Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Favorite Native Plants – A few from our readers

suebb A few more responses trickled in for my request for Favorite Native Plant recommendations. These last few are from some of our Facebook and Twitter friends. I think every one of them mentioned the great value to pollinators of these preferred plants:

Donna Williamson, author of The Virginia Gardener's Companion: An Insider's Guide to Low-Maintenance Gardening in Virginia, mentioned several of her favorites. "Mountain mint is just the best - what a world of pollinators enjoy it! I am growing Pycnanthemum muticum but there are other species that I am not familiar with. And wild senna (Cassia marylandica) and  of course Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) and all the goldenrods!"

Samantha, from the Pollinator Plates project (check out their website) said “One of my favorites is Milkweed (Asclepias sp.) . Obviously, the Monarchs need it, but when it's in bloom, it's a real pollinator party! Mine is always covered in bees."

Brent Bolin, a fellow wildlife lover, suemonlisted several favorites: Milkweed (Asclepias sp.) for the monarchs. Ironweed (Vernonia  noveboracensis), because it looks great & wildlife loves it. Various Phlox for color. Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) looks great & attracts birds/bees . Our yard is NWF certified & also certified monarch waystation. Not sure if my white turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is attracting checkerspots yet.” You can learn more about Brent by visiting his blog

Sue Dingwell, who says she has been a native plant nut suefernfor years, (and who was also kind enough to share some photos for this post)  mentioned these favorites: "Native flowers to love: columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), golden ragwort (Chrysogonum virginianum), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), bee balm (Monarda didyma & Monarda bradburiana). Showy fern: cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnomomea). Must have native shrubs: serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus), viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) and American beautyberry (Calicarpa Americana). The mountain mint is a spreader, but not aggressive and not hard to contain. You will definitely love the energized layer of pollinators that cover this wonderful plant when blooming." In addition to her “native plant nut” monicker, Sue is a Master Naturalist, Master Gardener, member of the Virginia Native Plant Society, and volunteer at River Farm, headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. And she has a really beautiful blog called:

Thanks to everyone who offered their favorites. Hopefully, these suggestions will help you make some of your own decisions when it comes to native plants.

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