By Helen Hamilton and Gustavus Hall
Sponsored by the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society
Wildflowers & Grasses of Virginia’s Coastal Plain by Helen Hamilton and Gustavus Hall is based on the records and works of members of the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. Local gardeners and native plant enthusiasts have long desired a manual on this topic where information on local and native plants can be found.
In this guide you’ll find non-woody flowering plants that are grown in the Coastal Plain of VA and neighboring states, organized in a logical, easy to use format. Each plant is arranged by flower color and marked clearly with corresponding colored rectangles on the top edge of each page. Within each plant entry you’ll find color photographs, common and scientific names, and the classification of either NATIVE, INTRODUCED, or INTRODUCED INVASIVE. Details in the text body help to identify the plant by including additional details of plant characteristics. These include preferred habitat and growing conditions, plant’s bloom time and other interesting facts. The text is large enough and the construction of the book sturdy enough for outdoor excursions. In fact, my husband recently took his high school science club to the beach where they successfully identified several of the plants growing there.
The book also includes an introduction stressing the importance of identifying native and introduced invasive species so that we can better determine what plants to include in our gardens, and which to avoid. It also gives background on the Virginia Native Plant Society and The John Clayton Chapter which covers the Coastal Plain of VA. I have found members of this local chapter both helpful and informed. I am a regular visitor to their native plants sales held throughout the region.
If you like this guide you may also want to take a look at Plants of the Chesapeake Bay:a guide to wildflowers, grasses, aquatic vegetation, trees, shrubs & otherflora (2012) by Lytton John Musselman. Although published in 1991, TheVirginia Gardener’s Guide by Jacqueline Hériteau remains a go-to guide for local gardeners, including myself.