Wildflower of the Year 2024 White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

White Turtlehead is a perennial herb rising from a rhizomatous rootstock. The smooth stems are only sparingly branched above and attain heights 0.5 to 2 m. Leaves are opposite, narrow, linear to lance-ovate, and up to 15 cm long, with prominently toothed margins. Flower spikes are 3-8 cm long and form at stem tips from…

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Gorgeous Goldenrod Blooms Through Fall

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society Slender Flat-top Goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana) is a beautiful deciduous, perennial closely related to goldenrods and is an underused but superior pollinator plant. Its nectar-rich flowers bloom over a long period from September into late fall, often lasting into November or even December. It is particularly important to…

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Beautiful Bushy Bluestem

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Fall is the time that our warm season grasses shine in the garden by adding movement, color, and drama to the landscape. Andropogon glomeratus, or Bushy Bluestem, also called Bushy Bluebeard, is a compact, beautiful native grass often reaching only 2 – 4’ high, with attractive foliage and distinctive…

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Pause for Pickerelweed

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) is a standout in any garden pond, or freshwater coastal stream or river when its showy lavender-blue flowers are held above the foliage on tall stems. This perennial grows in shallow water where it tolerates up to 2’ of occasional flooding but prefers less than one…

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Stunning Sweetspire

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Virginia Sweetspire, Itea virginica, is a stunning deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub and the perfect choice for our May Plant of the Month as the long racemes of white flowers are just beginning to open on this first day of May. Typically growing from 3 – 5’ high and 4…

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Carolina Jessamine: Coastal Beauty

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society Chapter Carolina or Yellow Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens, is a stunning evergreen vine native to the southern United States and Mexico south to Guatemala. In Virginia, Carolina Jessamine is a coastal beauty, common along the southern and central Coastal Plain north to the counties of Lancaster and the…

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My Discovery of the Eastern Prickly Pear

By Emily Byers, Jefferson Chapter I enjoy the surprise of blooms in my garden each year and always add new native species. Last Fall, I received two eastern prickly pears, Opuntia humifusa, from a fellow gardener. I planted both cacti in a “problem” area of my garden. The area is shaded, gritty stays dry, and reminds…

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Hepatica Heralds Spring

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society Chapter One of the earliest signs of spring is the bloom of the Round-lobed Hepatica or Liverleaf, Hepatica americana. The lovely small flowers of this woodland wildflower look fragile but this hardy perennial blooms in the face of winter often as early as February. An array of…

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Wax Myrtle Sparkles in Winter

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Our evergreen Wax Myrtle or Southern Bayberry (Myrica cerifera) is handsome in every season of the year but it particularly sparkles in the winter after the leaves of deciduous trees have fallen leaving a gray and brown landscape. Not only are Wax Myrtles a beautiful native evergreen (large shrub…

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Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod Lights Up Woodlands

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter At our recent fall native plant sale a number of shoppers requested shade tolerant perennials that bloom in shady woodland gardens in late summer and fall, long after spring bloomers have faded. The October Plant of the Month, Blue-stemmed Goldenrod, Solidago caesia, fits the bill beautifully and like other…

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