Friday, May 27, 2011

Wildflowers at Work

Not only are native plants lovely to look at, they can be work horses in the landscape. A few of the beauties in my yard are producing a view scape to rival anything produced by those big splashy foreign flowers that big-box stores sell.

Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis

This plant is found wild throughout Ohio, from the shores of Lake Erie to the rocky outcroppings in Adams County. The delicate dangling flower is a show stopper in its native orange and yellow form, a favorite of the hummingbirds visiting the yard.

While I wouldn't mix-and-match pink and orange in my attire, nature has a fabulous way of showing off the most outrageous colors! A couple of years ago, while doing programs on wetland plants, I installed this new garden with an upland bird feeding station and a wetland/waterfall incorporated.

Those native flowers have really come into their own this year, creating a striking display. And the wetland? This years rain has been keeping it well filled; it also acts like a raingarden, regulating the water in my side yard.

Did you note the "mini" wild geraniums near the rock work? Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum is a favorite native from the northern portion of the state. Mine originally came from my yard in Lakeside, Ohio. I have also seen Herb Robert adorning the rock edges at the glacial grooves on Kelleys Island.

It is much like our larger native Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum. However, these delicate flowers bloom well into summer. You'll continue to enjoy their fern shaped leaves right into fall, as they tinge with brilliant red.

So put those native plants to work in your landscape. And if you want to learn more about (or buy) native plants- sign up for the Midwest Native Plant Conference- go right here.

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