Shade / Forest / Woodland

Adiantum pedatum
Northern maidenhair
Nodding and airy fronds seem to float on thin shiny black stems… one of the most enchanting of ferns, this one is a huge favorite for me. They enjoy shade and do pretty well in dappled sun as well. The maidenhair leaf shape is one of the most aesthetically pleasing design shapes … Ginkgo trees share it - and I excitedly started a small stand of these ferns under my ginkgo tree.  A great accompaniment to other native shade-loving perennials – with an unusual look – really adds to any plantings it is grown with. Naturally found in woodlands throughout Eastern North America. Easy to grow and will naturalize lightly if planted in loose, rich, woodland soil.

Allium tricoccum
Ramps or Bear's Garlic 
Ramps can be a bit picky about where they are planted – but if you have a woodland area that is nice and well-drained with humus-rich soil, they are worth a try. In spring, they can be harvested and impart a wonderful garlic flavor to all sorts of dishes and pestos. If they are happy and agree with where you put them, they will naturalize into a large patch. Because they are so popular right now as a cooking ingredient, ramps are becoming hard to find growing in the wild.

Arisaema triphyllum 
Jack-in-the-pulpit
There are many different subspecies of Jack-in-the-pulpits, and I am not sure which this is exactly but this is a family plant for me – we’ve had these growing  in our yard since I was a child. And enchanting woodland plant and a good companion for other native shade loving  plants.

 Asarum canadense
Wild ginger
An attractive native groundcover for moist shade, wild ginger spreads slowly via underground rhizomes. Lustrous dark green, kidney-shaped foliage usually obscure the unique brown jug-like flowers. Will naturalize; incorporate into a native plant garden or woodland display.

Athyrium filix-femina
Lady Fern
This is a very finely frilled fern. Fronds are lacey and full. Stems are dark red and very attractive. A must have ferns for any fernery collection and a great companion plant in the woodland shade garden. Hardy and dependable. Does well in dappled shade and edge planting too. Naturally found in damp woods throughout Eastern North America.

Caulophyllum thalictroides
Blue Cohosh
A native medicinal herb that is need of restoration in nature. Woodland areas with dense shade or dappled shade is perfect for this beautiful and dramatic herb. In spring, a stalk bearing blue-black colored, very unusual flowers appears and that is followed by soft, bluish foliage that is present most of the summer.

Cimicifuga racemosa
Black Cohosh 
One of the herbs on United Plant Savers “At Risk” list – this popular medicinal has been overharvested out of the wild places. An important herb that needs to be restored in wooded areas and edges. It is also a true beauty – tall racemes of creamy white flower spires bloom in July. Gets about 4 feet tall and hangs a bit - so give it a spot where it won’t smother lower growing woodland plants like bloodroot and trillium

Collinsonia canadensis 
Stoneroot  
An “At Risk” forest dwelling native medicinal herb. Stoneroot gets quite large and does well planted with other large-styled native woodland plants such as Spikenard and Black Cohosh.  - Endangered. Does well in shade and part shade. Collinsonia is known as the go-to herb for building the strength and vitality of veins. Great for any weakened veins like varicose veins, hemorrhoids, etc. It is also used for digestive issues. Stoneroot is a member of the mint family, but with unusually strong emetic action in the leaves. From July to October, the plant produces blooms held aloft in a triangle shape filled with tiny orchid like yellow flowers. They also have a lemon scent. Roots should be harvested for medicinal use of mature (3-year-old) plants in fall. You’ll find that the roots are remarkably hard – like stone!

Dicentra eximia
Wild Bleeding Heart
Bleeding Heart plants are very popular in shade and part shade plantings – this is the wild original version – it has less showy flowers, but I find them much more interesting and endearing, and they are held in long swooping curves. Foliage is well-cut and gorgeous.

Dryopteris marginalis
Eastern woodfern
A classic native fern for woodland plantings. Woodferns are shorter than most of the other native ferns we have, but they mature into a dense and sturdy clump. Leaves are thick and leathery and tough – even hold up to some chicken traffic. They prefer drier areas of shade and part shade. Good for rock gardens or planted in rock walls. Found in rocky slopes along  the east coast.  

Hydrastis canadensis
Goldenseal 
Goldenseal is a must have herb in the medicine cabinet, but it is becoming extremely endangered in the wild. If you have a protected woodland area, it is worth giving Goldenseal a try. I had to try several locations that failed before I found the spots where it would naturalize and thrive. They seem to prefer woods that are shaded by oaks, maples, and hickories… We highly recommend planting with other native medicinals for community support. It is a gorgeous spring ephemeral in the style of ginseng and mayapple. Very attractive in spring, although it tends to die back a bit in the heat of the summer. Protect from deer. This is an endangered herb and we also recommend that you combine other plant sources of berberine in your medicinal use of goldenseal. Barberry is an invasive bush that is becoming a problem for native plants, yet it is also high in berberine content. If you have barberry, harvest it for its berberine and cut back on your use of goldenseal. Also consider growing and using Oregon Grape for the same purpose which also grows well  around here.

Mertensia virginica
Virginia bluebells
One of the first signs of spring! Flowers start pink and turn blue-purple as they mature along the spiral stem. Will form a lovely naturalized mass. Like most spring ephemerals, it will go dormant in summer, so plant with ferns for keeping the area looking green and full.

Osmunda cinnamomea
Cinnamon fern
An usual fern that gets a cinnamon colored spike coming up through the center of upright lacey fronds toward the end of summer. Doesn’t mind brighter locations as long as it isn’t too hot, but does best in moist shade. Looks great as a group planting.

Panax quinquefolius
North American Ginseng 
Like Goldenseal and Ramps, Ginseng can be very picky about the specific spot it is planted in. Start with a small number of plants and grow them for a year or two before investing in a large planting. Beautiful plants – highly endangered and in need of sanctuary.

Polystichum acrostichoides
Christmas Fern
This is one of my favorite ferns – fronds are not frilly or lacey – makes a real statement that seems to just emanate “North American forest”… leaves stay green pretty through the winter too. Loves acidic forest soils – likes to grow with moss and mushrooms.  A great native fern. It is called Christmas fern as it usually looks fabulous in December and can be used in wreaths and other evergreen decorations.

Sanguinaria canadensis
Bloodroot
Bloodroot is a gorgeous spring ephemeral and woodland medicinal herb. Enjoys plantings in well drained shady woods. Leaves are dramatically shaped and very endearing with elegant white flowers in early spring.

