Monday, March 4, 2013

More New Natives For My Gardens

I drove up to Alexandria on Saturday to visit a native plant nursery. Since they weren't just yet open for the season, I had made an appointment in advance. I was the only customer and had the undivided attention of Randee, the manager of Nature-By-Design. I had spoken with him a few days earlier asking if he had any Spigelia. I have just one plant that I got from Carolyn's Shade Gardens during a visit a couple of years ago. I liked it so much that I wanted to add a few more. When Randee said he had what I was looking for, I asked about Claytonia. He said yes. Then I asked about Cercis...I've wanted a nice Eastern Redbud for a while. He had that, too. So it was a no-brainer--off I went with money in hand!

2 Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)

It's often been my experience that native's are not 'cheap'! They can put a 'dent' in your pocketbook because they aren't always readily available on the market. But I've been working on creating a native backyard habitat for some time now and there a few shrubs, small trees and plants that I've been hoping to get--sooner, rather than later--so I just 'bit the bullet', so to speak.

 2 Ilex verticillata, 1 male & 1 female (American Winterberry)
 Although nothing is really 'beautiful' when not in bloom, I'm happy with my purchases.

Rhododendron calendulaceum (Flame Azalea) 
You'll notice, from the photos, that I came back with much more than I originally went up for. Isn't that always the case? Whether it's the grocery store or the garden center...who leaves with just a couple of items?!  I'll admit I've done it on occasion--but not usually.

Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pink Azalea)
You might look at some of these photos and wonder why I'm so excited. It's because I know they are native to my area of Virginia. And, because I know that when they are in bloom they are going to be gorgeous!!

2 Dryopteris marginalis (Woodfern)
They will provide the native birds, bees and butterflies with the pollen, nectar and/or berries that they crave, and they will generally adapt to the soil conditions and climate of my yard, because they are naturally meant to be here.

8 Spigelia marilandica (Woodland Pinkroot), 2 Eupatorium purpureum (Sweet Joe Pye Weed),
3 Erythronium albidum (White Trout Lily)
That's not to say that they are 'guaranteed' to grow. Oh, if only that were the case, my yard would be a native jungle by now!

The Trout Lily has some above-ground foliage
No, it's not any 'simpler' to start natives in a suburban backyard than to start any other plant. But it's a wise choice because once they are embedded in the soil and landscape, they will require less water and generally less effort than many non-natives.

2 Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
They will put up with the ups-and-downs that this climate throws at them, unlike, say, a plant that thrives in mainly tropical climates or one that likes the desert conditions only. Yes, sometimes it feels like the tropics here--and sometimes it feels like the desert, deep in July. But it's zone 7A...and the natives I'm spending my money on are comfortable here. It's their home.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
I mentioned earlier that there were no blooms just yet...but the Green and Gold (below) has blooms already because Randee had been growing them in the greenhouse and then put them out in the sun. In our current and (expected to continue) blast of cold weather, the flowers and perhaps even the foliage, will die--but that won't kill the plants themselves. I have other Green and Gold's that haven't yet emerged from the ground so these are just a little ahead of schedule but I'm sure they'll be okay.

Viola canadensis (White Violet), Viola sororia (Blue Violet), Viola striata (Striped Violet),
Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold)

Sadly (!) I have to make another trip to the nursery to exchange 3 Spigelia for 3 Claytonia. During the visit, we forgot to put the Spring Beauties aside!! I have never had those in my garden and I really want sometime this week or next weekend I'll make a visit to swap out the plants. I will try to fight the temptation to buy more natives while I'm there. I've done enough damage for this month!

Since today is Tuesday, I am almost a week late to Gail's Wildflower Wednesday (held on the 4th Wednesday of each month at Clay and Limestone) but I'm going to link to her meme because I'm trying to participate every month this year and don't want 'a little week' to interfere with my good intentions! Thanks for having this every month, Gail!

What gifts have you discovered today? Until next time,

Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble @
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.


  1. Which Claytonia are you buying? C. perfoliata/Miner's lettuce will self-sow aggressively, at least it did in my garden. I pull new ones every spring now. It is a really sweet little flower, but Wow! I have trout lilies in my garden too, so far they have been coming back every year.

    1. This is Claytonia virginica...known as Spring Beauties. A lovely little spring ephemeral, native flower. Not the lettuce :)

  2. I can sense your joy and enthusiasm, Jan, and it's contagious! I've been trying to do the same thing. The woods here are chock full of native plants--it's strange that they're so hard to find at the garden centers. But I know what you mean. Great post!

    1. Thanks Beth :) Glad you are excited about natives too!

  3. Wow, what a great haul!! Can't wait to see your azaleas in bloom!!

    1. Thanks Janet :) I can't wait to see those native azaleas in bloom, either. My front yard is loaded with azaleas...but the non-native ones. I love them...they are lovely when they bloom. But I have been wanting some native azaleas for quite some time...I may even have to get some more at some point :)

  4. You picked up a lot of great natives! Flame Azalea is on my want list.

    1. Thanks sweetbay! I hope you can find it! I've seen photos of it and it looks so pretty in bloom!

  5. Oh, I wish I could share some of the Claytonia that grow along the side of the road nearby my house. Wild little spring beauties--what's not to love? I would give my eye teeth to be able to grow Spigelia but my soil, despite copious watering, just won't support it. And oh darn, you have to go back to the nursery. :) Something tells me you'll be bringing home even more goodies. Fun!

    1. Hi Grace, oh, that sounds wonderful! I don't ever see them just 'on the side of the road', here...but I know they are in certain protected areas. I still haven't gone back to the nursery...we had snow the last 2 days and I just stayed home. Maybe this weekend I'll go up to do the exchange. Yeah, I would LOVE to bring back a few more, however, my hubby may not feel the same way. If only money grew on trees!

  6. Fabulous buys...I am still working on a plan to add more and then it will be a pleasant buying trip.

    1. Hey Donna, thank you. Yes, all buying trips should be pleasant buying trips! I actually enjoyed my visit...just wish I could have bought even more without worrying about how much it was adding up to :P

  7. You made some wonderful purchases Jan. I'm sure they will do well and you will enjoy them. I love the pink muhly grass, I have that in my island bed and it was gorgeous last year.

  8. What a great assortment of shrubs and perennials. I bought many of these for our Maryland garden long ago. The green and gold is a fast spreader and very showy. Enjoy!

  9. Hi Jan,
    I hope spring gets here soon! I have found it hard to find some of the native plants I'd like, too, especially the spring ephemerals. I don't have room for the shrubs, but am getting New Jersey Tea, which they call a shrub. It's only 3 feet tall and wide, though.

    I hope everything grows well for you! I have some plants ordered from Prairie Moon. I went with a tray of 38 plants, because the price for each individual plant is less expensive than any plants I've seen. I hope they are a good size to grow.


Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!


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