The daylilies are just beginning here, buds everywhere and a few blooms. Oh boy!!!

  4. I am waiting and waiting for my butterfly weed plants to grow in. I only ever have one stalk on each of my plants. The butterflies always find them and the caterpillars eat them to the ground (yay~!) but I always worry they don’t have enough to eat. They do look fab with red. Never thought of that combination but it works brilliantly!

    Hi Karin, thanks. I know what you mean about the A. tuberosa not being exactly robust. It does seem to like more water than my garden can provide, but struggles on from year to year. Ours will be eaten to nubs later in the season, and I too rejoice knowing there will be more butterflies in the garden.

  5. Rose says:

    I would never have thought to combine orange with red, but it does look beautiful together in your garden, Frances. I’m still a bit giddy from the past week, and it will take me a while to get my thoughts in order and get organized. But I want you to know how neat it feels to see these plants and think, “I remember seeing that!” Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality and sharing of your garden; it was one of the highlights of our whole trip!

    Thanks Rose. I was so glad you all could find time to stop by here, and Mouse Creek! It does help to be able to visualize a garden that you have visited before. It will take a while for all of us to get back to normal routines.

  6. Love your knot garden! I’m anxiously watching the foliage of my rattlesnake master for the blooms. I’m hoping the three surrounding my liatris ligullstylis will synchronize!

    About ORANGE! My orange milkweed is blooming, but I also have orange coneflowers planted with it. The milkweed just opened today and the coneflowers are showing petals. Orange crocosmia is in the grouping and all are backed by a yellow shrub hypericum that bees love to use for pollen bathing. The ‘Miss Huff’ lantana isn’t yet showing blooms, but that is also in my “orange” section. Gaillardia are in bloom and the bronze fennel foliage is fluffy and waiting to provide a backdrop to orange agastache. It takes a bit of space to devote so much to orange!

    Wow, Freda, your plantings of orange sound exceptionally lovely! I planted Miss Huff this year and am hoping it will winter over. Even if it doesn’t, I might plant it and other lantanas of those hues as annuals. Your comment has given me lots of planting ideas. Thanks!

  7. Purple also does well with pure orange, and true blue if you can get it.

    Thanks Kathy. I love purple, orange and red together. The blue flowers seem to prefer more shade than this very sunny butterfly garden, that I call the Orange/Butterfly Garden provides.

  8. Barbarapc says:

    Don’t you adore it when a plant just works – there’s that butterfly right on cue!

    I do, Barbara. The butterflies have been waiting patiently for the butterfly weed to finally open. Good thing there is plenty of Verbena bonariensis for them to snack on.

  9. Frances your wildflowers are lovely and we have some of the same ones. I love the orange and yellow butterfly weed and of course echinacea and heucheras.

    Hi Donna, thanks. It is good that we can both grow these wonderful natives, even in very diverse conditions. The butterfly weed is having a good year so far, thanks to a little extra rain early on.

  10. Congratulations on trying Eryngium yuccifolium. It’s a very cool plant (a bit too spiky for me). If I were to plant Asclepias tuberosa (that’s if!) I would pair it with something dark purple for balance, but your choice of red with it really makes it zing. Very fiery!

    Thanks MMD. I started seeds of the E. yuccifolium a few years ago and they are finally blooming. I was impatient and ended up buy larger plants for the flowers. Seeds sown from those flowers have germinated, so I am now off and running with them. Your pairing with purple sounds lovely.

  11. You are right about those villosa heucheras very strong. I have never had insects eating the heucheras, something to look forward to!


    Hi Eileen, thanks. I don’t know what is eating these leaves, could be slugs and snails, could be some other vandal, this seems a bad year for insects already.

  12. pbmgarden says:

    I’m happy to have a name for what I’ve been battling in my garden. LLS. Must remember that! Your Asclepias tuberosa is gorgeous with the red Astilbe. I wouldn’t have guessed they’d have similar light requirements. Lovely.

    Hi PBM, thanks. The Astilbe does better with more sun if there is moisture.

  13. Sharon says:

    I’ve never managed to get any butterfly weed yet, isn’t that terrible? But when I do, I would like to plant it with Ithuriel’s Spear (Triteleia laxa). It’s not native to my area (it’s native to California, I think) but is a great bulb that is blooming with loads of blue flowers in my garden right now. I saw a picture of the two together in a magazine or catalog somewhere. I agree that it looks awesome with red in your photo, as well.

    Hi Sharon, thanks. That sounds like a good match with the butterfly weed!

  14. Gail says:

    Frances, I am SO glad you could be persuaded to adore wildflowers. They are loveable; thrive in our gardens; bring on the bees and butterflies; and just make us happy! That red is beautiful with the orange Butterflyweed …They also look good with some of the redder leaning Blanket Flowers. It was wonderful to see you and I miss the heck out of you already. xoxoxogail

    I am glad too, Gail. I see the light! Miss you.

  15. Lea says:

    Very pretty , especially the Butterfly Weed!
    Happy gardening!
    Lea’s menagerie

    Hi Lea, thanks. That is a wonderful, colorful plant. The butterflies flock to it. Need more!

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