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Old 03-17-2017, 08:20 PM   #1
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For years, I have tried to find sources that list naturally occurring native companion plants...or asked members here to share what they have observed growing together in nature.

Most recently, I am trying to figure out which natives would grow well together (and mimic a natural habitat) with Phlox subulata. Instead of using that in the thread title, I decided to keep it broad enough to add other species questions in the same thread.

I am tryingbto create a mosaic of lower growing natives as a lawn alternative...but I would like it to mimic natural areas and not be a contrived mishmash of natives that would never naturally grow together.

Has anyone observed Phlox subulata in nature? What was growing with it? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:58 AM   #2
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I don't think I have ever seen the plant in the wild. NPIN says that it occurs naturally on "rocky ledges, slopes, and clearings," so perhaps it would grow best with shale barren natives? https://www.wildflower.org/plants/re...id_plant=PHSU3
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rebek56 View Post
I don't think I have ever seen the plant in the wild. NPIN says that it occurs naturally on "rocky ledges, slopes, and clearings," so perhaps it would grow best with shale barren natives? https://www.wildflower.org/plants/re...id_plant=PHSU3
Thanks, Rebek.

I feel the same, I don't recall ever encountering it in nature--however, I am not as much of an intrepid explorer of nature as I should be...or as others are. I will continue to ask around...especially one guy on Facebook who seems to spend nearly every day exploring wild places (I believe he retired young).

Anyway, I have read similar descriptions...and I even planted some in a makeshift shale barren--I purchased the straight species from a nursery south of me...and of an ecotype that is also a bit south of me.

I'd love to encounter it in nature. ...or, at least hear about others who have.

Here are some pictures of the "shale barren" I am trying to create/mimic. I am surprised that I found the photos so quickly--but, I have yet to find any close-ups of the Phlox subulata--first year plants, but with a few blooms:

Natural Companions-20160612_135530.jpg

Natural Companions-20160620_111959.jpg

Natural Companions-img_9237.jpg

Natural Companions-img_9858.jpg

<sigh> I just noticed that they are upside down--I'm on my way out. Hopefully I will fix that later.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:13 PM   #4
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I'm looking forward to seeing how your shale barren grows. I've always love the rugged, rocky areas and the plants that grow on or between rocks. I liked the last photo with the wildflower in focus.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:59 AM   #5
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Dap, you have just given me an idea. The previous owner of this house had a small rock garden that had become overgrown with nasties that I have been smothering for two years. Since the rocks are still here, even if they are not shale, it might work as a small shale barren sort of place.

Not sure if I ever took photos, but the native plant garden at the library in a neighboring town has a shale barren bed. Next time I'm there, I'll get the species list. (I don't remember that area having phlox, but--my memory....)
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:50 PM   #6
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It's always fun to explore native plant communities. It's interesting to see what nature has decided about which plants go well together. You might be able to get some ideas for selecting the plants for your community from the terrestrial "Red-cedar - mixed hardwood rich shale woodland" description at this link:
Terrestrial Communities of Pennsylvania

Other terrestrial communities that include Phlox subulata:
Red-cedar - pine serpentine shrubland
Serpentine grassland
Serpentine gravel forb community.

It should also be fun to see which fauna are attracted to the community that you design.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie View Post
I'm looking forward to seeing how your shale barren grows. I've always love the rugged, rocky areas and the plants that grow on or between rocks. I liked the last photo with the wildflower in focus.
Thank you, Leslie.

I love rugged areas as well. Hopefully, down the road, I will have some more areas (and more authentic areas?) of rugged, rocky landscapes on our property. Not a huge area, but bigger than what I have above--hopefully, that will grow as well.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebek56 View Post
Dap, you have just given me an idea. The previous owner of this house had a small rock garden that had become overgrown with nasties that I have been smothering for two years. Since the rocks are still here, even if they are not shale, it might work as a small shale barren sort of place.

Not sure if I ever took photos, but the native plant garden at the library in a neighboring town has a shale barren bed. Next time I'm there, I'll get the species list. (I don't remember that area having phlox, but--my memory....)
Cool!

I am glad that it sparked an idea.

If not a shale barren at least a rocky barren of natives! It sounds like a plan. If you have access to shale to bring in...all the better--ask how they created theirs.

Like you said, as long as the plants don't require shale, then I'm sure that they should do well.

When you do get that list, feel free to post it here! (Or create a new thread, if you so desire.)

I believe that the owner of that native plant nursery had said it was a shale barren species--but not I am not quite sure.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NEWisc View Post
It's always fun to explore native plant communities. It's interesting to see what nature has decided about which plants go well together. You might be able to get some ideas for selecting the plants for your community from the terrestrial "Red-cedar - mixed hardwood rich shale woodland" description at this link:
Terrestrial Communities of Pennsylvania

Other terrestrial communities that include Phlox subulata:
Red-cedar - pine serpentine shrubland
Serpentine grassland
Serpentine gravel forb community.

It should also be fun to see which fauna are attracted to the community that you design.
Thank you for the link, NEWisc.

Yes, I am even more excited about seeing what this area attracts after reading your comment.

I think I visited that site way back when...but not likely that particular community.

I would very much like to create a variety of "rocky barrens" where appropriate--I do have one rather large "flat boulder" that is just above ground level. I have wanted to add to that area--but, any rocks I add will be dwarfed by the one that is already there--it is probably only around 5 ft.X3 ft. if that...but it is a start.

I'd love to grow plants from a serpentine community--but, without the appropriate substrata, I wonder how well they would do. I know that some plants are more forgiving than others.

Thanks again, I'm gonna check them out.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:49 PM   #10
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NeWisc You still have your rock-alpine gardens?
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