Native Gardening


JBtheExplorer

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A great tree to have is the Tulip Tree. It's a host plant for Swallowtails and also gets large flowers on it that provide nectar in Spring.
 

JBtheExplorer

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This winter, I am going to concentrate more on flowers that are butterfly and bee friendly from Vermont Wild Flowers.
As I posted above, once my Wild Bergamot begins to bloom, pollinator activity starts to skyrocket, so I'd definitely recommend it. Purple Coneflower and Swamp Milkweed bloom at the same time and are also extremely popular with pollinators. New England Aster is a great nectar source in late summer and autumn, and are one of the plants that help Monarchs on their migration.
 

MoonShadows

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We planted a Tulip Tree down in our field about 6 years ago. It is already 20+ feet tall. We are just waiting to see the tulips in the Spring...but it can take up to 15 years! Hope I am still alive. :unsure:
 

MoonShadows

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As I posted above, once my Wild Bergamot begins to bloom, pollinator activity starts to skyrocket, so I'd definitely recommend it. Purple Coneflower and Swamp Milkweed bloom at the same time and are also extremely popular with pollinators. New England Aster is a great nectar source in late summer and autumn, and are one of the plants that help Monarchs on their migration.
I have a lot of Purple Cone Flowers. Love 'em.
 
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Native plants are the ecological basis upon which life depends, including wildlife and people. Without them and the insects that are being raised along with them, local birds cannot survive. I have read somewhere that native bur oak trees can support over 500 species of caterpillars, whereas ginkgos, a commonly planted landscape tree from Asia, host only 5 species of caterpillars. When it takes over 6,000 caterpillars to raise one brood of chickadees, that is a significant difference. My father always had a taste for native farming. He wasn't annoyed by all those squirrels and little creatures that crawled up our roof. He was someone who loved to watch all those. Growing up watching my father, I also decided to take up his path. You know the main advantage of gardening native plants above all this is that It requires less maintenance compared to the foreigners. Once it is established it requires only occasional watering other than rainfall. It's a real joy to see as more people venture into native farming. It's a real good practice especially, at this age of urbanisation, where ecologically productive lands are replaced with lawns and exotic ornamental plants.
 

JBtheExplorer

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JBtheExplorer

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Not much butterfly activity in the garden this year. Things were considerably different today. I had four butterflies of three different species in the garden at the same time!
A Painted Lady, two Red-spotted Purples, and a Giant Swallowtail.
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In this photo, I saw the Giant Swallowtail was flying near a Red-spotted Purple, so I quickly took a photo of it. At the time, I didn't even see the Painted Lady in the bottom left corner.
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@JBtheExplorer - I thought of you yesterday while we were at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. We took the tram tour for the first time in a few years and were thrilled to hear the emphasis they are putting on native gardening. As we traveled through the native prairie that they have created the guide talked about this being the most important area in the garden and shared some great information about prairies and native plants and why the emphasis needs to be focused on restoring these valuable resources. She told us that there are only 3 total acres of native prairie in the ENTIRE STATE of Illinois.

She encouraged everyone to plant two things in their yard - swamp milkweed and butterfly weed - as a "welcome mat" for the monarch butterfly. Sadly she reported that the monarch population in our area has been reduced by almost 90% - but they believe that can be reversed with diligence and effort on the part of home gardeners.

It was a beautiful day to visit the gardens!
 

JBtheExplorer

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@JBtheExplorer She told us that there are only 3 total acres of native prairie in the ENTIRE STATE of Illinois.
Fun stuff!

I have to imagine she meant 3% or prairie remaining. Quick research shows well over three acres of prairie remnants, and even more of restored prairie throughout the state. Still, just a small piece of habitat in a place that used to be full of it.
 

JBtheExplorer

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Well, the native garden is nearing the end of its blooming season. The final species (asters) have begun to bloom. There's still a good amount of color, but from a distance, it doesn't look as nice anymore.

Long-headed Coneflower. I was told this specie can be semi-aggressive in reseeding. I haven't seen that, unfortunately. I have two plants that have popped up from seed from the parent plant I bought a couple years ago. I was really hoping they'd fill in better.
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Bottle Gentian is a very bright blue flower. The petals don't open. This is full bloom. It tends to get hidden by my taller plants, so I may end up moving this over to my pond area where it can be better showcased. I even wonder if it would work in my bog.
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Brown-eyed Susans are starting to fade now. They added great color throughout August and September.
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I can't remember which Aster this is, but my gut says it's Smooth Blue Aster. This is the only one blooming, so I'm hoping to collect seed and add a lot more in the future.
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New England Aster is the star this time of year. I have a lot of it in the garden. It can bloom either purple or pink. It's a popular nectar source for pollinators, and can attract many migrating Monarchs. I've seen up to 12 Monarchs on a single plant in the wild. I have not had that same luck in my garden just yet.

