Deer leave it alone – – no missing flowers or over-pruned foliage.
It attracts & feeds the local pollinators especially well because it’s native to our part of the world (southern BC & through the states to Mexico).
It’s very drought tolerant. I’ve seen them in Strathcona Park, growing in the gravel of a roadside pull-out! They actually seem to do better with LESS water in our garden. The plants that I watered more regularly sent out long blooming stems that flopped over under the weight of the blooms.
Once established, it’s easy-care. all I do is sheer off the spent flowers in July or August, creating a well-groomed look.
In our climate, it’s evergreen – – or shall I say, ever-grey. It’s so nice to have the tidy mounds of foliage through the more barren garden of winter.
Originally, I thought it would be an easy addition to our garden. I had a tough time getting the small 4-inch pots of Eriophyllum lanatum established. Although I watered them weekly, they struggled on our rocky outcrop – – a match to their natural habitat! After a couple of years, I was frustrated. What worked, in the end, was shifting the small starts to an area with deeper soil, that was still watered weekly but not baked in as much sun.
The plants quickly grew, spreading to a foot wide in one season. They were a bit lanky & not terribly attractive, but had established a stronger root mass. In the fall I divided them, keeping deep rootballs, & planted them into drier areas. They settled into their new homes over our moist winter & flourished with very little water through the following dry summer.
Now we have Wooly Sunflower in several areas: the boulevard, the rocky outcrop, & our more traditional flower garden. I’m on the lookout for even more easy-care native plants that suit…..
Other native plants that I’d welcome into our garden:
Identification of violets isn’t as easy as I expected. There are well over 500 species worldwide, with many indigenous to North America.
For a long time, I figured this little gem was the Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) but those are from the eastern side of the continent. Now I reckon it is either the Western Dog Violet (Viola adunca) or the very similar Alaska Violet (Viola langsdorfii) – both common on Vancouver Island.
I consider it a special bonus that these lawn jewels are native to the Pacific Northwest (and beyond) — because for local wildlife, especially spring pollinators, this is comfort food.
Wild violets have been an addition to human diets as well – long before they became trendy as color in salads. I can’t say I’ve gathered any for supper, but it is kinda cool thinking of our lawn as an extension of the veggie garden.