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  • Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 2:00 PM
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GAMBIER — If watching your flowers whither this summer has prompted you to investigate trading them in for drought-hardy varieties, why not consider wildflowers that have thrived in the drought-prone Midwest for centuries?

The Wildlife Garden at Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College features over 65 of these so-called “native” plant species, which will be on display during a garden tour on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.

Some of them, like purple coneflower and black-eyed susan, may already be familiar to home gardeners who have observed just how well they toughen-out drought periods.

These species became established in Ohio thousands of years ago when our climate was much dryer and prairie covered much of the state. Prairie plants survive low-water conditions thanks to exceptionally deep root systems.

Other plants in the BFEC garden may be less familiar to home gardeners, such as newly added varieties western spiderwort and sneezeweed. These and other perennials were added this year through a grant from the Town & Country Garden Club.

The grant also provided for new varieties of goldenrod and aster, two plants which are often considered weeds and overlooked for the garden. “The appearance of wild plants can really be transformed when they are removed from a typical ‘weedy’ environment and arranged thoughtfully in a garden,” said Heather Doherty, BFEC Program Manager. “Seeing them in our garden is a good way to get a sense of how they might work in your garden at home.”

Goldenrods and asters perform double-duty as welcome, late-season color for gardeners and important food sources for butterflies and bees. Bees stock up on the pollen as they prepare for winter, and Monarchs, which were observed into November last year in Ohio, utilize nectar as they head south on their long migratory journeys.

The BFEC is located at 9781 Laymon Road near Gambier, four miles east of downtown Mount Vernon along Ohio 229. The BFEC offers eight miles of hiking trail that are open to the public from dawn to dusk. For additional information, contact Heather Doherty at, or call 427-5052. See a complete calendar of events at

Published on September 6, 2012


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