Radio Park Garden Perennial Borders
The Radio Park Garden is bordered on two sides by various perennial plants. Perennials are plants whose tops die back to the ground each winter and grow again from their roots each spring. These perennial plants are an important part of the garden because they attract bees and butterflies which pollinate the garden's fruit and vegetable plants. And, of course, the flowers of the perennial plants are also beautiful to look at and enjoy.
"Pollinator plants" are those which are host plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies, moths, bees and other pollinators. Here are plants you may find at Radio Park which attract butterflies and other pollinators, and some other interesting tidbits about them:Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida)Black-eyed Susans are commonly seen along roadsides in the summer. They are uncommonly seen at Radio Park - I think they didn't make the transition with the rework of the garden. We'll find find a clump to re-establish our patch, since the are a cheery plant, with a long blooming season!Perennial sunflowers are another common summertime bloom. You can find them in the border that faces the school.Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)A beautiful flower with orange-yellow blossoms, this is a favorite with our pollinators. Look for it in a few different places in the garden.
New England Aster (Aster Novae-angliae)Our New England Asters can be found in the border facing the school. Often floppy late in the season, they can be pruned in July for a shorter, bushier plant.Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)Very popular with many kinds of bees for pollen and nectar. Many people think they are allergic to goldenrod. It actually produces very little pollen - most people are really reacting to the pollen from the ragweed that often grows in the sames places, but is much less showy.Cupplant (Silphium perfoliatum)A plant native to prairies (and yes, Pennsylvania did and does have prairies) this plant plays and important role for insects. It is called "Cup plant" because water is trapped in the area where the leaves join the stems, providing much needed moisture for insects and small animals. It's huge - you can't miss it..
We are still developing this page - please check back later for more images- and we'll try to get more from our own garden!
We have several perennial plants that are native to Pennsylvania at Radio Park. A native plant is one which occurred in Pennsylvania before settlement by Europeans. Some examples we have, in addition to some of those in the section above, are:Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm, Wild Bergamot)
Baptisia australis (Blue False Indigo )Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
In addition to being very popular with pollinators, Joe Pye Weed is also a medicinal plant, and has been used to reduce fevers. This plant was named after a Native American known as Joe Pye, who invested a lot of time into researching uses for this plant.
Geranium maculatum (Hardy Geranium, Cranesbill)Filipendula rubra (Queen of the Prairie)Perennial Edibles
Perennial Edibles are a staple of the Permaculture movement. Permaculture, a word originating from the words "permanent" and "agriculture," emphasizes the building of soil and small-scale ecosystems with the garden, of which perennial plants play a prominant role. A growing number of plants in the Radio Park garden are perennial herbs and other edibles. These are plants whose leaves, seeds, or roots are often used in cooking, and often medicines and fragrances. For example, the leaves of mint plants can be used to make tea, or can be used in sachets. Some are inside the garden (those that play nice with others) and some are on the outside (like the mint, which needs some control) and the lavender (which seems to be critter-proof) Here are some of our perennial edibles:AsparagusChivesLemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Mentha spicata (Spearmint)
Mentha x piperita (Peppermint)
Allium tuberosum (Chives)
Althea officinalis (Marsh Mallow, Common Mallow)
Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop, Licorice Mint)
Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile)
IPM is short for Integrated Pest Management. Integrated Pest Management is an organic alternative to using pesticides in the garden, another aspect of Permaculture. Many of the perennial plants in this border attract beneficial insects to the garden. These "good" insects eat the "bad" ones that feed on the leaves and fruit of vegetable plants. Here are some plants you can find here that help us with IPM:
Anthemis tinctoria (Golden Marguerite)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)
Vernonia fasciculata (New York Ironweed)
Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle)
Lychnis coronaria (Rose campion)
Bergenia cordifolia (Pigsqueak)
Sidalcea 'Party Girl' (Prairie Mallow)
Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-Eyed Susan)
Althea officinalis (Marsh mallow, Common mallow)