Hi folks! Welcome to my yard. I'm so happy to be able to give you a tour of my native wildflowers. Please watch your step. I am black and blue from falling over roots, rocks and my own tiny feet. Yes, I guess I'm a klutz.
Closest to the driveway are flowers with purple and reddish bracts. Hummingbirds love Oswego tea or bee balm, which escaped and has spread from New York to Minnesota and south.
Purple bergamot has deep reddish purple flowers. The bracts are dark purple. It thrives in the same places as the bee balm.
In the author’s opinion, you can’t be more brilliant than this native yellow flower.
Photo by Ann Beebe
Go back up to the huge fenced-in garden. There are the bright yellow sundrops - one of my favorites. These day-blooming species of the evening primrose, can be located along the roads and in meadows of early summer. I challenge you to be glum when you look at them. American goldfinches eat the seeds of these plants. They might be the last birds that breed around here. These birds will surely be grateful for those seeds. Watch out for Japanese beetles that have been attracted to them at night.
Look up. I had never seen it around here, before, but it's happy and even spreading! Now, it's taller than I am. Well, that's not saying much. Actually, it's about 5 feet tall. It possesses deep pink flowers that spread out - not like the steeplebush. Our mystery flower has large, deeply divided leaves. My Peterson wildflower book suggests that it can be found in moist prairies and meadows from Iowa and Michigan to Pennsylvania and south. Anybody know what this flower is named? Queen-of-the-prairie. I'm only about 6 miles from Pennsylvania, and it is in a moist sunny meadow. Perfect! Guess what! The goldfinches were feeding on these this morning.
Between those two clumps, is a patch of Oswego tea. I have two colors - red and purple. You might need sunglasses, because they produce bright flowers with reddish bracts. These 2-3-foot beauties like moist woods, thickets and banks along streams. When you travel, keep looking for them all the way to Michigan and south to Tennessee and Georgia. They bloom from late June to September, like now.
A few feet behind the bee-balm is a clump of columbine. I don't get why it's in the buttercup family. I think of buttercups as having flattish flowers. Not the columbine. It has bell-like flowers with five long, curvy spurs. The leaves are compound which are divided and then subdivided into threes. Mine is about 2 feet high. It likes rocky woods and slopes. Mine likes both the woods and the sunny front yard. These very attractive flowers bloom from April to July. I really love them. I imagine my hummingbirds take great delight in them.
For the life of me, I couldn't find this bright yellow flower in any of my books. I think it must be in the coneflower family. Going on.
Here's a white flower - not very tall. It has four petals, with a green center. Canada Anenome likes meadows and low thickets. It blooms from May to July to November. Walk all the way to the western end of the property, just before the hemlock trees and dirt road. Against the dark green of the trees, is the most magnificent 10-foot-tall plant with white spikes of flowers curved at the top. Black cohosh, or bugbane. This flower in the buttercup family, leaf spikes, 3-8 feet tall. Found in the woods.
Let me just describe a few more. One has three leaves with green berries right now. Another just has green remains of flowers. The last, the wild ginger, bloomed much earlier, but the extremely unusual flower has finally disappeared. I did write about this plant in an earlier article.
I guess I give up. Anyway. I really promote raising native flowers in your yard. It's a lot of work to remove the invasives, but oh, so satisfying and better for the environment.