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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - March 07, 2008

From: Columbus, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Xeriscapes, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native plants for flowers in rocky area in Ohio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have just built 4 raised beds on a slope in our backyard on Scioto River. The site is an old quarry so rocky soil below our raised beds & gets full sun majority of day from about 11am-7pm summer time, and can get quite dry. I would like to fill majority of beds with flowers and one bed with trial vegetable garden due to our critter issues: deer, rabbits, groundhogs, etc. Can you suggest native/wild flowers for these beds possible xeriscape but that would give a good show of color and ideally perennials.

ANSWER:

We began by going to our Recommended Species, selecting Ohio, and got the names of 145 native plants that are distributed naturally in Ohio. We further selected by asking for herbs (flowering plants), perennial, 6 hours or more of sun a day and dry soil, which gave us a list of 18 flowering plants that should do well under your stated conditions.

But you might want other types of plants, besides just flowers. You can play around with the list by going to Recommended Species for Ohio, click on "Narrow Your Search" and try "shrubs" for habit, and still selecting for Ohio, perennial, 6 hours or more of sun and dry soil. We got a list of 10 shrubs that might help to fill in the space you are landscaping.

Now, you might consider getting some information a little closer to home. After all, in Texas we probably don't understand your climate and growing conditions nearly as well as you do. Try this Ohio State University Extension website Franklin County Horticulture Program. They may have classes, handouts, or other ideas for you. Try another website from Ohio State that is a Native Plant Bibliography by a Franklin County Master Gardener. And we are big fans of the Native Plant Societies around the country. Here is a website where you can direct a request for information to the Native Plant Society of Ohio.

Finally, we've picked out a few plants from the flowering plants for Ohio list. These are just suggestions, but it will help you learn how to use our Native Plant Database to see pictures, planting information and conditions for each plant.

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke)

Liatris squarrosa (scaly blazing star)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Penstemon digitalis (talus slope penstemon)

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides (white heath aster)

 

From the Image Gallery


Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Bluebell bellflower
Campanula rotundifolia

Jerusalem artichoke
Helianthus tuberosus

Scaly blazing star
Liatris squarrosa

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

White heath aster
Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides

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