A Wildflower Garden
Missourians love their wildflowers and there is no better way to enjoy and learn to identify these beautiful native plants than by visiting an excellent wildflower botanical garden.
The Wildflower Garden in Springfield, Missouri's Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park promises to be a superb resource. Recently moved to a new park location, the garden is now being maintained and expanded by the Southwest Missouri chapter of the Missouri Native Plant Society, which has also adopted the park's Native Shrubs Garden.
Happily, the Garden is growing exponentially, thanks to the 2011 donation of a great many plants from the estate of Linda Hall and the Linda Hall Library of Science and Technology in Kansas City. Plans now call for the Wildflower Garden to display some 160 species of our best-loved sun and shade wildflowers, including the Showy Beard-Tongue shown above, Butterfly Milkweed, Shining Blue Star, Blue False Indigo, Ashy Sunflower, Pale Purple Coneflower, and many, many more.
We're most excited about the opportunity to learn to identify so many of our beautiful native plants and flowers. We'll be following the Garden's progress here, so if you too love our Missouri wildflowers, be sure to check back from time to time.
Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park is located at 2400 South Scenic in Springfield.
| ||The New Wildflower Garden|
The new Wildflower Garden in its new location, a spot providing both sun and shade for the widest possible collection of native plants..
| ||The Work|
Talk about devotion. It was 98 degrees on a late July afternoon when these four members of the Missouri Native Plant Society set to work in the Garden. From left are Ruby Ball, Marlyss Simmons, Max Brown, and Larry Wegmann, president of the Southwest Missouri chapter.
| ||Missouri Wildflowers -- the Book|
We can't do any better for wildflower lovers than to
recommend the latest edition of Edgar Denison's classic
Missouri Wildflowers. Published by the Missouri Conservation
Department, it lists wildflower entries by flower color and
bloom time, along with detailed descriptions and 297 beautiful color
photos, 200 of which are new. We think this the perfect book for
anyone who loves wildflowers and wants to learn about them. It can be
found at the
Conservation Nature Center in Springfield, Missouri, and most
| ||The Beginning|
The Wildflower Garden began as an Eagle Scout project carried out by young Boy Scout Barrett Fisk and his Troop #1 with the help of botany professor and Friends of the Garden member Dr. Paul Redfearn. The first few photos here were taken in that first garden.
| ||Showy Beard-Tongue|
The plant pictured at the top of the page is one of our most beautiful perennial wildflowers, Showy
Beard-Tongue (Penstemon cobaea
purpureus). In May and June it sports gorgeous blossoms lilac-to-deep-purple
with a white inner ring. Growing in sun or part shade it can reach 2 1/2
feet tall and a foot wide. It does best in well-drained soil on the dry
side, but also will do well with average moisture. Another common name:
| ||Butterfly Milkweed|
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias
tuberosa) is a striking perennial wildflower loved by
butterflies and home gardeners. It likes dry to average soil and does
well in sun or light shade, growing to 2 1/2 feet tall and as wide. The
flowers may range in color from very pale orange to deep red-orange and
are produced in abundance from May to September. Other common names
include Butterfly Weed, Chigger Weed, and Pleurisy Root.
| ||Wild Bergamot|
Wild Bergamot (Monarda
fistulosa) is a perennial native plant in the mint family that
in June and July produces a profusion of pleasantly scented lavender
flowers. It prefers sun to light shade and average to rich soil. The
plant can grow as tall as 5 feet with a 3 foot spread, making it ideal
at the back of the garden. The flowers are wildly attractive to
butterflies and bees, and it's said that a few fresh leaves brewed in a
cup of boiling water makes a delicious, fragrant tea. Other common
names: Beebalm, Wild Beebalm.
| ||Gray-Headed Prairie Coneflower|
Grey-Headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) is a cheery perennial wildflower
named for its grey seed head. In June in July it blooms profusely with
bright yellow flowers with drooping petals. It does best in full sun but
will grow in medium shade and can reach 4 feet tall and 2 1/2 feet
wide. The seeds are loved by songbirds and when crushed have a sharp
anise scent. The flowers attract butterflies. Other common names:
Grayhead Prairie Coneflower, Grayhead Coneflower, Yellow Coneflower.
Drooping Coneflower. Note: The
plant most commonly called Yellow Coneflower is Echinacea paradox, shown below.
| ||Yellow Coneflower|
Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea
paradoxa) in June produces bright yellow flowers with a bristly
brown center and drooping "petticoat" petals. Perennial, it grows to 3
feet tall and 2 feet wide. It likes full sun and dry to average soil.
Often seen growing in Ozarks glades, it also makes an excellent garden
plant. Like all coneflowers, it's terrifically attractive to butterflies
| ||Ohio Horsemint|
Ohio Horse Mint is a
perennial wildflower whose blue-purple blossoms appear May-August. It
likes full sun to part shade and soil dry to medium moist. The plant
grows to 2 1/2 feet tall with a 1 1/2 foot spread. Other common names
include Downy Horse Mint, Downy Wood Mint, and Downy Pagoda Plant. The
species name, contrary to the sign, is actually Blephilia ciliata.
| ||Willow-Leaved Sunflower|
No plant we know has more beautiful foliage than the
Willow-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus
salicifolius). A superb garden addition, this native perennial
can grow as tall as 8 feet but more typically reaches 6 feet. It thrives
in full sun and well-drained, average soil. In September and October it
produces clusters of very showy, bright yellow, brown-center flowers
very attractive to butterflies. Later it provides seed loved by
songbirds. Another common name is Willow Leaf Sunflower.
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