Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday~ Favorite Colonizing Wildflowers

Oenothera fruticosa
I don't know what it says about me, but, I love native plants that like to romp around the garden and make a big statement.

Plants that might be considered a tad aggressive for a smaller garden,  fit right in with the rough and tumble wildflowers that make up Clay and Limestone. 
Oenothera fruticosa 'Sonnenwende'
Plants that might be too happy in deep, rich soil are not a problem with my  shallow clay soil. They thrive and that's  what this garden is all about~ thriving in a challenging setting. 
Oenothera speciosa
Plants like these Oenotheras! Oenothera is a genus of about 125 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous flowering plants, native to North and South America (source).   I only have five four and trust me~four is really enough to  have swathes of plants for any visiting pollinators! 
  • Oenothera tetragona 'Fireworks'
  • Oenothera speciosa (One plant will turn into hundreds in one year!)
  • Oenothera fruticosa 'Sonnenwende'
  • Oenothera tetragona species
  • Oenothera macrocarpa~Dead after a very wet winter!

Halictid bees and Syrphid flies are attracted to the abundant pollen 


Take a close look at the Oenothera flower and you will see a large X covered with pollen!  The extra large size and length of the stamens and stigma
see the large X in the flowers
 suggest  that hummingbirds, large butterflies, or day-flying Sphinx moths are more likely to pollinate the flowers while seeking nectar. (source)   I have seen small bees, flies, bumbles and small beetles visiting the Oenothera....but, never have I seen a hummer.  I'll keep an eye out for them now~Especially on the Showy Pink Evening Primrose!   Eastern Goldfinch and Mourning Dove occasionally eat the seeds; while the foliage is sometimes eaten by rabbits, groundhogs and deer."

Look at those X's~They are loaded with pollen!
Love them, hate them, swear at them!  Just don't call these native beauties invasive! They’re colonizers.  Which means their roots and rhizomes spread to make a large and dramatic impact in a garden. I like to save  invasive for exotics that are on the state noxious and invasive species list. (source)


Okay, I admit it! I do spend a little time editing some colonizers from the garden!  But,  I also, pass along a few of them  to friends!*  All in all,  there are more pluses then minuses for having colonizers in my garden. 

xxoogail

*Practically Perfect Pink Phlox pilosa and  Penstemon X are two colonizing plants that have found there way to bloggers across the USA!
  

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.



This post was written by Gail Eichelberger for my blog Clay and Limestone Copyright 2011.This work protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

43 comments:

  1. Your colonizers are lovely Gail!

    I haven't figured out which Oenothera it is that I dug out of the wild area between us and the neighbors behind us, but I sure do love the brilliant yellow blooms and am happy to have it in the garden. The blooms are rays of sunshine in a mostly shady garden!

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  2. I like "colonizers" so much better than the prejudicial term invasive, used to outlaw a lot of plants that are useful in difficult situations. Have to say I prefer the pink speciosa to the yellow variety - lovely photos of never noticed X's :)

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  3. When told to beware of spreading while considering a plant, we count that as a plus here, as well, dear Gail. I love the X marking the spot on those Oenotheras. Here's some more x's.
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  4. 'X' marks the spot for landing zones and once again we copy nature for its wisdom. I have much of the Oenothera speciosa but the pink died during a wet winter. I loved it.

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  5. Love those colonizers Gail. I am hopeful that they make themselves at home here. I see those evening primroses in different places. I have even had starts here but they did stay long. Just a couple of years. Happy WW.

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  6. I'm with you on all the Oenotheras, except O. speciosa. I loved the flowers, but it out-colonized its welcome in my little suburban garden a few years ago. Maybe I could try it again in the country...

    A new-to-me Oenothera popped up this this year in the kitchen garden - Oenothera lacinata - which turns out to be a native annual Oenothera. I moved it to the flower garden and so far it's prospering.

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  7. I love how you use the term colonizer instead of invasive....I will remember that...my colonizer that is a bit of a problem is Obedient plant but that is my fauklt for putting it where it shouldn't be....so I have found better spaces for it to colonize in my meadow...

