Roots, Rocks, and Clay: Part 2

Read Part 1 here.


I love flowers. Who doesn’t? I picked several species for the front garden.

I feel I should warn you ahead of the time: the garden is currently ugly. That’s just how it is sometimes, especially if you’re starting out with plugs in the fall. I’m all right with it because I know it will grow into something special and awesome. The beautiful photos of the flowers themselves are taken from other sites, and credited appropriately.


Golden Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida-sullivante):  It’s a black-eyed susan with glossy foliage! Golden Coneflower can support 16 species of moths and butterflies, is beloved by bees and other pollinators, and birds can eat the seeds. It’s a longtime bloomer, and it tolerates average soil and full sun to partial shade.

Photo credit: Uwe H. Friese

Blazing Star (Liatris spicata): This tall, spiky purple flower is among my favorites. It can only support 4 species of moths and butterflies, but many other native pollinators love it. I love the structural contrast it provides in the garden, and the brilliant color of the petals. It loves the sun and can tolerate most soils.

Photo credit: Hedwig Storch

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): I like these flowers for their flat tops – yet another structural element for the summer garden (and fall since once the blooms fade, the seed heads remain in place!). The foliage is fern-like. It supports 21 species of moths and butterflies, and just wait until you see all the other pollinators it attracts! A variety of wasps, native bees, ants, and flies will hang out on its lacy white blooms.

Photo credit: Isidre Blanc

Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum): This is a new plant to me. I thought it was pretty, and that was that. It supports 20 species of moths and butterflies, and it attracts hummingbirds! It’s also edible in small amounts.

Photo credit: Mark Vanaugh

Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana): I love the mounding beauty of this plant, even as it yellows for fall. The flowers are delicate and lovely, and though they attract only one type of moth (the Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffiniis) also known as the Hummingbird Moth), I decided to use it for a tricky part of the garden where I thought the fall foliage would add some interest against the planted evergreens of bearberry and Christmas fern, and beside the red twigs and leaves of red-twig dogwood. While this plant prefers moist soil, it is easily adaptable to drier, average soil, and it doesn’t mind full sun or partial shade.

Photo credit: Kurt Stuber

Pink Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginica): Beautiful plant named for the tendency of its blooms to stay in the position you move it to on its axis. While loved by hummingbirds and butterflies, I couldn’t find information on how many species of Lepidoptera it attracts. It doesn’t mind full sun or average soil.

Photo credit: Raffi Kojian

I purchased plugs of all these plants from Earth Tones Native Nursery in Woodbury, CT. I can’t wait to show pictures of next year’s flowers!


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