The Adirondacks is a vast area in Upstate New York that covers the counties of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington including the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. The area is in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 and is a heavily agricultural area with rich soils that most plants love.
Harlequin blueflag (Iris versicolor) is also known as Northern blue flag and is a member of the iris family. The plant grows from 2 to 3 feet tall, producing sword-shaped leaves and flowers in different shades of purple accented with yellow markings. The flowers bloom from May through August in the marshes and swamps and along the banks of streams. Plant harlequin blueflag in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is moist to wet. You can grow the palnt in standing water. Hummingbirds will stop by for a drink of nectar.
Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) is also known as twinberry and running box and is a member of the madder family. The plant is an evergreen that grows up to 2 inches tall with small, round, dark-green leaves and tiny, trumpet-shaped, pink-white flowers that bloom from May through October and are followed by scarlet-red berries. The berries are a favorite meal for partridges and other birds. The plant grows in the woods, on sandy slopes and along stream beds. Plant partridgeberry in partial or full shade and a soil that is moist to dry.
Checkerberry (Gaultheria procumbens) is also known as creeping wintergreen. The plant is an evergreen groundcover that grows up to 6 inches tall. The plant produces deep-green, oval-shaped leaves that become tinged with red in the winter and white-pink, urn-shaped flowers that bloom from May till fall. The red berries that follow the flowers have the taste of wintergreen. Plant checkerberry in partial to full shade and a cool, moist soil. The plant is found growing in the cool forest areas.
Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) is also known as bitterroot and flytrap dogbane. The plant is a shrub that grows from 2 to 5 feet tall, producing oval leaves and pink, bell-shaped flowers that grow is clusters resembling a lilac blooming from June through August. The plant is found growing in the forests, meadows and fields. Plant spreading dogbane in full sun, partial shade or full shade and a dry, sandy or gravely soil. Butterflies and bees are attracted to the nectar.