Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday: It's Party Time!

There's a party going on in my butterfly garden!

Apparently, the natives heard it was time for Wildflower Wednesday and decided to celebrate. I've been preoccupied with non-gardening related activities the past two weeks, and so, like some unsupervised teenagers, they decided to call up their friends in my absence and have been partying with wild abandon.

Once upon a time--well, two years ago, to be exact--I planted one Obedient Plant Physotegia virginiana and one native aster, probably a New England Aster whose botanical name I don't know, purchased from the local prairie plant society.  Since then, they've multiplied and spread throughout the butterfly garden.  The goldenrod was never invited, but since it lived nearby,  it decided to crash the party.

The purple asters decided this year to invite their pink cousins to join in the fun.  I was certainly surprised to see them in attendance, but I really don't mind.

The natives called up other friends to enjoy the refreshments, too, though the past few rainy days have kept many of them away.

 Obedient plant is not to everyone's taste, especially with its tendency to spread rapidly.  But it's hard not to admire these perky pink blooms.    Gail, the enthusiastic hostess of Wildflower Wednesday, calls all these robust plants "rough and tumble" or aggressive self-seeders, but definitely not invasive. I agree.  All three of these are located in my butterfly garden along with other strong survivors like purple coneflower, false sunflower, Joe Pye weed, Phlox pilosa,  rudbeckia, and others.  The garden is located at the back of the property, hiding some unsightly fuel tanks, so the more they spread, the better.  This area is also far enough away from other garden areas, so that they haven't encroached into areas where they wouldn't be so welcome--at least not yet.

I admit to being rather lazy lax this year in supervising this garden area, so things have gotten a little out of control.  But a little chaos in one's life can be a good thing sometimes so that one doesn't get in a rut or become too complacent.  And surprises like this volunteer pokeberry seedling that appeared out of nowhere this fall can be an unexpected delight.

 But if you don't have the room for prolific natives like these, there are always tamer hybrid choices.    Though this NOID aster in the sidewalk garden is a bit windswept and disheveled from the rain here, it has been very well-behaved.

A new addition in the new arbor bed this year, 'October Skies' aster is living up to its name. They are just coming into bloom, providing some much-needed color for the coming month.  The three plants have a nice mounding habit, perfect in front of taller blooms and visible behind a border of annuals.

I purchased these this spring after admiring them last year on several blogs.  I was hoping the blooms would be a true blue, but their lavender color is still appealing.

My native goldenrod is often considered a weed by many.  But again, there are better-behaved hybrids to choose from.  I forgot to check the tag on this one,  which is planted in the county nursing home garden where I volunteer occasionally.

But as you can see, it plays nicely with others. There wasn't much work to be done in this garden on Monday, so the few of us there had time to enjoy the dazzling fall display.

Whether you prefer your parties to be wild and spontaneous or more subdued and organized, fall is a great time to celebrate.  Why not hop over to Gail's to join in the fun of Wildflower Wednesday.


  1. I think fall is when your wildflowers really rock! They look awesome!!

  2. Hi Rose, HA! Just when I thought I got caught up commenting n your posts, you do another one. But, double HA, I've vowed to return my focus to blogs (over social media) and here I am. Nope, you are not sneaking this one by me. :)

    I love your butterfly garden, it's just a joy. And I even like the little pokeweed--they're normally gigantuan, so I can tell you haven't really been too lazy, erm, lax in your garden!

    Your asters look so cute together, and I'm a big fan of goldenrod. I also love obedient plant and seriously need to divide my huge, huge clump later this fall!

  3. That solidago, if it is Fireworks, will do just like it's wild cousin when it gets established. It will walk all over that bed. At least it does it here. Pretty any way you look at it. Happy WW.

  4. The Asters are gorgeous. What lovely shades of purples and pinks. The wildflower garden looks beautifully tended.

  5. Hi Rose,

    Love your butterfly garden.
    I know you will not be surprised when I say it is my sort of area.
    I wish some of those present would romp away in my garden.
    I have given up on coneflowers.....they have all disappeared. Golden Rod struggles, and I wonder why. It is in it's second year and still a little weedy thing.

    Have you had many butterflies visiting this area??
    My butterfly garden has been like a ghost takers.
    I am slightly concerned as Butterfly Conservation say many have struggled this year.

  6. What a party you have going on there, uninvited guests, unsupervised activities and all. The whole garden really does look like it's in celebration mode!

  7. Gorgeous! The butterflies must love you. This is the best time for wildflowers in our garden too – the last hurrah before the frost.

  8. I have a similar rowdy grouping in my yard. I was just recently introduced to (not so) obedient plant in my garden. It came by itself uninvited and decided to take up residence with the goldenrod. I'm rather taken with the pretty pink blooms though so how could I turn it away?

  9. Rose, Your Butterfly Garden is gorgeous. Thank you for spreading the word on '"rough and tumble wildflowers" You know me and you've seen my garden~Wildflowers are alpha and I am not! I so like them to romp about. Still, for most gardeners, it really is all about right plant/right place with these guys. xxoo gail

  10. Ah! Your wildflowers are gorgeous! You have so much inspiring color! What a fun party!!!

  11. These flowers make a wonderful display. Autumn going out with a bang!
    We are experiencing an unexpected heatwave and are plagued by spiders.
    Do your gardens seem to be teeming with spiders at this time of the year, like ours do?
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  12. Your wild flowers look wonderful, I love the combination of purples and golds. I can't believe you 'did nothing'! Looks like loads of work was involved to get it looking so good. Maybe I need to get me some wild flowers! ;-)

  13. The parties in my garden are mostly held by naughty chipmunks nowadays.
    Your photos are lovely, Asters are one of my favorite fall flowers!