Stylophorum diphyllum
Celandine poppy
Although it can take over an area, celandine is great in spots with other fast growing spreaders – they’ll keep each in check. Bright yellow flowers continue blooming from spring through the summer. A medicinal herb and dye plant. Leaves are blue-green with lighter undersides. Plants grow in a crown and are easy to pull if they get out of hand. But a non-picky and easy to grow plant, hardy and beautiful.

 


Part Shade / Dappled Shade / Edges and Borders


Adiantum pedatum
Northern maidenhair
Nodding and airy fronds seem to float on thin shiny black stems… one of the most enchanting of ferns, this one is a huge favorite for me. They enjoy shade and do pretty well in dappled sun as well. The maidenhair leaf shape is one of the most aesthetically pleasing design shapes … Ginkgo trees share it - and I excitedly started a small stand of these ferns under my ginkgo tree.  A great accompaniment to other native shade-loving perennials – with an unusual look – really adds to any plantings it is grown with. Naturally found in woodlands throughout Eastern North America. Easy to grow and will naturalize lightly if planted in loose, rich, woodland soil.

 Allium cernuum
Nodding onion
A lovely member of the onion family that is native and wild. A perfect addition to woodland and edge guilds. Even does ok in meadows and more sunny locations, although I find it gets more flowers in dappled shade. Flowers are held up allium-style – these are pink and nod and bob in the breeze. It gets about 1.5 feet tall. Rocky walls are perfect. Prefers well-drained soil and pretty drought tolerant once it gets established.

 Anemone canadensis
Canadian anemone
Have plenty of space to plant this robust native. Elegant and simple white flowers bloom en masses from spring to early summer. Gets about 1.5 feet tall, but well-leafed and bushy – a nice companion for celandine. Can really brighten up shady spots and edges.

Aquilegia canadensis
Wild Columbine
A rocky woodland native – found in crevices and sloped spots throughout our Eastern woods. Looks like a miniature of the ornamental columbines – with red and yellow flowers. Spreads lightly by seed. Native to almost all of the states east of the Rocky mountains.

Aralia racemosa
Eastern Spikenard
This is turning into one of my favorite plants to grow. A super medicinal, purifying, and tonic herb. A magical essential oil is made from this plant. It is large – spreading into an almost-shrub. Beautiful leaves of a light and bright green. Gets hanging clusters of wine red berries in July and August. Also called Life-of-Man and Menominee Blood Medicine, this is a major herb in the Native American tradition. Very hardy and native to this area. Ginseng Family (Araliaceae)
Spikenard needs rich woodland style soil and part shade to fully shaded conditions.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Uva Ursi or Bearberry 
A low growing bush – pretty much a ground cover. Very attractive shiny dark green foliage. Needs acidic woodland soil and part shade. This is another important medicinal herb, especially for UTI and other kidney and bladder complaints - it is a strong diuretic and antiseptic herb.

Asclepias verticillata
Horsetail milkweed
Although this type of milkweed is rare to find in this area in the wild, it is a nice addition to a native milkweed collection especially since it likes a shadier position than the more common milkweeds. Leaves are thinner and finer than regular milkweed, but they provide the same larval (caterpillar) food / breeding ground for monarchs. This milkweed gets pretty clusters of  white flowers that draw in pollinators like crazy. Deer resistant and will spread gently by seed and root. Easy to grow and hardy.

 Aster divaricatus
White wood aster (syn. Eurybia divaricata)
This wonderful plant just appeared for us… gets hundreds of tiny daisy like white flowers that bees and other pollinators adore in September and October. A lovely way to get bees extra food before the winter. Likes shady spots - I’m experimenting with it now in dense shade. But it does great under native shrubs like Carolina All-spice (Sweetshrub), Spicebush, Clethra (Summersweet), and Beautyberry. Needs well-drained dryish soils… native for Eastern N.A.

Aster novae-angliae
New England aster
This seems to be our honeybees’ go-to flower in fall. Blooms range in color from lavender-pink to blue-purple. Plants can get quite tall and can fall over – so give them space. I had to move a bunch that I planted too close to other plants that were getting smothered. Great as cut flowers too – if you can get past all the bees! Dramatic big and showy purple plants! I would plant the NY Aster if you have a wet spot, and NE Asters in a drier spot.

Baptisia australis
False blue indigo
This shrub has always been a favorite of mine – I love the pea like foliage and flowers. I went through a stage where I wanted all the new and cool ornamental colors, but I have to say that I am back to loving the original native blue. Baptista is a nitrogen fixer, so it is a great companion for any group planting of perennials or shrubs. Give it time to get established and protect from deer. I did a planting with Blue Flags and Amsonia and it is stunning!

Callicarpa americana
Beautyberry 
American Beautyberry gets a plethora of pinkish white flowers in early summer that turn into magenta-purple berries in clusters along the branches in late July and August. The foliage is a light chartreuse color and the contrast is very dramatic. Nothing seems to bother this native shrub. Berries are not edible but they are not terribly poisonous either.

Calycanthus floridus 
Sweetshrub or Carolina All-Spice
Another favorite native shrub. Forms a dense stand of branches – at maturity will take up about 36 square feet and be about 6 feet high. A great spot for birds to take refuge… Bright green leaves – shiny and attractive. And it gets great smelling mini magnolia shaped flowers in deep brick red. Super gorgeous native.

Ceanothus americanus
NJ Tea or Red Root 
I have started using the wonderful herb, Red Root, more and more. This is a wonderful hardy and no-nonsense native shrub. Gets pretty clusters of creamy white flowers in spring and early summer and very cool fruits/seeds in fall that make a wonderful food for ground dwelling birds. The whole plant smells great. Likes a dry spot in part shade. Doesn’t mind full sun either especially if planted with other shrubs and small trees. The roots make a lovely red colored tea that was used as a tea substitute during the American Revolution.

Clethra alnifolia 
Summersweet
Another gorgeous flowering native shrub. This native species is a creamy white flowering version (there are a bunch of colors now available.). The fragrance of the flowers is stunning and there is no wondering why it attracts so many butterflies and other pollinators! Fills out into a nice stand once it gets established. Make sure it has plenty of water while young.

Collinsonia canadensis 
Stoneroot  
An “At Risk” forest dwelling native medicinal herb. Stoneroot gets quite large and does well planted with other large-styled native woodland plants such as Spikenard and Black Cohosh.  - Endangered. Does well in shade and part shade. Collinsonia is known as the go-to herb for building the strength and vitality of veins. Great for any weakened veins like varicose veins, hemorrhoids, etc. It is also used for digestive issues. Stoneroot is a member of the mint family, but with unusually strong emetic action in the leaves. From July to October, the plant produces blooms held aloft in a triangle shape filled with tiny orchid like yellow flowers. They also have a lemon scent. Roots should be harvested for medicinal use of mature (3-year-old) plants in fall. You’ll find that the roots are remarkably hard – like stone!

