Archive for the ‘Native Plants’ Category

Pond Tour, 10:30 am

We had a night of thunderstorms and flooding rains, filling the pond nearly to the rim. A break in the rain means that the plants are bouncing back a bit. Still no visitors yet, so we’re just relaxing on the front porch, peering at each car driving by.

Bloom Day – July 2010

Spotted Joe Pye weed

Midsummer means a whole lot of flowers along with toxic levels of heat and humidity. But the monthly Bloom Day started by Carol at May Dreams Gardens gets me out of the a/c to appreciate the first!  Any links below go to earlier posts showing these plants in bloom this July.

  • Lizard tail (Saururus cernuus)
  • Water lily
  • Spotted Joe Pye weed (at top – Eupatoriadelphus maculatus)
  • Sweet Joe Pye weed

  • the towering sweet Joe Pye weed (Eupatoriadelphus purpureus)
  • Annabelle hydrangea
  • Oakleaf hydrangea
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Pale purple coneflower (at top, in background – Echinacea pallida)
  • Orange coneflower

  • Orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida)
  • Sweet black eyed Susan

  • Sweet black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa)
  • Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
  • Nodding onion

  • Nodding onion (Allium cernuum)
  • Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
  • Marsh phlox (Phlox glaberrima)
  • Wild bergamot with bee

  • Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
  • Hosta
  • Daylily
  • Dill (Grandma Einck’s)
  • Lavender “Blue Cushion”
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Fennel
  • Raspberry ‘Caroline’


  • Raspberry ‘Caroline’
  • Serrano chiles

  • Serrano chiles
  • Red baneberry (Actaea rubrea)
  • Solomon’s plume (Maianthemum racemosum)
  • Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)

The asters aren’t in bloom yet, but I think they’ll be firing up soon…

Midsummer natives

Culver's root

The Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) is blooming, and the bees are big fans.

Bee on Culver's root

Nodding onion

The nodding onions (Allium cernuum) look great this year: much taller and more “nodding” than in previous years.

Red baneberry

Red baneberry (Actaea rubra) provides a nice spot of red amongst the white hydrangeas.

Pond blooms

Water lily and lizard tail

The pond comes into its own come midsummer. The water lily covers the pond in pads and pink blossoms, although the latter are only out at midday. Lizard tail (Saururus cernuus) is taking over one corner of the pond, and is now showing lots of white pipe-cleaner-like flowers.

Pickerel weed & lizard tail

The pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) is not as widespread as it was last year due to my overaggressive cleaning of the pond bottom earlier in the year. I think I’ll have to live with a few leaves on the bottom of the pond until it’s warm enough for me to clean them up by hand rather than by long-handled skimmer net.  Both the pickerel weed and the lizard tail are rooted in the pebbles on the bottom of the pond, which means fewer planters to tip over, but a somewhat less pristine pond bottom.

Hungry goldfish

The goldfish have done a very good job cleaning up algae and bug larvae from the pond, which means they’re always ready for a snack when anyone gets near the pond.   The day I took these pictures, two dragonflies (probably male Eastern Pondhawks Erythemis simplicicollis) were darting around the pond, but never alighting near enough to pose for a portrait.

Bloom Day – June 2010

Oakleaf hydrangea

The garden is far ahead of where it was at both a year ago and two years ago.  It’s also in a bit of a bloom gap: the hydrangeas are just starting to decorate the very enthusiastic foliage in the back yard.

In bloom:

  • Oakleaf hydrangea (above – Hydrangea quercifolia)
  • Hydrangea “Annabelle”
  • Grape woodbine in bloom

  • Grape woodbine (a.k.a. Virginia creeper, but with tendrils – Parthenocissus vitacea)
  • Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
  • Marsh phlox close-up

  • Marsh phlox (Phlox glaberrima)
  • Awl-fruited sedge

  • Awl-fruited sedge (Carex stipata)
  • Lavender “Blue Cushion”
  • Sedum kamkatschicum
  • American linden
  • Snapdragons
  • Day lilies
  • Water lilies
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Thyme

In fruit:

  • Volunteer black raspberry (or mutant Caroline?)
  • Raspberry “Caroline”
  • Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)
  • Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

The robins ate all of the serviceberries a week or two ago, before I even noticed them turning red!

