Sunday, July 20, 2008


My absolute favorite nursery had a going-out-of-business sale this weekend. They liquidated their entire stock. Everything was half off...That equals paradise.

My prairie had these plants:
Black-eyed Susans
Swamp milkweed
Cup Plant
False Indigo

Today I added:
Two Pawpaw trees: (Asimina)

Paw Paw tree and hooper
There's another one back farther in the grass. I chose Pawpaw for one reason: Isabelle. She is bonkers for caterpillars and butterflies, and the Pawpaw is the sole host plant for zebra swallowtail caterpillars. I hear the fruit is pretty good, but I don't see us eating a whole lot of them.

Queen of the Prairie: (Filipendula rubra) Huh. A member of the rose family???
Queen of the Prairie
Queen of the Prairie is a strikingly beautiful plant. It can reach heights of 6 or 7 feet, and the hot pink flower panicles can be 8 inches across. As a native plant, it has nearly NO problems other than foliar disease (a few spots on the leaves). The panicles resemble pink foam. By far, my favorite native plant. I planted three, and under moist conditions, it can form colonies. My prairie can be quite soggy in spots, so I am hopeful for lots more! Can you imagine a whole field of this stuff???

Big Blue Stem
Big Blue Stem. (Andropogon gerardii Vitman)

This was the chief grass of the tallgrass prairie, is very nutritious for cattle, and is being investigated for a forage/commercial hay product. This gorgeous grass can get 3 to 10 feet tall! The two specimens I have are about 4 feet tall now. I can't help but think of all of Julie's prairie posts when I look at this beautiful thing.
The stalks form seed heads in three spikes, giving us the common name of "turkey foot". Birds love the seeds and the stems turn blueish purple as it matures. I tried little blue stem in the front of the house last year and I already have volunteers popping up in areas that birds have dropped the seeds. Oh! In the fall, the stems are a orange/yellow hue and rustle in the wind.

Macro Queen of the Prairie
(Macro of the Queen of the Prairie)

Black Swallowtail on Butterfly bush with wasp
Hello, sweet little black swallowtail! (And little wasp!)
Another good plant to put in your yard....simple butterfly bush. It smells great and the butterflies can't resist it.

Now that my native plant supplier will be gone forever I need to find another. What am I going to do? (If you have some cool plants native to the Eastern US, please send me cuttings!)


LauraHinNJ said...

I love queen of the prairie, too. I have it in my little bog garden and it's crowded out by the joe pye weed, so it never grow very big, but it's beautiful.

Great finds!

John said...

Ooh, I like the Queen of the Prairie! I'm not sure if I have come across that on walks around here.

Mary C said...

Your Queen of the Prairie made me think of cotton candy. That sure is a pretty pink.

KatDoc said...


You may be disappointed with your paw-paws if you have planted them in the prairie. Paw-paws are understory trees and are very sensitive to UV light. If you can't plant them in the shade, you should use some sort of shade cloth to protect them for the first couple of years.

nina said...

Yay for your Paw Paw!
I didn't "get" the zebra swallowtail connection until just a couple of weeks ago.
Now, it's the plan to have one--what a difference one little plant makes!

Hoe all your transplants do well!

Mary said...

Good stuff! I just learned about Pawpaw. I have zebra swallowtails but I can't find the PAWPAW :O/

RuthieJ said...

Lovely plants Susan! Good luck with them. Are you Zone 5?
I've never seen a Zebra Swallowtail either (we're too far north). Be sure to post a good picture when you get one--just for me, OK??