Crataegus phaenopyrum
Washington Hawthorne
The heart tree – used as a wishing tree – a tree often associated with fairy mounds. Also hawthorn has a long tradition of use for heart issues. It is a small tree or really a large shrub. This is the only shrub where I get to see Cedar Waxwings. It is a great tree for supporting birds and other wildlife. 

Dicentra eximia
Wild Bleeding Heart
Bleeding Heart plants are very popular in shade and part shade plantings – this is the wild original version – it has less showy flowers, but I find them much more interesting and endearing, and they are held in long swooping curves. Foliage is well-cut and gorgeous.

Gaultheria procumbens
Wintergreen
Wintergreen is a wonderfully minty scented woodland shrub – which like Uva Ursi, gets only a couple inches from the ground. It should not be used internally, but it makes a great herbal salve for muscle aches and sprains, as well as for arthritis and acute rheumatism. Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving. Makes a very unusual and fun native ground cover.

Geranium maculatum
Wild geranium
A perfect shady meadow plant with a wonderful almost rosy scent. Forms nice clusters and is easy to grow and very hardy. Deer usually leave it alone. Great under all sorts of native trees and shrubs. Whitish-pink flowers. and a wonderful We are back on track with this great woodland native! Beautiful well-cut leaf shape. Used medicinally for its astringent properties. This is a very common herb to find on edges and light woodlands – it seems imperative to include it with native plantings if you don’t already have it growing!

Grindelia robusta or G. squarrosa
Gumplant or Gumweed 
A native that is extremely under-utilized by gardeners. Gumweed is a short-lived perennial with dandelion like foliage and small daisy-like yellow flowers held up on stalks. Doesn’t mind poor gravely soils and likes dry conditions. Part sun or Full Sun. A good meadow plant. This is a plant with a long and tested history of medicinal use. Native Americans used it for treating colds and infections. And in 1860 it was recognized as an official drug by the U.S. for treating and preventing poison ivy reactions. Use plant fresh as a poultice for a poison ivy rash, or dry for use as a tea. 

Hamamelis virginiana
Witchhazel
A must have for a collection of special medicinal native herb shrubs! Witchhazel gets flowers remarkably early in the late winter and is a great source of food for any early emerging bees and pollinators. The flowers are also pretty cool to see peeking through the snow on its branches!

Impatiens capensis
Jewelweed
A very common native - but a must-have, so I always try to have a couple potted up and ready at the plant sales just in case someone needs it. Likes moist semi-shade and grows into nice colonies spread by seeds. Used as a very effective poison ivy treatment. Stems are succulent, and simply rubbing the juice over an affected area greatly reduces itch, swelling, and healing time.

Lindera benzoin
Spice Bush
The only larval food plant of the Spice Bush Swallowtail – and awesome species necessary in any diverse insect population! And the caterpillars are amazing looking. Spice bush makes a stand out of itself – about 36 square feet and 8 feet high – this is perfect for providing shelter and refuge for all sorts of bird species. Even my chickens take advantage of it! It likes wet spots and shade – does a bit better if grown in well-drained and brighter spots. Gets bright yellow leaves in fall that make a glow in your shady locations!

Mahonia aquifolium
Oregon Grape 
Not an eastern N.A. native, as you could probably surmise from the name -  but an important herb and worth growing in this part of the country. A substitute medicinal for the endangered Goldenseal and source of berberine. A great alterative herb – restoring balance and well-being through the bodily systems. And it makes a great wildlife shrub. Looks a lot like Holly – thick pointy shiny leaves that turn brilliant wine red in dormancy. Clusters of bright yellow flowers stand out brilliantly against the foliage and turn into blue colored grape-like berries. A hardy and fulfilling plant to grow.

Matteuccia struthiopteris
Ostrich fern
This is the largest of the native ferns for this area. It does well in shade to but really thrives in part shade or even damp meadows as long as there is plenty of water. Can grow pretty well in full sun if it is cooled by being along a running stream. These will spread – but they make edible fiddleheads in the early spring, which if you harvest them, will keep the spreading under your control. Fronds have the classic fern shape but are waist high.

Monarda bradburiana
Eastern beebalm
Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supporters. M. bradburiana is a tall monarda, getting about 4 feet high. It has flowers held up  at the tops of the stalks that are large and fluffy in a very pale almost white lavender with wine colored spotting. It is my favorite color monarda. But this one is not quite native for this area  - it occurs naturally in the middle states of the country. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade…

Monarda didyma 
Beebalm
Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supporters. M. didyma is a tall monarda, getting about 4 feet high. It has dark red flowers held up at the tops of the stalks that are large and fluffy. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade…

Monarda fistulosa
Wild bergamot
Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supportors. M. fistulosa is a tall monarda, getting about 4 feet high. It has flowers held up at the tops of the stalks that are large and fluffy with a pinkish-lavender color. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade… M. fistulosa tends to be more drought tolerant and less prone to powdery mildew than the others…

Monarda punctata
Spotted beebalm or Horsemint
M. punctata is a particularly restorative species for many species of bees and butterflies, providing vast amounts of nectar and may even provide resistance to honeybee varroa mites because of its extremely high amounts of concentrated thymol (more than what is in thyme itself!). It is also considered the main food source for the endangered Karner Blue, which is a native butterfly in this area – or hopefully still in this area… Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. Monarda punctata is particularly high in phytochemicals – it is probably the strongest medicinally. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supporters. M. punctata is a sprawling monarda, getting about 2 feet tall. Flowers are amazing – they are held in whorls along the stems and are white and cream with dramatic green bracts. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade…

Myrica pennsylvanica 
Northern Bayberry 
This is a wonderful small shrub that yields bayberries – that make wonderful, heavenly scented  candles. Bayberries will form large colonies over time. You do need a male and a female to get berries, and I cannot sex the trees until they are much older than potted trees can be… I am trying to get some non-natives that come to me sexed for our 2019 Plant Sale, just because after waiting years for some shrubs to mature, I’d like to know I’ll at least get some bayberries!  

