Scenes of summer

Our backyard meadow garden in the summer(Enlarge) ©Janet Allen
Our backyard meadow garden in the summer

This meadow-like area has a lot of grasses and wildflowers, whose nectar attracts butterflies and bees. We enjoy watching the activity as we eat our meals out in the back yard.

Some of the flowers seen in this view, roughly from left to right, are:

  • Brown-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta) - It's nice to have some of these, though they're overused, they spread a lot, and I don't especially like the golden color. I compost a lot of these to try to keep it under control.
  • Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), a favorite of clear-wing sphinx moths (sometimes called hummingbird moths) - I like these especially because they're such a good nectar plant
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) - so easy to grow, and they provide both nectar and seeds for birds (when not dead-headed)
  • Missouri primrose (Oenothera missouriensis) (the yellow flower in front) - gigantic flowers; a low, spreading shape (but the plant itself doesn't spread)
  • Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) - another great easy-to-grow nectar plant
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky') (the bluish-green patch of grass) - one of many cultivars available. Although in general I think it's environmentally preferable to plant species, I have to admit that the cultivars are easier to incorporate into the garden. The one "plain" switchgrass I have is pretty floppy.
  • Gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) (the patch of yellow at the top right) - I especially love the leaves on this plant.
Side garden in the summer(Enlarge) ©Janet Allen
Side garden in the summer

I planted some of each of these plants, but have just let them grow and reseed. So … I also pull extras out frequently. These are all great nectar plants.

One plant in the photo that isn't as widely known is the candelabra-looking plant with small blue flowers: vervain (Verbena hastata).