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Indestructible Natives

Jacob's ladder

Native plants are well adapted to our growing conditions, and so most of them are easy to grow and need only minimal care once established.

Some indestructible ones include the dwarf crested iris, (Iris cristata), which blooms in early spring in zones 4 through 8 and readily spreads to form mats of plants in full to partial shade. It seems to me to be easy to grow anywhere in my garden and has neat low-growing, sword-shaped leaves and dainty violet to white blooms.

The wild geranium, Geranium maculatum, native to the eastern half of North America, is especially easy to transplant and blooms April through July in zones 3 through 8 in both sun and shade and spreads slowly by rhizomes.

Jacob's ladder is another tough plant- Polemonium reptans-and blooms April through June in zones 3 through 8. It prefers shade, but if there's enough moisture it will persist in part sun.

For fall color in my garden, I have Short's aster- Aster shortii -which grows well even in dry shade in zones 3 through 8 and spreads happily and livens up the garden with tiny lavender blooms August through October. It combines well with Zigzag goldenrod, (Solidago flexicaulis), which also does well in part sun and shade and tolerates dry soil.

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