@jmorth says, "Definitely one of my favorite flowers. Years ago my garden received its first Rudbeckia hirta. I'm not sure which variety came first; it performed well, and to my delight some of the originals survived that winter. The following spring I noted quite a few new seedlings and ascertained it was a self-seeder. The winter before that spring, I'd started a couple of different varieties under lights in the basement, subsequently transplanting them into the garden, where they (and the few survivors and their offspring) again made a most favorable impression on me. The next season, I started yet another variety or two and translocated those new plants in amongst the ones already in the garden. This was probably the first time I noted some of the self-seeded ones weren't necessarily like their parents in form or bloom. Some of these new forms displayed distinguishable characteristics of different parental lines on the same plant! I concluded the original varieties were getting crossed naturally and their offspring would inevitability present different characteristics. The originals planted in those formulative gardening years were Cherokee Sunset, Green Eyes, Prairie Sun, Chim Chiminee, and Irish Eyes.
Every season thereafter has found me in a state of eager anticipation as to what new presentations I would discover where the 'Rudy's' grow. Every year since, something new has blessed my visual palette. Some are amazingly beautiful, some downright bizarre, but always something new. I'll post some of my favorites here so that you may enjoy their unique manifestations yourself.
To assure a decent return, I've stopped mulching that area of the garden. Unmulched ground produces a higher seedling-return ratio.
A couple of years ago I introduced a new variety into the mix, Cherry Brandy, and I have started to see some of its characteristics assimilated into these 'self-crossed' mixes' offspring.
@Newyorkrita says, "We have to grow Tropical Milkweed as an annual here as it dies out in the winter. Still, it is well worth it to plant the Tropical Milkweed each year, as once it starts blooming, it just continues to bloom all season long. And those flowers are bright and very pretty. It is a host plant for Monarch caterpillars."
@plantladylin says, "Echinacea purpurea is native to eastern North America. It is a perennial that is pollinated by butterflies and bees. Grows best in full sun to partial shade. The Purple Coneflower is one of my favorite perennial garden plants. They spread each year and produce many seeds to sow and share. The coneflowers are butterfly magnets and I think every garden should have purple coneflowers!"
@gardengus says, "These are one of my all time favorite perennials. They often self sow and cross, so I have a large variety of colors and sizes. Seed can be winter sown and needs light to germinate. Transplanting should be done when plants are small for much better success rate. Large plants have deep tap roots. They are short lived, so best to allow some seedlings to mature to give a good show in the garden."
@SongofJoy says, "Does poorly in heavy clay soil. Needs constantly moist soil that is rich in organic matter."
@jmorth added, "A fairly common wildflower in Illinois found in moist woods settings flowering in April and May.
Flowers wrapped in a tube-like green sheath termed a spathe, folds over the flower top. Inside the spathe, flowers are crowded together along lower end of spadix (cylindrical brown or green column).
Cluster of shiny orange-red fruit evident in the fall.
Indians used the corm to treat sore eyes (Chippewas). Pawnee Indians used a powder prepared from corm and applied it to the head or temples to relieve headache. Corm also utilized in the treatment of snakebite, ringworm, gas, rheumatism, and asthma. Indians also used the corm, after boiling or baking (thereby neutralizing the unpleasant reactivity of the calcium oxalate crystals) for food."
@Sharon says, "Since at least the time of the ancients, yarrow has been used to treat cuts, wounds, burns and bruises. It is one of a handful of plants called allheal in the English herbal tradition. It was considered the 'life medicine' by the Navajos.
An infusion of the leaves and flower tops is drunk to reduce fever and as a tonic to stimulate appetite. A poultice made from the whole plant or a powder made up of the dried tops is applied to cuts and wounds. It seems to be accepted by scientific research as acceptable in these uses, particularly as an astringent."
@SongofJoy says, "This plant has a very deep taproot. It does not transplant well once established."
@gardengus added, "Once established, it is a long-lived perennial, but it is hard to propagate or transplant.
The plant in my garden has been there 12+ years . I have tried several times to germinate the seeds with very little success. I also have lost many seedlings dug from another's garden.
The seed pods, which were used by native Americans as baby rattles, turn black and have a very pleasant rattle when dried. Sometimes called rattlepod or rattlebush. Also called false blue indigo because the flowers were used to produce a blue dye.