Oenothera berlanderi
Pink Evening Primrose
These pink evening primroses get about 3-4 feet tall and spread quite aggressively when they are happy. They are easy to grow and very hardy. They also bloom a long time, making  them into a very attractive landscape plant. Blooms from May until July, with some periods of blooming on and off until frost in the fall. Supposedly also enjoys full sun, but I haven’t tried it…

Oenothera fruticosa
Yellow Evening Primrose or Sundrops
For some reason I have always grown evening primroses in part shade areas – but they are supposedly great for full  sun too. They do fine in part shade though. These yellow evening  primroses get about 1-1.5 feet tall and have bright yellow butter-cup like blooms. Easy to grow and they spread very nicely and don’t really push other plants out of the way. I have a patch growing with Solomon’s Seal and Maidenhair Ferns and they are stunning. They are naturally found in dry, open fields as well as edges and open woods from Nova Scotia to Florida.

Onoclea sensibilis
Sensitive fern
This fern is not hardy and robust – it is just sensitive to frost – but completely perennial. Sensitive ferns have a wide frond pattern – I think it’s the only fern with that type of broad frond… very cool and very bright green – really lights up shady spots. Will spread and naturalize dramatically, and is very adaptable. A patch naturalized in my hot and sunny greenhouse. 

Passiflora incarnata
Maypop Passionflower 
A twirling and fast growing vine that gets the most amazing and mind blowing flowers. They also get passionfruits, which are cool but the flowers are the whole point for me! The leaves are used in herbalism as a sedative. I find them to be a bit ify in this particular climate, about an hour east and/or south of here, they seem to be much hardier. They come back every year for me in a protected spot that warms quickly in the spring.

Pycnanthemum flexuosum
Appalachian mountain mint
A great native plant, very robust – a great stabilizer for slopes with strong roots that acts as a swale. Forms a nice stand as it naturalizes. Flowers are quite large and globular and upper leaf bracts aren’t as pale as in the other mountain mints, so they are shown off more dramatically. Great mint scent and like the other mountain mints, Appalachian blooms a long time. It is also a specific larval food plant for the Gray Hairstreak Butterfly. One group of plants I sold last year went off to their new homes with Gray Hairstreak eggs on them! I plant all my Mountain mints along the outside of my garden fence, as deer don’t bother them, and they just seem to call in the pollinators and other beneficial insects.

Pycnanthemum incanum
Hoary mountain mint
This is a pretty fluffy looking mountain mint – a bit weedier looking than the others … but the pollinators love it. And I love plants that get whorls of blooms in groups along the stems, so this is a winner for me. The other mountain mints have their flowers situated at the tops of the stems.

Pycnanthemum muticum
Short-toothed mountain mint
This is very similar to P. virginianum – but it has a more civilized look to it – leaves are wider and smoother and the flower heads have less petals, making them also more organized looking. The flowers get a pink tinge to them as well and the upper leaf bracts are more silvery than P. virginianum. It is a great nectar source for many, many native butterflies. Could be grown in full sun too.

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium
Slender mountain mint
Densely branched with fine pointy foliage and topped with white flowers. Taller and more delicate look than the other mountain mints. Great combined with Grass-leafed Goldenrod and Wild Quinine. Forms a lovely stand that acts as a magnet for pollinators in the late summer. 

Pycnanthemum virginianum
Classic Mountain Mint
Forms a dense stand that pulls in pollinators from miles around – this is the mountain mint that I first fell in love with – since then, I’ve collected more and more species, but this retains a big space in my heart. My original stand has a corner position on the outside of my garden fence and it only gets more and more gorgeous each year. Deer resistant, easy, and hardy. As the summer draws on, the leaves on the tops of each stalk start to turn pale silver and then end with a pincushion like flower head. Alluring plant – and the foliage smells like super cold and fresh mint. In August, it looks like the whole plant is moving, it is so full of insect life!

Scutellaria lateriflora
American Scullcap 
North American native perennial – related to the Asian scullcaps but used very differently in herbalism. American scullcap is used for stress and anxiety, and is prized as anerve tonic or nervine. It would make a lovely companion for Solidago caesia as it shares the arching and sprawling nature. Gets small pinkish purple flowers along the underside of the branches in July. Aerial parts are harvested and usually used fresh in a tincture as the dry material loses much of its efficacy quickly. A smart native herb to grow to be able to have access to it fresh. Likes full sun too. Nourishes and heals the nerves, calms anxiety, anti-spasmodic, gentle sedative, great for insomnia.

Solidago caesia
Bluestem goldenrod
This is a clump forming, non-invasive sprawling goldenrod. Gets little whorls of yellow flowers all along the arching stems. Pretty blue green foliage and great for insects and pollinators. An unusual cutflower too – very attractive in vases. Likes dry partially shaded locations.

Stylophorum diphyllum
Celandine poppy
Although it can take over an area, celandine is great in spots with other fast growing spreaders – they’ll keep each in check. Bright yellow flowers continue blooming from spring through the summer. A medicinal herb and dye plant. Leaves are blue-green with lighter undersides. Plants grow in a crown and are easy to pull if they get out of hand. But a non-picky and easy to grow plant, hardy and beautiful.

Tradescantia ohiensis
Spiderwort
A fun native – that blooms in the mornings and closes in the evening, even in a vase. I started growing this plant for cutflower production as I loved the drama of the shape of the ray-like  leaves surrounding the flowers. Can deal with full sun too. Flowers are a bit changeable – ranging from pink to purple to blue. Blooms all summer long.

Veronicastrum virginicum
Culver's root
A dramatic and tall plant of bright creamy spires. Related to veronica and much more wild in style. Looks awesome with Mountain mint plantings. Hardy and long lasting once it gets established. Naturally found in open woodlands and moist meadows. A significant Eastern N.A. native.

Viola labradorica
Laborador Violet 
Violets are a major medicinal herb and an underappreciated garden plant. Violets are the larval food plant for the fritillary family of butterflies. Laborador violets are smaller in stature than the typical weed violets in most people’s gardens. And they have very dark purple foliage and bright white with a tinge of purplish pink flowers. Very cool. A good substitute plant for bugle weed. Super hardy zone 3 – native to a bit north of here - Laborador.   

Xanthorhiza simplicissima 
Yellow Root 
Yellow Root (not to be confused with Yellow Dock) is bright in every way – the foliage is a light green and roots are yellow. A very attractive spreading plant with high medicinal value as an alterative and immune boosting herb. It is the only member of its genus and is a part of the buttercup family. Hardy and easy to grow as long as it is in well-drained soil. Flowers are purplish brown… I am a sucker for brown flowers… and I love bitter rooted plants – for their wonderful medicinal panels of nutrients. Yellow Root is a rare herb to find in gardens and a rare herb as well.

