In this blog I will write about my experiences of using North American native plants in the residential landscape in the Mid-Atlantic US. In particular, I will focus on working with Native Annuals and Biennials and how they can add surprises to the garden.
On looking back on an older post from May 2010, I realized that I had misidentified a native Spiraea. While I had initially planted both Meadowsweet and Steeplebush in this spot, only the Meadowsweet had survived. This became evident while visiting my sister last week. I had given her a couple of pots of Steeplebush that I had grown from seed last year because she has a moister site, preferred by that particular species.
In this photo of Steeplebush, Spiraea tomentosa, gone to seed, you can see the the tight, upright flower plumes (typically pink to purple) and the deeply veined leaves, indicative to that species. While I think it would be happier growing out in a moister area of the yard (growing to 4' tall), it appears to have a very nice form growing in a pot. Maybe this is another 'Natives in Pots' candidate. I'll have to see if I still have some leftover seed.
Meadowsweet, Spiraea alba, on the other hand has looser flower panicles (white to pale pink) and the leaves are not as deeply veined. The specific variety I have, Var. latifolia, is native to drier upland sites, which explains how well adapted it is to growing around my house. Mine bloomed continuously from early June until October and was a favorite of the bees.
It just goes to show, no matter how badly you want to have a plant, sometimes it just isn't there.
After about 20 years working in the field of organic chemistry, I decided it was time to start a second career. I have always had an interest in things botanical, especially species that are native to a particular locale. I decided that the best way to follow this interest and educate others about the wonderful plants that grow in their own region was to train to become a landscape designer. I completed the Landscape Design certificate program at Harvard's Landscape Institute in 2009 and have since launched my own business, Adams Garden, where I do both design and residential landscape maintenance.
In 2012 I moved to Knoxville, MD where I am continuing to evaluate native plants and work on removing invasive plants from the property.
In addition to use of native plant species, I am also engaged in creating natural habitats and the use of sustainable practices in both design and maintenance.