Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Seedy Wildflower Wednesday


There's lots to love about native plants and wildflowers, and thanks to Gail, garden bloggers celebrate them on the 4th Wednesday of each month, also known as Wildflower Wednesday.

Before celebrating our garden's wildflowers, I've got a bone to pick with Ruellia humilis, wild petunias, above.) They used to live in our back garden, and still weren't blooming after being there four years. So two years ago they were moved to full sun in front where they seem much happier. They're pretty plants, with nice, clean foliage, and sweet lavender-hued blooms. So what's not to love? Well . . . here they're the self-seeding-est plants I've ever grown! I'm not sure the ruellias will be sticking around much longer. I wanted them to bloom of course, but ended up with far more than I bargained for with their hundreds (thousands?) of seedlings. As a wise person once said, "Be careful what you ask for!"


Asclepias purpurescens - purple milkweed, on the other hand, has not been a thug.  In its third year, last summer it bloomed for the first time.  This year the blooms were far more impressive, but like last year they weren't pollinated.  I was sorry to see the flowers fall off last week with no sign of seeds.  This plant is being grown for Native Seed Gardeners,  Maybe next year we'll have seeds to send.  


It might be Erigeron strigosus or Erigeron annuus. Either way, it's native in Illinois, and in many other states. Common names include daisy fleabane. This was the only seedling that grew from a packet of marsh marigold seeds started last  year. It baffled me more than a little since the foliage didn't look anything like a marsh marigold. It was tended in a pot all through last summer, and planted in a nice, moist spot last fall just in case.

When it started blooming earlier this month and was identified, it was tempting to pull it out.  But it's grown on me.  It's actually a pretty plant and it's fun watching the goldfinches all over it, eating the seeds.  It makes me happy seeing them fed by our surprise wildflower. Daisy fleabane can be annual, biennial, or a short-lived perennial. I hope the goldfinches eat all the seeds, or at least that it's not a thuggish self-seeder.



Spigelia marilandica, also known as Indian Pink, bloomed early this year and is just about finished.  It will usually  rebloom later in the summer.  After three years I've yet to find a seedling.  So this year it was divided.  Hummingbirds love this plant, and so do I.  The red and yellow flowers are so unique and interesting.



Echinacea purpurea - coneflowers, of course, are just starting to bloom.  I had a hard time growing coneflowers here at first.  Cultivars would bloom for a season and never come back the following year.  Finally a few years ago I bought a $3.00 packet of Echinacea purpurea seeds.  They sprouted, grew, and bloomed their first year, and return every spring.   Some of the fancy cultivars seem to do well in other gardens, but here the natives do best.

Coneflowers can be pretty rampant self-sowers, but here, goldfinches devour the seeds, often before the flowers have even faded. It's rare to find a coneflower seedling in our garden.



Stokesia laevis, or Stoke's Aster might be the species, or it might be a cultivar.   Stokesias aren't actually native to Illinois, but they are in several southeastern states.  Ours came from a garden that was getting an  overhaul, saved in December as they froze in a heap of uprooted plants begging to be rescued.  The Stokesias and a couple of epimediums from that garden spent their first winter here in the vegetable garden.  They survived and were moved to their current homes in our shady backyard, and have been happy here ever since. Stokesia flower stems tend to get a bit  floppy from the weight of the blooms, but I like them anyway.  Even cultivars will  self-seed, but so far there haven't had any seedlings here.


Hope you enjoyed the wildflowers blooming in our garden this hot, dry June.  Please visit Gail at Clay and Limestone to see what's blooming in her garden, and follow the links to see more wildflowers blooming in gardens everywhere.



20 comments:

  1. Linda, I have a love/hate relationship with ruellia! The problem is with R strepens which is Limestone ruellia and one of the stingiest plants I know for flowering, but, way to generous with its seeds! Love stokesia, too, and am so glad you have it in your garden....It's a really lovely plant. gail

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    1. I know what you mean about ruellia, Gail! Love the blooms, wish there were more, and not fond of the ridiculous number of seedlings.

      Love those stokesias, too. Your 'Peachie's Pink' is a very pretty color.

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  2. Hi, I'm Nadezda. I love your blog and the photo of Echinacea! I try to grow it in my garden, but still it doesn't want to grow here.
    Saint Petersburg

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    1. Welcome from St. Petersburg, Nadezda! Glad you enjoyed the blog!

      I'm sorry echinaceas don't do well in your garden. Still, you have some very beautiful flowers blooming right now. I especially love the yellow columbine.

