All of you seem to be experts when it comes to wildflowers, so I'd welcome suggestions for a sunny clearing left after a mature tree fell in our homeowners association's woods. There are lots of native grasses and vines, spring flowers, a huge raspberry patch, what I hope are wild beans, and we've planted dogwood, smooth sumac, witchhazel, arrowwood viburnum and bayberry seedlings (latter doing very badly), but no noticeable summer flowers. The plants and their buds must be extremely deer-resistant, and they'll have to compete with Japanese stiltgrass until I get that eradicated. Other than that, the main criteria are wildlife value and ability to deal with drought, heat and humidity. The soil is dark and rich-looking, not at all like the clay in my yard in Northern Virginia.
Need suggestions for wildflowers for a sunny clearing
Hi Muddy1 --
Deer-resistance is a challenge. They will eat just about anything if they are hungry enough.
Asclepias tuberosa is a wonderful plant that's beneficial to butterflies.
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatoriadelphus maculatus) buds and blooms several months during the summer in our heat and humidity. I'm in the same zone as you are. The pollinators just love it.
Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) is a nice plant. It blooms late spring and early summer.
Thanks! Campsis radicans is one I don't know, so I'll look it up. I neglected to mention that, because this is a wooded area by a creek, I'm not limited to flowers that need lots of sun. Right now, mostly sedges and ferns are growing in the shady areas, and it would be nice to have flowers there too. There are some flowers I haven't yet identified growing by the creek, and I'll take some photos so I can find out what they are. I do have monarda didyma and asclepias tuberosa growing in an area in my garden that is accessible to deer, and they haven't touched those yet. They loved my mistflower buds.
A. tuberosa is fairly deer-resistant. I guess that means it's a last choice if they are really hungry, as in starving.
I was thinking of sun-loving plants but shade opens up other plant choices.
Muddy, where is the planting you are talking about? I thought Vienna WAS No VA.
There are some native asters that grow in shady, woodsy areas such as heart-leaved aster, Symphyotrichum cordifolium. They might not be deer resistant, but they provide host plants for the Pearl Crescent butterfly.
I live in what is known as The Trails of Wolftrap, which is about a half mile from the Filene Center, formerly known as Wolftrap Farm Park. The area belonging to my HOA is 11 acres along Wolftrap Creek. It is really special, I think, because the lack of a decent path means that very few people go there. There are a lot of native plants in the clearing I'm working on. Removing Japanese Stiltgrass is kind of like opening a present; you never know what's underneath.
I just planted several kinds of flowering native plants in my own yard, but most of them either haven't bloomed yet or are just starting to bloom and are out of the deer's reach, so I don't know how deer-resistant they are. I have Cardinal Flower, New England Aster, Big Leaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus),Golden Alexander, Cupplant (Silphium perfoliatum), Yarrow, Joe Pye Weed and Swamp Milkweed in my backyard, a deer-free zone. In my front yard, the deer leave my Downy Skullcap, Monarda and Butterfly Weed alone. Given a chance, they eat the buds off my Black-eyed Susans and Mistflowers. I don't want the woods to be a carbon copy of my yard, though, which is why I welcome other ideas.
Wow! Sounds like you have a wonderful native plant garden growing in your yard, Muddy. Lots of pollinator friendly plants. The Golden Alexanders are in the carrot family and are food plants for larval Black Swallowtail butterflies. If you see caterpillars on them, don't be too quick too get rid of them. Please get an ID.
You have a lot of summer and fall bloomers. May I suggest adding some spring bloomers. Woodland phlox is a good one, as is Erigeron. In my little garden, Phlox divaricata, woodland phlox, is a perennial ground cover that blooms profusely in spring with soft purple flowers on 12 to 18 inch stalks. The rest of the time it's barely noticeable and other plants grow through and over it. The only problem I've found with woodland phlox is that rabbits like to nibble the early growth. I have not grown Erigeron but it grows in a wild area near me. Here are links to info on the plants I mentioned.