  14. It may be a wild party but it definitely looks fun! My obedient plants finished blooming so long ago; I wish they were still around to take part in my garden's fall party.

  15. Hi Rose! I just did a little post on Asters... just love them!! They are one of the plants that isn't bothered by drought - and aren't we fortunate?

    It's just beautiful over your way. The butterflies HAVE to be happy!! :-)

  16. Your asters look gorgeous. Your hybrid goldenrod has a form similar to mine, which I remember had the word "fireworks" in it's name.

    We have pokeweed in our gardens, but it's definite weed here. The birds spread it everywhere, and since it's a perennial, by it's second year it can often become as big as a tree. I do love it's purple berry color, but I keep it out of any gardens.

  17. I love your edits! Thanks for the light and lovely view of your autumn garden!

  18. I am definitely getting some asters (Michaelmas daisies?).

    I stopped to ask a lady who was in her garden what the yellow flowers were. She couldn't remember but said I was very welcome to go and dig some up as they'd become invasive. I shall be going around there as I can spare a minute! I have a large patch they could happily invade!

  19. Wow what a great job Mother Nature did with that wildflower garden, everything is mingling so prettily. :)

  20. So pretty Rose. My asters have just begun to party, but goldenrod has spent its youth. At least one type anyway. I have obedient plant because my silly gardening friend gave it to me twenty years ago. I don't like it, but you must admire its tenacity.~~Dee

  21. Rose if I were a Bee what a
    bee-utifal garden to buzz around in!

  22. Yes, I guess we were thinking alike! I have a lot of wild goldenrod and asters along the roadside and lining the edge of the woods neighboring our yard, so I just appreciate them there. (Lots of Queen Ann's lace in the summer, too.) It is fun to see what just shows up and grows with abandon sometimes! I had a wild rose just appear a few years ago, and I'm quite happy to let the wild daisies bloom in my rock garden each spring. Party on!

  23. Your butterfly garden is looking fabulous! I don't think it's possible to have too many asters in the garden.

  24. If a butterfly, I would love to party in your garden too, dear Rose. A lovely post and a delight to catch up.

  25. Natives are my favorite plants...
    I love asters and goldenrod.
    My Black Swallowtails love Queen Anne's Lace too...

  26. Your butterfly garden must be a popular party destination. At this time of year, asters are a favourite of mine and the obedient plant makes a nice companion plant.

  27. Tina, Thanks! The asters are really beautiful this year.

    Monica, So glad you're back to blogging more often! Facebook is fun, but I have a harder time keeping up with comments there. I definitely have some dividing and deadheading to do here.

    Lisa, I didn't know 'Fireworks' also spread. I have enough of the wild kind that I haven't felt like spending money on the named cultivars.

    Humble, The only person tending the butterfly garden is Mother Nature:)

    Cheryl, If it's any consolation, you grow so many lovely plants that just don't do well here. The echinacea and goldenrod would take over completely here if I let them. We have had very few butterflies, too. I was working at the Idea Garden today and noticed so many, yet other gardeners there said in their own gardens they hadn't had many visiting either. Nobody seems to have an answer why they're scarce this year.

    Laurrie, This area has defied my efforts to tame it. I've just decided to let the natives do their thing.

    Sarah, Usually this garden is swarming with butterflies, but we haven't had many this year. I'm hoping the first frost doesn't come for awhile.

    Marguerite, I've discovered that obedient plant is anything but obedient. Still it's a charmer that has won me over.

    Gail, You are the master of combining wildflowers to create a beautiful garden. I'm afraid my group really is a wild and rough and tumble group.

    Garden Diaries, I'm glad the pink aster joined in this year; it was quite a surprise.

  28. Maggie, We've had a lot of spiders, too, but I always seem to notice them more in the fall. We've had cooler days, so it really does feel like autumn here.

    Suburbia, I wish I could take credit for this display, but it is mostly Mother Nature's doing. Plant some asters and Obedient Plant, and you'll have a full garden in no time.

    Rosey, A chipmunk party in the garden doesn't sound like such a good thing. Glad you mentioned your comments link--I tried to figure out several times the other day where to leave one!

    Rose, Isn't that strange that your obedient plants have finished blooming, and mine have just begun. It must have to do with microclimates or something.

    Shady, I am really beginning to enjoy asters, so I'm glad they have multiplied. The butterflies would be happy here....if they ever visited!

    Renee, I will definitely be pulling the pokeweed. Last year we had a huge plant behind the barn, and I certainly don't want anything quite that big in my garden.

    Plant Postings, Thank you! I'm enjoying these autumn colors.

    Liz, Asters are really such great fall bloomers. As long as you have room, those "invasive" yellow flowers sound great. I never pass up "freebies"!

  29. Hallo Rose,
    What a lovely plantcombination. We are always thinking the summertime brings most of the colors but at this time of the year it's also full of beautiful color. I wish you a lovely day. Gr. Marijke from the Netherlands.

  30. Party time! Love the costumes your flowers have chosen. LOL! They are all so pretty.
    It's cold here now, so I've had to bring in some for overwintering. The rest, I'm hoping will be o.k. for a bit longer.

  31. What a great combo of color and I know the bees and butterflies are having a grand time! We have a lot of goldenrod that grows wild and I love it this time of year. It is like having little splashes of sunshine through the garden.

  32. Well, it looks like the party did not get out of hand, though. I think it looks like lots of fun.

    I see someone told you the goldenrod is probably Fireworks. Mine is spready, but not invasive, as I feel the native is. This will somewhat stay pulled when you limit its spread, unlike the native kind. I tried growing it here, but realized that I didn't have as much room as it was going to want to take over.

    I have gooseneck loosestife in a tub. If it survives winter, I may put some obedient plant in one. I love the purple/pink blooms, but won't try them in the ground here, either.


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