Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Gardener's Corner - Year of the Wildflower

The National Garden Bureau has declared 2013 as The Year of the Wildflower.
Wildflowers are a gift from Mother Nature and are ideal for the home gardener to use in beds, borders or to replace an expanse of lawn with a wildflower meadow.
To define what a wildflower is, depends on opinion.  Some feel it is a plant that grows naturally without being cultivated by man regardless of the country of origin.  Others have determined that wildflowers are plants found in specific geographic areas that grow naturally there and continue to grow from seed.
Before European settlement of the States and Canada the wildflowers and other plants growing are considered native or indigenous species.  Exotics or aliens are those that have been brought from other parts of the world.  Many of the plants introduced from other countries have become garden favourites, including some wildflowers that have escaped from gardens to become part of the local environment and have naturalized.
Of course there are also exotics that have escaped and become invasive and considered noxious weeds that now have to be controlled.
Planting wildflowers benefits the garden and environment for once they’re established they require less care of watering and pest control.  Some varieties have deep root systems that make them drought tolerant and help prevent erosion and water run off.
Wildflowers provide nectar and pollen sources for bees, butterflies and other insects while the seeds provide a food source for birds and small mammals.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a popular wildflower that blooms from July to October and will self seed to produce a nice clump within a couple of years.  The goldfinches love the seeds from coneflowers and if left to stand over winter will provide for many birds.
Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) can be found growing wild and the pink summer flowers are particularly attractive to bees.  Don’t be surprised to see hummingbirds sipping nectar from the flowers too.  Native Americans had many medicinal uses for the plant and today the leaves are used to make tea.
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is often found growing in shady woodlands and with their deep taproot enables them to survive in dry areas.  The dainty red and yellow flowers are ideal for cottage gardens.
Asters (Symphyotricum novae-angliae) are the perfect wildflower for autumn colour.  Pretty purple flowers that love full sun and look spectacular growing with goldenrod.  Monarch butterflies depend on it for a source of nectar before fall migration.
Wildflowers can be bought at nurseries, started from collected seeds or purchased packets.  It’s not advisable to remove the plants from the wild as many are protected species and if collecting seeds, take only a few to allow the flowers to reseed.
The Gardener's Corner is my weekly gardening column found in The Innisfil Scope newspaper.
Linking with Tracie's Garden Party at Fishtail Cottage.


  1. Oh what a sweet post - I have quite a few wildflowers too in my garden that I dug up in the Black Forest.... perennials are the best!

  2. I enjoyed your post and like the wildflower collage you created. I have a few wildflowers in my garden: beebalm, echinacea, Sweet William, Virginia bluebells, ferns, and probably others that I don't recall right now. Have a great day!
    Hugs, Beth

  3. I found this post so coincidental! over the weekend, I walked the woods gathering wild flowers, telling myself...God, I am not stealing them, I am taking them from here and planting them in our yard!... :)JP

  4. I am surprised that I have so many wildflowers...hadn't realized. You seem like such a lovely, relaxed gardener recognizing beauty in even the common.

  5. des fleurs sauvages que je trouve
    dans mon jardin
    en France les Ancolies sont protégées
    j'ai aussi cette grande fleur jaune
    sur la dernière image
    mais je ne connais pas le nom ?
    à bientôt
    edith (iris)France

  6. Hi! How beautiful your photos! Mother nature is truely wonderful.
    Wishing you a nice day.

  7. Love most of the wildflowers. I think they really put anything in that category that reseeds with ease and enables them to be seen everywhere.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  8. Very interesting post Judith. I love wildflowers along the roadsides and in country fields. I have a few of those 'wild' flowers in my gardens too. Pam

  9. Wild flowers are beautiful flowers! I love them, and your photos are gorgeous..

  10. I love wildflowers and up to this spring I had a meadow full of them! For some reason, so far anyway they all, and I mean all seem to have disappeared and now it's just grass! I have always considered my little piece of woodland was a healthy little ecosystem with lots of breeding pairs of wild animals and then of course all of the wildflowers! I am devastated that they are all gone and completely stumped as to what could have happened!
    Hugs and thanks for the beautiful photos and the information.
    Beth P

  11. Love this - I love seeing all the wild flowers alongside the road and welcome a few here and there in my garden. Beautiful post - have a blessed day,


  12. Nice post! I always think of the wildflowers are the survivors! They are the toughest and have the ability to keep thriving no matter what. I never think about the fact that some of the plants that we think are natural wildflowers may have jumped in and become part of the scenery! Either way they are pretty.

  13. Well you know I love picked some of the best to start with...they really are a delight in the garden and so easy to care for once established.

  14. Out here some municipalities have planted the grassy areas between lanes on the highway in wildflowers. They make such a beautiful show at this time of year!

  15. Wow, Judith, I really enjoyed seeing your wildflowers. They are so pretty!Those sweet flowers make me think here that they are really gifts from nature. It is surprising!

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed your post and beautiful photos that accompanied it, Judith.

  17. Natural beautiful flowers,very beautiful.I am from London escort agency and i love the flowers.

  18. I didn't know it was the year of the wildflower, but I'm glad! I think wildflowers are quite charming and don't get enough respect in the gardening world. Your photo collage is just terrific!

  19. Beautiful collection......

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