native plants

12 Native Flowers, Easy from Seed

Bee pollinating partridge pea, Chamaecrista fasciculata

I vividly recall watching my first marigolds and zinnias sprout, grow, and flower once upon a long-ago summer. As summers came along, I had further easy victories with cosmos, poppies, bachelor’s buttons, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and morning glories. The adults in my life wisely gave me easy seeds. Success bred confidence and good memories.

But looking back, I can’t ignore the facts: None were native plants. Plants with regional roots were simply not part of the conversation.

April's wildflowers: Fleeting bright spots in the spring forest

Red Trillium, Trillium erectum

I've heard them called ephemerals. Indeed, they tend to be small, bright, and short-lived. Aside from providing us with a pop of color in the still-brown landscape, spring ephemerals provide sustenance to early insects such as queen bumblebees. Ephemerals sprout in unlikely places, peaking out from beneath leaf litter, between tree roots, along streamsides, and in vernal pools. Here are some that greeted me from April 20 -22.

See more articles on spring ephemerals:

Slow down to see spring's ephemeral flowers

What to know about native plants now

Got parks in your community? Increased information about native plants and more commercial availability are opening new possibilities for these ecological powerhouses in the municipal realm. Read about new developments in my article for the fall 2013 newsletter of the Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions. Download the PDF below. Lots of good links and references at the end! Happy reading.

Evolution of Lakeside Buffer Garden

Lake Hayward buffer garden protects Eightmile River watershed.

Waterside buffer gardens offer lots more than summer blooms (though they surely do offer those). They help sequester storm water and road runoff, keeping unwanted nitrogen and road pollutants from public water bodies. Through the joint efforts of several organizations, a new buffer garden was installed at Lake Hayward, East Haddam, CT this year.

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