Article & Photo by Mary L Grover
When adding native plants, try to add a variety of plants that bloom from spring to fall. Most people plant wildflowers that only bloom in summer. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds need nectar from spring to late fall.
It is best to plant wildflowers in masses. Large patches of color will help to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Example: group 5 wildflowers or more of the same type together rather than just one or two plants.
Many of our bumblebees are endangered, especially the long-tongue bumblebees. Consider adding wildflowers that have a trumpet shape which the long tongue bees prefer. White Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) is a native plant example that has a trumpet shape.
Best time in Northeast USA to plant a native meadow is autumn as many native plants and seeds require exposure to cold temperature.
Grasses are also important to add to a native meadow (even just a few) as they are important to wildlife. Grasses & sedges are larval host plants for some butterflies & some bumblebees and insects. Little Bluestem is a good example of a grass to add here in the Northeast.
Be patient, native plants take much longer to establish as they have long lives. Some wildflower seeds will take 2 years till they bloom.