@robertduval14 says, "A host plant for Monarch Butterflies. Adult butterflies will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves and the caterpillars, once hatched, will happily consume the leaves of the plant until they reach a large enough size to pupate."
@Skiekitty added, "This is a massive weed in my area. Although the seed pods look really cool, they make a big mess when they "explode." Have never seen butterflies visit it."
@Lavanda says, "This is a plant that has been in my life for as long as I can remember.
It is a beloved wildflower in Texas, with a blooming season from March to June.
The color of the blooms, even within the same clump, ranges from pure white to a medium rosy-pink, including all shades in between.
Blooms consist of four petals with yellow anthers.
They grow as wild volunteers on our property, and the bloom season is much anticipated. When observed at night, when the blooms open, they seem to glow in the darkness, or semi-darkness. Day or night, pollinators LOVE them !
They also appear in drainage ditches, along the side of interstate highways and other roads. State road crews do not mow until the bloom season for these, bluebonnets, coreopsis, gaillardias, thistle and other wildflowers is finished for the season, in agreement with the Wildflower preservation originated by Lady Bird Johnson.
Ours grow in full sun as well as in partial, light shade under our trees.
It is very typical, when driving, to see gardens and yards where homeowners mow around these, leaving tall clumps of blooms. A breathtaking billowy moving cloud of beautiful pink and white !
At our ranchito, whoever is mowing receives threats of NO DINNER if they mow down my precious primroses before the end of the blooming season: they must be allowed to produce and drop seed for the future seasons ! :) (the plants, not the mowers)"
@Mindy03 says, "Honey bees get nectar and pollen from this plant."
@gardengus added, "This semi-woody subshrub is an easy-to-grow evergreen perennial herb that is used in many recipes.
It is also added to some medicinal teas.
It is easy to dry and store for winter use. Simply pick the leaves or cut whole branch tips and hang to dry.
For tea, just hand crush the dry leaves and add a small amount to loose-leaf teas before steeping. (This is a strong herb and a little will add much flavor.)
For seasoning in cooking, remove stems and crush leaves in a mortar and pestle. This is called ''rubbed sage.'' Leaves must be completely dry to use this method.
I use most of my sage to season fresh sausage and homemade bread stuffing."
@SongofJoy says, "Undoubtedly the best known, most widely grown, and maybe the most satisfying of all the species to grow, Trillium grandiflorum has a very large natural range over nearly the entire eastern United States and southern Canada down to the mountains of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. If you have ever been in the rich woods and coves of the southern Appalachians in mid-to-late spring or in fertile woodlands of Michigan or Ohio, you have doubtless seen the incredible beauty of these plants growing in great abundance. Flowers are large, up to 6 inches across, and start out white turning pink as they age. Mature plants may have many stems up to 15 inches tall, but it takes some time to make a big clump. A big clump or many small ones is very beautiful. This beauty has also led to the plants near demise as it is probably the wildflower that is dug from the wild in the greatest numbers. Grow them in the shade of deciduous trees where they enjoy sunny days in the spring but then go dormant and rest in the shade for the rest of the year. They want good, humus-rich, limey soil and like to stay evenly moist."
@virginiarose says, "This plant is a lot better than a Sunflower because It doesn't need to be watered every day. I hardly ever water mine. This plant has seeds, which attract birds; nectar, pollen and water, which attract a lot of insects and butterflies; and the insects attract more birds!"
@RickCorey says, "Leaves fragrant, used to make tea or jelly. Edible flowers attract bees & butterflies.
Semi-erect growth habit. Bag seed heads to collect seed. Seed doesn't store well.
Provenance: Mexico. Older name: S. rutilans. Family: Lamiaceae.
Grows as annual in Zone 6.
Other propagation method: softwood cuttings.
Height 36" to 48", prefers full sun.
Spacing: 24" to 36""
@Danita says, "Salvia azurea is a lovely, easy-to-grow plant here. It blooms in late summer and fall with long wispy stems topped with sky blue flowers. The hummingbirds and butterflies use this plant some, but it's more of a bee plant. It's been very drought tolerant and has survived severe drought and watering bans.
