|Beach sunflower is a colorful summer favorite|
But as time goes on I am drawn more and more to our resilient, adaptable natives. One that was slow to grow on me (pun intended) was the Ocala anise, a shrub we use as a foundational plant along our back fence. Last year when we planted them, I had to water them literally every day for months. I think I would have ripped them out if not for the the fact that I invested so much sweat equity in getting them in our root-infested back yard to begin with!
The anise have been amazingly carefree and drought-tolerant this year.I haven't given them any supplemental water since May and they look very happy.
Likewise with the coontie. I now realize that there is some point during every year when the coontie looks like it is at death's door, then it just bounces right back.
This summer I have added a few native wildflowers, with the emphasis on "wild." Some have grown so large and so abundantly they appear to be on steroids. The two narrow-leaved sunflowers planted last year have become multiple plants this year -- and they are nearly 9 feet tall! I had to stake most of them up to keep them from toppling over from sheer bulk, and they haven't even bloomed yet.
|The distinctive Scorpion Tail|
Another champion wildflower this year is the delicate, leafy scorpion tail, with its distinctive curly white "tail." Again, I started with two plants. Those two spread so rapidly and became so large I've had to prune them 3 times already to keep them from literally taking over my butterfly bed.
|Mistflower can become invasive, and requires reining in occasionally|
|A close look at dotted horsemint |
reveals its exquisite beauty
|Tropical sage with GIANT|
narrow-leaved sunflowers in back
I have been noticing lovely dotted horsemint blooming along roadsides and in wild areas, and am hoping the lone horsemint planted this year in my garden will morph into a whole family next summer. I've left it some room to roam in anticipation.
Other natives I have just planted this year include spiderwort, blue-eyed grass, iron weed, greeneyes and elephant's foot. Most were given to me by friends who are just as enthusiastic about these True Floridian as I am becoming. With many natives so hard to find except at specialty nurseries, sharing extras from your garden is a great way to promote their increased use in residential landscapes.
I'd love to know what native wildflowers have caught your fancy this summer!