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

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Wildflower Wednesday 2021 Wildflower Roundup

Welcome to the Wildflower Wednesday December 2021 Roundup!

There's still color in the garden thanks to the Hypercolored Hypericum's December color and while I'm here I want to thank the beige colored stalks of wildflowers, grasses and shrubs for brightening the gray days. Also present are our brightly colored winter garden residents~Cardinals, Robins, Titmice, Chickadees, Nuthatches, house finches, Goldfinches, and woodpeckers....Many feasting on seedheads left standing just for them. 

Gardening in the Middle South is mostly a treat, we have four seasons, but our winter is mercifully short and spring and late autumn make up for the steamy hot summer weather. It won't be long before the earliest spring ephemerals will break dormancy and the gloriously long bloom of wildflowers will begin.

Without further ado here are the 2021 stars of Clay and Limestone's wildflowers.


January 2021: Wildflower Wednesday: Panicum virgatum

My Panicum virgatum is still standing tall in the garden, I hope yours is, too.
It dances all winter in the wind...

Panicum virgatum or switchgrass as it's commonly known, has a long history on this continent. It's native to the tall grass prairies of the Great Plains from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean (including Tennessee and other southeastern states)* Grasses like switchgrass, big bluestem, little bluestem and Indian grass dominated the tall grass prairies and were grazed by bison, deer and elk. It’s an upright, warm season bunching grass that can still be found growing in ‘remnant prairies’ and along interstates. These grasses are sometimes called "The Four Horsemen of the Prairie". (source)   

Would you forgive me if I say that Panicum virgatum is a work horse in my garden? Keep reading to find out why I love this plant and value it as a hard worker.

Despite its long historical association with most of the United States, it's rather ironic that it took European plant breeders to open our eyes to the versatility and beauty of Panicum virgatum. They've brought us lovely cultivars and spurred American breeders to get on the native grass bandwagon. It seems that each year a new cultivar is introduced to gardeners. I look at them and hope that their best wild characteristics haven't been bred out of them. I love a good looking plant that also has great wildlife value.


February Wildflower Wednesday: An exceptional Carex

Carex plantaginea/Plantain leaved sedge/Seersucker sedge is a wonderful addition to a woodland garden, you might even say it's an exceptional sedge.

Carex plantaginea

 I've planted it along the stone path to the front porch with Blephilia subnuda, Camassia, Christmas fern,  and Trilliums. Planted close together means they provide an attractive mulch beneath the grassy Chasmanthium latifolium and Hydrangea arborescens. I like how the different textures intermingle. What would you think about planting it with native Sedums, wild geraniums and other finer leaved sedges? I'm going to give that a try this spring.

 Carex plantaginea is one of the easiest sedges to identify with its shiny, wide deep green leaves that are puckered like seersucker. If you look closely at the photo above you can see that each leaf has three prominent longitudinal veins. Like most sedges it is semi-evergreen.


March Wildflower Wednesday: Corydalis flavula

Our Wildflower Wednesday star is a delicate and inconspicuous beauty that blooms early and disappears completely by mid-summer. It is easily overlooked in the decaying leaves of the forested woodland where it thrives. I think you'll be as excited as I was to discover it growing so near my own garden.

It's been on my want list for years. There's now a small clump in my garden thanks to the generosity of my son who found some growing on the slope in his way back backyard. The leaves look a lot like Dutchman's Breeches and it wasn't until the yellow blooms opened that we were sure of its id.  

Yellow fumewort has been described as a small sprawling annual. Indeed, it was sprawling all over his yard on a slope with years of decaying leaves and fabulous drainage. It appears to be happiest in floodplains, woodlands, ridges and ravines, but, I've seen it on a dusty trail in a local natural area.   Some sites list its habitat as being sparse with no tree canopy and slightly calcereous soils. My take away from the various described growing conditions is that it needs good drainage and good fortune in it's reproduction process.


April Wildflower Wednesday: Entireleaf Western Daisy

Some plants are charming and Entireleaf Western Daisy is one of them. 

It captured my heart many years ago when I found it by chance flowering its head off in the way back freedom lawn. What I mean by chance, is that we went out of town for several weeks and came home to see the entire lawn in bloom. Salvia lyrata, Sedges, Downy Woodmint and the cutest little Daisy were having a blooming party.


 I was enchanted. It did take me a few weeks to figure out the Daisy was Astranthium integrifolium, a winter annual native to the Central Basin, Cumberland Plateau and the Ohio/Tennessee Valley. I garden in the Central Basin, which is also known as the Nashville Basin. It's a hot, muggy place to garden and this little Daisy seems to love it.


May Wildflower Wednesday: Blephilia subnuda

 Cumberland Pagoda plant is our May Wildflower Wednesday star and not only is it lovely to look at, it's a favorite of the bumbles that live in the garden. If only it were more available to we native plant aficionados.

