Native Borders


Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.  ~Doug Larson

In honor of Katarina’s upcoming Blooming Friday theme of In the Air, I thought I would show a little of our spring here in central New York State.  What better way to celebrate spring than with the words, “In the Air”.

I finally saw red-winged blackbirds two weeks ago.  In my neck of the woods, we know that these birds are a sure sign spring is on its way.  OK we are realistic, and know the snow is still sure to fall from time to time, but our days will be warming finally in the Northeast and we are doing the spring happy dance!!

And I could take some pictures of what is growing in the garden..oh you really want to see what is growing….OK, let’s go out and see the state of the garden as we look at first spring blooms on parade…

Now you can see the condition of the garden is not great for exploring yet with cold temperatures still lingering and snow forecasted all week.  Actually it is in a pretty sad state with snow still falling, melting, and plants looking pretty ratty.  Can’t do much with it yet because it is too wet so I thought I would flaunt some warmer season flowers from my garden. It is Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone the fourth Wednesday of every month where Gail Eichelberger hosts posts about our native wildflowers.   In a few days, it will also be Fertilizer Friday.  Please take time to visit all these wonderful blogs to see more flowers and plants.  You won’t be disappointed.

Coreopsis, also known as Tickseed, is one of the best native wildflowers to use in the garden.  Often referred to as a “workhorse flower”, I love to plunk it along the border of beds just back a bit from some lower growing perennials.  Its daily-like flowers look great planted with echinacea, daylily, alliums, delphiniums, and Baptisia.  So it is a fantastic native plant for my cottage gardens.  The one pictured above is a fairly new one called, Route 66.


Rising Sun

It is hardy from zone 3-8 for most of the perennial varieties.  There also some very brightly colored annual, tropical varieties that prefer zone 9-11.  But sadly I can only container plant them yearly.


Dream Catcher



Of the perennial ones, there are colors from cream to yellow to pink with gorgeous red or yellow eyes.  From left to right, clockwise you see Rosea, Full Moon, Sweet Dreams and Moonbeam.



The true wonder of this plant is its long bloom season from summer to fall and the fact that it is virtually trouble free.  Coreopsis is very easy to grow and will tolerate any soil except very wet soil. It prefers loamy soils, but will grow in many soil types.  It requires little watering once established. Full sun is preferred for lots of blooms and deadheading will encourage flowers to keep going into fall. Very little fertilizer, if any, is needed, especially once established.

The foliage of most Coreopsis is green cut leaves or fern-like with flowers blooming above on wiry stems.  Here you see Siena Sunset and Snowberry.

Some Coreopsis plants are very compact, others are more sprawling, but all are bushy, clump like plants. Coreopsis grows around 2′ high and wide although some of the newer cultivars are a bit bigger growing over 3′ tall. Every year there are new hybrids being produced for me to add to my collection.  If you are looking for a great cutting garden flower, you can’t go wrong with coreopsis.  It also is lovely when the wind catches it, the flowers swaying gently on their stems above the foliage.

In the Language of Flowers: Coreopsis or Tickseed means always cheerful, and you can certainly see why!

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…  ~Susan Polis Shutz


  1. Gail says:

    One of my favorite Wildflowers~I love the early sunny bloom on coreopsis and will have to try the annual Dream Catcher soon. Glad to have you celebrate with us. gail

  2. Donna says:

    I too love coreopsis and they are so easy to divide. I have spread them all over the neighborhood to gardens where gardeners have never heard of the flower. So their bright sunny faces are gracing gardens four houses down in both directions and across the street. I am surprised to see any flowers in your garden, here they are all covered in snow, not a crocus in sight. When is the snow going to leave for good? April better bring so hope.

    • Donna says:

      I was graced with snow crocus in a few areas, snowdrops and some winter aconite along the patio out back…snow crocus are probably gone once they are unfrozen though…we shall see…very colkd and snow covered at the moment…at least these were the only things blooming..we are 20 degrees colder than we should be right now…

  3. Alistair says:

    We see so many varieties of Coreopsis in the garden centres. They never flowered very well in our garden. I now think it was because our soil was too rich. Killing with kindness, Think I will try it again in another position.

    • Donna says:

      Isn’t it funny how we can do that-kill a plant with kindness! You made me laugh right out loud…they are lovely plants and I love all the new varieties…good luck 🙂

  4. Holley says:

    Wow, with it almost 90 degrees here, I sometimes forget snow is still falling in some parts of the country. Spring will be here soon for you! Love that Route 66!

  5. Donna says:

    Lucky you Holley…we have snow again and in the low 30s for a high for another week…that Rt 66 is so keep changing color as it grows…

  6. Donna says:

    Well Dona we had more snow so I think we will have to wait at least another week for it to warm up…I am glad you liked the coreopsis…they are so pretty in the garden

  7. PlantPostings says:

    I, too, love Coreopsis. I don’t have any planted but I enjoy seeing them in other people’s gardens. I know it’s frustrating to deal with a messy northern garden this time of year! But we’ll be in paradise come June and July! 🙂

    • Donna says:

      That we will…you should plant some of this wonderful native if you get the chance…here’s to warm winds a comin’ soon…

    • Donna says:

      I saw that Carolyn and I loved it…I was so envious of the book he has…can’t get those heirlooms anywhere..I have a few books as well but not the really old ones…I love the language of flowers ….so much history and meaning…

  8. Gemma @ Greyscale says:

    O what a wonderful collection of yellow flowers! The collages are a very special gathering of beauty!

  9. Karen says:

    Oh, I love the coreopsis plants so much, too. You have shown me varieties I didn’t know about, and they are going on my list of must-haves. Spring will get here eventually!

    • Donna says:

      Thank you for reminding me to look at the positive…hopefully we will see warmer weather by the end of next week just in time for April and flowers bursting forth….I will definitely be posting those flowers once they wake up…

  10. Shannon says:

    Beautiful! I had coreopsis at our old house, but haven’t gotten around to planting them here yet. I miss them, so cheerful and sunny!

  11. The Sage Butterfly says:

    I love the coreopsis pics. I have lots of that in my garden because it is such a bloomer and so lovely. Here in the mid-Atlantic we have the threat of snow for tonight and tomorrow…time to go and cover those veggies! I thought spring was here! 🙂

  12. ~~Rhonda says:

    The coreopsis is lovely. I can’t get enough of it. We have some in the yellow/orange end of things. I need to get some of the pinks. Love those. Thanks for sharing your pictures! ~~Rhonda

  13. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    I’m glad you have a few brave crocuses to enjoy in the midst of all that snow and melt water. No wonder you wanted to distract yourself with the beautiful coreopsis! You set me off to hunt for seed, I love the look of Moonbeam. Thank you for remembering to tell us about the leaves and habit too, so hard to work out how to use a plant without that information.

    • Donna says:

      Glad you liked them Janet…I will remember in the future to make sure I do include all the important plant info as well…

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