The Plants

Here’s are some photos and more information about the plants in The Puddle Garden. Seek them out in the wild, or bring them (and their wildlife allies) home with you! For more information, see Planting Your Own Puddle Garden.

cardinal_flower_puddle_garden-1984Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis

A stunningly red flower that is found along small streams and in swamps and wet meadows, where its many small seeds germinate on moist muds and silts. The shape of a cardinal flower is perfectly adapted to being pollinated by hummingbirds. While the bird is drinking nectar with its long tongue, the flower is depositing pollen on the bird’s head!

Sambucus canadensis

A bountiful shrub with large white flowers becoming numerous purple-black berries. Its fruits are eaten by birds, and fruit and flowers alike are used by people in a variety of teas, syrups and wines. A versatile, fast-growing shrub comfortable in virtually any moist or wet places.

Joe_Pye_weed_puddle_garden-1961Hollow-stem Joe Pye weed
Eupatorium fistulosum

A great big-headed wildflower of wet meadows and sunny stream margins, thriving on fertile soil and growing up to 12 feet tall. Its blooms are pink-purple and can be as big as soccer balls. Joe Pye is a favorite of mid-summer butterflies such as Monarchs, Tiger Swallowtails, and White Admirals, and other native pollinators.

White TurtleheadTurtlehead_puddle_garden-040
Chelone glabra

The flowers look a bit like turtle’s heads. They bloom late in the season when most wildflowers are already going to seed, and grow in wet habitats in both sun and shade with equal success. Turtlehead is the preferred host plant of the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. Its primary pollinators are bumblebees.

Blue_flag_iris_puddle_garden-2083Blue Flag Iris
Iris versicolor

A wild iris with sword-like leaves growing in swamps, marshes and floodplains. Blue flag has flowers with elaborate “landing strips” of yellow and white that help guide pollinators towards the center of the large blue blooms.

Cinnamon FernCinnamon_fern_puddle_garden-0886
Osmunda cinnamomea

A fern from an ancient lineage much unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. In spring, its big fiddleheads unfurl from the ground up, looking like fuzzy fists shaking skyward. Its fertile frond is golden-cinnamon colored and releases spores in mid-spring.