Friday, May 24, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday:Just Getting Started

Ah, spring!  The time when each day brings some new bloom to be enjoyed and the time when gardening enthusiasts finally get to play in the dirt.  And the time when my to-do list seems to get longer every day . .  . sigh. With limited time (and energy) and the unpredictability of the weather, I've had to prioritize the list of garden chores.  First on the list is getting all those new plants in the ground or in containers.  Just as I make a dent in my "plant ghetto" on the back porch and patio, new plants mysteriously appear to take up the vacated spaces.  Who is it, I wonder, who keeps buying so many plants and just where does she think they're going to go??

At the bottom of the to-do list usually is the butterfly garden where the natives and volunteers have been allowed to fend for themselves.  I usually don't pay much attention to this area until something is blooming and catches my eye.

Thank goodness these pink pretties are at the front of the butterfly garden where they are immediately noticed, despite the weedy grass surrounding them.  This is, of course, the famous PPPP--Phlox pilosa--known throughout Blogland, thanks to the generosity of Gail of Clay and Limestone. In fact, this stand started from three small starts given to me several years ago by Gail.  They have multiplied over the years, but what has me really excited this year is that they now have spread to another area. Those thuggish obedient plants and aggressive asters aren't going to conquer this little beauty!

Nearby in the better-tended arbor bed Amsonia hubrichtii is blooming.  Planted three years ago as a delicate little seedling, it finally seems to be coming into its own.  The blooms don't seem to be as blue as that of its cousin, but it's the interesting foliage of this plant that makes it a year-round winner, turning a lovely bronze in the fall.

Its relative, Amsonia tabernaemontana is just starting to bloom.  Once a beautiful plant, I made the mistake of dividing and moving it last year--something I won't attempt again!  I'm glad to see it survived; hopefully, one day I'll have not one, but two large specimens of this plant I first fell in love with at the Lurie Garden during the Chicago Fling of '09.

While these are the only natives currently in bloom in my garden, I hope to have many more to show in the coming months.  I ordered a few plants from Prairie Moon Nursery, and two weeks ago I went to the local Prairie Plant Society's plant sale.  The plant sale always seems to fall on the same day we have our big planting day at the Idea Garden, so I either miss it or get there late.  This year I got my act together and headed out early to the plant sale, which was definitely a good idea.  There were so many more selections available before everything had been picked over!

Between my order and the plant sale, I now have these new additions to the Butterfly Garden: Coreopsis tripteris (tall coreopsis), Echinacea Pallida (the pale coneflower I've always wanted!), Ratibida pinnata (yellow or gray-headed coneflower),  Eryngium yuccifolium  (Rattlesnake Master),  Helenium (Sneezeweed), a foxglove beardstongue,  Royal Catchfly, and a trillium (planted in the shade garden).  I also stopped at a plant sale on the way home--a local gardener who plants mostly natives and has lots of nice divisions looking for new homes every spring--and added another Joe Pye weed and a 'Baby Joe' to the collection.

Image from Wikipedia 
One of the purchases I made really intrigues me.  Royal Catchfly Silene Regia is included in the database of Illinois Wildflowers so it may be well-known to wildflower enthusiasts, but it is a plant I'd never heard of before.  According to both this website and the Prairie Moon catalog, Royal Catchfly is on the endangered status in Illinois and is attractive to Black Swallowtails and hummingbirds.  Two reasons I hope it does well in my garden!

While I wait for all these new natives to grow, there are other blooms attracting my attention in the garden this week.   I realize this isn't a wildflower, but the irises are in full bloom right now, and I had just had to show off one of these beauties.

I'm glad to finally join in once again in the Wildflower Wednesday celebrations, and with all these new babies in the garden, I'm looking forward to having more to share in the coming months.  Wildflower Wednesday is hosted the fourth Wednesday of every month by the best friend of pollinators, Gail at Clay and Limestone.  Thanks, Gail, for reminding us of the importance of going native!


  1. Don't you just love that PPPP takes care of itself and then blooms its heart out! So glad you have blooms to share and that you are buying even more wildflowers. Way to go! Love that catchfly...I bet the hummers will, too. Happy WW. xo

  2. Lovely wildflowers! So glad your amsonia survived!

  3. All of your wildlings are beautiful but I really like the freckles on this Iris. Yummm. Happy WWW. Have a great weekend.

  4. Well, I don't have any phlox, but we do have dame's rocket blooming in the woods. I'm not sure that's a good thing, though :-)

    One of the plants I put in new last year was the Blue Star amsonia, based on your blog post, and I'm SO happy to see that it survived the drought and is back again. It's still tiny, but it's in a good spot where it can grow and I won't have to move it.

    That is a spectacular iris :-)

  5. Love that Iris and the phlox is lovely too. Well...... lets face it.... everything is lovely in its own way.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  6. The amsonia and phlox bringing beautiful flowers Rose.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. I got my start with amsonia from a pass-along. 10 years later, I have divided and moved it and given clumps away. It just keeps on being a winner - in sun or shade, doesn't seem to care, but grows quicker in sun. I now have it in 6 different places in my gardens! I find it to be very tough here in West Tennessee.

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  9. I love the phlox. In Colorado, mine never bloomed until later in the summer. Now that I've move and have no garden, I must rely on yours for the joy that comes from gardening.