Coming soon: more hydrangeas, Joe Pye weed and Culver’s root, and blooms in the pond.

Going Big

Dark pink double peony

Over at May Dreams Gardens, I commented that while Indianapolis may have big flowers in May, here in Chicago we don’t go big until June.  One week later, I’m eating my words:  the warm weather brought out some serious flowers (and hungry goldfish).

White single peony

Pale pink double peony

I don’t recall seeing peonies blooming here in May before, and it’s not even Memorial Day weekend!

Passalong yellow irises

Wild irises

Both the pass-along yellow irises and the native blue flag irises popped out this weekend.  These are the first blooms ever for the nearly 2-year-old pass-alongs:  last year was too cool and damp for them to ever bud.

Blue false indigo

The blue false indigo continues to be amazing.

The bittersweet chronicles: spring 2010 edition

American bittersweet

Not only is the American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) no longer puny, it’s in bloom!  Both plants have overtopped the trellis, and it’s only May.  As Monica predicted, there were some sprouts from the old invasive bittersweet C. orbiculatus, but the darker and glossier leaves are easy to spot and I’ve been rooting them out as soon as I see them.

American bittersweet - female flower

The female plant is blooming…

American bittersweet - male flowers

…as is the male plant.  One can only hope that this means that there will be berries this fall, if the bees and/or wind do their pollination job.

Bloom Day – May 2010

Solomon's seal in bloom

After a warm and dry April, May has been wet and cool so far.  The flowers in bloom now are pretty much the ones that were in bloom a two weeks ago.

  • Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
  • Blue false indigo

  • Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)
  • Columbine and geranium on the biofalls

  • Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
  • Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) – photo at top of page
  • Wild hyacinth

  • Wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides)
  • Shooting star and columbine

  • Shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia)
  • Prairie trillium

  • Prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum)
  • Common violet
  • Lilies of the valley
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Raspberry blooms

  • Raspberry ‘Caroline’
  • Strawberry

The bearded irises and the peonies look about ready to pop, so any stretch of warm weather should bring them out. No water lily buds yet, alas!

Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for having Bloom Day.

Postscript: forgot that the American bittersweet & red baneberry are blooming too.  I’ll have to add another post to my bittersweet series.

Bloom Day – April 2010

Last day of serviceberry blooms

All sorts of things are in bloom – we’re way ahead of last year:

  • Forsythia
  • Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’
  • Koreanspice viburnum
  • Purple-leafed sand cherry
  • Hyacinths
  • Muscari
  • Tulips
  • Scilla siberica
  • Yet more celandine poppy
    Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
  • Labrador violet - it spreads
    Labrador violet (Viola labradorica)
  • Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
  • Pennsylvania sedge in bloom
    Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pennsylvanica)
  • Dandelions (before I take a Cobrahead to them…)

Blooming soon: crabapples, prairie trillium, lily of the valley, & Virginia bluebells.  Thanks to Carol for getting everyone looking at flowers on Bloom Day!

Essay in Yellow (and Goldfish)

Forsythia in bloom

I was very happy to see the forsythia in bloom this past week. Last year, it hardly bloomed at all, and in 2008, it didn’t bloom until late April. This year isn’t the earliest the forsythia has bloomed, though; my first photographic blog post showed it in full bloom in late March 2007.

King Alfred daffodil

Both the large King Alfred and the tiny Tete-a-Tete daffodils have joined the Rijnveld’s Early Sensation in bloom. (The crocuses withered away in the first warm day.)

Marsh marigold and goldfish

As usual, the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) is putting on a spectacular show in the pond.  The fish have gotten over their winter skittishness and are following all visitors to the pond, hoping for a treat.