Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday: A Look Back

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... 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.


Rebecca said...

Great post! Photos are such a good way to recall and record the blooms from the past season, and a nice memory on a cold day :)

garden girl said...

I enjoyed looking back at your season of native blooms Rose! So many lovely, delicate flowers! I love the yellow pimpernel, and the cardinal flower/obedient plant combination. I'm glad your monardas made it.

Gail said...

Marvelous wildflowers!I am sure gonna miss our gardens this winter. gail

Sissy said...

The yellow pimpernel is so airy and delicate, I don't know that I would even see that beauty in my borders! Great thing about the blogs, you see things that you wouldn't, otherwise...!

Rose said...

You've had a great year for natives, Rose! I especially like the cardinal flowers; I wish I could find a place for some here that wasn't so dry. I think this summer made us appreciate them even more, because the natives seem to endure drought or floods or anything else Mother Nature throws at them more than other plants. Well, maybe not rabbits...:)

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Your garden is so pretty and I enjoy reading your posts. It always makes me sad when that first frost comes around.

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