  10. Looking good and that iris is really neat.

  11. Rose, wonderful iris, unusual color!
    Your wildflowers are interesting, we have no like these here.
    have a nice weekend!

  12. Hello, Rose! and a happy Memorial Day weekend to you. How wonderful to see your garden in bloom_ it has all just begun I do believe.

  13. Sounds like someone has been doing some flower shopping! Absolutely one of my favorite things to do :-) Your Iris is just beautiful!

  14. Irises are so spectacular but wild flowers have their own charm.

  15. Silene is short-lived but seeds in. It's so striking. I used to see it growing wild at the wood's edge in Chapel Hill.

    You gave a nice collection of wildflowers!

  16. I so love the phlox that you opened with Rose; so delicate and pretty! I have Amsonia hubrichtii in my garden it always looks great next to my Gas plant and my False Indigo. The iris at the end of the post is also lovely. My irises are just starting. Can't wait!

  17. Gail, I'm just so happy that the PPPP has spread this year...and that I recognized the seedlings and didn't mistakenly pull them out!

    Tina, I think amsonia is pretty tough, but I sure won't attempt moving it again!

    Lisa, I had a hard time choosing which iris to show here--they're really looking good this year.

    Cassi, I've seen Dames Rocket planted in people's gardens, but I think I'd stay away from it, too--I've got enough aggressive natives:) It takes a couple years for amsonia to get going, but it's worth the wait.

    Maggie, I'm always saying "this is my favorite plant," but the truth is they're all my favorites!

    Marijke, Thank you; blue is my favorite color, so I'm partial to the amsonia.

    Beth, The clump of amsonia I started with was pretty large by the time I divided it. It took my husband's help to get the darn thing dug up! But I am glad I did it.

    Sally, This is an early blooming phlox; my taller hybrids won't bloom until later in the summer. I didn't have any kind of phlox, though, until I started blogging!

  18. Sherlock, The iris are doing wonderfully this year.

    Nadezda, It's always fun to see different plants that don't grow in our area, isn't it? I am often intrigued by some of the plants that you show, too.

    Diana, Thank you; yes, the garden has really come alive in the past few weeks.

    Christy, I have definitely been doing some serious plant shopping the last few weeks:) Now if only the rain would stop so I could finish planting them all!

    Liz, I agree totally. The wildflowers are often easily overlooked, though these amsonia and phlox certainly catch the eye.

    Sweetbay, Thanks for the info on the silene. I've never seen this plant in the wild before, so I'm curious to see it in bloom here.

    Jennifer, These pink phlox really are so pretty and definitely easy to care for!

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  21. Hi Rose,
    Your PPPP flowers look very happy. When it spreads, does it leave some dirt in between it and the parent plant? That seems to be what mine are doing. I like that, because you get more plants without having to divide them.

    I'm glad to see you also enjoy Amsonias. Did you get your plants from Prairie Moon yet? I have a tray of 38 ordered, and they are supposed to come tomorrow. I am so excited, but we've had over 6 inches of rain over the last couple of weeks, and I don't know when I'm going to be able to plant them.

    I also grow the gray headed coneflower and rattlesnake master. They get quite large, and are cool looking plants. I love the pale coneflowers, too. You will have fun with your new beauties!

  22. Oh, and thank you for your comment on gardening with nature in mind.

  23. Beautiful photographs, beautiful flowers, garden is a magic place:) Greetings

  24. What a delicate beauty Amsonia is!
    Love the Iris, too.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea's Menagerie

  25. Wildflowers are very useful for the home gardener as they can be used in parts of the garden which are difficult to cultivate conventionally.

  26. Beautiful flowers, miraculous colours, such images are very joy:) Greetings

  27. I think I must have a relation to your gardener who buys all these plants to add to the garden every year. It is hard to resist them, isn't it? I always seem to find spots for them, but there will come a day when there is no more space.

  28. You have so many beautiful wildflowers, Rose! And I'm jealous about the Irises because I divided mine last fall, so I only have a few blooms this year. I know they'll come back like gangbusters next spring, so I'll just enjoy yours this year. ;-)

  29. Sue, Yes, the PPPP have spread to other areas of the garden, so I'm excited to have them filling in other areas. I received my Prairie Moon order a few weeks ago--I only ordered a few bare root plants, though. I really don't have room right now for a whole tray of seedlings. I'm worried, though, that I accidentally hoed out my Prairie Smoke because I forgot to mark it:(

    Zielona, Thank you for visiting; it's always so interesting to visit your beautiful country.

    Lea, I first saw amsonia in more of a mass planting--it's even more beautiful that way!

    Natalie, Native plants can be used anywhere, but I have most of them planted in an area with poorer soil and drainage, and not everything would survive there.

    Sage, This is why I lament each summer that my garden is too crowded:)

    Beth, My irises didn't do as well last year, so I'm thrilled to see them blooming their heads off this year.

  30. Rose girl you sounded so excited about your peony I had to come over and say congratulations ! .. when things like that happen we do get such a kick out of it eh?
    My neighbor has some pink ones but with our heavy rains you can guess what happened .. I am waiting for my single red type to open in a while hopefully .. they are a little later.
    I am also so hoping that Green Lotus lactiflora will form at least one flower bud for me to drool over? LOL
    Enjoy your garden rose no matter what is flowering this is an easier month until the heat and humidity pound us down !! eeekkk !

  31. Beautiful, Rose. You have a nice collection of May-blooming wildflowers.


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