Flagpole Garden

Coreopsis verticillata


  • Tickseed is native to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.
  • Also known as Threadleaf Coreopsis, the foliage and flowers of this plant are very delicate.
  • Birds and butterflies are attracted to the plant.


Grama Grass
Bouteloua gracilis


  • Also known as Blue Grama, this grass has seed spikes that hang from only one side of its flowering stems. They blow gracefully in the wind.
  • It is native to prairies, plains, open rocky woodlands and along railroad tracks throughout the Western U.S. It was a dominant grass of the dry shortgrass prairies.


Catmint or Catnip
Nepeta racemosa


  • Catmint or Catnip, has slightly aromatic grey-green foliage that has a delicate, lacy appearance.
  • This Blue Damselfly rested on the catmint in the Flagpole Garden in June 2019.


Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia fulgida


  • Black-eyed Susan is a hardy Virginia native plant that is very valuable to birds, bees and butterflies.
  • Goldfinches have been spotted on the plants in the Flagpole Garden, but you need to look carefully because their black and yellow feathers blend in with the flowers.


Common Milkweed
Asclepias syriaca


  • Another Virginia native, the soft pink Milkweed flowers attract butterflies, like the Great-Spangled Fritillary in the large photo.
  • Milkweeds are extremely important to Monarch Butterflies because they are the only plants the Monarch caterpillar will eat.
  • The smaller photo shows a Monarch Butterfly taking nectar from Common Milkweed.
  • Milkweeds produce chemicals (cardenolides) that they do not need to grow but protect their leaves by making them distasteful or even toxic to herbivores, for example, caterpillars. The Monarch Butterfly, however, can detoxify the cardenolides . So their caterpillars specialize and eat only milkweeds. That affords them protection from predators because they too are distasteful.  Unfortunately, this dependency has led to their decline because milkweeds have been systematically removed from the landscape in the US.  And Monarchs need all the support they can get because they migrate long distances and then find their winter habitat diminished due to logging.


Geranium sanguineum


  • This small hot pink flower also known as Bloody Cranesbill is in the Geranium family.
  • It is native to Europe and a popular garden plant in the US.
  • After frost, the foliage turns various shades of red.


Veronica spicata


  • Veronica spicata attracts butterflies with its lovely blue flowers in the late spring-summer.


Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea


  • The scientific name for Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, comes from the Greek echinos meaning hedgehog.
  • Extracts from Echinacea plants are used in herbal teas and supplements, purportedly to help the immune system.
  • Purple Coneflowers are butterfly magnets and attract hummingbirds. They are also important for native bees.
  • Coneflowers are also native plants found in many parts of the U.S.


Threadleaf Bluestar
Amsonia hubrichiti


  • Threadleaf Bluestar is a native of South Central U.S.
  • The powdery blue starlike flowers bloom in May and the feathery leaves grace the garden all summer.
  • They also attract butterflies.


Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum


  • Shasta daisies are hybrids of several species of daisies from around the world.
  • Developed by an American horticulturist named Luther Burbank, it is named in honor of the Shasta mountains out west.
  • Lovely in flower arrangements, they also attract butterflies like this little Skipper.


Pink Muhly Grass
Muhlenbergia capillaris


  • The graceful, native Pink Muhly grass, or Muhlenbergia capillaris, provides clouds of gentle color in the fall.


Gayfeather Blazing Star
Liatris spiccata


  • Another Virginia native, Gayfeather, is an important nectar plant for native bees, bumblebees, hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • It is a host plant for species of native caterpillars.


Little Blue Stem
Schizachyrium scoparium


  • Little Blue Stem grass or Schizachyrium scoparium is a native grass that has blue-green stems in the spring that turn reddish-brown in the summer.
  • Late in the season, it produces mahogany red seed heads with white tufts that provide nesting material for birds.