Zizia aurea
Golden Alexanders
A fun little plant that I don’t understand why it is not more popular. Naturally found in moist light woods, damp meadows and bottomlands east of the Rocky Mountains. This is a very attractive plant with deep green well-divided leaves and triangular shape as it grows. Great yellow flowers in large umbels in late spring. Butterflies flock to it!



Riparian / Marshy Spots


Acorus americanus
Sweetflag
Sweetflag is right at home with Blueflag and the Lobelias. It is a great medicinal herb and has highly enjoyable sweet spicy scent to the leaves. It seems like the more water it stands in, the more flowers it forms. Flowers are subtle cone like spikes in light green. Absolutely a wonderful stabilizing species for all watery spots. Thoroughly supports wildlife in the water and around the water.


Asclepias incarnata
Swamp milkweed
This is probably the most ornamental of the native milkweeds in this area. Plants have thinner leaves, much like willow leaves, than the common milkweed and the plants have a bit more fullness. They reach about 3 feet tall and are topped with two-tone pink and magenta flowers. The scent is extremely alluring - may be my favorite flower scent. It is reminiscent of eggnog or vanilla … can’t even describe it. Wonderful plant! Has all the monarch-benefits and also feeds a plethora of other insects and pollinators. Doesn’t mind some wetness.

Aster novi-belgii
New York aster
A very local native of the Mid-Atlantic states. Very attractive and large in stature. Flowers can be a variety of colors from white to pink to purple. Blooms in fall, and is a great honeybee and pollinator plant. It also does well in wetter spots and moist meadows. I would plant the NY Aster if you have a wet spot, and NE Asters in a drier spot.

Caltha palustris
Marsh marigold
This is a northern hardy native of ponds, stream banks, and marshes. Starts out as a robust clumping plant, but will reseed itself and naturalize into a large stand, especially if the site is moist enough. Wonderful bright butter-cup like flowers appear in spring dotting over the bright green cordate foliage. Quite resistant to deer.

Eupatorium fistulosum
Joe Pye weed or Queen of the Meadow
This is a giant plant – growing to over 6 feet tall with great arches of thick stems and large light green leaves that are topped with shimmering mauve flowerheads in summer. These flowers are extremely attractive to all sorts of butterflies and other pollinators. It is a particularly important nectar plant for swallowtails butterflies of all species. Its height makes it excellent as a background plant in borders and although it needs plenty of water, it does fine in well-drained garden beds as well as moist meadows. A majestic plant that is adored by beekeepers as well as native wildlife enthusiasts.

Iris versicolor
Blueflag
A very robust and hardy wild iris with a bright purple-blue color. Forms strong mounds of rhizomes, great for holding banks near water. Leaves are large and sword-like. Hummingbirds enjoy it thoroughly and it looks great with the lobelias.

Lobelia cardinalis
Cardinal flower or Red lobelia
Forms lovely and solid clumps of rosette style shiny leaves with red spires rising from them in summer into early fall. Hummingbirds adore this plant. Can reach great heights of almost 6 feet. Loves water – I grow this one along with Blue lobelia in tubs of water for filtering my aquaponic setup. Flowers are a brilliant red. Can withstand some shade too, although the spires of flowers aren’t as full looking. A classic herb, although due to side effects, has fallen out of favor. A must have for any native planted pond or wetland.

Lobelia siphilitica
Great blue lobelia
Thick spikes of brilliant wedgewood blue flowers – thickly cover stands of this wetland native. Doesn’t mind very wet feet, I grow it in filters tubs of water for aquaponics. Attracts tons of butterflies and bees. A classic herb, although due to side effects, has fallen out of favor. Hummingbirds love it too. Blue lobelia is very robust and can deal with periods of dryness. Naturalizes well and pretty deer resistant.

Verbena hastata
Blue Vervain
A stately and striking entity – very tall with fork-like dark purple flower heads. A high medicinal herb – anti-anxiety, nervous system tonic, and nervine. Enjoys drier spots as well but make sure you keep this beauty well-watered. Self-seeding annual - makes a million and half seeds, but I’ve never had it take over – just a couple pop up here and there where they are needed.

Zizia aurea
Golden Alexanders
A fun little plant that I don’t understand why it is not more popular. Naturally found in moist light woods, damp meadows and bottomlands east of the Rocky Mountains. This is a very attractive plant with deep green well-divided leaves and triangular shape as it grows. Great yellow flowers in large umbels in late spring. Butterflies flock to it!

 

Full Sun / High Meadow 

Agastache foeniculum
Anise hyssop
Don’t confuse this plant with Anise or with Hyssop, which are both completely unrelated. Although this plant is really a native to the Midwest and Great Plains, it does fit in nicely in this part of the country. Really seems to love farm life – popping up by gently spreading seeds near barn walls and fences. Leaves are heart shaped and soft and have an anise scent. They are great used in baking and cooking. Flowers are borne at the tops of the stalks in tight fuzzy cylindrical clusters of purple. A great native plant. Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies all seem to adore it. It popped up voluntarily in our beeyard. Korean Hyssop is a similar plant that we also sell at our plant sales, and there are some ornamentals which are not cold hardy in this area. But a special place must be held for Anise Hyssop each season!

Andropogon gerardii
Big bluestem
Could definitely be considered the king of the native grasses, getting over 6 feet tall! It is a handsome entity with grayish green blades that change to more green in summer and then to a deep red and finally a shimmering orange. A very attractive although very large clumper. It gets very cool looking three piece seed heads in late August. Drought and wet tolerant, this is an adaptive and hardy grass. We started growing and selling a group of native grasses for use as Beetle Banks a couple years ago and people seem to love the idea. This is a tall perennial grass that forms a clump where good beneficial beetles and other bugs can use for winter hibernation and as a breeding ground. Very nice in the vegetable garden to provide a perennial undisturbed spot to harbor these good bugs.

Amelanchier alnifolia
Saskatoon Serviceberry
A wild native and very hardy edible berry. Great for wildlife or for jams! Serviceberries can be grown anywhere the blue berries do well. Very attractive pink ripening to blue-berry colored berries and red leaves in fall make this an attractive bush for landscaping. Some people are now calling these Juneberries. Might be a bit hardier than the Allegheny…

Amelanchier canadensis or A. laevis
Allegheny Serviceberry
Another species – more eastern in its original native habitat. Service berries are wild native and very hardy edible berry. Great for wildlife or for jams! Serviceberries can be grown anywhere the blue berries do well. Very attractive pink ripening to blue-berry colored berries and red leaves in fall make this an attractive bush for landscaping. Some people are now calling these Juneberries.