My Climate: USDA Zone 7b, AHS Heat Zone 7/8, Humid"
@jmorth says, "Plant often grown for its nutty-tasting tubers. Tubers can be cooked like potatoes, sliced, and added to salads, or even pickled. Tubers grow best in sandy soils.
Fairly common wildflower in Illinois. Grows naturally in moist ground bordering woods, thickets, and prairie draws. Also, along streams, roadsides, and RR right of ways.
4" diameter yellow flowers top these 7 to 9' tall plants August through October.
The Jerusalem part of common name is from girasole, Italian for 'sunflower'."
@SongofJoy says, "Yellow Trillium is the most common species of Trillium in Tennessee where it can be seen by the thousands. Its natural range is from north Georgia to southern Kentucky. It prefers to grow in rich deciduous forests on basic soil. It has large yellow-green flowers that sit right on top of beautifully mottled leaves up to 14" tall. Flowers smell strongly of lemons. Mid to late spring blooming."
@SongofJoy says, "A beautiful wildflower that is frequently found on rock cliffs and road cuts in this part of the country (southeast) in partial shade and sharp drainage. Takes full shade to full sun. Plants grow 1 to 4 feet tall with delicate orange-red flowers with long spurs. They flower in spring to early summer and except when really cold, keep a small rosette of evergreen foliage. Columbine tends to self-sow prolifically so it is great for naturalizing in a woodland garden. (Sunlight Gardens)"
@SongofJoy says, "The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by honeybees, bumblebees, digger bees (Melissodes spp.), leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Halictid bees (Lasioglossum spp., etc.), and Masked bees (Hylaeus spp.) seeking nectar or pollen. The flowers are also visited by an oligolectic bee, Doufourea monardae. Other occasional floral visitors are Syrphid flies, bee flies, and various butterflies, skippers, and moths.
Mammalian herbivores normally avoid consumption of this plant as the anise scent of the foliage is repugnant to them. The anise scent may also deter some leaf-chewing insect species."
@plantladylin says, "I've had a Purple Shamrock plant for years and I don't even remember when or where I got it. It ended up in the soil beneath another plant on my deck and I love the pretty rosy-pink blooms. The plant naturally goes dormant at certain times but always returns to bloom again. Someone once told me that this plant prefers daytime temperatures of 75ºF or lower, but my plant lives outside year round and seems to do fine in our 90º summer temperatures."
@Skiekitty says, "The two pictures here are from actually 2 different columbines. The purplish/white is the "Colorado Blue" columbine. The blue/yellow is a different columbine. Mine grew to only about 16" tall and about 12" this year. Xeric plants. They're in more full sun than my other columbines."
@jmorth added, "State flower of Colorado. If found picking or harming the flower there, you may be levied a stiff fine.
Flower is pollinated by hummingbirds, moths, and butterflies. Pollinators need a long tongue to reach the nectar."
@jmorth says, "The 1 inch (across) flower lacks petals; has 3 pointed sepals that curve backwards.
Wild ginger likes moist woods where, as likely as not, forming dense, sometimes huge, colonies.
Settlers used root as spice substitute for tropical ginger. Used in frontier medicine to treat various ailments.
Mesquakie Indians used it extensively as a seasoning. Also thought it's use when eating an animal that died of unknown causes eliminated danger of poisoning therefrom.
Root chewed and spit on bait to improve chance of catching fish."
@flaflwrgrl says, "Spiderwort will grow & thrive in a wide variety of soils & conditions, from moist ground to drought conditions. It spreads both by multiplying & by volunteer seeding, but the seedlings are easy to pull up if they get where you don't want them. I found that I could regulate how late (within reason) the blooms will stay open by planting it where the sun hits it later & later in the day. I also found that the temperature has an effect on the length of time the blooms remain open --- cooler weather & the blooms remain open longer; the hotter the day, the earlier the blooms close.
I find this to be a delightful plant. It blooms its little heart out & they are such pretty blooms!
Be warned that if there is much dew or it has rained & you walk through or brush up against blooms, you are likely to come away with "blue water" on your pants or bare legs. I have never found the blue water to be permanent though.
In the deep southern states where it gets terribly hot & the summer sun lasts for well over 12 hours, spiderwort will thrive in part shade to dappled sun & still put forth a profusion of blooms --- this is true even in almost complete shade, as long as it gets bright light. So if you are in these states, consider planting this in a shade garden."
