I grew up in Minneapolis and have been growing native plants for about 7 years as a way to enhance my connection with the natural history of this specific place that I live. The first plants I ever grew were a few garden beans that I threw out into our front yard when I was in about 2nd grade. They grew, and I was amazed and have been enthralled with plants ever since. I have about 2 years of college behind me, no degree. I took a great Plant Propagation course at the U. of MN. a few years ago which was excellent. Observing and interacting with growing plants , especially natives, is truly inspirational to me. I don't claim to be an expert with plants, natives included, but mostly would like to encourage others to develop their own experience with these amazing transformers of solar energy.
This is the Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida, whose reflexed ray flowers I can't resist, though it's native to places south of Minnesota. In the foreground are leaves of Astragalus canadensis, Canada Milk Vetch, just preparing to bloom now on July 7th. In the background is the lively Prairie Sage, Artemisia ludoviciana. This one runs heartily, so plant a little and watch it cavort ! I find that any native plant that runs like this is easy enough controlled by pulling the runners, but of course if you mistakenly planted alot of it, well, you might be busy for awhile each season. Many milkweeds run like this also, but the Butterfly Weed is very well behaved, just expanding into a nice clump.
on the left is Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum, aka Dalea purpurea. Easy to grow from seed, pollinators love it, and it's really pretty.
Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa and Narrow-Leaved Coneflower, Echinacea angustifolia, the only Purple Coneflower that is native to Minnesota. Neither Echinacea Purpurea or Echinacea pallida; Purple Coneflower, or Pale Purple Coneflower are native to the state, just the diminutive Narrow-Leaved, which hardly reaches 18" in height, and whose ray petals tend to to remain much more horizontal to the disc.