Blephilia, the pagoda plant or wood mint, is a genus of three species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. They are all herbaceous plants native to eastern North America. Blephilia are most often found in open areas, glades, and mesic forests. All species are considered threatened or endangered in some states. The genus includes only perennial species that spread by both seeds and through stem division. Small white to purple-lavender flowers occur in inflorescences that cluster in the upper leaf axils, often in several circular layers (hence the common name pagoda-plant). Leaves are generally lanceolate to ovate and vary in shades of green. Leaves are either petiolate or subsessile (depending on the species). Like many other members of the subtribe Menthinae, all parts of Blephilia are highly aromatic when crushed and have smells similar to menthol and spearmint.  (source)

B subnuda with Christmas fern, Hydrangea arborescens, Heuchera and Phacelia


June Wildflower Wednesday: Early Summer Pollinator Magnets for Pollinator Week

Bumble on coneflower

June Wildflower Wednesday has landed in the middle National Pollinator Week. What a great time for me to showcase my favorite early summer wildflower pollinator magnets. Follow the link to find out more about pollinators and the week long celebration. As the Pollinator Partnership has promised:  The continent will be buzzing with events that will be happening throughout the week.

Bumble on Common milkweed

As a wildflower loving, native plant fan who gardens for wildlife, the plants in my garden need to be more than just pretty faces, they must be helpful for the critters that visit and live here. The Wildflower Wednesday early summer pollinator magnets fit that description to a T. I hope you appreciate their pretty faces and great wildlife value. 


July Wildflower Wednesday: Downy Skullcap

Our WW star is a lovely member of the mint/Lamiaceae family. You can see it cuddling with Echinacea purpurea in the above photo. While it has many of the characteristics of mints, I've never found it to be an aggressive spreader. That's disappointing. I wish it would seed about and add its lovely lavender to the shadier parts of the garden.


August Wildflower Wednesday: Euphorbia corollata

I am crazy about our native Euphorbias and have several in the garden that I hope always to have. My favorite is our Wildflower Wednesday star, Euphorbia corollata.

It's a wonderful white flower addition to a late summer garden that is filled with yellow composites.

Flowering spurge is special. It has small white flowers with yellow centers with a touch of green that are held above dusty-green foliage. It's almost unnoticeable in the garden before it blooms and  I often forget it's there until the tiny white blooms grab my attention in early August.


September Wildflower Wednesday: Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

I wouldn't have a fall garden without the Asteraceae family members!

That doesn't mean that there aren't Asteraceaes blooming in the Spring or Summer. Of course there are, but, come September New England asters and other beauties take center stage as they step up to the job of feeding the visiting pollinators, birds and mammals as they prepare for winter.

One of my personal favorites is our Wildflower Wednesday star, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae.  Ever since taxonomists placed New World Asters in two new Genera, I've affectionately referred to them as Ex-asters. You've got to admit that's easier than trying to pronounce than Symphyotrichum or Eurybia (the second Genus for New World Asters.)


October Wildflower Wednesday: Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium

I am challenging you to say our Wildflower Wednesday star's name 5 times....very quickly! I could barely get three out before I was dropping consonants. Here's the phonetic spelling soo-doh-naf-FAY-lee-um ob-too-sih-FOH-lee-um in case you aren't familiar with it.

Here's the story of how it became our star.

It was a beautiful day, with a clear blue sky and bright late morning sun overhead. We were taking a walk on a road near a house we rented for the weekend in Ellijay, GA and had stopped to visit with a very friendly donkey. 

November Wildflower Wednesday: Thankful for my wildflower habitat

Tomorrow is officially the day of thanksgiving in the USA, but I try to be appreciative and thankful every day about the good people, good things, good wildflowers and good garden critters in my life. Because the last two years have been especially challenging for me as a gardener, I am working extra hard at appreciating what is revealed to me every day in my garden. This Wildflower Wednesday post is in celebration of the wildflower and native plant beauty in the garden this month. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have in putting it together. xoxogail

November 24, 2021~what an aster!

After several freezing nights the flowers are gone from the garden, except a few of the last to bloom Willowleaf asters. They are a must have plant for me and I recommend that you add them to your garden, too. You need a plant that survives several frosts and deep freezes and this one does. If the temperatures were to rebound to warmer than 60˚ in the next week the bees would be back.

 See you next year when I will have some wildflower news to share with you. xoxogail



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. It's the holiday and there's lots going on and people are busy, so no Mr Linky this month. Should you want to share a post, please leave a link in comments. xoxogail


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.


  1. A lovely round-up... or should I say end-of-year awards show, Gail? Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  2. Wonderful, Gail, just wonderful. Most of these plants are familiar. One I've tried unsuccessfully to get started in my garden is Euphorbia corollata, but I simply scattered seeds. Maybe I'll get a few plants this next season. I see it all around here in the summer, and I know once it gets going it's a nice filler. Great selections, and I'll try to participate more in 2022. :)

  3. A fun roundup Gail. May you have a Happy New Year full of native plants and bugs.

  4. A happy circle of flowers feeding pollinators.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Thanks for reminding me of a whole year’s worth of wildflowers in your lovely garden. And I’m tickled to see your bottle tree peeking out. Yours created my desire to have one, and now I do. Can’t wait until snow coats it.

  6. Did enjoy your "round-up". Some very nice natives which I try to grow I places in my gardens. NICE


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