Friday, January 25, 2013

Seen, Noted and Photographed


I am smitten. 

This is not a love affair that my husband of twenty-odd years has to worry about though. I have fallen head over heals in love with native plants.

I must admit that, in the past, I have always taken native plants somewhat for granted. 

Sure, I admired them along the roadside and in fields of summer blooms, but I never gave them much thought... 

or considered them as serious candidates worthy of inclusion in my garden. 

Generally speaking, they were the plants I pulled out of the garden, not anything I would ever want to put in it.



So what changed?

I opened up my mind, and my eyes, and really took a look at what was there all along, just waiting for me to notice.

For this I have other bloggers to thank, in particularly Janet, Rose, Lona and Marguerite. I admired their sense of discovery and their enthusiasm for native plants.

I began to wonder what was out there just beyond my own garden. And so I spent the spring, summer and fall really looking for the first time.




I sloshed through spring muck. 

I wadded into tall grass (with a minor degree of trepidation I might add). 

I got down on my hands and knees and was amazed and charmed by what I found.


Last summer, when the grass had all but packed it in this tiny little yellow flower (above) dotted the landscape with islands of green and yellow sunshine.





The blooms were often delicate, but make no mistake, these were plants were tough; growing in the worst types of soil, and often with very little water.

I am almost ashamed to admit that I don't know half their names, or if they are annuals or perennials. 

Sadly, I know more about plants from Europe or Asia, than I do about the plants native to my own country.







After I spent the summer and fall admiring them, I found that I wanted to know more about native plants, so I started reading.

I also began to wonder what a garden composed primarily of native plants would look like. 

Would it be untidy? Not necessarily. Not if it was done well.



I have more to say about native plants and lots of pictures to share, but for today I will content myself with passing on what has been given to me: a remarkable sense of wonder and a fresh sense of appreciation for all native plants.

27 comments:

  1. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!! :) Your photographs are wonderful and thank you for the blast of spring...

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  2. Welcome to my world. There are lots of beauties out there as you are learning. The fun is the discovery. Love the yellow and pink theme.

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  3. You've hit the nail on the head, Jennifer! How many times haven't I been driving somewhere and I look over at the side of the road at gorgeous colour combinations and textures? And these are near the DITCH, not in someone's garden, therefore they are definitely wildflowers or weeds.
    I recognize many of the ones you have in your gorgeous photographs. My favourites are pink and fuchsia wild phlox, blue cornflowers and Queen Anne's Lace. I'm really glad you posted this. I am going to have a closer look at incorporating wildflowers into my garden this spring.

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  4. I think we need to change our mindset and your photos show exactly why. These native plants are so beautiful and healthy for the planet! Just watch all the birds and insects that visit them. Love, love your pictures!

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  5. I have many of your native plants in my garden and like them very much!

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  6. The 3rd from the bottom is Joe Pye Weed (eupatorium) and the 9th from the bottom is hesperis, aka Dame's Rocket. The 1st plant is solidago (goldenrod) and the 2nd is celandine poppies. The little yellow flowered plant in the 7th photo is a type of trefoil or vetch. The photo underneath looks like a rosa rugosa. There are also a wild morning glory and rudbeckia pictured. Most of these are food sources for either caterpillars, butterflies, or birds. I have eupatorium, tick trefoil, rudbeckia, and celandine poppies in my garden. Natives are easier than all the fussy imports and have evolved to work symbiotically with local wildlife. It's a win-win situation!

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  7. I have always had a thing about wild flowers and purposely bought lots of wild flower seed last year. They did me proud. I intend sowing even more this year - they give a whole different look to the garden which pleases me no end.

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  8. The Rudbeckia is R. triloba, one of my favorites. The little white daisies are fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus), I think. At least half the plants in my garden are natives. I wouldn't want to garden without them!

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  9. It makes my heart soar to see these beautiful blooms appreciated so lovingly! I love them all. True, true many don't have the flash of their more colorful cousins or the pedigree of being indiginous but who cares. Thanks and keep up the great work.- Miriam

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  10. Can't wait to see more on these. Your photos of these plants show them in all of their glory!

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  11. Welcome to the world of native plants! I think you will find the journey very rewarding. If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading the book "Bringing Nature Home" by Doug Tallamy. It is a good introduction to native plants, with photos, plant names and recommendations and how they help wildlife.

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  12. Oh, I definitely agree that natives are wonderful. When we first moved here, they were the only plants that would survive in our terrible soil. As my soil has gotten better, though, I have come to rely more upon non-natives. I have found, at least in this area, they can be hard to come by in garden centers.

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  13. I love using native plants in my garden too. I've come to realize that not all natives are really natives (it's a big continent, after all). Gardening in the southeast, I try to find southeastern or eastern U.S. natives. They do great here, whereas southwestern and northwestern natives are not adapted to the climate and usually do poorly. As someone once said, plants do not understand state or national borders!

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  14. Absolutely wonderful photos! Very encouraging in cold January!

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  15. Thanks so much for your kind words Jennifer. I'm so glad you've enjoyed discovering native plants as much as I have. It's amazing how much we pass by while on the way to the garden nursery! By the way, that third photo is just stunning.

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  16. Jennifer, I know the plant on your photo #8 ---this is 'Rubus odoratus' or 'Raspberry scented',nice dark pink flowers with big center. I grow it in my garden and have never thought it's native plant!

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  17. I love the picture with butterfly ! Marvellous !

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  18. Sigh. Yes, if I could do our garden over again I would attempt more native plants. Still I would probably need to bring in some desert plants from elsewhere that can survive our 12 inches of rain a year.

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  19. Welcome to the club!! (thanks for the mention too!) The world of native plants is a great new learning experience for me too, each a new challenge. There are so many wonderful ones to include in your garden.

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  20. I know it is a shame that I don't appreciate the native flowers more than I do. Your post is so beautifully photographed; you've inspired me to take a second look at what I take for granted.

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  21. You have given me pause to consider some natives.... always loved Joe Pye Weed

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  22. I had to come up with a list of natives planted in my garden for the local river protection group. I have never bought a plant because it was native, but because I liked it. So before I put the list together I was worried I would have so few that I would seem hypocritical, but they ended up making a respectable showing. The real surprise was how few European plants I have, and how many Asians are in the garden.

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  23. Bravo and welcome aboard....this is fun kool aid to drink!! I have been growing and exploring natives the last few years and I keep adding them and researching them for my posts...look forward to seeing more of your discoveries...

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  24. I love natives and think many are just as flashy as anything out there! :)

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  25. Native plants are so wonderful in a garden setting, we have quite a few of our own in the garden here. Lets face it, when the plant hunters were bringing back all sorts of exotic plants for our gardens, they were someone else's native plants, we all seem to love what is native in another country.

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  26. It takes a true gardener to spot the beauty Jennifer, and you've captured them perfectly! If you can find Valerian please do. The fragrance is exotic, almost a deep vanilla. I had some but a nasty winter killed them off and haven't any luck finding them in nurseries, but have seen them in ditches, hi ho hi ho, with trowel I go :)

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  27. Beautiful images of the natives, Jen. Like you, the I love them in the snow too.

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