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

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Wildflower Celebration With: A Few Wildflowers, One Shrub, A Tree and a Garden View

Cumberland Rosemary/Conradina verticillata

A rare native found growing on the gravelly river banks where it is seasonally flooded then gets dry all summer! Sounds like a marriage made in Clay and Limestone heaven. But, just to be on the safe side~Cumberland Rosemary has lived its entire life in a container where he can get exactly the conditions needed to bring this rosemary lookalike to bloom. The leaves are fragrant and can be a substitute for rosemary in the kitchen~Not gonna happen, though, to a rare and endangered plant! (endemic TN and KY)

Hypoxis hirsuta
This is an adorable and diminutive plant of the lily family. It resides under the Grey Owl Juniper near the side entrance to Chez Cedar~where I can see it everyday. It's planted in gravelly soil~That's to keep the rodents from eating the corm! The little bees visit for pollen. It's native to the Eastern half of North America~except Florida and those very hot and dry states out west.

Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'

Pale lavender flowers accompany the chocolate/espresso foliage. I love the species but, this beauty brings a pop of color contrast that disappearing purple heucheras can't! G. maculatum is found in open woods throughout the Eastern US. It can make a sweet ground cover if given enough moisture and good drainage.

Senecio aureus

Golden Ragwort is a member of the Happy Trinity of Spring plants in the front gardens~it's a fairly aggressive colonizer in moist situations. I enjoy the green with purple rosettes all winter and thoroughly love that it creates a huge mass of bright yellow flowers each spring. It is shade tolerant. Little bees, flies and small skippers visit it. Another Eastern North American native~This one loves Florida, but not LA!

Phlox pilosa and Senecio aureus
Phlox pilosa is the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox that I refer to frequently. It's a marvelous plant. I've shared it with gardeners on the East and West Coasts, the Midwest and Central South! It's even in a Florida garden. That's one of the characteristics that makes it so perfect! It's a trouble free plant with a two month long bloom time and fragrant pink flowers. This plant is a bee and butterfly magnet. It grows in shade, sun and in between. That's why it's practically perfect! Like most of the plants I grow this one is also native to the Eastern and central US.

Euonymous americanus
Strawberry Bush is strictly an Eastern US native understory 'shrub'. It's deer candy in the woodlands where it's endemic! Most people are under awed by the Spring flowers, but, I like them. They are tiny and pale. The real payoff is each fall when the fruit pods split open revealing dangling seeds and the mystery of why they have the common name Hearts-A-Bustin! It's visited by bees.
Chionanthus virginicus
Fringe Tree, Old Man's Beard, or Grandfather's Whiskers are common names for Chionanthus virginicus. I love it, but, cannot look at it in bloom without thinking how my favorite author, Elizabeth Lawrence, wrote that it reminded her of coleslaw! This is a slow grower~Seriously slow! If you get one, buy the largest one your budget can afford! I found this one at the Cheekwood Wildflower Fair~I immediatly brought it home. It's native to the Southeast, Northeast and Central South states. Give it a try~It's harder to -30 degrees.

The Garden of Benign Neglect
There were more blues then pinks in the GOBN this Spring. It's time for PPPP to rejuvenate itself...The flooding rains, the droughts and my sharing too many large pieces of it have left the garden bare. Do not despair~The GOBN will be back in the pink by next Spring....I see offspring everywhere and I can move plants from the front garden back there! I will say~The columbine and Phlox divaricata had a stellar year.

I am so glad you stopped by to help me celebrate wildflowers this week. Please take time to visit all the fantastic bloggers who have participated. Several are new to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting their posts. You long time readers and visitors know how very much I appreciate each and everyone of you!

May all your flowers bloom beautifully this Spring.


Check these out if you want to see the entire series:
Let's Celebrate Wildflowers This Week (here)
The Wildflower and The Bee (here)
Wildflower Wednesday:Phacelia bipinnatifida (here)
Into Every Wildflower Garden A Little Rain Must Fall (here)

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.