My weather/ conditions similar
I won't comment on wildlife value since not sure but these have made it past our herds of deer - seen sleeping right under our windows..... I would like to plant for the value and "controllability' -- but everything takes a backseat to the deer. So if I don't want a garden of bottle trees...... Imhave to plant what is shunned by the critters...
Cleome (which looks gorgeous in stands with the sun shining thru) .. Shasta Daisy ugh (I hate these ) Purple Walking stick, buddleia, coreopsis, monarda, daphne, sage, caryopteris, muhley grass, red hot polka, beautyberry, columbine, guara, tiarella, loropetalum. and if you want a rudbeckia that is very "sunny" tthis is the only one the deer leave alone perhaps because by the time the flowers appear it Is very tall - 5 feet?? I think it is called rudbeckia maxima....it spreads easily - only planted 3 first year now I pull out some each year (6 years or so later) it has that huge brown long nose and petals that blow back in the wind sort of look -- like a cone flower. The other rudbeckia get mowed down.
Great plant choices you have already. There are some great native for damp woodlands. You could try Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver's Root) or Solomon's Seal or Wild Geranium. I have never had deer bother any of mine. Camassia is another option. I have Camassia quamash and it blooms in full sun of in shade. You have to have at least 25 bulbs for a decent look. Deer don't seem to bother it either.
Trillium might be a option just not sure if deer bother it.
You will love our cup plant. Here is mine this year it's about 8' tall.
Hope you have fun planting in your woodland setting. Sure sounds like a special place to live.
Muddy, have you checked out the Virginia Native Plant Society? I belong to the Maryland Native Plant Society and people are always bringing native plants to the monthly meetings to give away. Sometimes they are rescued plants and sometimes they are extras from members gardens. Last year someone brought in leftover grasses from a restoration project. I took home a few switchgrass plugs to add to my garden.
Here is a link to the VNPS website- http://www.vnps.org/
You are closer that me to the meeting place for the MNPS so here is a link to that website, too-
I have bought a lot of plants at our local Master Gardeners' sales. They have them twice a year here and the plants are very inexpensive. That's another good resource ... and also for connecting with people who grow a lot of natives near you.
You might want to identify and take note of what is growing there now. Natives tend to grow in groups of plants that like the same conditions.
Wow! Thanks for all of the very helpful replies; it's especially great to know what deer ignore. I do belong to the Virginia Native Plant Society, and just remembered I have some Salvia lyrata I bought from them that might work. I'm also going to try to grow jewelweed from seed. I have already added 1 Prairie Dropseed and several Muhly grasses to the area, but I'm going to refrain from digging any more holes in the area because I know there are spring ephemerals. I love your cupplant,Taylor! Mine has only grown from a seedling from a 3" pot to a plant about a foot tall so far this summer. I hope it takes off next year. I would love to have caterpillars chomping on plants in my yard, but I don't even see many butterflies, probably because a lot of birds call my yard home.
I enjoy my Jewelweed so much. It's blooming as we speak. Another thing that's grown tall and beautiful this year is the Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers'. I luv that plant. It's another one you might consider. It's a lot nicer than my lousy photo shows. :)
This message was edited Aug 15, 2013 8:36 AM
The only plant I know to be deer resistant from our local woods is spicebush, Lindera benzion, a nice early blooming shrub for damp shaded spots.
I was also thinking the mountain mints because of their strong mint scent would be deer resistant and when I looked them up they certainly are!
I have 2 of these native mints, Pycanthemum incanum also known as hoary is my favorite, first because it is wildly attractive to pollinators and butterflies and is always completely covered with them. Second because the top leaves turn white like they've been powdered with sugar and along with the interesting flower heads look wonderful. And third the dried seedheads look great into early winter .
There are about 20 species of mountain mint so you have your choice, there is even a native P. virginianum.
I grow mine on the hot dry sidewalk strip with little bluestem, penstemon, columbine, Comptonia (sweetfern), buttterflyweed and asters.
