Garden Smackdown Native Plant Challenge

The unique flowers of Redbud are one of the reasons it's a favorite native

Regular readers of this blog already know I am a fan of using native plants whenever possible.  Mind you, I have nothing against exotic plants (non-natives) and have quite a few in my garden growing quite happily alongside my native plants.  But, I do find that more and more often, when I am looking for a specific plant to work in a specific site (dry shade, streamside planting, etc), it seems to be a native plant that meets all the site requirements and thrives once planted.

Yesterday, I was reading Andrew Keys’ blog Garden Smackdown and saw he had issued a challenge of sorts to readers to list the native plants growing in their gardens.  Never one to back down from a challenge, I have decided to list the native trees, shrubs and perennials that are growing in my garden too.

Are you up for taking the Garden Smackdown Native Plant Challenge?  I hope so, because it’s important for all of us native plant enthusiasts to get the word out about native plants and how easy they are to grow and design with since they combine so effortlessly with non-natives. 

Even if you don’t have a blog to post your list of native plants, please leave a list in the comments here or on Andrew’s blog. (BTW – if you haven’t discovered Andrew’s blog yet, you’re in for a treat.  It’s an eclectic mix of plant info, pop culture and just plain interesting ‘stuff’.)

So, without further ado…here’s my list of native plants growing in my southwestern CT garden (zone 6)

Native Trees & Shrubs:

  • Callicarpa americana (Beautyberry)
  • Carpinus caroliniana (Ironwood)
  • Cercis canadensis (Redbud)
  • Chionanthus viginicus (Fringetree)
  • Clethra alnifolia (Sweet Pepperbush)
  • Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
  • Hydrangea arborenscens (Smooth Hydrangea)
  • Ilex glabra (Inkberry)
  • Rhododendron maximum (Rosebay Rhododendron)
  • Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock)
  • Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush Blueberry)

Native perennials:

  • Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)
  • Baptisia australis (False Blue Indigo)
  • Chasmanthium latifolium (Northerns Sea Oats)
  • Cimicifuga racemosa (Bugbane)
  • Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed)
  • Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium)
  • Lonicera sempervirens (Trumpet Honeysuckle)
  • Oenothera fruticosa (Sundrops)
  • Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon Fern)
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ (Red Switch Grass) 
  • Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)
  • Thalictrum (Meadow Rue)
  • Tradescantia virginiana (Spiderwort)
  • Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s Root)
  • Zizea aptera (Heartleaf Aleaxander)

Now it’s your turn.  The Garden Smackdown Native Plant Challenge guantlet has been thrown down and I dare you to pick it up and meet the challenge!

5 thoughts on “Garden Smackdown Native Plant Challenge

  1. Challenge MET, and with FLYING colors!

    This is a great list, Debbie, and remember how you mentioned forgetting certain plants like Yucca were natives? I completely forgot about river oats and some ostrich fern I have tucked away in the backyard. Probably just as well — the Chasmanthium has never been too happy.

    I also had no idea Hydrangea arborescens was a native plant. That’s great! I’m adding it to my unofficial list of go-to natives I use when I do a planting plan.

    Thanks for taking up the challenge! I hope it’ll get other folks thinking…

    • Andrew,

      I’m with you on hydrangea arborescens – I love it and like to use it in my designs whenever appropriate. I am excited about the new pink cultivar, Invincibelle Spirit. It is on my ‘must buy as soon as I see it’ list.

      I echo your sentiments that blogging has been a great deal of fun and has opened my world to many new and interesting people. I’m hoping we can have more than a ‘Hi, how are you’ at next year’s NE Grows!

  2. Oh, and thank you so much for your kind words about Garden Smackdown. If I’d known I’d have this much fun yakking about plants and meet all kinds of great people as a result (Yourself included!), I’d have started it years ago!

  3. We will definitely hang out at NE Grows next year! I’m excited about ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ too — in fact, I’m more excited about it than the usual ‘Annabelle.’ Annabelle sure seems easy to grow, but she just gets so floppy and unkempt. I think I’d be more forgiving of that if she were pink. :-)

  4. Pingback: The Natives are Restless « A Garden of Possibilities

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