  1. Your garden is a wildflower paradise, dear Gail! So many lovely plants in a peaceful and natural setting, perfect!

  2. Nice! The phlox you gave us is blooming profusely right now! I joined in with my native honeysuckle.

  3. Hi Gail,
    We have a similar Euonymus - Euonymus atropurpureus with small reddish flowers. I find them so hard to photograph as the tremble with the slightest breeze. The seed pods sound similar, a nice attractive feature in late fall.

  4. I decided to join in on this week long celebration Gail. Guess what I posted about your PPPP, which was a new addition to my own garden this spring. I have to get some of that Golden Ragwort since it looks so great combined with the Phlox pilosa. :)

  5. So beautiful Gail, I particularly love that combination of the Phlox pilosa and the ragwort.

  6. Gail, that Golden Groundsel does look nice along with your Phlox pilosa. I really think I need some of that PPPP, to go along with mine...hint, hint;~}

  7. gail, i am a fan of elizabeth lawrence as well and was disappointed to read that she didn't like chionanthus. she apparently didn't care for winter honeysuckle either and i love that, too! btw, benign neglect looks pretty awesome in your garden.

  8. Thank you for hosting this wonderful week!

  9. Coleslaw? I certainly respect Miss Elizabeth's opinion, but I am not going to let the comment distract from my love of this tree. I had to get a bunch of them ordered in for a garden club in nearby Portsmouth back in 2007. They wanted it to be a signature tree for their neighborhood in honor of Virginia's 400th anniverary. Problem was, they insisted on calling it "The Yorktown Victory Tree", like the poor plant did not have enough common names to begin with. I failed to tell them I preferred the Chinese Fringe for it's more dramatic branching structure.

  10. That garden looks way too happy to be considered neglected! If that's what neglect looks like at your place, then what does total adoration look like? :o)

  11. Always a joy to visit and reflect on your garden and informative notes, dear Gail. Your 'tickety-boo' Garden of Benign Neglect puts many of us to shame :)

  12. So many great natives! I couldn't believe EL's comment about coleslaw either. Too bad it's not as common now as it was then. I had Cumberland Rosemary for a few years but lost it after Hurricane Floyd. It's a great plant.

  13. I loved seeing Hearts a Bustin' when we were in Raleigh. Such cool plants. You know I also love Senecio. It's great here, but I lop off their heads before they reseed. Thanks for all the education about wildflowers. I've learned a lot.~~Dee

  14. Hi Gail....I've made note of Phlox pilosa and will see about adding it to my garden. Fist, I must check to see if it's winter hardy here in zone 4.

    Your blog makes me want to move to TN.


  15. Oh my, Gail, that last pic is ever so lovely. Love that Fringe Tree & the PPPP. Will have to see if I can find it here.

  16. Fringe tree has long been a favorite. I'd love to find a location for one here.

  17. Hi Gail - Oh wow - MY heart's a-burstin'! I made a trip to the Wildflower Center in Austin so I had to stop by and share the link. Lots of learning going on here for me today, seeing things I've met up with and couldn't identify. Other things, like the cumberland Rosemary and Old Man's Whiskers are totally new to me!

  18. I didn't know Fringe Tree was a native. I have learned a lot this week Gail. I know I need more natives in my garden. GUESS WHAT. My PPPP is blooming! Many thanks again.

  19. Gail I've greatly enjoyed all the many wildflower posts this past week. There are so many wonderful plants that otherwise I would never see or hear about except for through my blogging friends.

  20. Coleslaw?? How about delicate fairy wings? How about just a beautiful springtime delight :)

  21. I loved seeing the GOBN again in all its glory, Gail--just lovely! I've seen the fringe tree listed in one of our nurseries plant lists, but I don't think I've ever seen it in bloom--it's much prettier than coleslaw:)

    Thanks for sharing so many lovely wildflowers this past week--once again, you've educated me on many species I wasn't familiar with.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson