As the cold rains of late fall descend on northern Illinois, the garden is entering its yearly sleep. The last of the goldenrods are finishing their blooms, at least from what I can tell in the dark by the time I get home.
So for Wildflower Wednesday, I thought I'd take a look back at this year in native plants...
...in early spring I was enjoying shade wildflowers, particularly woodland phlox (P. divaricata), and the rare beauty, yellow pimpernel (Taenidia integerrima).
By early summer (although I missed WW in June), my garden sported prairie phlox (P. pilosa), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), and lanceleaf coreopsis (C. lanceolata), among others.
The unique, bobbing flowerheads of the prairie smoke made an exceptional combo with the airy blue plumes of another native, Camassia scilloides.
Midsummer was a great time for wildflowers, with native bee balms (Monarda fistulosa) making an incredible comeback from what I assumed was certain death from powdery mildew.
They were joined by the 2011 MVP, purple hyssops, plus yellow coneflowers (Ratbida pinnata) and the classic Echinacea coneflowers.
Asters and goldenrods then picked up where these wildflowers left off. Elm-leaved goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia) had a wonderful second year in my garden. Unfortunately, some native stalwarts struggled this year, such as Joe-Pye Weed and zig-zag goldenrod (S. flexicaulis).
Despite those troubles (and the massacre of my purple prairie clovers by rabbits), native plants again thrived in this year's crazy weather and slow-to-start-summer. The zizias and numerous sedges will need to be divided next year. Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), which are beautiful clumping grasses, have settled in nicely.
And in the rain garden, cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and obedient plants (Physostegia virginiana) flourished vigorously.
The natives in my garden have attracted bees, butterflies, and dragonflies. They helped absorb pounding rains while surviving droughts. They brought beauty and biodiversity to this little slice of Suburban Wasteland all year, and I can't wait to see them again next year!
For more wildflowers this Wednesday, see Gail at Clay and Limestone.