Muddy, I don't want to throw "Too Much Information" at you but here are links to a great resource for those of us living near the Chesapeake Bay. It was published by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is titled "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping, Chesapeake Bay Watershed". Available in a pdf for downloads and an online web version.
The downside is that it's all listed by scientific names.
Hoary -- is that the flavor behind those great hoarhound /horehound (?? Spelling ) lozenges that Crackerbarrel sells? Those are great.
Rudbeckia won't last an hour in my garden.
How about Stylophorum, the native wood poppy (fuzzy fat pods) for spring bloom? I'm getting it established here. Beware of the other wood poppy, the other one has smaller flowers and skinny pods and is not native, but I've found it (along with many other invasives) in parks.
Sally, I know I should not be so lazy and could look it up -- but was Anne Arundel a famous person?
Hi missingrosie- I should know this but had to find it on our county website: ''Personal tragedy was also a part of 1649 for Cecil Calvert with the death of his beloved wife of twenty-one years, Anne Arundel. In 1650 the Maryland General Assembly created Anne Arundel County and named it after her''.
Muddy1- I forgot you said Sunny clearing originally- and thought of the wood poppy when reading your references to the woods etc around you.The invasive wood poppy is Chelidonium
and 2gardenkate, thanks for the links to Native plant resources
Anne Calvert, Baroness Baltimore (née Hon. Anne Arundell) (1615 or c. 1616 – July 23, 1649) was an English noblewoman, daughter of Thomas Arundell, 1st Baron Arundell of Wardour by second wife Anne Philipson, and wife of Lord Baltimore, who founded the Province of Maryland colony. Anne Arundel County in Maryland, USA, was named for her. The USS Anne Arundel was in turn named after the county.
She married Lord Baltimore in 1628 at age 13. A settlement for the marriage between them was made on 20 March 1627/28.
According to Gibbs, she is said to have been a most beautiful and accomplished woman.
Of her nine children with Lord Baltimore, three survived to adulthood.
Muddy, Your cup plant will bloom next year. It will look better every year. I love mine and so does the wildlife. I don't blame you I would wait and see what comes up in the spring. You may have some natural beauties.
Cville, Your garden looks great. I love your hyssop and your rudbeckia.
Sempervires, You make me want to try the mountain mints. Have been thinking about trying the hairy mountain mint Pycnathemum pilosum. Have you ever tried that one? Now I want to try the Pycnathemum incanum.
It's so nice to see so many native lovers. Makes me happy to know there are native lovers out there! Thanks!
I have Slender Mountain Mint and Southern Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum pycnanthemoides) and both are thriving. I like them a lot and so do the pollinators.
I agree ... it's nice to see an interest in the natives and wildflowers. I keep adding to what I have and a great thing about them is ease of care. :)
Kate, that publication is fantastic! I could stay up for hours looking through it. It's got more photos than a wildflower guide I just bought. Thanks!
Taylor, I'm so glad I saw your cup plant because I realize that the spot mine is growing in will be way too small. Do you think I could move it now or should I wait until it's dormant?
Thanks again for all of the ideas. I'm going to have to print all this and do some planning. Fortunately, I have time because I'll try to grow most of it from seed. I do plan to try mountain mints, for sure. I did make an impulse buy of 2 large goldenrods today - solidago (no hybrid name) "fireworks" I think it was called, which I hope is a true native. The deer leave them alone in woods around here. I planted them in the same holes as 2 smooth sumac seedlings that seem to have not survived. I decided to leave the sumacs in case there's a little life left.
Yes, it's a native cultivar. I have it and love it. It will spread fairly aggressively and is very reliable for me. I like it's growth habit a lot.
I just re read the first post - a tree fell in the woods- I would not restrict the plan to things that absolutely need full sun, its going to be partial day sun. I think lots of woodland things will do well.
Cville, Your Welcome! I'm going to have to get some Mountain Mints. I'm like you I try to add to my natives every year. This year I went for berry producers for my birds and other critters that roam my yard.
