Backyard Nature Notes: Native Wildflowers

by Carolyn Allen

After all your holiday shopping is taken care of this weekend, you might settle back for a little peace and quiet...and start thinking about snuggling down for the winter. And winter brings the seed catalogs...and dreams of springtime adventures in the garden. May I recommend that you take a bit of time this winter to explore wildflowers and how you can incorporate them into your habitat.

Local native plants are the base for attracting and supporting local wildlife, and your backyard is a great place to start nurturing those brave strays, as well as reintroducing some local favorites. Here are a couple sites to help you start exploring wildflowers, weeds, and the difference. There are several wildflower forums there that you can explore for specific kinds of wildflower gardening such as:

Native Plant Exchange - A place for users to offer native plants and seeds for trade and to make requests for what they are seeking.

Woodlands - For those looking to create a woodlands setting, or who simply must contend with a habitat of deep shade.

Meadows and Prairies - Covers the special aspects of creating a successful meadow or prairie habitat.

Check And when you want to learn more about weeds...and what you can do about them, check out Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas: Weeds Gone Wild. This is an internet-based project of the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group, that provides information for the general public and others on the serious threat and impacts of invasive alien (exotic, non-native) plants to the native flora, fauna, and natural ecosystems of the United States.

This site provides a compiled national list of invasive plants infesting natural areas throughout the U.S., background on the problem and what can be done to help, links to selected organizations for more information, and illustrated fact sheets with plant descriptions, native range, distribution and habitat in the U.S., management options, alternative native plants and links to plant control experts. Check it out at

I hope you have an enjoyable week and take time to nurture yourself in the beauty of fall's last fling!

Carolyn Allen edits Backyard Nature and Backyard Nature Notes: A free weekly e-newsletter for natural fun. Subscribe by sending an e-mail to:

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