Every flower is a wildflower--a native plant--somewhere, though this is easy to forget when that "somewhere" is on the other side of the world. On the other hand, it's easy to take our own native wildflowers for granted, or even despise them as weeds. And many popular garden plants native to North America had to be recognized as garden-worthy by gardeners in other countries before they were adopted by gardeners here. So, how do you tell if a plant belongs in the garden, or is a wildflower--or a weed?
If you have to have a weed in your garden, jewelweed is a great choice. In fact, if it doesn't grow in your garden, I feel a little bit sorry for you. It's as nice a weed as a gardener could wish for--if a gardener needed to wish for weeds. Read more to find out why!
I get so engrossed with gardening around the house during the summer that I tend to ignore the wilder parts of our property. I decided to remedy that and take a walk through our damp meadow, and I'm glad I did. Why don't you join me, and we'll see what we can see. There are a few plants I didn't realize were growing on our property, and plenty of the usual suspects. Maybe you can help me identify some of them!
I've lived here over five years now, but just when I think I've seen all the plants that grow wild here, another one catches my attention and arouses my curiosity. Several people suggested it was baneberry, and baneberry does bloom around the same time, with a similarly shaped flower. Only one problem: Baneberry is herbaceous, and the flowers were blooming on a woody plant. Hmm, what could it be?
Native plants, those that are naturally occurring in your garden's locale, are adapted to your climate. They won't leaf out while there's still a chance they'll be harmed by cold weather, and they drop their leaves when it's clear wintery cold is returning. Alien plants came from Somewhere Else--whether by your hand or uninvited--and don't [...]
Walking up the hill to view the witch hazels in bloom was a favorite fall activity at our old house. For the past four years, I've thought we didn't have any on our property. Our neighbor said he had some on his land, so I always hoped I might someday find one. Turns out there's [...]
Do you remember when I waded through botanical terminology to identify my wild rose? Well, I've been at it again. Earlier this week, a pretty lilac-blue flower along the side of the road caught my eye, and I wanted to know what it was. It was pretty enough to be a garden plant, but I [...]
The earliest blooming flower in my garden is a snowdrop, Galanthus 'S. Arnott'. The earliest blooming wild flower is coltsfoot. But the earliest blooming native flower? For that, you have to look up. Way up. Because the earliest blooming native flower belongs to the red maple, Acer rubrum. I am always looking down at the [...]
The email from my neighbor to the south was ominous. "There's a plant I've never seen before on the north side of your property along the road. It's already grown into a big patch and I'm afraid it might be swallowwort." I had read that swallowwort was highly invasive, but I had never seen any [...]
At first glance, I thought it was a hydrangea. But I don't know of any hydrangea that blooms with the trilliums. And the large, exquisitely puckered leaves were unlike any hydrangea leaf I'd ever seen. Turns out it was a viburnum--Viburnum lantanoides--to be precise. This native shrub likes it cool and moist--perfect for northern climates. [...]