Friday, August 3, 2012

Favorite Native Plants – James Gagliardi and Christine Price-Abelow, Smithsonian Gardens

cupplant Native plants certainly have many benefits to the environment, making them an eco-friendly choice for any home gardener. But I love the fact that so many of the people I asked mentioned wildlife value as a top benefit.

Here are a few more contributions for my series on Favorite Native Plants. These are from James Gagliardi and Christine Price-Abelow, horticulturists for two of the Smithsonian Museum gardens.

James Gagliardi is a Horticulturist at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. He mentioned Cup Plant as one of his favorites:

“A native plant currently drawing a lot of attention in the  Butterfly Habitat Garden is the Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)”, James said. Reaching a height of nearly 10 feet this plant towers over most others in our meadow planting.  Bright yellow daisy-like flowers bloom throughout the summer but the best feature is its wildlife value.  The plant serves as a host and nectar plant for butterflies.  Cup Plant is also included in the plantings in the new Urban Bird Habitat at the National Museum of Natural History as a seed and water source – its name comes from the way the opposite leaves fuse at the base forming a “cup” that catches rain water.”

Christine Price-Abelow is a Horticulturist at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Christine said that garden phlox and dogwood are two of her favorites:

“Phlox paniculata, garden phlox is one of my favorite summer blooming perennials,” Christine said.   “This native species provides just the right pop of color when the rest of the garden is looking a little stressed out.  I also love the fact that it consistently blooms from July thru October in the Washington DC area.”

“Another one of my favorite native plants is the Flowering dogwood, Cornus florida.  This small tree is considered a staple in the landscapes of Virginia and is a tree featured in everyone’s garden.   The flowering Dogwood is a four season tree with beautiful fall color, winter interest, spring blooms and bright red fruit.”

Thanks for taking the time to add some of your favorites, James and Christine.

To learn more about some of the native plants in the Smithsonian Gardens, visit  the Smithsonian Gardens blog.

Previous posts in this series:

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