Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday--Late Bloomers

By late summer, when many plants are past their peak, numerous prairie natives reach their zenith. In my garden, wildflowers of the shortgrass prairie and wet prairie are still putting on a colorful show.

Lobelias are going strong, both the cardinal flower (L. cardinalis)

and great blue lobelia (L. siphilitica).

Recently I saw a hummingbird at the cardinal flower, which was the cause of great excitement! I didn't think anything as cool as a hummingbird would come anywhere near the Suburban Wasteland, but lo and behold there was one feasting in my rain garden! Of course there is no photographic evidence; I just stood in shock for about 20 seconds until it flew away. But that was good enough for me! Both of these lobelias prefer wet soil, including periodic flood conditions, and they tolerate partial shade. They're native to swampy prairies and savannas, such as those that flourished here in the northern Illinois clay prior to settlement.

OK, moving on...

Goldenrods are starting to bloom, such as zig-zag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)

and elm-leaved goldenrod (S. ulmifolia),

the latter which grows well in the shade with big-leaved aster (Eurybia macrophylla).

A lazily late-blooming liatris (L. aspera) is mixing its fuzzy purple blooms with tall coreopsis (C. tripteris)

which even by itself is as cheerful as a black-eyed susan or sunflower.

My Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum) is well on its way to becoming frilly masses of tannish seeds, but it's still covered in pollinators (enlarge to see the bumblebee)

and other visitors.

The shortgrass prairie still has weeks to go before it settles down for late fall and winter, with grasses and the Plants Formerly Known as Asters still gearing up for their final flowering.

For more wildflowers blooming this Wednesday, see Gail and Clay and Limestone!


Gail said...

Rose, All my favorites! Don't you love lobelia~I had a surprise when the Great Blue showed up in my garden! I must have come in another container, 'cause i never think to plant a water lover like that here! So glad you celebrate the wild beauties~gail

Rose said...

Hooray for these hardy natives! They're the plants in my garden that are doing the best in this hot and dry summer. Your cardinal flowers are lovely, and amazing that they are blooming so well despite the lack of rain--or perhaps you've had more rain than we have.

Congrats on the hummer sighting! I have two that visit my feeder daily, but so far all I've gotten are blurry, far-away photos of them:)

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

We have many of the same wildflowers in the garden. I too get excited to see the hummingbird and I am trying to get a picture.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

If you build it....they will come....
Sorry, I just couldn't resist. I'm so happy for you that you've got hummers now. Your prairie plants are looking so good this year.

A Garden of Threads said...

Wonderful, my zig zag goldenrod is has not opened yet. It is my favorite of all the goldenrod.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Rose, everything looks wonderful. My lobelia cardinalis is not blooming this year but I just planted it in the spring, hope it is not dried up!


garden girl said...

So many beautiful late bloomers in your garden Rose!

My only regret about planting cardinal flowers in our swale is that it's way in back and hard to see the hummers. They usually visit my garden up close and personal near the patio since we have some of their favorites there. Since the cardinal flowers have been blooming though, we only get to see hummers from a distance. They only have eyes for the cardinal flowers these days. Of course, that's not a bad thing. I just miss the face-to-face encounters I used to share with them.

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