Prairie Wildflower Garden

Native Wildflower Garden behind Ostermeier House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn idea generated by University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist and Master Gardener volunteers in the Spring of 2012 has grown into a flourishing native wildflower demonstration garden at Lincoln Memorial Garden.

By the summer of 2013, the 64’x34’ garden plot behind the Ostermeier House began showing off its sun-loving natives.  This flower and grass-filled garden provides ideas and inspiration about how area gardeners can use and enjoy native plants in their own home settings.

The standard garden bed was designed to feature various plant heights and widths, bloom times and colors.  Through the spring, summer and fall, visitors can now see flowers that bloom in yellows, purples, reds, pinks, whites and grays.  These flowers are set off by tall and short grasses.

Each of the 33 different plants is labeled for easy identification.  In addition, the U of I Extension has produced a brochure (link to brochure) giving basic information about the wildflower garden and a map of the plantings.

Native wildflowers offer a practical solution to diminishing environmental resources.  They love heat.  They grow in poor soil.  They don’t need fertilizers; and, after the first year, they need little water.

Many of these plants host a variety of bees and butterflies, including the monarch butterfly, the state’s official insect.  Among the other beneficial insects they attract are lady bugs, which feed on pests, such as aphids.  Several species of birds feast on the wildflower seeds, including the goldfinch, which feeds coneflower thistle to nestlings in late summer.

A brief description of each of the plants featured in this garden can be found here (pdf link).  For more comprehensive descriptions, including photos of seedlings and flowerheads, visit the LMG Nature Center and ask to see the notebook compiled by University of Illinois Master Naturalists giving extensive information on each plant.

And remember, these are but a few of the many native wildflowers that could be incorporated into a separate wildflower garden or nestled among other groupings of plants (e.g. flowers, grasses, vegetables, bushes).

In addition, this garden does not include any of the hundreds of shade-loving wildflowers (e.g. bluebells, jack-in-the-pulpit, etc.) thriving in this area.

But wait!  More is coming! During the Winter of 2016, the research, design, and creation of a native wildflower shade garden has begun, with completion expected in the Spring of 2017.

For further information on wildflower gardening, contact:

University of Illinois Extension
Logan/Menard/Sangamon Unit
217-782-4617
http://web.extension.Illinois.edu/lms/

Native Prairie Plants

Prairie Wildflower Demonstration Garden

 

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