Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh how I love NATIVES!

There is nothing better than a good deal. I'm the first one to admit, I'm a cheap Gardener. Yep, if there is a deal out there, I will find it, or die trying. Which is why the idea of using native plants is ideal for my garden. Well... one of the reasons at least. You see where I live is a bit different than most of my area. Our ground was surface coal mined about 30 years ago. So my soil is a blend of clay, rock and who knows what. Before we built the house we had a nice 6 inches of topsoil everywhere. But then we dug a basement and chopped off about 10 foot off the top of the hill, moving the dirt to level out my front yard, what we ended up with is a bit of a mystery.

All in all, the garden was not at the top of our list at first (shocking I know). The house, the view etc were most important... and I knew I would have to build up beds and amend soils anyway. So the first few areas I worked on we're carefully planted and "good dirt" added just so.... Then of course, I wanted "MORE!!!" and planted here, there and everywhere. And actually, things are doing fine. Luck, good fertilizer and lots of mulch I guess. But no longer am I buying topsoil and back filling before planting. (Unless of course I buy something with special needs). Anyway, back to what I was suppose to post about.....

Why natives?

It's common sense, if it grows in a fence row with no watering..... it has a good chance of growing in my yard. Period. I have two kids, two dogs, somewhat of a job.... and I need some things that will just "coast" in my garden. No special treatment, just keep on the show season after season.

When you really think about it, most all things in all our yards are natives. Just not to all our zones. I live in the Midwest and have been fascinated by wildflowers ever since I was a child.

I loved Queen Anne's Lace......

and Native Daylilys......

So last fall I got on "Old Red" my four-wheeler and brought a good shovel and some 5 gallon buckets and roamed around my house and neighbors pastures. We are blessed with good friends that have livestock and farms and let my roam wherever I please. And of course dig up what I find... "Less we have to mow..." Anyway, I cannot wait to see what comes back this year and how it does. I have an area about 30 ft by 4 ft of Native Daylily that is 3 years old now and filling in nicely. I have a good section of Queen Anne's Lace that is established too. My new ones this year will be (if they make it....) ---

Joe Pye Weed for my butterflies.... I found this near our lake and planted it about 30 feet from my garage on a hill. So pretty and TALL.... blooms late summer (I think!) I also found.....

Butterfly weed, it is a bright orange and I have it near my mailbox.

Red Clover, although I did not plant it, we have this everywhere here, and I think it is pretty. It grows by the road in a ditch that cannot be mowed.

Thistle-- this is another that I did not plant, but is growing down by our lake. It is pretty from a distance, but invasive and troublesome. But you can see big waves of purple going down the road and it is this plant in bloom here.

Sweet peas! Yes, they grow in fence rows here and I have tried to move them and they die every time. I will start some from seed this year. But you see pink and purple colors popping up in the weeds around here. The farmers hate them! But I think they are so pretty and sweet.

Swamp Rose Mallow, and yes, ours looks just like this.... It is EVERYWHERE down by our lake and kind of a pain, but so pretty for about a month. But is gets eaten so bad by bugs and is not a very pretty plant up close. I have another nursery Mallow and it is much better for the flower border.

This is it from last summer. It is not invasive (I hope!)

Fleabane, I never really knew what this was called...but it grows here. Not in my beds, but out in the fields.

Mistflower, this also grows down by the lake. Ours is a bit more purple, I may have the wrong plant, but very similar looking.

Trumpet Vine, this is invasive and grows like crazy in small trees around here. We have it growing in the front yard up a "junk tree". I like it, but hubby threatens to pull it out every spring....

Blue Eyed Grass....Not a grass at all, but rather like a tiny delicate iris. Flowers range from blue to purple Up to 14" tall. I was silly enough to buy this last year, then found it growing in my yard one day. It is so pretty and delicate.

And last but not least.... my favorite....

Bearded Iris, yes, you can find these growing near old home sites. I love mine and I found my purple ones at the end rows of a bean field. (Of course not all of mine we're free!)

I have enjoyed putting these pictures together. It makes me miss summer and all the lovely surprises we find. I know I left out spring bulbs that grow wild.... I have lots of those too, but I'll save that one for another time. Hope I might have given you an idea or two. Most of these plants are excellent performers in the Midwest and you can even find them at the nurseries, but I got news for them.... I got mine for free!!!

Happy gardening.... and explore your own backyard! You never know what you'll find!


  1. Beautiful pictures! That last one especially. Native plants are great to have in the garden!

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by Robin's Nesting Place and leaving a comment. I've enjoyed reading your blog and I look forward to more!

    You have a lovely home and property!

  3. Daylilies are from Eurasia. They aren't native to North America, but they sure pretty :)


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