Friday, April 11, 2014
native flowers for your garden...
Plant these now for year-round benefits for wildlife - from NWF:
• Coneflowers: Nine native coneflower species grow from across the eastern and central Lower 48 to the Rocky Mountain states. The plants produce large flowers with sturdy orange-bronze “cones” at the center. During the cold months, goldfinches perch on or just below the blackened winter cones to pluck out the seeds.
• Sennas: In many areas of the country, two native species—American senna and Maryland senna—bear a profusion of flowers in mid- to late-summer, followed by long, drooping seedpods. They provide shelter as well as chocolate-colored seeds that offer nutritious winter meals for songbirds and wild turkeys and other game birds. When in flower, sennas are magnets for certain native bees and butterflies. They also serve as host plants for cloudless sulfur butterfly caterpillars.
• Round-head bush clover: Native to areas in the eastern two-thirds of the country, this plant is not particularly showy but it is robust and beneficial for wildlife. Its bronze seed heads decorate the winter garden and provide food for songbirds and game birds. Neil Diboll, president of Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, calls round-head bush clover “an excellent late-season ‘emergency food’ for birds.” The plant grows 3 to 6 feet tall, he points out, “so the seeds are elevated above even deep snow cover that obscures lower-growing plants and their fruits.”
• Other good winter seed sources: Depending on where you live, these may include asters, black-eyed Susans and late-blooming native sunflowers. Unless you have room in your garden for them to spread, avoid sunflower species that increase rapidly by rhizomes or that are prolific self-sowers.
• Flat-topped white aster (Umbellate aster): "Easy to grow, looks great in a garden (toward the back as it's 4 feet tall), spreads nice and slowly, and doesn't make a mess. And great for butterfly gardens - butterflies like plants with flat clusters of flowers and asters are the host plant for painted lady butterflies." Sandy Garland - Fletcher Wildlife Garden Ottawa