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Old 12-20-2018, 10:33 PM   #11
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The legumes won't make the soil more acidic or take over the planting, but they provide a source of early season nitrogen from their deciduous roots. Soil pH is determined by the aeration/compaction status of the soil and to a larger degree by the mineral and inorganic components of the soil: the type of clay and sand or rock in the soil.
You should avoid compacting the planting site with heavy machinery if possible. Compaction will favor acidifying anaerobic microbial activity.
"Dont fight the site", try to come up with a mix of plants that will work with the site conditions you have. All of the plants you listed will grow in average soil, you probably will not need to ammend with epsom salt or lime, have you had a soil test done by a soil testing lab? The problem with using ammendments is they will be exhausted over time and need to be reapplied since they dont change the inorganic parts of the soil that are affecting the pH long term.
Again, I would not rototill the soil, especially that deep. You will destroy the soil structure (root channels, insect/animal tunnels, fungal hyphae networks, etc) and it will erode and become compacted over time, and then your drainage will suffer. One way you can get away with rototilling is if you seed something that will fill in quickly and stabilize the soil. Multiple shallow rototillings with a rear tine tiller should work, space the tilling 1-3 weeks apart depending on how fast the weeds grow back. You could try an organic herbicide like Biosafe, acetic acid, clove oil combos, etc, and use repeat applications spaced 1 to 3 weeks apart. Spot spray glyphosate on anything that wont die.
You have found out how expensive and impractical mulch can be, look into blown-in straw. It also makes sense to grow from seed for such a large area, even if you space everything 3ft apart, you will still need what, 1600 plants? 3'x3' for each plant is 9sq ft. 15000sq ft/9sq ft = 1666 plants. That is a lot of plants, and ideally you would have A LOT more plants so there is no empty ground between the larger plants, the bare ground should be occupied by low growing plants like your Packera.

I would recommend the books Planting in a Post Wild World by Claudia West, Garden Revolution by Larry Weaner, and The Living Landscape by Doug Tallamy, they will help you visualize, plan and prepare your garden.
You seem to be going in the right direction with your plan.
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by skip1909 View Post
The legumes won't make the soil more acidic or take over the planting, but they provide a source of early season nitrogen from their deciduous roots. Soil pH is determined by the aeration/compaction status of the soil and to a larger degree by the mineral and inorganic components of the soil: the type of clay and sand or rock in the soil.
You should avoid compacting the planting site with heavy machinery if possible. Compaction will favor acidifying anaerobic microbial activity.
"Dont fight the site", try to come up with a mix of plants that will work with the site conditions you have. All of the plants you listed will grow in average soil, you probably will not need to ammend with epsom salt or lime, have you had a soil test done by a soil testing lab? The problem with using ammendments is they will be exhausted over time and need to be reapplied since they dont change the inorganic parts of the soil that are affecting the pH long term.
Again, I would not rototill the soil, especially that deep. You will destroy the soil structure (root channels, insect/animal tunnels, fungal hyphae networks, etc) and it will erode and become compacted over time, and then your drainage will suffer. One way you can get away with rototilling is if you seed something that will fill in quickly and stabilize the soil. Multiple shallow rototillings with a rear tine tiller should work, space the tilling 1-3 weeks apart depending on how fast the weeds grow back. You could try an organic herbicide like Biosafe, acetic acid, clove oil combos, etc, and use repeat applications spaced 1 to 3 weeks apart. Spot spray glyphosate on anything that wont die.
You have found out how expensive and impractical mulch can be, look into blown-in straw. It also makes sense to grow from seed for such a large area, even if you space everything 3ft apart, you will still need what, 1600 plants? 3'x3' for each plant is 9sq ft. 15000sq ft/9sq ft = 1666 plants. That is a lot of plants, and ideally you would have A LOT more plants so there is no empty ground between the larger plants, the bare ground should be occupied by low growing plants like your Packera.

