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Plants & Gardens Blog

A Children’s Garden of Wildflowers

The meadow in BBG’s Discovery Garden has undergone an overhaul since 2009, when the central beds had to be excavated in order to remove a failing ginkgo tree. New native meadow species were selected based on their allure for kids and wildlife alike, propagated in BBG’s greenhouses, then laid out to create winding paths and intimate nooks.

Why natives? They attract and sustain scores of creatures for children’s viewing pleasure. Many native plants boast enticingly fragrant foliage and flowers, graceful forms, and a rich cultural history. They also require minimal care because they’re adapted to local conditions.

The new array of native perennials was started from seed early last year. Just 18 months later, an outlandish thicket of wildflowers and grasses is swarming with a diversity of bees, wasps, butterflies, and moths. In a garden geared toward wildlife, a mark of success was the kingbird that appeared midsummer, making steep aerial dives to score a meal of insects.

Here are a few of our favorite perennials from this summer’s display. Visit them in the Discovery Garden before summer is out, or try them in your own garden next year.

Ashley Gamell is a freelance writer and consultant. After a decade on staff at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she now pens her posts from the Hudson Valley.

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