Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mayapple and Native Wildflowers

The photo is of our first leaf of a Mayapple that we planted last Fall. Since it's near the pond, I think of it as a covered picnic area for the frogs. I planted it near the pond, just in case we had any dreaming frogs that desired such a canopy.

The common name refers to the May blooming of its apple-blossom-like flower. Although the leaves, roots, and seeds are poisonous if ingested in large quantities, the roots were used as a cathartic by Native Americans. The edible ripe golden-yellow fruits can be used in jellies.

I discovered a new site called, Celebrating Wildflowers, which helps to educate the public about the many values of native plants. The site activities emphasize:

* The aesthetic value of plants - a field of wildflowers is a beautiful sight
* The recreational value of plants - picking berries is fun for the whole family
* The biological value of plants - native plants support other life
* The medicinal value of plants - chemicals from plants help combat sickness
* The economic value of plants - plant material such as floral greens are commercially valuable
* The conservation of native plants - protecting and maintaining native plant habitat

My favorite area is "Why Garden with Native Wildflowers?" It saves time and money and natural resources to use native plants. We have been establishing our habitat with natives and it's been incredible to us how they require no care. They've been bred to survive on their own, but it's amazing to see it happen in your own backyard.

Visit the site to learn more.

If you'd like to find native plants for your yard, the LBJ Wildflower Center site has a search where you can choose your state and soil and sun conditions and find which plant works.

Natives make gardening a whole lot easier because they don't need to be fussed over once they are settled in. They're certainly the "green" choice since they don't take water or fertilizer and they are more resistant to bugs and typical garden problems.

During a drought we can really see the difference in our garden between the natives and the common nursery stock.

The wildlife know the difference also since natives bloom and produce food at the right time for the wildlife cycles. What an amazing web of beauty it all is when it's working together.

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