I would recommend the books Planting in a Post Wild World by Claudia West, Garden Revolution by Larry Weaner, and The Living Landscape by Doug Tallamy, they will help you visualize, plan and prepare your garden.
You seem to be going in the right direction with your plan.
Well said, Skip! Great advice!
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Old 12-21-2018, 01:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip1909 View Post
The legumes won't make the soil more acidic or take over the planting, but they provide a source of early season nitrogen from their deciduous roots. Soil pH is determined by the aeration/compaction status of the soil and to a larger degree by the mineral and inorganic components of the soil: the type of clay and sand or rock in the soil.
You should avoid compacting the planting site with heavy machinery if possible. Compaction will favor acidifying anaerobic microbial activity.
"Dont fight the site", try to come up with a mix of plants that will work with the site conditions you have. All of the plants you listed will grow in average soil, you probably will not need to ammend with epsom salt or lime, have you had a soil test done by a soil testing lab? The problem with using ammendments is they will be exhausted over time and need to be reapplied since they dont change the inorganic parts of the soil that are affecting the pH long term.
Again, I would not rototill the soil, especially that deep. You will destroy the soil structure (root channels, insect/animal tunnels, fungal hyphae networks, etc) and it will erode and become compacted over time, and then your drainage will suffer. One way you can get away with rototilling is if you seed something that will fill in quickly and stabilize the soil. Multiple shallow rototillings with a rear tine tiller should work, space the tilling 1-3 weeks apart depending on how fast the weeds grow back. You could try an organic herbicide like Biosafe, acetic acid, clove oil combos, etc, and use repeat applications spaced 1 to 3 weeks apart. Spot spray glyphosate on anything that wont die.
You have found out how expensive and impractical mulch can be, look into blown-in straw. It also makes sense to grow from seed for such a large area, even if you space everything 3ft apart, you will still need what, 1600 plants? 3'x3' for each plant is 9sq ft. 15000sq ft/9sq ft = 1666 plants. That is a lot of plants, and ideally you would have A LOT more plants so there is no empty ground between the larger plants, the bare ground should be occupied by low growing plants like your Packera.

I would recommend the books Planting in a Post Wild World by Claudia West, Garden Revolution by Larry Weaner, and The Living Landscape by Doug Tallamy, they will help you visualize, plan and prepare your garden.
You seem to be going in the right direction with your plan.

Thank you, thank you very much!

I haven't gotten a professional soil test done. There's been a lot of assuming. The deadline for submission of my project (and it's budget) is January 11th. I may not have time for a soil test, but choosing another list of plants to keep it general should work until then. The soil according to the USDA websoilsurvey comes from Mica Schist Residuum, and also backfill from construction (red bricks can be found occasionally in deeper soil).

As for nitrogen fixing legumes, here's a list I made:
Lupinus perennis Sundial Lupine
Lespedeza virginica Slender Bush Clover
Astralagus canadensis Canadian Milkvetch
Desmodium canadense Showy Tick Trefoil
Tephrosia virginiana Virginia Tephrosia
Senna hebecarpa American Senna
Chamaecrista fasciculata Partridge Pea

And some non-legume nitrogen fixers:
Comptonia peregrina Sweetfern
Shepherdia canadensis Russet Buffaloberry
Ceanothus americana New Jersey Tea
All of them are very pretty

So there's not going to be any epsom salt to fertilize with. As for roto-tilling, I'll take your suggestion on it: Shallow and in portions where the new plants can take over before surrounding plants can come. So it would be: Shallowly roto-till a section, plant grass seed (and plugs of rhizome spreading plants), blow straw mulch onto the section, let it grow, and repeat until filled, right?

I'll get reading on the books you recommended, their previews look very promising! I'll have to ask for them for Christmas (or Three Kings Day, since it's a little too late to be ordering for Christmas). Thanks again.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:44 PM   #14
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Planting seeds, plugs, and pots in August isn't ideal. Late September or October is the goal time for planting.
I forget how large the area is you'll be planting but Myself.....
I find the earlier I plant the better as they do much better in the long haul no matter WHAT the upcoming temperature or rain predictions but you MUST.... keep an eye on them and give them supplemental watering between the storms... The longer they are in the ground the more their roots develop prepping them for the long Winter ahead.
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Podo View Post
Thank you, thank you very much!

I haven't gotten a professional soil test done. There's been a lot of assuming. The deadline for submission of my project (and it's budget) is January 11th. I may not have time for a soil test, but choosing another list of plants to keep it general should work until then. The soil according to the USDA websoilsurvey comes from Mica Schist Residuum, and also backfill from construction (red bricks can be found occasionally in deeper soil).

