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Native Perennials for Lasting Beauty

Gaillardia (Blanket Flowers)

Blanket Flowers are beautiful additions to any perennial garden. Native to the US, they are low maintenance, and tolerate poor soil as long as it is well-drained. They are pleasing to the eyes with their bright yellow to red blooms, and brown to deep red centers. Blanket Flowers are good choices, if you are planning a pollinator garden, as they attract many varieties of bees and butterflies.

Blanket Flowers can be sensitive to rich soil and over-fertilization. Be mindful not to fertilize too often. They grow best in full sun and are heat-tolerant. If planting from seed, your Blanket Flower(s) will likely bloom in its second year. However, if you purchase plants from a local garden center, you will see blooms during purchase or shortly after.

 
Echinacea (Coneflowers)
 Coneflowers are beautiful native perennials,  and herbal remedies used for generations.  The Plains Indians, and early settlers utilized the purple coneflower for illnesses such as colds and upset stomach. The plant’s salve was used for treating external wounds. Echinacea Tea (an herbal tea concocted from the leaves and petals) may have immune boosting properties, as well as anti-viral and anti-inflamamation properties.  
 
Echinacea like Elderberry or St. John’ s Wort is deemed a supplement, therefore its healing properties are not fully substantiated by medical research. Consult your physician before ingesting supplements, as herbs might interfere with prescription or Over-the-Counter Medications.  Echinnacea in the yard or containers are attractants for bees, butterflies, and birds. They grow best in full sun, and well-drained soil. 
Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)

 Black-eyed Susan grows all across the United States.  A person can plant them from seed, or purchase the plants from a local garden center. They are natives, and attract a variety of pollinators in summer, and birds in fall and winter when they produce seed.  Black-eyed Susan is a resilient plant, with the fortitude to tolerate drought and poor soil.

They love full sun but will tolerate part shade.  Take time to deadhead, and you will encourage more blooms to develop, and help establish a sturdy, compact plant. If your area is prone to local wildlife such as deer and rabbits, consider planting repellent plants (  rosemary or lavender) nearby to keep them from making a meal of your Black-eyed Susan(s).

 

Yarrow (Achillea)

Yarrow is a hardy plant that withstands a lot of adverse conditions from poor soil to drought, yet  it does not like shade. Plant in full sun, but give it plenty of room to grow, as Yarrow can become invasive. Yarrow is also an excellent choice, if your goal is to attract pollinators. Butterflies and bees will flock to your garden to visit them daily.  Early Native Americans used this plant medicinally for mental disturbances, such as depression and anxiety. There have been studies that suggest, though not proven, that Yarrow can assist with ADHD. However do not take any herbal derivative prior to consulting your doctor. 

 

Coreopsis (Tickseed)
 Tickseed is a tall delicate looking flower that grows well in zones 6 through 8.  Pinching off spent blooms often, encourages new blooms throughout the summer. If you cut the plants back by 1/3, halfway through summer, it  generates new blooms late in summer and  into early fall.  Tickseed’s name derives from its seeds that resemble ticks.  The seeds are a favorite of goldfinches in fall and winter, and the flowers are prized by pollinators in summer. Tickseed loves poor well-drained soil, and are drought-tolerant once established.  Mulch well in winter and say hello again in spring.