Aronia melanocarpa
Chokeberry
Sometimes called Viking Berry. Don’t confuse with Chokecherries, which are unrelated trees.
Aronia Bushes grow fast and are heavy producers of edible berries, which are great for both wildlife and human use. Although they are not sweet, they are mild and refreshing, and can be made into very tasty jams and jellies. Like most native berries, Aronias have super high levels of antioxidants. Grown as a stand, the shrubs make a wonderful and supportive environment for natural systems.

Asclepias incarnata
Swamp milkweed
This is probably the most ornamental of the native milkweeds in this area. Plants have thinner leaves, much like willow leaves, than the common milkweed and the plants have a bit more fullness. They reach about 3 feet tall and are topped with two-tone pink and magenta flowers. The scent is extremely alluring - may be my favorite flower scent. It is reminiscent of eggnog or vanilla … can’t even describe it. Wonderful plant! Has all the monarch-benefits and also feeds a plethora of other insects and pollinators. Doesn’t mind some wetness.

Asclepias syriaca
Common milkweed
This is the common native classic milkweed with the large thick leaves and big pods that grows easily in this area. It is best known as the larval food plant and breeding ground of monarch butterflies. It is also a host to close to 50 other species of insects – an amazing ecosystem on one plant! These plants get big and can spread by seeds or can act as perennials, coming back  up from the roots in early spring. The big globes of waxy pink flowers are simply stunning. And the pods are fun and interesting in the late summer and fall.

Asclepias tuberosa
Butterfly weed
Is very different from its cousin, A. syriaca. Plants are shorter, and bright orange flowers are held in tufts above the bushy styled plants. Monarchs love it just the same though. A. tuberosa likes dry soil and is quite a tough and drought-tolerant perennial native. Great plant for supporting all sorts of pollinators and insect life

Asclepias verticillata
Whorled or Horsetail milkweed
This a great native meadow milkweed with creamy white flowers and fine leafed pointy light-colored foliage. A great addition to a milkweed collection and monarchs and other insects love it just the same! Although I did find that it took the monarchs a bit more time to recognize it as it is less common in this area. Like all milkweeds, it is deer resistant. 

Aster novae-angliae
New England aster
Blooms ranging from blue-purple to lavender-pink pop in the late summer and fall landscape. A large, showy native aster that is a must-have autumn nectar source for pollinators.

Baptisia australis
False blue indigo
Blue spikes of pea-shaped flowers resemble the tall racemes of lupines in May and early June. A slow to mature, but very rewarding native garden perennial. Found in open woods, river banks and sandy floodplains, New York to Nebraska to Georgia.

Comptonia peregrina
Sweetfern
Sweetfern is not a fern but a wonderful smelling – very bayberry like scent - shrub with fern like leaves – similar in style to the Sensitive Fern. They form beautiful stands of magical foliage. They particularly like dry and acidic soil  and are semi-evergreen although many of the leaves turn bronze in deep winter.

Echinacea angustifolia 
Coneflower
E. angustifolia is an endangered native herb that can be tricky to grow. This is an endangered native herb and worth giving a try especially if you have a spot that is dry and sunny. This is a native meadow herb - -naturally occurring in the Great Plains. Leaves are long and thin compared to E. purpurea. Roots are used medicinally as a tincture or tea. Echinacea is an immune stimulant and should not be used by people with immune system issues such as auto-immune diseases. It should not be taken as a preventative against colds an flus. Echinacea is a short-term herb. 

Echinacea purpurea
Purple coneflower
A classic entity for all herb gardens and brings in butterflies like crazy! Easy to grow in well drained sunny spots and they tend to form a nice naturalized clump in a couple years. Protect from deer pressure. A great medicinal herb especially mixed with E. angustifolia.

Sambucus canadensis
Elderberry
We have a variety of Elderberry species for sale as multiple varieties lead to better berry production. The S. canadensis is the native species and are wonderful plants producing plenty of medicinal flowers as well as berries.

Eupatorium fistulosum
Joe Pye weed or Queen of the Meadow
This is a giant plant – growing to over 6 feet tall with great arches of thick stems and large light green leaves that are topped with shimmering mauve flowerheads in summer. These flowers are extremely attractive to all sorts of butterflies and other pollinators. It is a particularly important nectar plant for swallowtails butterflies of all species. Its height makes it excellent as a background plant in borders and although it needs plenty of water, it does fine in well-drained garden beds as well as moist meadows. A majestic plant that is adored by beekeepers as well as native wildlife enthusiasts.

Eupatorium perfoliatum
Common boneset
A common weed in this area – this one was here when we moved in twenty years ago. Unusual  leaf and stalk structure – light silvery slightly fuzzy foliage, topped with white puffy flower heads. Monarchs seem particularly attracted to its nectar. Flowers in August. Loose, white, flat-topped flowers over deep green foliage with hairy stems. Does good in moist spots but really thrives in normal well-drained garden soil. Boneset is a classic medicinal herb as well as a great pollinator and butterfly plant.

Helianthus tuberosus
Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke
These are real strong and aggressive spreaders. Plant in a spot with lots of space to take over. Sometimes trimmed by deer but no worries – it doesn’t seem to affect them in the long run. Related to sunflowers, they get tall (sometimes over 9 feet tall!), and they get a splash of bright little sunflower shaped flowers in the late summer and early fall. A great edible perennial – the sunchokes are tubers just under the soil surface. Don’t worry about killing it off when you dig the roots – it will all  come back the next season even if you think you were super diligent about getting every tuber! Sunchokes are delicious with a flavor similar to artichoke hearts. Great sauted with other vegetables.

Hibiscus moscheutos
Swamp rosemallow
A fun plant with huge flowers – really doesn’t feel like a native. Can die back all the way to the ground, but comes back up again in late spring. The flowers each only last a day, but another will appear soon! Large leaves and large flowers – protect from deer.

