Garden Photo of the Day

Wildflowers from Staten Island

Greenery from New York City

Two small white flowers

Today’s photos are from Virginia Sherry.

I’m writing to you from Staten Island, the greenest borough of New York City, where I have gardened for over 60 years. I’d like to share information and recent photos about one of our borough’s treasures: the 13-acre Greenbelt Native Plant Center, a nursery, greenhouse, and seed-bank complex. Its primary mission is to provide seeds and potted native plants in support of the restoration and management of many of the city’s most significant natural areas.

The photos I’ve included here were taken by me on a visit to the center on April 26, 2021, just in time to catch some of the native perennials in spring bloom.

Cluster of red columbine flowersWild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis, Zones 3–8) dances in the wind.

Flower buds of a honeysuckle about to openThis trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens, Zones 4–8) is about to flower. When they open, the blooms will be long, red, beautiful trumpets—much loved by hummingbirds.

Group of white strawberry flowersThe fruits that follow the flowers of wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana, Zones 4–9) are tiny but fragrant and delicious.

Small white daisies with narrow petals and a yellow centerThe delicate little daisy blooms of this Eastern daisy fleabane (Erigeron annus, annual) are visited by a wide range of pollinators.

Two small white flowersRue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides, Zones 4–8), a spring-blooming native, is ephemeral, quickly going dormant and vanishing after flowering.

Shrub with clusters of white flowersRed chokecherry (Aronia arbutifolia, Zones 4–9)

A single red columbine flowerIt’s easy to see that the blooms of wild columbine cater to hummingbirds, with their long red spurs holding nectar.

A pink, five-petaled flowerWild geranium (Geranium maculatum, Zones 3–8) is another spring ephemeral, specialized to get up, flower, and photosynthesize before the tree canopy fully leafs out and blocks the sun from the woodland floor.


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View Comments


  1. Rebeccazone7 05/10/2021

    It's wonderful to see that the native wildflowers can fit right in with the cultivated ones. One side of my backyard is filled with wild strawberries. It reminds me of when my children were young and ate them. The texture of my yard between the wild plants and moss is an added treat, because I don't care about it at all. I've found, as a gardener, that often what I ignore turns out better than what I obsess on.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/10/2021

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. gardendevas 05/10/2021

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    I also let natives infiltrate the garden, and we have a splendid array of birds and creatures who regularly dine here. Am hoping to add some spring ephemerals soon.

  4. User avater
    user-7007816 05/10/2021

    I enjoyed your native plants. Thanks for sharing.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 05/10/2021

    Until now I had never thought of Staten Island as as a place having a "13-acre Greenbelt Native Plant Center, a nursery, greenhouse, and seed-bank complex"-always imagined lots of big buildings...nice to know, nice photos too!

  6. User avater
    bdowen 05/10/2021

    Nice to know that such a place exists. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos.

  7. btucker9675 05/10/2021

    This is just lovely - that rue anemone is so beautiful, like a perfect porcelain cup! Thank you for sharing.

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