As for nitrogen fixing legumes, here's a list I made:
Lupinus perennis Sundial Lupine
Lespedeza virginica Slender Bush Clover
Astralagus canadensis Canadian Milkvetch
Desmodium canadense Showy Tick Trefoil
Tephrosia virginiana Virginia Tephrosia
Senna hebecarpa American Senna
Chamaecrista fasciculata Partridge Pea

And some non-legume nitrogen fixers:
Comptonia peregrina Sweetfern
Shepherdia canadensis Russet Buffaloberry
Ceanothus americana New Jersey Tea
All of them are very pretty

So there's not going to be any epsom salt to fertilize with. As for roto-tilling, I'll take your suggestion on it: Shallow and in portions where the new plants can take over before surrounding plants can come. So it would be: Shallowly roto-till a section, plant grass seed (and plugs of rhizome spreading plants), blow straw mulch onto the section, let it grow, and repeat until filled, right?

I'll get reading on the books you recommended, their previews look very promising! I'll have to ask for them for Christmas (or Three Kings Day, since it's a little too late to be ordering for Christmas). Thanks again.

That's a nice list, I saw some bush clover still standing with dried seed heads at the park today, its ornamental this time of year when everything is brown and desiccated. I would plant things that take more than a couple years to mature, and seed the rest. When you sow seed, include forbes as well as grasses. Here is a real basic quick planting guide https://www.ernstseed.com/resources/planting-guides/uplands-meadows-and-pollinators-planting-guide/ the books go into more detail about design, my favorite is the Larry Weaner book. He has some helpful templates in it for ordering seeds and creating mixes. He doesn't recommend planting until early fall as well, but seeding in august is fair game. There is a great emphasis placed on what to expect over the years, the first year of growth will be dominated by quick growing and flowering plants but eventually they will yield to slower growing but stronger rooted plants.
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Old 12-24-2018, 04:14 PM   #16
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It's Christmas Eve and I did a little more reading into the plants I listed. I'd love a critique of my list. Things like what to add, what to remove, information I have wrong, information you think is important, how much of what plant to get, where it can be used, special notes, and so on. I'll take as much information as I can get.

Here is my list again, and edited again, and added to again, along with my understanding of these plants:

Shrubs

1.
Rosa carolina Pasture Rose
Blooms pink from May to July.
Fall attraction are rose hips.
Roots are a deep central taproot.
1 to 3 Feet Tall
5 to 8 Feet Wide
2 to 3 Foot Spacing

2.
Vaccinium angustifolium Late Lowbush Blueberry
Blooms white from May to June.
Summer attraction are powdery blue fruits.
Fall attraction is brilliant leaf color.
Roots are shallow, spreading, and intertwined. Older plants develop a taproot.
1/2 to 2 Feet Tall
2 Feet Wide
1 to 5 Foot Spacing

3.
Comptonia peregrina Sweet-Fern
Blooms are inconspicuous catkins from May to August.
Fall attraction is brilliant leaf color.
Roots are nitrogen fixing rhizomes.
2 to 4 Feet Tall
5 Feet Wide
2 to 3 Foot Spacing
This plant may develop a space underneath it that's as big as 1 foot tall. If it does, what can that space be filled with?

4.
Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea
Blooms white in Summer.
Roots are a nitrogen fixing and stout taproot.
3 to 4 Feet Tall
3 to 5 Feet Wide
4 to 5 Foot Spacing

5.
Shepherdia canadensis Russet Buffaloberry
Blooms unisexually and yellow in Spring.
Summer attraction are red berries on female plants.
Roots are nitrogen fixing rhizomes (possibly?)
5 to 10 Feet Tall, but 4 to 6 Feet is typical
Usually equally wide as it is tall
4 to 6 Foot Spacing

Forbs

6.
Oenothera fruticosa Narrow-Leaved Sundrops
Blooms yellow from May to July.
Roots are short rhizomes.
1 to 2 Feet Tall
1 Foot Spacing
This plant is a non-aggressive rapid spreader.

7.
Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis Western Yarrow
Bloom white, rarely pink, from July to September.
3 Feet Tall
Aggressive in favorable conditions.

8.
Asclepias verticallata Whorled Milkweed
Blooms white from July to September.
Roots are fleshy and fibrous long rhizomes.
1 to 2 Feet Tall
1 to 2 Foot Spacing
Rhizomes spread

9.
Campanula rotundifolia Common Harebell
Blooms are blue to violet from June to September.
Roots are a taproot.
1 Foot Tall
1 Foot Wide
6 to 8 Inch Spacing
May spread aggressively.

