Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday


Crazy weather seems to be the norm in the Chicago area this spring, and now summer.  A derecho blew through our area suddenly last night, but didn't seem to cause much damage in our garden.  The minor hail damage on the foliage in this post is from another recent storm.  In spite of our crazy weather so far this season though, wildflowers are thriving in our garden.  

I may have made peace with Ruellia humilis, a native petunia who likes to sprawl and seed herself all over the place.  I pinched them back hard in early May, and even with our record rains, they are standing upright.  As for the rampant self-seeding, last year after they bloomed I cut them way back again, and this spring we've had only a few seedlings.  So as long as I can keep them in check, they'll be sticking around.


Tradescantia Ohiensis - Ohio spiderwort is another purple-flowering native blooming in our garden this month.  The spiderworts bloom well in a pretty shady area, while the ruellias weren't happy there at all and are now situated in full sun in our front foundation landscape.


Asclepias purpurascens - purple milkweed, has been here a few years, and has never set set seeds yet.  I've seen hummingbirds nectaring on these blooms for the first time this year, and hope they're doing some pollinating in the process.  I'd love to be able to collect seeds from this gorgeous plant.  It's the only asclepias that has thrived and bloomed in our part-sun garden.


  I think this is Oenethera fruticosa - narrow-leaf evening primrose.  I had these many years ago in a previous garden. They were passalong plants back then, and the gardening neighbor who shared them with me called them sundrops.


It's hard to pick a favorite June-blooming native in our garden.  If I had to, Indian pink  (Spigelia marilandica) might be the one.  Their red and yellow blooms are unique and so interesting.  Although hummingbirds are said to love these, I've yet to see them visit ours.   I'd hoped to see some seedlings here.  Since none have appeared after four years, last fall I divided our single plant and now there are two.

18 comments:

  1. A wonderful array of wildflowers. I've made peace with Ruellia, too. I have an upright one, R strepens, that has the most tenacious roots and the sprawling R humilis that I've come to love for it's summer blooms. Isn't Spigelia marvelous~I have hopes that it's been pollinated. Free plants are good! Happy Wildflower Wednesday Linda. xo

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  2. Spigelia is marvelous Gail! They are rarely found around here. This one I found at Gethsemane Gardens, the nursery where Carolyn worked before she moved down south, the year of Chicago Spring Fling. Ours does set seeds every year, but so far, no seedlings. Maybe I'll try winter sowing some seeds this year.

    Speaking of Flings, have a wonderful time in San Francisco!

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  3. Beautiful wildflowers!
    I've not heard of Indian Pink before - very pretty!
    Happy Wildflower Gardening!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. It's definitely a favorite, Lea. It was new to me too a few years ago. I've been smitten since first seeing it. Happy wildflower gardening!

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  4. I think it was on your blog that I first saw Spigelia, Linda. Last year I saw it growing in many of the gardens in Asheville, North Carolina, and decided I absolutely had to have this plant! So far I've had no luck in finding it anywhere other than one rather expensive source online. I wonder why more nurseries don't carry this plant--it's so lovely!

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    1. I wonder the same thing, Rose! Our nursery in town had a bunch of them last year - first time I've seen them there, and they don't have them this year. They were very reasonable too. Wish I'd gotten more!

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  5. I just planted some Spigelia I found at Gethsemane in an area where my Cardinal Flower didn't come back. Very pleased with myself about it.

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    1. Glad to know they're still selling them at Gethsemane.

      Indian Pinks are much hardier and longer-lived than cardinal flowers. We did have one of three of our cardinal flowers survive the drought. The area where I have cardinal flowers is normally always wet, or at least damp. Last year it dried out completely for the first time since I've been here (9 years. The one that survived is in the low spot where apparently there may have still been at least some moisture in the soil. I'm pretty amazed it made it through. Hoping for some seedlings . . .

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  6. Hi,garden girl! You have many wild plants in your garden. One of them Tradescantia, I have it as well but here it's not a wild, is cultural, doesn't grow in nature.
    Another one Indian pink is very unusual and I love it!
    Have a nice week!

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    1. Hi Nadezda, I love how different the native plants are in different areas of the country and the world! Hope you are having a wonderful week!

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  7. I have never heard about Indian pink either, I love unusual plants so I have just put it on my wish list :-)

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    1. I hope you can find it over there across the pond Helene!

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  8. Hello garden girl! How are you? My eyes were on the purple milkweed. I have a tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica that has bright red and orange blooms rather than sweet ones. The leaves are slimmer than this purple one also. It's interesting to see the differences. Indeed you have very different plants in your area. <3 that Indian pink! Cheers, Stephanie

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I am great! Hope you are well too. This month we have Asclepias tuberosa blooming. It also has orange blooms and slimmer leaves.

      I hope the Indian pinks will rebloom next month - they usually do rebloom later in the summer.

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  9. Gorgeous flowers...especially the purple Milkweed...just outstanding!

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    1. Thanks Scott. Yep - I love the purple milkweed. It's one of my very favorite natives. Wish it would set seeds one of these years. I'd love to see those crazy seed pods!

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  10. It all looks beautiful!

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