The National Garden Bureau has declared 2013 as The Year of the Wildflower.
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.
The Gardener's Corner is my weekly gardening column found in The Innisfil Scope newspaper.
Linking with Tracie's Garden Party at Fishtail Cottage.