Landscapes sustain us by giving us food to eat, air to breathe and space to live in — let’s repay the favour. When choosing what we plant, it’s important to respect our natural landscapes and the wildlife they support. Sustainable garden practices teach us that biodiversity, wildlife habitats and native plants are essential for a thriving, healthy environment. Busy pollinators, including bees, hummingbirds and some butterflies and birds, ensure that the natural processes of our landscapes remain in balance. Let’s look at summer-blooming native plants hailing from coast to coast that will help keep your garden and its unsung heroes singing.
Treasured for its sunshine-yellow flowers, Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta, zones 3 to 9) shines brightly in cottage and perennial gardens. As an important food for butterflies and hummingbirds, this classic North American flower is more than just a pretty face. Who knew the humble and common black-eyed Susan was so good for wildlife? The bees did. Native pretty much everywhere from the Rockies east, it will thrive in full to partial sun in slightly moist to dry soils. It prefers disturbed areas and tends to be the first to colonize them, eventually giving way to other perennials and grasses. Standing at 1 foot to 2 feet tall and wide, black-eyed Susan is a garden standby, blooming almost nonstop all summer long.
It supports over 70 bee species and over 150 insect species.
Benefits and tolerances: Pretty tolerant of dry conditions and can thrive in most kinds of soil.
Annie Thornton May 29, 2016
Houzz Editorial Staff