@Catmint20906 says, "New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a larval host plant for the Pearl Crescent butterfly. It is also a key nectar source for the Monarch and other butterflies, and is a Monarch Way Station plant. Its late bloom makes it an important source of nectar for butterflies and moths in the fall.
This plant also has special value to native, bumble, and honey bees, including small carpenter, leafcutter, longhorned, and green sweat bees.
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) also attracts beneficial insects to the garden, such as bee flies, syrphid flies, and soldier beetles."
@SongofJoy says, "Blue-eyed Grass is a perennial under 1 foot high. It has small star-shaped flowers with soft blue petals and yellow centers on long, narrow leaves resembling grass. In the wild, the plants grow in open woody areas and clumps are small. When grown without competition and given better soil and more moisture, they thrive. This is a good wildflower alternative to Monkey Grass. Several plants can spread to form a border providing pretty blue flowers from March into June. Grow in full sun to partial shade."
@jvdubb says, "My mom grew this penstemon from seed for me five years ago. It started with a bang and has continued every year since with a bang! Next year I am going to have to downsize it as it has taken over quite a large area. I find the blooms have an almost iridescent quality. My only complaint about this flower is that it only blooms in spring. It is so pretty I wish it would go all summer long!"
@sallyg says, "Spiderwort is native to US. Its an easy to grow, sun to part shade, perennial that will spread by underground rhizomes. Because of the spreading. be careful where you plant it. It blooms in spring, looks ragged in summer, and perks up its leaves in fall. Several cultivars have been developed, in purple, pink, and white. I love the way the yellow stamens glow against the purple petals, but I know some gardeners who have had this plant and decided they don't like it."
@jmorth says, "Flowers open at night, emitting a creosote aroma that night flying sphinx moths find very attractive. Yellow bloom has 8 yellow stamens.
Indians ate the seeds and first year roots. Plant was introduced to Europe in early 1600's. Europeans ate the root and young shoots in salads."
@Sharon added, "This plant is a North American native. Its yellow blooms exude a perfume that attracts the nocturnal sphinx moth, which pollinates it. It has been used by Native Americans for various ailments for years, but more recently it has become the focus of medical research. The plant may have an anti-clotting factor that would make it useful in the prevention of heart attacks. It has also been found that the oil of the evening primrose might help those who suffer from atopic eczema, asthma and from migraine. None of these drugs has been approved in the US, however."
@flaflwrgrl says, "Goldenrods are notoriously difficult to identify to a particular species, so make sure you don't rely on a single source for your identification information. This could easily have been listed as Solidago canadensis as it so very closely resembles it & some authorities list Solidago altissima as a variety of S. canadensis. The USDA Plants Database lists S. altissima as a separate species. According to the Audubon eastern wildflowers book it is a separate species as well as having it blooming into the month of November.
The inflorescence of the yellow Solidago altissima is at the top of a stem which is generally a single stem.
The flower clusters are directed more or less to one side of the stem of the inflorescence. Each blossom normally has 5-7 disk flowers as well as 9-17 ray flowers.
One identifier which is key in identifying different species of goldenrod is the structure of the veins in the leaves. S. altissima has 3 main veins; a characteristic shared by S. canadensis & C. gigantea.
This grows in a wide range of soil types as well as moist to dry areas. The height of the plant is largely determined by the moisture content as well as the fertility of the soil.
Native Distribution: Most of s. Canada & AK, s. to VA, LA & CA
Native Habitat: Dry to moist roadsides, thickets, prairies & open woods."
@SongofJoy says, "This beautiful Agastache is a xeric plant that likes a lean, well drained soil along with lots of summer heat. The natural range is from southeastern New Mexico to central and south-central Arizona and into northern Chihuahua, Mexico."
@SongofJoy added, "For most of the summer, Agastache ruprestris is covered in brilliantly-colored flowers that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. And Sunset hyssop fills the air with a great aroma similar to root beer or licorice.
@jmorth says, "Common wildflower in Illinois and Indiana found in partial shade of rich, moist or rocky woodlands. Often in patches or colonies along streams. Perennial root system is tough, fibrous, and stringy. Flowers noted for their color, beauty, and fragrance.
Pioneers made a leaf tea to treat eczema and to purify the blood. A root tea was used to treat venereal disease."
