Where have the wildflowers gone?

Esopus(6)January 22, 2005

I recently acquired a 100 acres of woodlands in the Catskill Mountains where I'd like to build a homestead in the years to come, and as I hiked around the area during this past summer I noticed the absence of any noticeable variety of wild flowers. I'm not sure of what the reason is because water is plentiful and there's green grass and moss everywhere.

I'm thinking about introducing certain native species and installing a number of beehives to stimulate polination. Could any of you recommend a good supplier of wild flower seeds that would be suitable for this climate?

Thank you.

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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

Don't think they sell seeds at the nursery below, but you could at least get an idea of what natives from the Catskills that you may want to introduce and then do a individual plant name Google search to try and locate sources of seed.

Good luck :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Catskill Native Nursery

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 11:19AM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Many of the woodland wildflowers are spring ephemerals like dog tooth violet, virginia bluebells and trillium. These plants flower in the spring before the trees leaf out, then die back. So if you were hiking in summer, you may not have seen much. Wait til next spring and see what you have.

Many of the woodland plants are very slow to grow from seed, you may need to find a native plant nursery that sells plants. You will need to research what conditions each plant likes and match them to the soil/moisture/light in your woodland. Beehives are not needed unless you want the honey; spring ephemerals are largely fly pollinated and our native bumble bees are very good at pollinating native plants. BTW, honey bees are not native to North America!

The New England Wildflower Society is a good source of both plants and cultivation information. And don't forget the Woodland forum and Native Plant forum here on Garden Web.

Here is a link that might be useful: New England Wildflower Society

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 11:52AM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Oh you lucky guy/gal! I'm sure if you take a walk around your property in the spring...you will be amazed at the flowers you have. And like Judy B said, they are likely spring ephemerals that die back after they bloom, so it's not surprising that you took a walk around in the summer and didn't see anything happening. April

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 1:02PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

i agree with Judy B that many woodland flowers bloom in the spring when there is still enough sunlight hitting the ground before the full development of the canopy. so try looking again in the spring.

before you introduce any wildflowers from offsite, i would also reccomend that you do some research on proper woodland/forest management. there are things that can be done in a woodland to stimulate the growth of native understory plants that may be dormant due to the condition of the area. (some examples include: removing invasives, selective tree removal and prescribed burning - these involve alot of education and perhaps hiring trained professionals)

i recommend you do some more research because if you have an undisturbed woodland, its more than likely that the seedbank is there, its just dormant. which futher more would mean that anything native that you introduce might not be long lasting and without some proper management would likely go dormant also.

good luck on your woodland - it sounds like a great place for some successful native growth!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 1:05PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

I am somewhat familiar with the plants of the Catskills. Most of the vegetation I see when hiking in that area consists of mosses, ferns, club mosses, trees and shrubs. If there is something you are expecting to find or are looking for ideas of things to plant I could probably give some suggestions. The area is extremely ecologically rich in the wilderness areas but falls off quite a bit in the residential parts. One of the most painful sights is the Japanese Knotweed that has taken over the banks of the Willowemoc in many areas.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 2:22PM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

Catskill guy -

Good to see you over here as well. I guess terrain certainly dictates which forums folks show up in!

I'm not that surprised to hear that you didn't see much in the way of wildflowers. Here in Ohio (non-glaciated Appalachian hills) we do have some sections of the summer where you just can't find anything in bloom. I do a lot of flower photography, and the flower cycle runs feast or famine.

From your descriptions of your land, I wouldn't be surprised to see you have a nice crop of bloodroot and spring beauty on the way shortly.

Hope all is going well with the homestead development.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 2:46PM
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In the Northeast, where the land has been farmed repeatedly for 300 years, the natural seedbank has been depleted. You may not find the variety or richness of wildflowers that you expect, but you can replace them. There are lots of considerations--how shady are the woods, what's the soil like, how wet it is, etc., etc. You need to learn about your land, which probably includes several different habitats, and coax each different area back to health by pruning nonnatives and planting natives, if necessary. If you haven't read Sarah Stein's books I suggest you do so immediately, because they will tell you what to look for and what to do about what you find. Good luck, and let us know what you find.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 10:54AM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

I agree about dormant plants. My acre was cleared, replanted, mowed and weed wacked before we bought it. One sunny area where I removed oriental nightshade, brambles, multiflora rose returned sundrops the next summer. Another area used for garbage and brush burning burning, and a vegetable garden, has returned boneset and beautiful blue lobelia after being partially cleaned of trash and sod. I honestly havent seen those flowers anywhere in the untouched woods and fields scattered throughout my city. Grass, and dominators like thistle, stinging nettle, queen annes lace crowd them out

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 4:19PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Seen any wildflowers yet? April

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 8:20PM
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