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

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Wednesday - October 27, 2010

From: Kittanning, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Native flowers for September wedding in Kittanning PA
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus and Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am planting flowers for a wedding on September 17th 2010. What flowers bloom best. Looking for blues,whites and pinks.

ANSWER:

We hope you meant 2011, as our Time Machine is out of order. We are going to our Native Plant Database Recommended Species, click on Pennsylvania on the map, and then search on "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant), and you can do your own search by selecting the amount of sunlight where you want to plant the flowers, the amount of moisture in the soil and the duration. "Duration" means annual or perennial. We will also select on "bloom time" of August to September, and bloom colors of blue, white and pink. While perennials will last longer, for several years, they usually do not bloom until the second season. Since you should probably plant in the Spring, after the soil has warmed up, your best choice would be annuals. Unfortunately, searching on annuals only turned up exactly one choice, Campanulastrum americanum (American bellflower). Searching on "all durations," we found 6 possibilities that appear to grow natively in your area. You might find it necessary to purchase bedding plants and plant them in the Spring. If they are not hardy to your area, they can possibly die in the winter, but if you have achieved your wedding backdrop, you can be happy.

Using this database, we will suggest some plants that appear to be native to Armstrong County, in west central Pennsylvania, USDA Hardiness Zone 5b. We do want to warn you that counting on the flourishing of your selected flower at exactly the right time is never a good idea. If there is a heavy rain, flattening the blooming flowers, or an insect attack, or just poorly performing plants, have a backup plan. We can suggest plants that should do well, but we don't have insurance policies.

Early Fall-Blooming Flowers for Kittanning PA:

Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)

Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly-everlasting)

Campanulastrum americanum (American bellflower)

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)

Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Achillea millefolium


Anaphalis margaritacea


Campanulastrum americanum


Conoclinium coelestinum


Lobelia siphilitica


Monarda fistulosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

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