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Seedheads from Wild Bergamot, which has been done blooming for about two months now.
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My favorite beetle specie, Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle, has been seen more often in the garden. It's name is misleading. It can be seen on any milkweed specie. It's on Whorled Milkweed here.
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mrsclem

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had to do a search to bring up this thread. I ordered several varieties of milkweed and even though the packages don't say to chill the seed for several weeks, I was under the impression that the seeds need a cold dormant period to germinate.
I have Asclepias curassavica seeds coming, a tropical variety. Not sure if they need the cold or not. Has anyone grown these from seed with any luck?
 
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Thank you for bringing this thread up! Good reading, as it has a lot of info I’ll use soon! I’m going to mix native plants with other plants I know I won’t kill, or rather, that might be hardy enough to survive despite my attempts to help them. It will take me a while, but if I can grow some, I’ll be happy. And who knows, maybe I’ll have species others will want!
 

JBtheExplorer

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had to do a search to bring up this thread. I ordered several varieties of milkweed and even though the packages don't say to chill the seed for several weeks, I was under the impression that the seeds need a cold dormant period to germinate.
I have Asclepias curassavica seeds coming, a tropical variety. Not sure if they need the cold or not. Has anyone grown these from seed with any luck?
Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a non-native annual specie from South America, and if I remember right, Central America. I've never grown it, but I don't believe it needs any stratification.

If you're growing any native species, they'll need at least 6 weeks. Consider Asclepias tuberosa and Asclepias incarnata. They're two of my favorite plants.
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JBtheExplorer

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Thank you for bringing this thread up! Good reading, as it has a lot of info I’ll use soon! I’m going to mix native plants with other plants I know I won’t kill, or rather, that might be hardy enough to survive despite my attempts to help them. It will take me a while, but if I can grow some, I’ll be happy. And who knows, maybe I’ll have species others will want!
Good luck! Here's a list of all the great North American species I grow to give you an example of some of the many great natives out there.
 
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Wow, love this thread! I, too, became interested in wild flowers about 3 years ago. I began collecting seeds/plants from the road ditches near me, and got addicted. Two years ago, I turned my 50'x50' vege garden area into a wild flower area. Sadly, I wasn't able to keep up with the grass and weeds, and they overtook most of what I had put in. So, last year I killed off mostly everything and started new. I was thrilled I was able to keep the grass and weeds under control, and added lots of new natives. This year I should reap the benefits with lots of flowers! I'm planning to begin work on the next section, which is about 120'x50', and will be left more "wild", although certain things will be cut back or kept under control, like thistle, even though it is a native.
I raised around 30 monarchs last year, and over 20 black swallowtails, and have 11 BST chrysalises in the garage in an aquarium I was raising them in. They often over winter, so in my garage is much "tamer" than outside. This year I will be growing much more dill, fennel, and parsley to feed the BST's. I'm working on getting a good stand of Queen Anne's Lace for them, too!
I have the following milkweed varieties for the monarchs: common, swamp, whorled, purple, prairie, silky (also known as tropical - no, not native, but the monarchs preferred it about 65% of the time, and it bloomed constantly all summer until the first HARD frost!), orange butterfly weed, and green (sometimes called "tall").
Then, I've collected seeds or have plants growing of: blanketflower, compass, rattlesnake master, bergamot, white mountain mint, culver's root, gray headed coneflower (mine does not go crazy either, although after 3 years it is spreading - yay!), purple coneflower, black eyed susan, false indigo, penstemon, wild liatris (I had plants I had purchased, but they bloom a good month before the wild, and the wild variety by me is much taller at 4-6'), Joe Pye (also bought 2 dwarf - 4' tall - Joe Pye plants last summer), Vervain, dwarf spiderwart, and may more I can't think of off the top of my head! Let me know if there are any of these you would like seeds of, JB. Some I bought plants, and have not been able to collect seeds, but most I have seeds and will be growing them for the first time this year. I have seeds out in milk jugs "winter sowing style" already, and plan to put a lot more out in the next couple of weekends. The first picture shows how the milk jug is cut from the handle to the handle, and then I use pipe cleaner to hold it together. Cap is removed to allow air to escape and water to get in. Then just put them outside and let Mother Nature tell the seedlings when to sprout. MUCH hardier seedlings than those grown under lights inside. (And, no, I don't grow "whor(es)"! That's short for Whorled Milkweed. :)
The second picture is what I have planted so far. I think there are 21 gallon containers, and 13 half-gallon containers so far. I have all my natives out that need cold stratification, but will be plants lots more for the new area. It's fun, and cheap!
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@CountryEscape - have you done winter sowing before? I noticed you don't tape your jugs to seal them. I've always taped mine to create a tighter seal to increase the temperature inside the jug and keep moisture inside. I'm curious what your experience is without the taping.
 

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