Blue-eyed Native

It's that time of the year again (May) - the sun is shining, birds are singing, and the "container garden meadow" on my patio is bursting with life like a group of enthusiastic skydivers jumping off a plane!

It's that time of the year again (May) - the sun is shining, birds are singing, and the "container garden meadow" on my patio is bursting with life like a group of enthusiastic skydivers jumping off a plane!

I live in a townhome community where the garden soils are rockier1 than in a Stallone movie, and native plants are about as rare as a unicorn. And don't even get me started on the landscaping crew, who seem to have a feud against anything not purchased at a Home Depot Garden Center or the ever-hungry deer who treat my lovely little garden like I'm running a free salad bar.

But I refused to be defeated! Sometimes inspiration strikes in the oddest of places. I stumbled upon an article called "Container Gardening with Native Plants" on the Missouri Botanical Garden website, and a lightbulb went off in my head. With creativity and the simplicity of container gardening, I planted a thriving meadow outside my patio door.

Sisyrinchium angustifolium, or blue-eyed grass as it's commonly known, is a New Jersey native. Its grass-like foliage (for which it's named) may fool some, but it's actually a member of the iris family. This simple clump-forming perennial produces stunning violet-blue flowers with yellow eyes in the spring, which grow on flattened, branched stems. S. angustifolium used to go by the name S. bermudianum. The plant is indigenous to the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda hence the bermudianum in the former name.

I excitedly showed Bhavna my latest gardening triumph. It's taken some time and effort, but she agrees that my gardening skills are on point.


  1. Believe it or not, the neighbouring borough is called Rocky Hill?

Airbnb for Birds and Butterflies

I want to provide a home for some butterfly or moth larvae, and the Eastern Columbine has got it covered.

The Eastern Columbine is a herbaceous perennial plant that stole my heart with its delicate, lobed leaves and unique bell-shaped flowers the first time I saw it growing in the garden at Leonard J. Buck Garden. The flowers are a fiery red and yellow combo, sometimes an alluring all-red or all-yellow look. These beauties bloom in the spring and early summer.

Hummingbirds can't resist its sweet nectar, nor can bees, butterflies, or hawk moths. I want to provide a home for some butterfly or moth larvae, and the Eastern Columbine has got it covered. It's even a tasty treat for birds like finches and buntings. Eastern Columbine is a self-seeder. Several colonies have formed in every one of my garden planters and have spread to the small garden at the front of my home. Eastern Columbine will stick around for the long haul.

Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) · Sunday 7 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Eastern Columbine is an easy-to-grow plant that thrives in various habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and even along roadsides. I'm not a seasoned gardener, but I can enjoy the lovely flowers in the container garden meadow I planted. The container garden is set up to provide the meadow plants with well-draining soil. The west-facing patio gives the container meadows partial shade from the roof of our home in the morning, but the containers bask in full sun in the afternoon.

Happy Earth Day

I am so excited. The native plants in my native plant planter are making a show. Soon, they will be covered with flowers, bees and, hopefully, hummingbirds.

Trillium
Trillium · Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Trillium
Trillium · Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Allium stipitatum
Allium stipitatum · Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is a herbaceous perennial plant native to much of eastern North America, from Canada to the southeastern United States.

The eastern red columbine typically grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) and has delicate, lacy foliage that is bluish-green. The plant produces distinctive and showy flowers, with five red petals that curve upwards to form a tube and a cluster of yellow stamens extending from the centre.

I bought my specimen several years ago. At the end of the growing season, I spread the seeds around the planters in my home. I get a big show of flowers each year when the flowers bloom in spring and early summer and are pollinated by hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

Eastern Red Columbine
Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) · Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Sisyrinchium angustifolium, commonly known as narrow-leaved blue-eyed grass, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to much of North America, from Canada to Mexico. I planted it in my patio planter last year and am excited to see it spring to life this week. The plant typically grows to a height of 6 to 20 inches (15 to 50 cm) and has narrow, grass-like leaves that are up to 10 inches (25 cm) long and 18 inch (3 mm) wide. The leaves are typically green but may have a bluish-grey or purplish tint. The plant produces delicate flowers up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and has six blue to purple petals with a yellow centre. I am so excited!

Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) · Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Heart-leaved aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium) is a herbaceous perennial plant native to New Jersey and much of eastern North America. The leaves are typically green but may also have a purple tint. The plant produces clusters of small, daisy-like flowers that are pink to lavender and bloom in late summer and early fall. My specimen gave me a great show of flowers last year. The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. Shaan saw a hummingbird among the aster the previous year.

Heart-leaved Aster
Heart-leaved Aster · Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Eastern Red Columbine
Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) · Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Saturday 22 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR