native flower garden suggestions, please

raee_gwSeptember 12, 2006

Hi, I have a section in the back of my garden where I recented removed some shrubbery & am thinking of putting in some of our Ohio native wildflowers from the nearby railroad track--chicory, ironweed, aster, jerusalem artichoke for example. There is already black-eyed susan which volunteered, and purple coneflower and bayberry which the finches are enjoying now. I was wondering if anyone here would have any suggestions for other plants and other advice to make this successful. It is clay soil which I am slowly amending and mostly full southern sun. Thanks!

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Don't know about OH. But clay soil and sun makes me think prairie plants. BTW, not so sure chicory is native (??) but it is pretty. Someone else on this forum would be more sure than I. The volunteers you already have now sound like a good start. In mid-summer I planted some bee balm plants in very compacted, dusty, scorched, lousy soil that gets a lot of sun and gave them a little bit of mulch and a few waterings and they thrived more than some of my plants in "better" locations. I think there is always a little bit of trial and error in gardening. Hope this response was somewhat helpful.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 7:20PM
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aromatic aster makes a good light shrub, grow low sumac too.

Use Blazing Star (prairie or meadow varieties) if you want butterflies!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 3:40PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Chicory is native to Europe and was naturalized in North America when it was settled by Europeans.

I'm a native plant gardener and would have mostly the same native wild flowers and plants as you in OH but for the fact that my wildflowers are in full shade. Sorry I can't help since I've only researched full shade natives.

Good luck in your searches :o)

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:22PM
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Butterfly weed is great for butterflys. Also think of beardtongue, and purple coneflowew. Blue eyed grass is lovely but only flowers for a short time.Bee balm, Joe pye weed, milkweed, dames rocket is an early bloomer.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 6:38AM
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Thanks to each of you! I have seen beardtongue, grow low sumac and bee balm in the local nurseries. I am particularly interested in plants that will attract birds and butterflies, so I will look for milkweed. I have heard of Joe pye weed but don't know what it looks like--I'll have to look it up. I love the smell of bee balm but I've never seen any in the wild. The blue eyed grass sounds interesting!

Now I don't know about putting in the chicory since it is not truly native, but it is such a perfect blue! Looks so pretty when in masses of bloom along the interstate.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 9:15PM
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There are a few varieties of asters that have a perfect blue color and are native. I don't know if they would survive the clay conditions you described and I'm so sorry, I cannot give you the latin names of them either... :( Baptisia australis (blue false indigo) is blue. Blue vervain (verbena hastata) is also blue, and is a fav. for small butterflies and bees, and songbirds eat the seeds too... There is a fall blooming eupatorium called blue mist flower that is a beautiful bluish-lavender, and it is a butterfly magnet! Happy gardening!!


    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 10:00PM
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Here is a web site with a picture of Joe Pye Weed:

Joe Pye Weed seems to like things a little bit wet and sunny - I tend to see it in drainage ditches and by streams, etc. but I have it in some other areas that are not so wet. Where I garden, Joe Pye Weed grows most prolifically in a wet area near a stream that is sunny. It grows very tall and the pollinators love it. I am also successfully growing it in a garden bed and it has volunteered in a parking median. I believe there are at least two kinds but they all look great.
I agree that chicory is attractive and is often the only thing worth looking at by highways around here but I suspect that it has invasive potential. If you are really interested in planting chicory maybe you should research it first to determine if it will take over your garden or not. This is one of those tough choices that native plant gardeners face on regular basis. I spend a lot of time battling invasive plants that happen to be very attractive (probably why they were planted in the first place).

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 12:37PM
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I am already battling virginia creeper, english ivy and northern sea oats! and probably will be fighting trumpet vine soon, and asiatic dayflower, and chameleon plant--all of which I innocently accepted and planted (except the virginia creeper, it just appeared; the ivy was already here). So I'll pass on the chicory--thanks for the warning.

My yard is very wet in late winter & spring--my garden area has been built up a bit because of that--but can be quite dry as summer goes on. Does that sound like the conditions Joe-pye weed will like? It looks like a lovely tall plant for the back of the garden.

Cydonia33--I looked up the blue mist flower, and I have that! --it was also a volunteer. Another "volunteer" that I have a lot of is a garlicky smelling allium-like plant. I wonder if the seeds of these natives were hiding beneath the top layer and were brought up to germinate when I turned the soil of the "lawn" to make the garden. I dug down 8-14 inches and added materiel to loosen the clay. I ran into a fair amount of trash (broken pottery and glass, a bottle, and such) that deep so I am kind of surprised to get so many flowers.
One other thing that came up was a very tall, thick stemmed plant--I let it grow because I thought it might be a sunflower, but when it developed flowers they were more like small ugly dandelions, so I chopped it down and uprooted it. I still don't know what it was--it grew six feet tall!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 11:31PM
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I think the Joe Pye might be able to work in your garden as I have successfully grown it in an area that is not so wet and it even survived there through a drought last summer. I don't know what the mutant "dandelion" is but I have also seen similar plants.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 4:29PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Perhaps it was a silphium...cup plant.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 7:14PM
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