Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Great native flowers for your garden!

Hi everyone!
Still involved with the BIG experiment but with all of the rhizomes in position now, I can begin to concentrate on other things! We will be heading to Virginia and then on to New England to do some antiquing for ourselves and also for my online shop, Winterberry Farm Primitives. I am in the process of moving from my picturetrail account to a .com for Winterberry Farm Primitives and will be announcing a great contest for the opening of the 'new' shop! I will be posting the announcement here on my blog and also at my current shop address,, by June 15th! I will carry the same great antiques that I have always offered but will have a larger inventory that will stay current and even though I will continue to have my monthly updates, I will also be posting items for sale throughout the month.
In other news, the cedar waxwings are back to feast on my Amelanchier berries but are a bit outnumbered this year by the HUGE population of robins that have set up their homes in my backyard. I have counted no less than 12 nests in the trees and shrubs surrounding my yard and watching them teach their babies how to balance on the branches as they eat is fun and also very restful. They have managed to scare off the mockingbirds, catbirds and blue jays who now come after the robins have eaten their fill but they do not seem to bother the cedar waxwings who still come in the early morning and late evening to feed.
We have had a lot of rain here this spring and the plants are growing exponentially this year! One thing that people have begun to ask about are what native herbaceous perennials can they grow in their gardens and today I would like to talk about two of them that are most spectacular in the early spring months of March and April. There are two plants that I love to plant together as they compliment each other so well. They are Polemonium reptans (Jacobs Ladder) ABOVE and Stylophorum diphylum (Celandine Poppy) BELOW.

Celandine Poppy is the only species in the Stylophorum genus that is native to the United States and is found in most states east of the Mississippi except for the New England states. It needs a rich, moist soil and grows best in partial shade. This wonderful plant will multiply naturally through your garden if you allow the seed heads to ripen and throw their seeds around your flower beds. You can see the contrast in the bright yellow flower and the dark green cut leaves in this great plant in the picture above taken in my garden this spring. The bright clear yellow of this great plant is an unbelievable compliment to Polemonium reptans (Jacobs Ladder), a plant that has one of the best clear bright blue flowers that I have ever seen. Combined with clear green leaves that stay in good shape after the flowers are long gone, this is a perfect plant for those shady areas that are often difficult to landscape. As with the Celandine Poppy, these plants will seed themselves in if allowed to set seed so you don't want to deadhead these two wonderful natives. There is an Asian Jacobs Ladder in the trade (Polemonium caeruleum) that you do not want in your native garden! It is very prolific and will seed in everywhere! So, be sure of what you are buying for your garden! Ask questions and if the nursery can't answer you as to which species you are buying - run! They should know what they are selling and be knowledgeable enough to tell what species they have in their nursery! You can buy these two great plants online or from a local nursery that carries native plants. They can also both be grown from seed, but I would only recommend this if you are already good at germinating seeds. There are a couple of online nurseries I would recommend for native herbaceous plants: Easyliving Wildflowers ( and Gardens of the Blue Ridge ( I often buy from Gardens of the Blue Ridge and have never had a problem with any of the plants that they send to me. I would recommend them for even the difficult plants like Erythronium americanum (Yellow Trout Lily). So, plant these two great native wildflowers in your garden at home and watch them grow and multiply!
Next blog: Dicentra eximia - our native bleeding heart!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting you mention your robin population explosion. We've seen many more here this year too. I've ascribed it to our wet spring, but I honestly have never seen so many here.