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  8. I don't have any wildflower photos today but I want to say that when we visited our Texas daughter in late March we loved seeing all those pink oenotheras along the roadsides. I have to go out and look at the far side of our pond. I'm afraid I missed the marsh marigolds.

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  9. Dear Gail, What lovely choices to colonize. Your photos are so delicious! I will be a bit late with my post this month. ;>)

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  10. love the peace and beauty of your gardens.

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  11. Wonderful garden! And I love your photography also!! I look forward to reading more this year.

    I love a big impact also... even in my small town garden. My colonizer for the month would be woodland phlox paniculata. I could not live without its scent!

    Thanks you for hosting WW.
    Great idea!
    Julie

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  12. Evening primrose is one of my favorite colonizers. I just pull it out where it's unwanted. I love the photo of your bottle tree in the midst of your colonizers!

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  13. I like colonizers that can thrive in my clay soil too! I've tolerated the explosion of obedient plants (so poorly named) because if they can make it here, then I respect that tenacity.

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  14. I definitely like the word "colonizers" better, too, Gail--they're lovely! I passed up a chance to buy an Oenothera this weekend at a plant sale--darn it! But I know where the gardener lives, so I may re-think my decision and see if I can get a start. I could probably trade some of my colonizing Obedient Plant for her sundrops:)

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  15. They are beautiful! I learned early not to yank these out because the chipmunks had not interest in them and they were something that could be a dependable bloomer. I have the Hairy Evening-Primrose ( Oenothera villosa) growing in lots of places in the garden. I guess I am lucky and I didn't even realize.
    Thanks for hosting. I am so glad I finally remembered to link in to your WW meme.

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  16. I have the Evening Primrose cultivar 'Twilight' and yep she is definitely a colonizer. But so far I'm okay with that. Another great colonizer in my garden has to be the Skullcap Hyssop. Your garden is gorgeous with all these pretty natives mingling together in harmony. :)

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  17. You've found what works for your garden, that's what it means. It's wonderful you can enjoy closeup these lovely flowers that would be too much in another (most?) garden(s). Whenever I see the pink Oenothera, I always remember my first view of Austin from the plane as it was landing. They grew in abundance and were in full bloom around the runways.

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  18. Hi Gail,

    I love Evening Primrose. They are invasive in this UK garden and that is fine by me. They attract moths, and the bats that live in my loft feed on them.
    I have spent many an evening (at dusk), watching the moths feed from the flowers, with the bats flying above them. So enchanting.......and the fragrance, lovely.

    BTW Gail your images are stunning.......

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  19. Beautiful flowers Gail. I'm glad you hold strong and refuse to call natives invasive. We need to celebrate tough native plants.

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  20. Not invasive but a "colonizer." I like that. You're so right. When it's a native it shouldn't be considered invasive. Great point. And great photos.

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  21. Great post...I'm a big lover of "enthusiastic" plants too! I've never been a big fan of the yellow Oenothera, but the pink ones are divine...I really must add some to my garden this year!

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  22. Oh it's so good to be linking in with you again this year Gail at last!

    I tried a few years ago with the pink ones but they didn't like our winters ......... and that's even before we had our last 2 harsh ones.

    I have the smaller yellow one in my garden rather than the taller one and notice that it's singular as it has never taken to being a colonizer here.

    I did notice the x last year and took some photos as it was so unusual.

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  23. I love the pink Oenothera, but could not get it to thrive in my previous garden in Massachusetts. Maybe I'll give it a try here in Washington state, once I get all the other plants that I've coveted for so long! I'm just a bit wary of colonizers, although I do like that name much better.

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  24. Will be back later once I do my posting....I actually have some plant material to share!
    I love Oenotheras...especially the pink ones....though I did have some Sundrops in Virginia that were striking when in bloom!

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  25. Everything has its place. Georgia DOT plants pink Oenothera on interstate medians, a place where colonies are welcome. It was lovely in south Georgia until drought took it out.

