From commentor Mike S:
Today I’m sharing some of my pics of native plants flowering in our garden in southeastern Pennsylvania from the last few years. We grow so many plants and I have so many thousands of pictures of flowers (both native and not) that I’ve taken over time that it’s impossible to pick the “best” one of any species.
Up until COVID cutbacks I wrote and illustrated a weekly newspaper column in my local paper about nature/natural history; especially birds, native plants and insects, so I had some real use for some of these pictures, but now I’ve just been taking them for fun and maybe a few Zoom presentations for local garden and native plant clubs. Anyway, I’ve pulled a few I like of plants that grow well in our garden to brighten up the beginning of winter for you all with some thoughts of the next growing season. I’m including a little info below if you want to go beyond the eye-candy.
At top: Wild Senna (Senna marylandica) being visited and buzz-pollinated by a Common Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens). The flowers of this species produce pollen inside tubular anthers and only a few insects, like local bumblebees, have the ability and instinct to vibrate the flower with their thoracic muscles to shake the pollen out so they can take it home to feed their babies. This exclusionary adaptation helps their pollen reach the correct destination and not be wasted on little insects that can’t do a good job.
Green-headed Coneflower ‘Herbst Sonne’. Our front yard is a meadow of tall native wildflowers and grasses. One of the stalwarts is one that was unappreciated in this country (i.e. weed-wacked and sprayed when growing along roadsides), but when taken to Europe a German gardener selected one and named it. Then it became popular here. Although many people say it’s too tall for their garden a 5 to 8 feet, I like it and it isn’t the tallest flower in the garden either!
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is less well know than its scarlet-colored cousin Bee-balm (M.didyma) but I like having them both in our garden. Hummingbirds go to the red one and this species is visited by hummingbird-moths, bees and butterflies which is fine by me. If I could give some plants a new common name, I would change this genus to Crown-flowers, because that is what I think of when I look at them!
Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) is another tall yellow member of the daisy family that is popular with pollinators. Botanically oriented people would call this and the coneflower DYCs for damn yellow composites. And those of us in the east don’t have the huge number that grow out west to worry about identifying!
Most people don’t realize we have a native wisteria here in eastern North America, but do. Wisteria fruticosa. It is a lovely, if not quite as exuberant, vine as the common Chinese and Japanese Wisterias of horticulture. The flower clusters are smaller than the Asian species which are now becoming invasive in the woodlands around here…
To Be Continued
What’s going on in your garden(s), this week? What went down in your gardens, this past year?