Winterberry, Ilex verticillata, is clearly not a wildflower. It is a native plant that is known as a swamp plant which means it is very happy in our garden. It does not need full sun which is another blessing. The thing to remember is that winterberries are dioecious (separate male and female plants). Only fertilized female flowers will produce the attractive red berries that are the signature of the species. The white spring blossoms are very tiny and do not make a splash the way the berries do.
To make sure you get the berries you will need a male winterberry, and the nurseries all know that. Fortunately you do not need a male winterberries for every female. The male has enough energy of pollen to serve 10 females as long as they are within reasonable space of each other. I have three female winterberries and one male. My neighbor is very happy that my male also serves her single female.
I can’t tell if Chrysanthemum (aka Dendranthema) ‘Sheffield Pink’ is a native, but it qualifies as an antique variety. It blooms very late, which makes it particularly welcome. It is quite sprawly, at least in my garden, but it does not bloom until mid-September in my western Massachusetts garden, and it is the single perennial now growing in my garden. The asters, and boltonia have closed up leaving only a few zinnias and cosmos. And an occasional rose.
It is that time of year when I am really about ready to call it a day – except I still have a very few daffodil bulbs to get in the ground. I couldn’t quite decide where to plant these – and then the rains come. But I will get them in the ground and I will be ready for spring!