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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday: The Charming Indian Physic

Has fabulous fall color.


That's what initially caught my eye, but, then I noticed it had the most delightful foliage and wiry stems with little seed pods left over from the summer flowers. I decided then and there that it had to be in my garden.

It wasn't until the following May that I got to see the charming flowers. Prairie Moon Nursery says that the  flowers of Porteranthus stipulatus have a subtle beauty that is a nice break from the bigger blooms of most wildflowers. I think the little star shaped flowers are beautiful and somewhat reminiscent of apple blossoms. They look good planted with Aquilegia canadenses, Heuchera villosa and Pentemon calycosus.

For the greatest impact, plant it along a shady path where the small flowers would be seen by anyone walking by. Be generous, plant several for the biggest impact~remember, these are small flowers and you want your garden visitors to appreciate their subtle beauty!
little seed pods
 I am not sure why this plant isn't in more gardens. It's really lovely and not at all difficult. It is found naturally growing in rich woods on calcareous soils in a good portion of the Eastern US. It can take full sun in northern states, but, I recommend half sun in gardens that are on the hot/dry side.

I wish I had photos showing pollinator visitors, but, take my word for it~ that bees, flies, butterflies and skippers stop by to nectar or gather pollen.

My dear friends, this is a seriously cute wildflower! Give it a try...
xoxogail

The particulars about Porteranthus stipulatus
Common Name: Indian physic
Growth habit: Sub shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Central and eastern North America
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 2.50 to 3.00 feet Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Flower: White or light pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Faunal associations: Long and short tongued bees visit for nectar and pollen. Flies, butterflies, and skippers also visit.

Thank you for stopping by and welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.



Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall is the best time to bee in the garden!

Sunday was the best day so far this fall for the gardener, the bees and the little asters to play and dance together. It was a wonderful October day with sunshine and a warm breeze. The soil was still damp from the deluge the week before and the shrubs and trees were just beginning to wear their fall colors.

The little asters were dancing in the breeze while Bumblebees flew from flower to flower.  I snapped hundreds of photos but, only a few were in focus. They refused to pose for me, they were caught up in their mad dash to collect pollen and nectar to supply their nests before the cold weather arrives.

But, the ex-asters (Symphyotrichums and Eurybias) were blooming their pretty flower heads off and they were the perfect subject!

If you are new to Clay and Limestone you might not know that the little asters were the first wildflowers I met at Clay and Limestone in mid October 28 years ago. Back then the yard was a weedy mess of non-native lawn grasses and native sedges and Danthonia (I had yet to discover). On the edges among the forsythia and bush honeysuckles were blue and lilac flowers that arched over the lawn and seemed to be covered with bumble bees and honeybees. They were dancing in the autumn breeze.

They completely captured my heart, so, I built my garden for those flowers and the bees.
I move them around, I scatter seeds, I let the wind carry the fluffy seeds wherever it takes them and I add new species that make sense for this garden. By September Symphyotrichum shortii, S cordifolium, Eurybia divaricata, S lateriflorum and S ericoides var. ericoides, S novae-angliae, S praealtum~Miss BessieS oblongifolius, S patens and S priceae have begun to bloom. They've spilled onto the paths, they've crept into the wildflower beds and cozied up to the chairs and benches all over Clay and Limestone creating a dancing blue cloud and a buffet for pollinators.

It's a lovely sight and you're welcome to stop by.
oxoxgail

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

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