This weekend marks the season opener for Herring Run Nursery, our non-profit native plant nursery.
The weekend is not ours exclusively, though: tonight is the season opener for Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens.
In celebration of this synchroneity, we thought we’d highlight three great native plants in the purple part of the plant palette. Using native plants helps support wildlife and reduce stormwater runoff, of course, but gardening with native plants is also an excellent way to create a sense of locality. What would say “Baltimore” like a football-themed native plant garden filled with purple plants?
Starting at ground level is one of our favorite native grasses: purple love grass (Eragrostis spectabilis). This low-growing grass is short, rarely growing more than foot tall. Purple lovegrass provides great habitat and plenty of seeds, and its low height makes it a perfect choice for planting along edges or for filling in the space between taller plants.
Next up is a versatile native aster: New England aster ‘Purple Dome’ (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). This is one of many great purple asters we offer, and we value asters because of their critical role in late-season pollinator support. Most native asters bloom during the Baltimore Ravens playing season, and migrating Monarch butterflies depend on them for nectar.
Finally, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a staple of native plant gardens and for good reason. This native plant blooms during summer when it attracts all manner of native bees and butterflies. At the end of summer, in August and September, the seeds mature and are an absolute magnet for goldfinches.
Of course, you’ll want to include some black and yellow in your garden too. As a bonus, here is fourth plant that covers both those bases: our native black-eyed Susan. There are actually a couple species of plants that share this common name. We offer Rudbeckia fulgida and Rudbeckia triloba at the nursery: Rudbeckia hirta is the Maryland state flower but, because it is an annual we don’t sell plants.
We hope you can visit Herring Run Nursery on Sunday between 11am and 4pm to shop for native plants: all proceeds benefit Blue Water Baltimore and the plants benefit Baltimore.
Why not design your garden with a Baltimore Ravens theme just for fun?