@SongofJoy says, "Moss phlox is a prostrate, semi-evergreen native perennial that lives on dry, often rocky, open slopes and clearings throughout much of eastern North America. In mid to late spring, showy 5-petaled flowers in colors ranging from white to shocking pink to pale blue (and all colors in between) will literally cover the foliage. Plants form mats of very linear, needle-like leaves. This profuse flowering display combined with its adaptability to difficult conditions has made moss phlox a very popular landscaping plant. There are few plants better for covering a sunny, dry bank, for cascading over a stonewall, or for edging. It wants good drainage and full sun except towards the southern end of its range where some protection from the hot afternoon sun is needed."
@SongofJoy says, "Japanese Cobra Lily is a very elegant cousin of Jack-in-the-Pulpit. The flower is composed of a thick purple and white striped spathe that curls down, resembling a cobra's head. The spadix, or Jack, is dark purple. Single flower stalks come up in mid-spring below a pair of giant, 3-lobed, glossy and thick green leaves reaching about 12 inches tall. Unlike many other Arisaemas, the foliage stays up all summer. Although it is very easy to grow, excessive winter moisture is death to these plants. In time, they may form large clumps. (Sunlight Gardens)"
@SongofJoy says, "White False Indigo works well as a summertime hedge or as a group of plants toward the rear of the garden. Spikes of rich white pea-like flowers rise above bluish-green foliage in early summer. The upper parts of the spikes and the bracts holding the flowers are charcoal gray, so the color combination is beautiful. The plant needs average moisture. It resents being disturbed so plant it where it can remain for years. Flowers can be used as unusual fresh cut flowers."
@jmorth says, "Trillium received the name Birthroot because pioneers understood that Indians used plant to induce labor. This has never been verified. However, Indians did employ it extensively to treat open sores and wounds, even for interior bleeding. Menomini Indians used freshly dug roots to make a wet dressing for eye inflammation. Other tribes used roots to treat sore nipples (Potawatomi) and as ear drops (Chippewas)."
@SongofJoy says, "This bellwort is a clumping perennial wildflower found in wooded coves throughout all of eastern North America. Late spring flowers nod at the ends of short stalks and are yellow-green with large, twisted, dangling petals. The blue-green foliage resembles Solomon's seal. Large-flowered bellwort is not fast growing. Grow it in shade to dappled sunlight with average soil moisture. Once established, this bellwort is drought tolerant, disease and pest resistant and very easy to grow."
@jmorth says, "Leaves are edible and contain a large amount of Vit. C; have a tangy taste of lemon. Can make lemonade type drink by infusing leaves 10 minutes in hot water, sweeten and chill.
The narrow cylindrical fruit capsule is noteworthy due to its explosive discharge of seed.
Usually considered a weed."
@KentPfeiffer says, "This plant has absolutely huge flowers, often close to 4 inches in diameter, which is somewhat unusual for a native prairie plant. It will also bloom nearly continuously from spring to late summer."
@LindaTX8 added, "In our part of Texas, deer will munch on these plants if they can get to them. But I see them along the highways in certain areas and they seem to be doing fine there. They appear to be drought resistant, as they have survived years of extreme drought in southcentral Texas. Gorgeous wildflower!"
@jmorth says, "This Goldenrod was made the state flower of Nebraska in 1895.
The flowers and leaves are edible."
@Sharon added, "Goldenrod is native to the US. It's a perennial herb growing 20 - 40 inches tall with narrow dark green leaves that can be up to 5 inches long. The flowerhead clusters bloom in my area (Kentucky) in September.
The yellow flowerheads are a good source of yellow dye.
It was once badly maligned as a cause of hay fever, but its pollen is not airborne. Its pollen is carried by bees and other insects. It blooms at the same time as ragweed, though the flowers of ragweed are not noticeable. Ragweed pollen is airborne, and is the cause of hay fever.
@SCButtercup says, "Put this plant near the front of the garden, with a dark-foliage annual, such as coleus, in front for contrast. The bright apple-green foliage and early blooms make for a lovely early-spring show. By the time the bright apple-green foliage is getting a big old, the coleus will be tall enough to disguise the decline. Also, use a short tomato cage when shoots first emerge in spring to keep them from flopping after blooming. The flowers last a long time, so extra support helps."