10.
Helianthus divaricatus Woodland Sunflower
Blooms yellow from July to September.
Roots are long rhizomes.
2 1/2 to 6 Feet Tall
2 Feet Wide
2 Foot Spacing
May spread aggressively.

11.
Solidago nemoralis Gray Goldenrod
Blooms yellow from July to September.
Roots are fibrous rhizomes. Older plants have a small caudex.
2 Feet Tall, sometimes.
1 to 3 Feet Wide
2 Foot Spacing (possibly?)
This plant is listed as potentially invasive, if it isn't already invading, around the world. It's very aggressive.

12.
Opuntia humifusa Eastern Prickly Pear
Blooms yellow to orange from May to July.
Summer attraction are the beautiful red fruits.
Winter attraction, if it can be called that, is that it shrinks and becomes wrinkly but stays evergreen.
Roots are fibrous and spreading.
6 Inches Tall
6 inch Spacing
Cuttings are very easy to get from this cactus.

13.
Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot
Blooms pink from July to September.
Roots are deep and strongly branched, shallow rhizomes (?)
2 to 5 Feet Tall
2 Foot Spacing
Can be an aggressive spreader.

14.
Echinacea purpurea Eastern Purple Coneflower
Blooms magenta from June to September.
Roots are fibrous short rhizomes.
3 to 4 Feet Tall
2 Foot Spacing
Can spread.

15.
Vernonia noveboracensis New York Ironweed
Blooms magenta from August to October.
Roots are dense fibrous rhizomes (possibly?)
6 to 7 Feet Tall, reaches 7 in best conditions.
Aggressive under favorable conditions.

16.
Penstemon hirsutus Hairy Penstemon
Blooms pink to purple from May to July.
Fall attraction is foliage color.
Roots are a taproot or short rhizomes(?)
1 to 2 Feet Tall
1 Foot Spacing

17.
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium Aromatic Aster
Blooms purple in August to October.
Roots are fibrous rhizomes, caudex on older plants, varies by location.
1 to 3 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Feet Wide
1 1/2 Foot Spacing

18.
Lilium philadelphicum Wood Lily
Blooms orange to red from July to August.
Roots are a bulb with a short root.
1 to 3 Feet Tall
1 Foot Spacing
Uncommon spreading from bulb.

19.
Packera aurea Golden Ragwort
Blooms yellow from April to July.
Roots are fibrous and spreading.
1 to 2 Feet Tall
Spreads well.

20.
Phlox subulata Moss Phlox
Blooms pink or purple or blue from April to May.
Roots are fibrous.
3 to 6 Inches Tall
1 to 2 Feet Wide
2 Foot Spacing
Under its favorable conditions it smells like someone's smoking Marijuana. This is a garden for a High School. I'm sure a little bit of this plant won't hurt.

21.
Antennaria plantaginifolia Woman's Tobacco / Plaintain-Leaved Pussytoes
Blooms unisexually and white from April to June.
Semi-evergreen, I think.
Roots are a spreading central tap.
6 Inches Tall
6 Inch Spacing

22.
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium Slender Mountain Mint
Blooms white from July to September.
Roots are taproots, rhizomes.
2 Feet Tall
1 1/2 Foot Spacing
I chose to replace the Virginia Mountain Mint on the older list with this one because this one is more fit for the little soil moisture and all the sunniness.

23.
Pycnanthemum incanum Hoary Mountain Mint
Blooms white to purple from July to September.
Roots are dense colonies of rhizomes.
3 to 4 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Feet Wide
2 Foot Spacing
The leaves on this plant are the main attraction.

24.
Eutrochium fistulosum Hollow Joe-Pye
Blooms mauve from July to September.
Roots are fibrous, but sometimes they're rhizomes.
5 to 10 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Feet Wide
3 to 6 Foot Spacing

25.
Castilleja coccinea Indian Paintbrush
Blooms orange to scarlet from April to May.
Roots are hemiparasitic, prefers Blue Grama as a host, other Bouteloua, or other grasses.
1 to 2 Feet Tall
1 Foot Spacing
Difficult to start from seed, but that's the only way since it's an annual and doesn't transplant well.

