Tag Archives: Plants

Howard Bright’s Thoughts On The Rochester Cemetery Article

This was a great article about the Rochester Cemetery in Iowa

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/VideoNetwork/913944130001/Exploring-an-Iowa-pioneer-cemetery

It reminded me of my first years in Iowa.  In 1970, I was a Soil Scientist working for the Soil Conservation Service.  Little did I know that I would be mapping the soils of Rochester Cemetery.  I was mesmerized by the diversity of plants and the feeling that I got as I walked over this special place.  Still, I remember eating my balony and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches over the noon hour and just sitting there being overwhelmed as the spirits of the past meshed with the earth and her special treasures adorning the gravesites.  This is where I learned to sense the vibrations of Iowa native plants and how different the feel was there in that cemetery compared to the feelings I got while traverseing acres and acres of corn and soybean fields.

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Plant Native Plugs Now By Following These Simple Steps From Ion Exchange, Inc.

Follow these simple steps to get your native garden going with live plant plugs:

  • Select the proper species just right for your region and environment.  Select color, bloom time, soil moisture required and sunlight conditions.
  • Eliminate all competition from existing vegetation by tillage or using a burn down herbicide such as Roundup.
  • Group your plants by species and plant in clusters to make sure you get a real burst of color during flowering time.
  • Space your plants approximately one foot on center but you may leave a greater distance between clusters.
  • Of course, plant taller species in the background so as to not to hide shorter species.
  • Use a dibble bar to plant your plugs.  A dibble bar can be hand made.  If you are in loose soil that has been tilled, you may use your hand or hand trowel but in harder untilled soil, you will need a planting device called a dibble bar that you can create or purchase.
  • Make sure your live plants, when planted have good soil contact with minimal air space around roots.  Insure this by heeling in the plants without injuring them and water them right away.
  • Mulch the entire area with approximately 4 inches of mulch.
  • You will need to maintain your garden by eliminating any unwanted weeds or species that tend to spread.
  • You may want to move some of your species in the future because you do not like the aesthetics.  You can paint your own picture after you get a feel for what looks good to you.

Earthyman

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If You Love Wildflowers and You Love To Photograph Them Watch This Great Video From Matthew McDaniel on How To Photograph Wildflowers

Matthew McDaniel’s Video on How To Photograph Wildflowers : How to Become a Better Photographer.  When You’re On A Nice Walk or Hike and come across Wildflowers What’s The Best Way To Photograph Them?  Well Watch This Video and Find Some Helpful Ideas.

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Article On Whats in Bloom: Silphiums for fall (native prairie plants), tough species that need little water | Max’s Greener Places

Whats in Bloom: Silphiums for fall (native prairie plants), tough species that need little water

‘Drought tolerant’. That is the description we all want to hear, and will most certainly need to hear as time goes by and water becomes increasingly expensive, and perhaps scarce in some regions. Four silphiums make up the family : Compass plant, cup plant, rosin weed, and prairie dock all present bright sulphur yellow blooms, and large tough leaves.

Max’s Greener Places

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Comment On Earthyman’s Best Butterfly Plant Video of Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) at Ion Exchange, Inc., in Northeast Iowa

Comment on You Tube from mrilovetheants:   Loads of Monarchs there, and what looks to be a Great Spangled Fritillary at1:55 middle left. Those aren’t that common, you must have lots of Violets in your forest.

Response from http://ionxchange.com/ Yes, we have lots of violets at our woodland edge.

Earthyman views the best butterfly plant at Ion Exchange, native seed and plant nursery in NE Iowa. Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) will attract butterflies to your prairie perennial garden. Blazingstar is a perennial prairie wildflower

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Summer Blooming Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) at Ion Exchange, Inc.

