Spring Natives

May 4, 2012 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

It is time to finish up all that spring cleaning and preparation for the warm weather because now it is here! It is time to get outside and start doing. Buckle up and get ready. Every season of the year is busy and exciting in its own way, whether it is the color change in fall or winter snow angels. I particularly enjoy this spring time because everyone is planting their favorite flowers as well as experimenting with some new varieties.

Today I want to provide you all with some great plant options that are native to Wisconsin and fulfill all different kinds of purposes. If you have never planted a garden or native plants before you should give it a try. It is the season for it!

Asters are a great option because they attract cardinals, goldfinches, sparrows, chickadees and more. They come in tons of different species and thrive in Southern Wisconsin.

Blazing star is colorful and cyclic shaped. It has a bright color that will accent any garden and attract birds too.

Prairie dock is bright yellow and attracts finches. Finches have a beautiful song that will compliment your morning cup-o- joe.

Sunflowers will always attract birds that feed on the seeds. As well as you can keep some of the seeds for yourself as a little snack.

Blue Vervain, despite its name, is actually more of a purple color but beautiful nonetheless. The leaves are also edible and can be used in teas.

Butterfly weed with its endless amount of nectar and bright orange color can’t be resisted by butterflies and other insects; also it is a great plant for a rain garden.

Turtle head is a white and blooms up toward the sun. It’s beautiful and delicate looking.

Now that you have just a little taste of what’s out there in terms of possibilities lets briefly talk about some tips and tricks for planting natives. Stay away from seeds if possible, it is much more risky and it takes about 3 years before native plants bloom from a seed; stick to transplanting. Stay away from using organic material derived from wood (sawdust, bark chips ect) as it will take up all the nitrogen and hinder the growth of your plants. Make sure you aerate the soil very well and get rid of ALL weeds. Dig down about a foot if your soil is very compacted to ensure circulation.  This gives you a great opportunity to mix in compost or peat moss as organic matter for fertility. Both aerating the soil and adding compost for nutrients with aid in water infiltration.

Hopefully this has inspired you go out and plant some Wisconsin natives. Gardening is very relaxing and therapeutic especially if you are planting some of these marvelous, colorful varieties.

Best of Luck,

EnAct Intern Kelsey

image credits: flowerstracy.blogspot.com


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