We’re visiting with Virginia Sherry today.
A lifelong gardener, I am the founder of the nonprofit Native Plant Society of Staten Island (in 2019). As summer draws to a close, I treasure what is still blooming in my landscape. Most but not all of the species are native to eastern North America.
Many people dismiss field thistle (Circium discolor, Zones 3–9) as a weed. While these plants are spiny and not for many gardens, if you have space to let them grow they are wonderful nectar sources for pollinators, and the seeds are enjoyed by birds.
New England aster (Symphyotricum novae–angliae, Zones 4–8) is just beginning to bloom. Asters are one of the great highlights of the late-summer and fall garden and are a wonderful food source for pollinators as they get ready for the winter.
Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba, Zones 4–8) is a beautiful, heavy-flowering plant. Individual plants of this species are perennial but tend to be short-lived. However, they will often self-sow when happy so that you can have blooms in the garden every year.
Though not a U.S. native, super-fragrant Russian sage (Salvia yangii, Zones 4–9) is a favorite of bees, who love its small blue flowers, and of gardeners, who love its beauty and great drought tolerance.
Autumn Joy stonecrop (Sedum telephium ‘Herbstfreude’, Zone 4 – 11) is one of the classic plants for the fall garden. It is durable, easy to grow, and gives a long-lasting display that pollinators adore.
If you want the long flowering period of an annual, but in a spot that gets dry and can’t be irrigated regularly, portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora, annual) is a great choice. The succulent leaves make it thrive where a petunia or impatiens would dry up and die.
Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum, Zones 4–8) is a great, long-blooming native perennial. The leaves have a nice scent to them, and it can bloom pretty much all summer into fall, especially if you deadhead it.
Jumpseed (Persicaria virginiana, Zones 4–8) rewards those who take a closer look at the intricate details of the developing seedheads.
Here’s a last hurrah for garden phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8), surely one of the most popular native perennials of eastern North America. Every garden needs garden phlox, and the pollinators agree!
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
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