Non-Native Shrubs for Wildlife

This may look like an out of control mess (more about what’s actually gone on here in a moment) but this wild hedge of hibiscus syriacus actually serves a wonderful purpose. As you might actually be able to tell from this photo, the land approaching this garden–which is not mine–in a slope. You can see the hibiscus flowers lying on it.

My neighbor mows it with a riding mower. For years I struggled with this garden and with painfully hand pulling the grass that his riding mower threw into the garden (actually it was the grass seeds, which then germinated–but I digress). Now that I have the Great Wall of Hibiscus, it fairly impenetrable.

Ironically, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. (And in another digression, isn’t this what gardening is all about? Happy accidents–and some not so happy ones?) That huge white hibiscus you see is one that was sent to me as a test shrub. It is called Lil’ Kim and was supposed to be 3-4 feet tall.

So, as I always say, plants can’t read–but in this case, Lil’ Kim apparently reverted to her parentage, whatever that was.

Here’s the true Lil’ Kim. You can probably tell that her foliage is more delicate and her flowers are smaller than anything in that gargantuan hedge.

By comparison, here is her “reverted” sister, parentage unknown. Same color scheme, same type of flower, just much larger.

So why do I let this behemoth stay? Simple–the wildlife love it. Bees and hummingbirds adore it. The fact that it has created a hedge from the grass clippings is an unintentional bonus.

And you might have noticed some purple hibiscus in my photo too. Both these plants, when they self-sow, occasionally throw off purple seedlings. I let them stay on the idea that purple is a desired wild life color.

Here’s a close-up of the the “purple” one. I guess it’s more lavender. Anyway, I like it. Coming up in the kolkwitzia, it makes it look as if it’s blooming a second time–almost.

4 thoughts on “Non-Native Shrubs for Wildlife

    • gardendaze August 13, 2019 / 5:51 am

      Thank you! Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Karla

  1. tonytomeo August 18, 2019 / 8:32 pm

    Both of those hibiscus look like the two in my old garden. There was one that was white with red centers, and another in lavender blue. I always thought it odd that they were planted right up against the fence. Perhaps they were not planted.

  2. gardendaze August 19, 2019 / 5:53 am

    These two are notorious self-sowers so I think I accidentally answered your question about the ones at your old house. I spent years trying to weed out the property border–and then realized what a blessing this sort of hedge would be. As I said, the best garden accidents….

    Karla

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