Monarda bradburiana
Eastern beebalm
Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supporters. M. bradburiana is a tall monarda, getting about 4 feet high. It has flowers held up  at the tops of the stalks that are large and fluffy in a very pale almost white lavender with wine colored spotting. It is my favorite color monarda. But this one is not quite native for this area  - it occurs naturally in the middle states of the country. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade…

Monarda didyma 
Beebalm
Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supporters. M. didyma is a tall monarda, getting about 4 feet high. It has dark red flowers held up at the tops of the stalks that are large and fluffy. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade…

Monarda fistulosa
Wild bergamot
Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supportors. M. fistulosa is a tall monarda, getting about 4 feet high. It has flowers held up at the tops of the stalks that are large and fluffy with a pinkish-lavender color. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade… M. fistulosa tends to be more drought tolerant and less prone to powdery mildew than the others…

Monarda punctata
Spotted beebalm or Horsemint
M. punctata is a particularly restorative species for many species of bees and butterflies, providing vast amounts of nectar and may even provide resistance to honeybee varroa mites because of its extremely high amounts of concentrated thymol (more than what is in thyme itself!). It is also considered the main food source for the endangered Karner Blue, which is a native butterfly in this area – or hopefully still in this area… Monardas are a classic Native American herb and make a lovely tea that is great for boosting the immune system, energizing, and uplifting the spirit. Monarda is also full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for colds and flus. Monarda punctata is particularly high in phytochemicals – it is probably the strongest medicinally. They are members of the mint family and will form a large clump, but won’t take over like mint. They are fabulous insect, pollinator, and birds supporters. M. punctata is a sprawling monarda, getting about 2 feet tall. Flowers are amazing – they are held in whorls along the stems and are white and cream with dramatic green bracts. Monardas can grow in part sun or full sun, but I prefer to plant them in part sun as I find they get less powdery mildew with a bit of shade…

Panicum virgatum
Switchgrass
We started growing and selling a group of native grasses for use as Beetle Banks a couple years ago and people seem to love the idea. This is a tall perennial grass that forms a clump where good beneficial beetles and other bugs can use for winter hibernation and as a breeding ground. Very nice in the vegetable garden to provide a perennial undisturbed spot to harbor these good bugs. Switch grass has blue green foliage turning bright yellow in autumn. It gets graceful pale seed heads that start appearing in late summer and remain quite attractive into winter. These are tough and easy to grow and very adaptable to any conditions.

Parthenium integrifolium
Wild Quinine
Not related to the malaria-treating tropical Quinine of the Cinchona Tree, but it shares similar qualities in helping the body combat threats to the immune system. This is a native North American meadow and prairie plant with a long history in Native American herbalism. Immune enhancing properties, treatment for kidney and bladder issues… Grows into a nice clump which gets tall stems topped with very unusual white flowers. Very similar in structure to yarrow and it likes the same conditions. A must-have for any Native American herb collection. It is also an attractive plant that supports many native beneficial insects. Prefers full sun. Gets about 2-3 feet tall; an unusual herb plant to find in the garden. Taste is a bit bitter, but root as well as aerial parts make a nice tea. Moves the lymph system, great for colds and sore-throats. Good as a tincture too if you find it overly bitter.

Pycnanthemum flexuosum
Appalachian mountain mint
A great native plant, very robust – a great stabilizer for slopes with strong roots that acts as a swale. Forms a nice stand as it naturalizes. Flowers are quite large and globular and upper leaf bracts aren’t as pale as in the other mountain mints, so they are shown off more dramatically. Great mint scent and like the other mountain mints, Appalachian blooms a long time. It is also a specific larval food plant for the Gray Hairstreak Butterfly. One group of plants I sold last year went off to their new homes with Gray Hairstreak eggs on them! I plant all my Mountain mints along the outside of my garden fence, as deer don’t bother them, and they just seem to call in the pollinators and other beneficial insects.

Pycnanthemum incanum
Hoary mountain mint
This is a pretty fluffy looking mountain mint – a bit weedier looking than the others … but the pollinators love it. And I love plants that get whorls of blooms in groups along the stems, so this is a winner for me. The other mountain mints have their flowers situated at the tops of the stems.


Pycnanthemum muticum
Short-toothed mountain mint
This is very similar to P. virginianum – but it has a more civilized look to it – leaves are wider and smoother and the flower heads have less petals, making them also more organized looking. The flowers get a pink tinge to them as well and the upper leaf bracts are more silvery than P. virginianum. It is a great nectar source for many, many native butterflies. Could be grown in part shade too.

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium
Slender mountain mint
Densely branched with fine pointy foliage and topped with white flowers. Taller and more delicate look than the other mountain mints. Great combined with Grass-leafed Goldenrod and Wild Quinine. Forms a lovely stand that acts as a magnet for pollinators in the late summer. 

Pycnanthemum virginianum
Classic Mountain Mint
Forms a dense stand that pulls in pollinators from miles around – this is the mountain mint that I first fell in love with – since then, I’ve collected more and more species, but this retains a big space in my heart. My original stand has a corner position on the outside of my garden fence and it only gets more and more gorgeous each year. Deer resistant, easy, and hardy. As the summer draws on, the leaves on the tops of each stalk start to turn pale silver and then end with a pincushion like flower head. Alluring plant – and the foliage smells like super cold and fresh mint. In August, it looks like the whole plant is moving, it is so full of insect life!

Schizachyrium scoparium
Little bluestem
A lovely native, clumping grass that is easy to grow  - in spring and summer blades are green, with wispy flowers and seeds in late summer, and turning orange and then wine red in autumn.
We started growing and selling a group of native grasses for use as Beetle Banks a couple years ago and people seem to love the idea. This is a tall perennial grass that forms a clump where good beneficial beetles and other bugs can use for winter hibernation and as a breeding ground. Very nice in the vegetable garden to provide a perennial undisturbed spot to harbor these good bugs. Little Bluestem is tough and easy to grow and very adaptable to any conditions.

Scutellaria lateriflora
American Scullcap 
North American native perennial – related to the Asian scullcaps but used very differently in herbalism. American scullcap is used for stress and anxiety, and is prized as anerve tonic or nervine. It would make a lovely companion for Solidago caesia as it shares the arching and sprawling nature. Gets small pinkish purple flowers along the underside of the branches in July. Aerial parts are harvested and usually used fresh in a tincture as the dry material loses much of its efficacy quickly. A smart native herb to grow to be able to have access to it fresh. Likes full sun too. Nourishes and heals the nerves, calms anxiety, anti-spasmodic, gentle sedative, great for insomnia.

Solidago graminifolia
Grass-leaved goldenrod
(syn. Euthamia graminifolia var. graminifolia)
This Goldenrod is shaped very much like St. John’s Wort in its growth habit – tall and upright with fine foliage and a fan shape of golden flowers. It is adored and cherished by bees and butterflies and all sorts of beneficial wasps and flies. Common in this area and bit of a weed, but I always have some potted up in case it is needed. Great as a cutflower too.

Solidago rugosa or canadensis
Goldenrod
This is the classic goldenrod with the arching fuzzy yellow flowers. It is adored and cherished by bees and butterflies and all sorts of beneficial wasps and flies. Common in this area and bit of a weed, but I always have some potted up in case it is needed. Great as a cutflower too.


