Sundial Lupine, Lupinus perennis

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society Every spring I look forward to seeing the lovely lavender-blue spires of Sundial Lupine rising above distinctive pinwheel foliage along sandy roadsides and open woods. Also known as Wild Lupine, this member of the Legume Family is found throughout the Eastern and Central United States. In Virginia…

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Lyre-leaf Sage, Salvia lyrata

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society A few weeks ago, driving north from Florida, we passed mile after mile of waves of lavender-blue flowers gracing the highway shoulders in South Carolina. We were thrilled to see Lyre-leaf Sage, Salvia lyrata, creating a gorgeous spectacle along an otherwise barren straight stretch of road. Later…

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Downy Rattlesnake Plantain: Winter Woodland Orchid

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society One of my favorite sights while walking in winter woodlands are the beautiful evergreen leaves of Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens. This eye-catching beauty is one of our most common woodland orchids and instantly recognizable by its exquisitely etched leaves with an intricate network of fine white…

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Wildflower of the Year 2024 White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

VNPS offers White Turtlehead artwork on T-Shirts and other apparel.  Visit our Online Store to order. 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,…

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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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