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  3. I don't have any Ruellia, Linda, but I do understand the frustration with rampant self-seeders. The nicotania I planted last year apparently liked my garden and returned this year with a vengeance, nearly taking over my arbor bed:)

    I think your blog is where I first saw Indian Pink. We saw them in quite a few gardens in Asheville, and I love them! I'm glad to hear they're living up to the claim that they're hummingbird magnets. This is definitely a plant I want to add next year.

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    1. Love nicotiana, Rose, but good to know about how it self-seeds. I remember seeing them in one of your posts. They were beautiful, though.

      I think you'd love Indian pinks in your garden. The hummingbirds do love them. I'd love it if our plants would send us a few seedlings. Maybe our chances for seedlings will be better with two plants.

      A happy medium between the insane self-seeders and the 'stingier' ones would be nice!

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  4. Linda I love all your wildflowers...my coneflowers do seed quite a bit even with the goldfinches devouring them...they are in a bit more moist area and that has led to the seeding...I have Obedient plant that grows like your petunia...aggressive! I also have one stokesia even though not native here...but they are so gorgeous.

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    1. I love most of them, Donna! Wouldn't mind some coneflower seedlings. Ours are in a pretty dry area - probably explains why we don't get many seedlings in general.

      Love Obedient plant, but its aggressiveness has held me back from adding them here. It still does tempt me though!

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  5. I'm fascinated by your Ruella - what wonderful beefy leaves, and great flowers....although am taking the seeding warning under strict consideration. I too found an Erigeron in the middle of my big bed - thought about giving it a yank, and now pleased that I haven't. Something about the wee blooms in the middle of the fancy cultivars that makes me want to cheer it on.

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    1. There are some really nice things about the ruellias, Barbara, but that seeding thing is pretty extreme. Don't know if I'd get them again.

      I'm surprised about liking the Erigeron so much. The foliage is kind of rough, but from the distance I generally see it, it's a very nice plant. (I may feel differently if there are tons of seedlings next year!)

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  6. Linda,

    I love seeing all the native wildflowers. I had tons of them in my old, old house because we backed up to a wooded area. I am not able to do too many natives on my small property.

    Eileen

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    1. Lots of nice things about having a garden that backs up to woods, Eileen! One of my clients has that situation, and it's one of my favorite places to work (especially on a day like today - the shade is very welcome! Bet you miss them now. Even without as many though, your beds and borders are lovely.

      Also, with the wonderful natives, come lots of buckthorn, garlic mustard, poison ivy, and other invasive things that need a lot of vigilance to keep them out of the gardens. You probably don't miss those (quite) as much! ;~)

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  7. You cannot beat a good coneflower... I have noticed more of the Indian Pink on blogs this year. Also spotted it in Asheville during the Fling. Must add some to my gardens...

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    1. Very true, Skeeter! I'm so glad the species like it here better than the (ex) cultivars did.

      I've been very surprised how well the Indian Pinks are doing here considering how dry the soil is. The original one was babied with lots of supplemental watering its first year. The division I transplanted earlier this spring got extra watering for a few weeks but it's been doing great with whatever rain and watering (mostly watering - rain is absent here this season,)the rest of the garden gets. So far I find them to be very easy-care plants that take care of themselves without a fuss.

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  8. Linda, it was fun to read your wildflower count and tick off the ones I have. I grow most of these except my stokesia is the cultivar 'Peachee's Pick,' and I don't have Spigelia marilandica. I may have to remedy that. Still, I see very few bumbles this year. I saw one yesterday. It makes me sad. On a bright note, I planted passionflower vine, and the Gulf Fritillary butterflies have been all over it. I see little caterpillars everywhere.~~Dee

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    1. You have good taste Dee! ;~) Sure hope the bumble situation is some kind of temporary fluke, and they will return to your garden in droves next year, or even better, sometime this summer.

      Enjoy the butterflies! I love passionflower!

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  9. I did enjoy your wildflowers very much. I also enjoyed hearing about them in your garden. That stokesia is one of the biggest I've seen.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed them and their stories, Tina! The stokesias do seem to like it here. Another thing I like about them is that nice, evergreen basal foliage. Love seeing some green in the dead of winter!

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  10. There must be something about human psychology that makes every kind of daisy irresistible.

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    1. Human psychology, and bird physiology too, Esther! The goldfinches here seem to find them irresistible.

      I'm pretty impressed with our surprise daisy fleabane. It's been blooming over a month with no sign of slowing down, the goldfinches love it, and from a distance (which is how we mostly see it,) it looks like a very pretty, light, airy, nicely-shaped 3-foot shrub. I'm glad I didn't pull it out. (We'll see how glad I am next spring if seeds itself around too aggressively!)

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