|Echinaceas never fails to attract pollinators
My garden is a Central Basin plant community with plants native to cedar glades and the adjacent oak-hickory-red cedar forests. Anyone who has gardened near here knows we have heavy, nearly neutral clay soils that sit atop a limestone bedrock. It's shallow and sticky wet all winter and dry as concrete all summer. It took me awhile, but, I eventually figured out, that in order to have a garden that was beautiful and thrived, I was going to have to plant natives. Tough natives!
Pycnanthemum muticum is not native to the Central Basin, but, it's a pollinator magnet
Plants that come to live at C and L need to contribute to a habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. (Gardening For Wildlife)
|natives greet visitors as they walk the path to the front porch.
|If you think you can't grow colorful natives in the shade, give species phlox a try.
Although, I almost always choose the species when adding plants to my garden, I really flipped for 'Peachie's Pick' stokesia. Unfortunately, some hybrids and cultivars have lost their wildflower vigor and hardiness on the way to being made more beautiful, but, that's not the case with this stokesia. She's a tough beauty. The skippers, small butterflies and little bees love Peachie, too. (I pinky swear I don't mind that she needs supplemental watering this summer and to be perfectly honest, every summer!)
The dry searing heat and no rain for two months has been especially hard on even the toughest natives growing in shallow soil in full sun!
But, the Gaillardia is not bothered by the heat.
|something loves to nibble on the petals Echinacea tennesseensis
The heat and drought are a challenge to this gardener. I worry about my garden and the effects a long term drought will have on it. Even the toughest drought tolerant native plants need occasional rain! No matter what, I'll continue to plant Central Basin natives because it makes sense. They have the best survival chances in the long run: they've adapted to a climate of extremes, tolerate our shallow clay soil and support wildlife.
They make me happy, too.
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.