Soon to Bloom — Part II (May)

A nod to the most deer-resistant plant I have…


Getting to Know the Natives In Your Backyard, A Month at a Time

Someone once asked me: “What is your favorite native plant in your yard?” I couldn’t answer them on the spot…it was just too challenging of a question. Each season brings with it new favorites. Some, I like for their colors. Some I enjoy for the birds they attract. Some I love because they are just so unique. Like the prairie lovegrass below. All spring and summer it is slowly reaching out from below the mulch. (In May it resembles spikes of straw.) By August it is a full on show of bushy grass that easily tolerates heat and drought. We have ours situated on the south facing side of our house, hiding our AC units. Then, by September/October it turns this amazing lavender pink and it begs you to run your hands across it while you walk by. Now that is a favorite for sure! It’s practically therapeutic.


Purple Lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis) in the top portion of picture

But, if you were to ask me, what’s my favorite deer resistant plant in my yard?

It would have to be one that is actually soon to bloom. It is ironically, one of the only plants that “came with the house” when we bought it fifteen years ago. I love its beautiful purple flowers. It is known as Amsonia “blue ice” or Dwarf blue star. I was hard pressed to find a botanical name for it, but when I finally did, it was: (Amsonia tabernemontana). But don’t quote me on that.

It forms nice mounding clumps, and makes an excellent ground cover, as it only reaches about a foot or so in height. Come fall, it turns to a lovely yellow color. Here is what it looks like in my garden right now. It is just about ready to bloom:

Amsonia Blue Ice
Amsonia Blue Ice

We now have it in two places on our property, and here it is in full bloom on the right hand side of this photo from last year (see below). Diminutive purple flowers that look like little stars on bright green foliage. When we started transforming areas of our property to native plantings with the guided eye of David Hughes of Weatherwood Design, I was happy to see another area of our garden become home to a plant I already had a fondness for.

The deer, they do not touch it. The only complaint I can make on this lovely little plant, is that it doesn’t make a good cutting flower. The flowers seems to fall off the second that they go into a vase.

But for now, what is in full bloom in my yard does make for a good vase:

In the vase pictured above there is:

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)
Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata)
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)
Foam Flower (Tiarella Cordifolia)

And one fern I am not sure of.

I hope you are enjoying watching what is soon to bloom in your yard. What will June bring?

Fun side story to the large red stones above in that picture. They came from an old foundation to a barn just across the river from us in Pennsylvania. I love to be able to re-purpose old things!!!!!