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Ditch Flowers

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May 31, 2014
I've often said that many of the plants in our gardens are just a couple of steps out of the road-side ditch. Let me tell you what I mean by that. As we drive down our roads and highways, you see many beautiful wildflowers. Right now, they aren't used in formal gardens, but they still offer their own beauty when you slow down and take a closer look. Queen Anne's Lace is probably a familiar flower to most drivers. The flower color is mostly white with light green or yellow tints. The umbrella-shaped flower is actually a group of smaller flowers. An entire field of buttercup is a sight to behold, forming a sea of yellow. Growing to 18 inches tall the bright yellow and glossy flowers are displayed at the ends of the stems. Now purple thistle may be a troublesome weed, but it's very interesting up close. The flowers are extravagantly purplish, and all parts of the plant are prickly. Fleabane is a pretty, delicate flower. There can be up 100 finely textured petals ranging in color from white to pale pink on each flower, while the center is a bright and cheery yellow. Evening Primrose has a sprawling growth habit that forms extensive colonies commonly seen along our Mississippi roadsides. The large four petal flowers range in color from pink to white. The cup-shape flowers are delicate with artist applied dark pink veins. Will any of these plants ever make into your garden from the garden center? I don't know. But right now, we can just enjoy their beauty as we drive by. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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