Ontario, one of Canada's eastern provinces and major population centers, sprawls between the Great Lakes to the south and Hudson Bay to the north. Many shrubs and vines have adapted to the different growing conditions across its expanse. These native plants, according to the Canadian Museum of nature, tend to be more disease-and-pest resistant that commercial cultivars. Using them in your home garden will require less water and fertilizer while providing wildlife food and shelter.
Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a vigorously growing vine native to Ontario's wet woodlands, where it climbs trees to a height of 35 feet. Its oval leaves have dark green surfaces with lighter undersides. Profuse crops of vivid red or red-orange flowers bloom from June to September. Trumpet-shaped and up to 3-1/2 inches across, they grow in showy clusters at the tips of the vine's branches. Trumpet creeper is a hummingbird magnet. For best flowering, says the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, plant in full sun and well-drained soil. It tolerates sand, loam, clay and limestone-rich soils. Spreading by suckers, it may damage brick, wood or stone structures. Mowing the new suckers will control it.
Devil's Darning Needles
Devil's darning needles (Clematis virginiana), a vine of the buttercup family, thrive along Ontario's stream banks and in low, wet woodlands. This clematis uses twisting leaf stalks to climb over fences and other shrubs, reaching up to 15 feet. Between July and September, it has clusters of five-petaled, star-shaped white blooms against bright green leaves. Hummingbirds feed on the nectar. Spent flowers produce seedpods with flowing, white feathery plumes. Plant devil's darning needles in moist, rich soil and sun to part shade. Prune as needed during the growing season. Early spring pruning promotes bushy growth and heavier bloom. All parts of this vine are toxic if ingested.
Part of the rose family, common serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) is a 15-to-25-foot shrub. In the wild, it grows along Ontario's stream banks and on rocky, open slopes. Its fragrant April and May clusters of white flowers wine-red autumn leaves, purple berries and grayish red bark make common serviceberry an attractive garden addition in any season. Serviceberry likes moist, well-drained acidic soil and sun to part shade. Protect the young shrubs from browsing rabbits.
Lapland rhododendron (Rhododendron lapponicum) is a small---between 2 and 12 inches high---evergreen mat-forming shrub. It grows wild on Ontario's arctic tundra and limestone slopes, where it blooms between May and October. Its fragrant purple flowers appear singly or in clusters at the ends of its branches. Lapland rhododendron has dark green, thick-stemmed oblong leaves. Plant it in dry, alkaline soil and part shade. All parts of the shrub are toxic if ingested.