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Product Description

Yarrow, (Achillea Millefolium) is very common to fields, pastures, disturbed areas, roadsides, previously disturbed prairies and open sites throughout the Tallgrass biome. Tiny white flowers in umbels at the top of the plant bloom from June to September. Feathery, fern-like leaves up to 5 inches long. Generally reaches about 1 1/2 feet tall but does grow slightly taller in some places.

Achillea after Achilles of Greek mythology who is said to have used it medicinally and millifolia meaning “thousand-leaved”.Asteraceae Family – “Common Yarrow, Gordaldo, Gordoloba, Milfoil, Knight’s Milfoil, Milfoil Thousand-leaf, Bloodwort, Woundwort, Devil’s Plaything, Green Arrow, Thousand Leaf, Thousand-seal, Thousand-leaved clover, Cammock, Carpenter Grass, Dog Daisy, Wooly Yarrow, Nosebleed Weed, Old Man’s Pepper, Sanguinary, Soldier’s Woundwort”

Earthyman views Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) at Ion Exchange, native seed and plant nursery in NE Iowa.

Indiangrass is a Perennial Native Prairie Grass that works as a Great Barrier and is Very Deep Rooted so Controls Erosion

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The Prairie Ecologist Sunflower Article

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This is a Great Article from The Prairie Ecologist on Sunflowers Click Link Below

Prairie Ecologist Sunflower Party Time Article

 

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Liatris: Blazing Star of Prairie and Garden

Liatris is a tough and undemanding prairie plant, tolerant of poor soil and less-than-ideal moisture situations. It’s also a perennial border standout and florist’s staple. The long-lasting blooms of this summer- and fall-blooming American native attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. This is one wildflower that stands out wherever it’s planted, be it roadside, naturalized area or formal garden.

Identification
Some 30 species of liatris are native to nearly every state east of the Rocky Mountains as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. A number of the species and several cultivars are considered worthy of the ornamental garden. Early American settlers called this member of the Aster family “blazing star” or “gayfeather” because of its bright bottle brush-like flowers. Another pioneer name, “colic root,” referred to its medicinal use as an intestinal antispasmodic. Some types of liatris were known as “devil’s bite” or “button snakeroot” because of their reputation as a remedy for snakebite, particularly from rattlesnakes.

Image
Monarch on L. aspera

The foliage of liatris is spiky and grass-like, with leaves that are larger at the base of the plant and become smaller at the top.  In mid- to late summer, the stems produce many tiny, star-like florets. Unlike most other spike-flowered plants, liatris (with the exception of L. aspera) opens from the top of the spike downward, rather than from the bottom up. Depending on the variety, the spikes’ blossoms may be purple, pinkish-purple or white, and grow from 1 to 5 feet high. In the fall, liatris foliage turns an attractive shade of bronze, and the dried stalks serve as swaying perches for birds attracted to the seedheads.

Culture
Liatris plants prefer full sun but will accept some degree of shade. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils, but most require a well-drained situation. Plant in either early spring or in late summer or early autumn, spacing the plants about 1 foot apart. Watering regularly during its first year helps liatris become established, after which it becomes fairly drought-tolerant. Avoid overwatering, because it can cause plants to rot, and don’t overfertilize, because it can cause the flower stalks to flop. 

Depending on the species, liatris may emerge from a corm, rhizome or elongated root. Once liatris matures, you can propagate it by dividing large clumps in the spring, just as the leaves are emerging. Use a knife or sharp spade to separate the corms or roots.

