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