Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winter Weeds, Pt 2

Continuing from last week's post, here are 10 more native wildflowers that, though dried out, are still standing in the middle of winter.

Fertile fronds of the Sensitive Fern
The first is the fruiting stalks of the Sensitive Fern.  While the fronds of this fern are among the first to die back in the fall, these stalks are quite persistent through the winter.

The next image is of Shrubby Cinquifoil.  While not a wildflower per se, it does have a similar appearance in the winter.  Left to their own these small shrubs can form a tangled mass of branches.  Annual removal of about 1/3 of the older branches gives a good balance of flowers, neatness and size.
These dried flowers of Shrubby Cinquifoil
stand above a mass of branches.
The Orange Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans are classics in the winter landscape.  The Orange Coneflower has spiky, black to dark-brown seed heads.  These look really nice sticking out of the snow, and the seeds provide food for overwintering birds.
Orange Coneflower seed heads are nearly round,

Black-eyed Susan's seed heads are definitely cone-shaped
and are lighter in color than the Orange Coneflower.
Next I have the annual/biennial Black-eyed Susan.  During bloom season the flowers look very similar to the Coneflower, but this species has a laxer habit.  In winter you can see that the light colored seed head is very different.

Wild Petunia after a rare snowfall (this year).

My Wild Petunia is usually crushed under the snow in the winter.  But this year it is still upright.  The dried stems have a silvery cast that is enhanced by the long fine hairs that cover this plant. 

This Blue-stemmed Goldenrod
still has its narrow leaved attached.

Many of the Goldenrods (Solidago ssp.) persist well into winter.  I've captured three species here.  The first is the Blue-stemmed Goldenrod.  This species has flower clusters in the leaf axils all along the stem.  Zig-zag Goldenrod (S. flexicaulis) is another species that also has flowers originating from the leaf axils.  
The second goldenrod I'm showing here is the Seaside Goldenrod.  It has flowers in long terminal sprays.  
The third species is Showy Goldenrod.  This one grow tall and upright with flowers in a terminal plume.  It blooms early in the season, but stays upright through most of the winter.

Seaside Goldenrod blooms later in the season
 and tends to hold its fuzzy white seeds later, as well.

Showy Goldenrod has a strong presence even though
 the flowers are long gone.
Another species that I wanted to show is Stiff Goldenrod (S. rigida), but this early blooming species does not hold up well into the winter.  My plants tend to disappear around the middle of December.

Meadowsweet is lanky spreading shrub that may be difficult to use in a formal landscape.  But it grows under many difficult conditions, blooms all summer and is very attractive to native bees, so I am using it around my house and trying to learn how to tame it.  It also has a nice presence through the winter.
Meadowsweet flowers remain intact all winter.
Swamp Verbena is free-seeding native perennial.  It started in the flower bed and is now growing out of the driveway.  The flowers, borne on little spikes, are rather small considering the overall size of this plant, but I have found that they can be cut back by nearly 1/2 in June and be of a more appropriate size for the garden.
The afternoon sun caught on these Swamp Verbena flower spikes
inspired me to take a closer look at the other plants in my yard this winter.

Now that I've checked out the plants around my house, I'll need to make a trip out to some 'wilder' places to see what's happening.

1 comment:

Going Native said...

I leave my natives standing in the winter as well. I'm getting a bit tired of brown, but at least there is some interesting structural elements in the garden. Great post.