Along the back fence of our fairly big suburban lot is an area that we've allowed to remain wild over the years. This wasn't really planned. It just sort of happened and has evolved as things in Nature will.
The "wilderness" consists of a hedgerow of shrubs that have been planted by birds and other wildlife over the more than twenty years that we have lived here. Consequently, since the plants were selected by wildlife, they are all wildlife-friendly and are full of food for critters at certain seasons of the year.
common elderberry, Sambucus nigra canadensis. The airy white umbels that are its blooms cover the shrubs from spring until autumn.
Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is another plant that is very common in our "wilderness" because it is another plant that has berries that are much loved by birds. The flowers are fairly insignificant. Most of the petals here have already fallen off, but just at the tip of the raceme, you can see a few of the blossoms hanging on. Pokeweed is a very robust plant that can grow almost ten feet tall in ideal conditions. The leaves of the newly emerged pokeweed in the spring are prized by some as greens for the table. The gourmand must beware though for those leaves are poisonous! They must be boiled twice and the first water thrown out before they can be eaten. I had an uncle who swore that the leaves were tastier than spinach and he looked forward to eating them every spring. Since he lived well into his 90s, he could be the poster boy for poke salad, or "poke salet" as he called it.
beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). It is actually one of my favorite native shrubs and I use it pretty extensively in my garden, sometimes moving the small plants that have been started by the birds to my ideal (from my viewpoint) locations. Again, the flowers of the shrub are fairly insignificant but the berries, once they have matured, make a splendid display. The berries do take longer to mature than either the elderberry or the pokeweed and so they stay on the shrub longer, often even into the winter when they are much appreciated by hungry birds. There is also a cultivated variety that has white berries. I have one of those in my garden as well and, for some reason, the birds always finish off those berries before they start on the purple ones.
Thanks to Gail at Clay and Limestone for hosting Wildflower Wednesday again this month. Don't forget to visit her blog and say "hi" for me.