 
Trees 

And take a look at our full Tree and Shrub List

Asimina triloba
Paw Paw 

Carya ovata 
Shagbark Hickory 

Catalpa speciosa 
Catalpa or Bean Tree

Diospyros virginia
Persimmon

Larix laricina
American larch 

Platanus occidentalis
American Plane Tree or Sycamore

Maclura pomifera
Osage Orange

Magnolia virginia
Sweetbay Magnolia 

Sassafras albidum
Sassafras Tree 



New for 2019 

Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia
Eastern bluestar
Easy to g row and very adaptable, Amsonia is a gorgeous small shrub. Flowers for weeks with clumps of small light blue star shapes blossoms. Forms a nice stand; enjoys full or part sun and well-drained soil. Foliage is attractive and willowy.

Aster cordifolius
Blue wood aster
A small blue aster for edges and under trees - likes dry conditions. Great pollinator and bee plant for fall. Unlike NY and NE Aster, these are short sprawling plants with clouds of tiny blue daisy like flowers. A delightful native.

Carpinus caroliniana
Hornbeam - American
I am excited to start growing some American Hornbeam seedlings this fall. It is a beautiful native tree with a ton of presence. 

Chelone glabra
Turtlehead
A very pretty native with shiny foliage and white flower spikes. A great addition to moist plantings – I am hoping that planting a group of these will bring in Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies, which is species I am missing here.

Chionanthus virginicus
Fringetree - White
I fell in love with the leaves of this tree and then saw that it was a native! The flowers are awesome too – super fragrant and fluffy and cloud like. Birds love the fruits. You do need both males and females for fruit to form. The male flowers are a lot fancier… It doesn’t mind a wet area.

Heliopsis helianthoides
Smooth oxeye or false sunflower
A native wild version of the sunflower. The flowers are smaller than the garden sunflowers, but the plants get tones of them -they are truly gorgeous when planted in a group. And the flowering goes on for months! Self sows and naturalized wonderfully. A butterfly and bee magnet!

Juncus effusus
Soft rush
I am excited to add Juncus effusus to my wetland plants. Great companion for the iris and acorus…

Lonicera sempervirens
Trumpet honeysuckle
Native honeysuckle – next year I am propagating Japanese Honeysuckle for its use with treating Lyme Disease, so I thought I should balance it with some native. This is a vining style honey suckle – with large sweet tasting nectar rich flowers. Hummingbirds adore it. And it makes lovely red berries that birds enjoy.

Meehania cordata
Meehan's mint
This is one of the new natives I am most excited about – I feel like I had this in my yard as a child and can’t wait to have it growing again here. Groundcover – can be a great substitute for Bugle weed or Lamiums… Turns into a carpet of blue flowers in late spring, with foliage looking good throughout the summer.

Mimulus ringens
Allegheny monkeyflower
Very cool flowers and a great plant for making flower remedies – the British version is a part of Bach’s original 38 essences. Flowers range in color from light pinkish to blueish purple and kind of look like a monkey face – pansy like I suppose. An attractive and unusual plant to include in the garden.

Porteranthus trifoliatus
Bowman's root
Also called Indian Physic or American Ipecac, this is a great addition to bright woodland plantings. It doesn’t mind being planted right in with tree roots. Lacey white flowers bring in light and seem to shimmer, and contrast dramatically with the dark stems and foliage. Easy and Hardy, I don’t know why I haven’t grown this before!

Vernonia noveboracensis
New York ironweed
I’ve been seeing this plant making a gorgeous deep purple haze over meadows and fields as I am driving in August. Loves moist spots and is easy to grow.

 

One of our priorities when gardening and choosing plants to add to the diversity of the land under our stewardship is native status. If I'm trying to decide between two different plants, and one is native and one isn't, the native always wins! Plus, there is an authenticity to filling the open spaces with a diversity of natives. 

Native plants need our help. Many have been overharvested or have simply had their territory developed. Some have been weakened by ornamental versions hybridizing with them. And many more get crowded out by more aggressive foreign plants. So, it is very important to nurture the natives for your area of the world. 

 Native plants support native wildlife including pollinators and birds. They also are safe and good sources of food for honeybees. Many are fabulous herbs - using herbs and making medicines from herbs that are native to your living area makes good sense! 

 And I find growing natives particularly fulfilling and rewarding - I feel like I am restoring what was supposed to be there. And indeed I am - although I suppose I am also actively creating mini ecosystems to support and nurture the natives I find most interesting and appealing to plant... and natives are gorgeously beautiful!

Certified Organic Native Plants and Herbs

Although planting any number of native species is a noble endeavor, you will get the most response and the most health and longevity from planting a stand of the same species. Stands are large groups of plants - usually a filled in patch of about 10 x 10 feet (100 square feet) or larger. 

 And note it doesn't need to be a square! In my herb garden, I like to use perennial natives stands as natural swales for both water retention as my gardening space is on a slope, and the swales also are protective of more delicate herbs. As the curved beds of natives mature, they drop leaf litter and gradually build soil around their bases. They also form formidable root structures that form underground barriers and swale-like structures. 

 I also like to think of natives in terms of guilds - or groups of plants that support one another. Choose a group of 6 species that naturally grow together with similar environmental needs. Often these groups will require plants species of different heights and functions. As they grow over the years, you'll see amazing development as the taller plants start to change and influence the microclimate within the guild structure. Other species will appear in the guild that you can't believe you neglected to choose originally ... and again lots of insect and bird life. It really seems like all these things are just sitting, waiting, right below the surface of our recognition, and finally spring forth as the natives get established... it is truly magical. And I have seen this happen even in a small hugelkultur mound garden that only was about 30 square feet!   

We only are officially open during the Spring, and we will have all of the following natives plants ready for sale at our Spring Plant Sales. But if there's something you see on our list during another time of the year, please feel welcome to email us and see if we have any available. We do have quite a few of the perennials available year round (although in winter they will be dormant)...

There are also other great resources for native plants in our area! Check them out here! 

Native plantings are super important for regenerating and restoring the natural landscape. Once you start planting them - things change. And the changes happen dramatically and much faster that seems possible. The land is spring loaded, waiting for us to bring these plants back and care for them in such a way that they thrive and spread. As the natives you planted start naturalizing, you'll notice other native plant species volunteering, and multiples of insect and bird species will start appearing and making themselves at home.

 

midsummer Farm

Here is our list of natives we love growing in this area and that we have for sale at our Spring Plant Sales: