Georgia Gardener Newsletter Design Tip: July 26, 2007

Wildflower Meadows

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Mix of Spiderwort (blue), Shasta Daisy (white/non-native) and Indian Blanket (red/yellow)

It is with a sad heart that those of us in the native plant community bid a fond farewell to the First Lady of Wildflowers, Lady Bird Johnson. She was a proponent of using native wildflowers in the landscape as well as pushing for their planting along our nation's highways long before "native was cool."

Because Mrs. Johnson brought forth the idea of native meadows, many books and web sites have been dedicated to the subject. Many sites and books have good useful information and some are just not quite accurate. Here are some facts about wildflower meadows: Because we live in an area where forests are the predominant ecosystem, you will constantly be fighting back tree seedlings such as sweetgum, maple and tulip poplar. In addition to that, you will always be fighting non-native weeds that tend to colonize open areas such as Lespedeza, Oxeye Daisy, Mimosa and Paulownia trees.

The use of native grasses in a wildflower meadow is critical. These grasses are good colonizers, they help to stabilize the soil, they have extensive root systems that can be a good defense against weeds and they play a critical role in establishing meadow ecosystems that are are important to wildlife.


I am a firm believer that meadows should be comprised ENTIRELY of plants native to the region. Therefore, wildflower meadows will consist of different plants in different parts of the country. Below is a list of good Georgia native plants and grasses that can be used in a wildflower meadow.

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)Tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora)
New York Aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii)Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
False Indigo (Baptisia australis)Joe-pye weed (Eupatoriadelphus spp.)
Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)Stokes Aster (Stokesia laevis)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)Bee Balm(Monarda spp.)
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)
Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea)

The Grasses

Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus) Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)

Other grasses not pictured: Purple Lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis), Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), etc.

Sources for Native Wildflower Seeds

Prairie Moon Nursery
Prairie Nursery
Native American Seed
Easy Living Native Wildflowers

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