Muddy, Glad you enjoyed the picture. How long has your cup plant been planted? If it has been there most of the season I would leave it till spring. If it has only been a few weeks and it is small then you could move it.
Your love your solidago "Fireworks" it's very much loved by the pollinator's. Great late season color.
I planted the cup plant this spring, so I'll wait. I have to get rid of something to make room for it anyway. Do you know if it's deer-resistant?
About spiderwort: I'll have to rule that one out because I just noticed the deer have eaten the spiderwort in my side garden while I wasn't paying attention to it; they're almost completely gone!. The spiderworts I have in my fenced back yard are fine, so I know who's to blame. This is the first year they've touched them.
Here are some photos of one of the few wildflowers blooming near us. The flowers seem deep purple in the daylight; I took these at 6:30 p.m. after the flowers were mostly closed. The last 2 photos are of a 3-leaved mystery vine growing in my woods - it's delicate, hasn't changed in appearance in over a month, and hasn't flowered. I'm hoping it's something native, like a wild bean, rather than yet another Japanese import. Does anyone know what these plants are? I posted them to the plant i.d. forum too.
Sorry to take so long to answer but a few posts ago misingrosie asked if "hoary" referring to the mountain mint refers to horehound flavor. Hoary is actually a reference to the white color of the top leaves.
I also don't have any experience with the other mountain mint mentioned P. pilosum but I'd enjoy hearing of any other mountain mint if you find it.
A little off the mountain mints but somewhat similar, if a little more unusual in appearance, was a plant I purchased a few years ago called dotted horse mint, actually a Monarda punctata, spotted beebalm.
I lost this one over the winter when I cleaned up a little and pulled it out with some weeds,
Also a great draw for pollinators and a very Dr. Seuss type of appearance when the flowers line up one on top of the other right on the stem no branching.
Anyone grow this one?
This message was edited Aug 18, 2013 12:08 PM
This message was edited Aug 18, 2013 12:08 PM
I have grown Monarda punctata years ago, after finding it in the wild around here too. I thought it was amazing.
I might have guessed deer would eat spiderwort- I have read it called edible- but I think you have to be hungry to get past the slimy sap.
I do want to include Monarda in the wildflower meadow in the woods because it might even drive deer away from some plants. I've thought of surrounding tasty shrubs (which apparently include smooth sumac) with repellent plants like Monarda and mountain mint. I have a red Monarda hybrid growing in my own garden, but am really trying to stick to non-hybrid, "pure" natives for the woods so I'll look for Monarda punctata seeds instead.
About the spiderwort: they might have eaten it because I put perennial fertilizer on it for the first time. I read a book on what makes deer tick (no pun intended), and learned that they prefer well-watered, well-fertilized plants. I then understood why the deer walk by neighbors' shrubs and flowers and zero in on mine. I do not think deer in my neighborhood go hungry; I think they view what's growing in the woods' as the equivalent of broccoli and my yard as the desert table!
Muddy, So far deer have not tasted my cup plant. It has not had anything taste test it so far. I have rabbits that eat from my garden and a chipmunk that thinks he's my garden manager. They have always left my cup plant alone. I have 3 deer that walk my side yard and they have only nibbled on my Coreopsis. They chewed it to the ground. It came back stronger than ever a few weeks later.
Sorry not able to id your vine. I have seen that pink flower before just not sure of a name. Hope somebody else can help out.
Sempervirens, Had never heard of Monarda Punctata. Sounds like something I would like to grow.
Sallyg, I didn't know spiderwort was edible. I'm with you, not sure it would be something I would want to eat.
Your avatar is cute. I like it.
I'm glad to hear that deer should leave my cup plant alone after I move it.
I did get an i.d. on that pink-purple flower: it is called Elephantus Strobus (elephant's foot) and is native to Southeast Asia. I'm predisposed to not like it because it's alien, but it is attractive and apparently it has proven anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.