    I blogged about butterfly hosts. Again. I have to go out now to photograph Pipevine buds.

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  26. Gail I did something wrong when I put my first link in as it doesn't work (number 13!) when I did it again it works, sorry,

    I love these pink primroses so different from ours, I also like your use of words colonisers/invasives
    Frances

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  27. I had high hopes that the pink ones would "invade" my garden, but they conked out after a couple of season. Mostly I just enjoy the wildlings on my walks through the woods.

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  28. What a peaceful garden you have. Your gardening attitude seems so wise and serene as well, welcoming all the wildflowers that make themselves right at home in our gardens.

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  29. Post is done! Thanks for hosting this Gail.

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  30. Hi Gail,
    I enjoyed your post and choice of words. I read it when I went to copy your url to add the link. So, before I published my post, I went out and added a couple photos of my pink primrose after realizing they are wildflowers.

    Rabbits ate a couple of my phlox pilosas, but I put barriers around a couple others, and they seem to be growing. I also put one around the woodland phlox, and they are looking very good now.

    Thanks for hosting this fun event!

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  31. This month I am posting the fourth bed in the And Roses garden, but for June's WW I will concentrate on the exuberant indigenous flowers we have blooming now the rain has come ;~)

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  32. Great post! Pink Primrose was always my Mom's favorite so it has a special memory to me.. I have Missouri Primrose and I added Fireworks this spring. In fact, I tried planting Primrose in a pot this year as an experiment to see if it will survive the winter. It's tough, so it just might :)

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  33. Your front yard is looking splendid! I love the combination of iris, daisies and primroses.

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  34. Dear Friends, Sorry not to comment back~We just had our internet service restored from a big line of storms that once again has pounded the Middle South. Now, I will be able to visit all your blogs. gail

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  35. Gail, I just read your comment about your internet being down. I'm glad to hear it's back, and esp. that you are ok;-) I know I'm a little late, adding my post on native plants, but I hope you don't mind. I love participating in this, as I have really come to love native plants. It just took me until today to be able to write a post;-) Take care.

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  36. X definitely marks the spot! I love your colonisers. I thought of you when I heard that the RHS have just launched a "Perfect for Pollinators" campaign - they have developed a list of 300 plants that are hardy in the UK and excellent for all pollinating insects, organised for season. Apparently there is going to be a new and very prominent label that nurseries and garden centres can use to make it easy for people to find them.

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  37. Ok, I'm sold. I've been going back on forth as to whether or not to plant our native Oenothera hookeri. I've been tempted to order 1 lb of seed, and scatter it all over the orchard for some mid summer blooms after our spring flowers have faded. I may just sow some this fall. Although I'm not sure now that I'll need a whole pound of seed! ;)

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  38. I'm in favor of colonizing friendlies when there's a lot of space and challenges, such as your garden and mine -- different challenges, but this is why I've gone to self-sowing flowers so much. They keep on going when I see my expensive plants give out and up. Economical, too!

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  39. Gail, I agree they are wonderful naturalizes. I grow the yellow and love it. So beautiful every year. The pink one is probably too aggressive for most Oklahoma gardens, but it looks great on roadsides.~~Dee

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  40. Like Dee, I find the native pink Oenothera far too aggressive for my garden beds. I learned the hard way when I sowed seeds in an area of my rose bed. I'm still pulling wayward Buttercups!

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  41. Your flowers are gorgeous, I look forward to joining your prompt some time!I love wildflowers!

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  42. Gail, don't know why I don't have more oenothera. Had one goofy one that I called the drinking plant, because it opened in the length of time it took to finish a drink. I appreciate colonizers, especially with the fierce weather we've been having, as dependable plants. There's nothing like knowing when you see 5 brand new fancy-pant plants melt into nothing, that you've got a tuff back-up waiting to fill a hole or two. (I really believe in fairies when I see all those pink flower cups, can imagine them flipping them over and having a party under the pretty green leaves.)

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  43. Beautiful pictures! I'm always happy to see these particular colonizers in my yard. They are so pretty and I welcome them :)

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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