Growing Native

One of my goals in landscaping with flowers is to have something in bloom every month - if possible, more than one type of plant and in different colors. This is referred to as “continuous bloom theory” and can easily be done using native plants. If you wish to start using native plants in your landscape, you will need to find their “scientific Latin” name in order to buy the correct plant. For example, there are many types of Iris, but only one is native to Illinois. To find the native plant name just do a simple internet search - “Iris native to Illinois.” This often takes you to the following website - - which will have everything you need to know about growing that plant and includes photos. When the flowers of the native Iris are spent, they are replaced by oblong seed capsules, and when the seed capsules and stem dried out they were used as rattles by Native American children and medicine men. Solomon’s Seal has many light green flowers on the stem below the leaves and each flower will be replaced by a dark blue berry that birds enjoy.

You can also use native shrubs for color in the landscape. The Wild Blue Indigo has showy violet blue flowers and remans attractive throughout the growing season with bluish green leaves. The Ninebark is recognized by its peculiar shredded bark with attractive clusters of white blossoms that turn into red drooping fruit that hold the seeds.