Varieties
Many kinds of liatris are readily available from nurseries and garden centers. Even small plants often bloom the first year they are planted, and they become more impressive every year. Species liatris are also readily grown from seed. Some varieties to look for include:

Image L. scariosa (Eastern blazing star, New England blazing star, tall gayfeather) typically grows from 2 to 4 feet. If cultivated in a more fertile setting, it may require staking. The lavender, rose or white flowers resemble buttons, with individual flower heads growing from short stalks coming off the stem.
Image L. aspera (rough blazing star) features pink flowers on 1- to 3-foot spikes, blooming from August through October. Hardy to zone 4, this liatris prefers dry to moderately moist soil, and can be found growing in sandy fields and dunes.
Image L. pycnostachya (prairie blazing star, Kansas gayfeather, cattail gayfeather or button snakeroot) is hardy to zone 3 and prefers moist or even wet sites. The flowers may be purple, rose-purple or white, and appear on 2- to 5-foot spikes between July and September.
Image L. ligulistylis (meadow blazing star, round-headed blazing star, showy blazing star) prefers moderate moisture, and can be found growing in meadows, prairies and along the banks of streams. Pink to purple, 3- to 5-foot flower spikes appear in August and September. This liatris is particularly attractive to butterflies and is hardy to zone 4.
Image L. punctata (dotted blazing star or spotted gayfeather) is a drought-tolerant native of the Great Plains. Its long tap root makes it useful for xeriscaping. Pink flowers appear on 1- to 2-foot spikes in July through September. L. punctata is hardy in zones 4 through 8.
Image L. spicata (dense blazing star or spike gayfeather), hardy to zone 3, likes moisture and is found in marshes and meadows. Its rose-purple flower spikes reach 1 1/2 to 5 feet in August and September. Among the hybridized forms of L. spicata are ‘Alba’, with pure white flowers and ‘Floristan Violet’ with strong, bright violet stems. ‘Kobold’ is a small, compact plant, reaching only 18 to 24 inches high, with deep purple blooms.

Garden Uses
Liatris is an obvious choice for providing color to a naturalized planting, where it pairs well with prairie grasses, echinacea and coneflower. It’s also right at home in more formal settings, where the tall stalks provide punctuation and contrast to mound-shaped perennials. The warm rosy-purple blooms of liatris are a good foil for yellow flowers such as goldenrod, coreopsis and later-blooming golden daylilies, as well as silver-leaved plants like lamb’s ears and wormwood. Although the spikes look handsome planted in large groups or drifts, they also work well planted here and there as single accents. Shorter cultivars are best appreciated near the front of the border. Taller varieties needn’t be relegated to the rear of the garden — they make great “see-through” perennials, adding texture and variety to the border when you place them in front of shorter plants. 

Liatris and Critters
Image
In my research about liatris, I learned that this plant is beneficial to the diet of deer and antelope, and can be used as food for grazing livestock such as sheep. Although I have no livestock, my urban garden is home to herds of rabbits and chipmunks. Unfortunately, these critters do more than just nibble foliage — once they bite through a tall stalk, you can say goodbye to its flowers for the season. After bunnies decimated most of my magnificent 5-foot-tall white L. pycnostachya, I salvaged the remaining two stalks by wrapping them in plastic netting (the kind that oranges come in) up to about 12 inches — not pretty to look at, but preferable to gnawed stumps.

Cutting and Drying
Floral arrangers favor tall stems of liatris for adding a colorful vertical element to their designs. You can also use liatris in dried arrangements. Whether you’re harvesting the flowers for fresh or dried use, cut the stalks when the flowers are only one-half to two-thirds open. Liatris is easy to preserve by hanging the stalks upside down and allowing them to air dry for several weeks. Good air circulation is important as the flowers dry, otherwise they are apt to become moldy. Drying liatris in a dessicant such as sand or silica gel may help preserve more of the flower’s bright color.


Photo credits:
thumbnail by wallgrom
butterfly on L. aspera by mccormaka
L. spicata by Sentrawoods
DG Member photos:
L. scariosa by poppysue
L. aspera by sittingbones
L. pycnostachya by ADKSpirit
L. ligulistylis by Moby
L. punctata by Joy

L. spicata by Floridian

Article Taken from DavesGarden Website

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Wild Petunia – Ruellia humilis Harvest at Ion Exchange, Inc.

Earthyman views Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis) harvest at Ion Exchange native prairie seed and plant nursery in NE Iowa.

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