Why Prairie Style? Before the days of manicured gardens, these were many of the flowers that people became familiar with. The Butterfly Garden is designed to meet the needs of pollinators for a robust orchard. The design and particular choice of pollinator plants for this garden were made so that students and patrons become more familiar with the plants native to this region of the United States. This addresses the Indiana educational science. Our hope is that students and patrons will see these plants and consider whether they would like them in their own yards!
Royal Catchfly is a rare Midwest native plant with brilliant red flowers that are acclaimed for attracting Hummingbirds, and butterflies such as the Black Swallowtail. Typically around 3-4 feet high, it does best in medium, loamy soil. An excellent addition to any sunny garden bed, combine it with other prairie flowers and grasses to provide a bit of support and keep the plants upright.
This is a perennial herbaceous plant up to 3' tall and branching frequently, often with a bushy appearance. The green or reddish stems are strongly four-angled and have scattered white hairs along the ridges. The opposite leaves are up to 2½" long and narrowly lanceolate or linear. They are sessile, and have smooth margins. The largest leaves are ¼ - ½" across. When damaged, the foliage releases a strong mint scent. Numerous flattened heads of small white flowers (often with purple dots) occur at the ends of the upper stems.
Famous for its beauty and its fragrance, Bee Balm, also known as Wild Bergamot, is an old flower garden favorite. And did you know that Bee Balm is one of the best attractors of beneficial butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees? All in all, Bee Balm is a "must" for any garden.
Purple Coneflower blooms profusely for up to two months in mid to late summer and sometimes re-blooms in the fall. Perfect for both small gardens and large prairie meadows, the showy flowers are a favorite nectar source for butterflies, bees and myriad pollinators, including hummingbirds.
The flowers are visited by honeybees, bumblebees, and other long-tongued bees. Butterflies, skippers, moths also visit the flowers. Mammals typically steer away from this plant due to its bitter taste, but will consume it if nothing else is available.
The Common Milkweed is the plant that most people associate with the word “milkweed”. This is a tall and conspicuous species that sometimes forms large clones. The umbels bear large balls of pink to purplish flowers that have an attractive odor.
Ratibida pinnata, commonly called Yellow Coneflower, is native to prairies and savannas throughout the midwest. A tall slender plant with rough leaves and stem, yellow coneflower has a cheerful, airy quality - the daisy like flowers have soft yellow rays that flutter in the breeze. The central disk, or cone starts out green and turns brown as it matures. Amazingly durable, this classic prairie flower blooms profusely from early summer to early fall, and survives heat, drought and flooding.
A slender, 1-2 ft. annual with pinnately-compound foliage, tickseed is known for its small but abundant yellow flowers, "painted" maroon near the center. Numerous smooth, slightly angled branches bearing showy, daisy-like flower heads with yellow rays surrounding a reddish-purple central disk. The yellow petals are notch-tipped.
Eryngium yuccifolium, known as rattlesnake master, button eryngo, and button snake-root, is a perennial herb of the parsley family native to the tallgrass prairies of central and eastern North America.
A preferred native grass for prairie gardens, Prairie Dropseed adds a touch of elegance to any planting. A burst of flowering panicles on slender stems float above the tufted grass in late summer in tints of pink and brown. The bloom has a unique fragrance with hints of coriander. In fall the foliage color turns to hues of gold.
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