26.
Pedicularus canadensis Canadian Lousewort
Blooms green to white from April to June.
Roots are hemiparasitic.
1 Foot Tall
1 Foot Spacing
This plant is easier to grow than Indian Paintbrush. Canadian Lousewort can kill goldenrods or other plants. It may be aggressive (probably?)

27.
Lespedeza virginica Slender Bush Clover
Blooms pink from July to September.
Roots are a nitrogen fixing taproot.
2 Feet Tall
1 to 2 Foot Spacing

28.
Desmodium canadense Showy Tick Trefoil
Blooms pink from July to August.
Roots are a nitrogen fixing taproot.
5 Feet Tall
1 to 2 Foot Spacing

29.
Astralagus canadense Canadian Milkvetch
Blooms green to white from June to August.
Roots are a nitrogen fixing taproot.
3 Feet Tall
2 Foot Spacing

30.
Lupinus perennis Sundial Lupine
Blooms blue from May to July.
Roots are nitrogen fixing taproots or rhizomes.
2 Feet Tall
1 to 1 1/2 Feet Spacing.
This plant goes dormant in the middle of summer.

31.
Tephrosia virginica Virginia Tephrosia
Blooms white with magenta from May to July.
Roots are a nitrogen fixing deep taproot.
1 Foot Tall
1 to 2 Foot Spacing

32.
Senna hebecarpa American Senna
Blooms a wonderful golden yellow from July to August.
Roots are rhizomes or a taproot (probably?)
5 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Foot Spacing
This can be used as a hedge for the open gaps in the fence.

33.
Chamaecrista fasciculata Partirdge Pea
Blooms yellow with a tiny bit of red at the center from July to September.
Roots are a taproot with smaller auxillary roots.
2 Feet Tall
1 Foot Spacing
This plant is an annual.

34.
Cheilanthes lanosa Hairy Lip Fern
1 Foot Tall
1 Foot Wide
I have a hard time finding availability of this fern.

Not done yet, there's still Grasses

35.
Schizachyrium scoparium Little Bluestem
Blooms from July to October.
Bluish in Summer, but turns a tan or red color in Winter.
Warm season grass.
Roots are fibrous and short rhizomes.
3 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Foot Spacing

36.
Sporobolus heterolepis Prairie Dropseed
Blooms from August to October.
Warm season grass.
Roots are fibrous and short rhizomes.
3 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Foot Spacing

37.
Bouteloua curtipendula Sideoats Grama
Blooms with visible red stamens in August and September.
Warm season grass.
Roots are fibrous and rhizomes.
2 Feet Tall
1 to 2 Feet Spacing

38.
Eragrostis spectabilis Purple Love-Grass
Blooms mauve to purple in July and August.
Warm season grass.
Roots are fibrous and rhizomes.
2 Feet Tall
1 to 2 Foot Spacing

39.
Muhlenbergia capillaris Gulf Muhly
Blooms into a cloud of pink from September to November.
Warm season grass.
Roots are fibrous, long rhizomes (?)
2 to 3 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Feet Wide

40.
Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem
Blooms June to September.
Warm season grass.
Roots are fibrous and short rhizomes.
7 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Foot Spacing

41.
Sorghastrum nutans Indiangrass
Blooms bronze spikes in August and September.
Warm season grass.
Roots are fibrous and short rhizomes. Can be aggressive.
6 Feet Tall
2 to 3 Foot Spacing

Added: The hemiparasitic plants Indian Paintbrush and Canadian Lousewort

Phew... ..that took all day to put together. But it helped me learn a little bit more about the plants I've chosen. I'm also typing this list over and over because I want to be sure and make sure that I'm not going to cause a gigantic native plant massacre. It's a learning experience. This is my first time doing this. I understand not every plant on the list will be used because it may be too hard to find a few of these plants or maybe I'll have to choose cheaper plants because the process of making a 15,000 square foot site from disturbed turf into a biologically diverse grassland meadow is expensive (Plastic solarization covers, rented quality roto-tiller, signs, path stones blown-in straw mulch, and most importantly: time and effort). But I think it's time I make a post that doesn't include this huge list and focuses more on the signs, paths, process, and just anything but the list because the list isn't everything.

I also came across a botanical sign company online, since my teacher said he'd like name plates for the plants like the hospital garden does. Would people care for QR codes? The green energy garden is also getting more paths than it has now, which means I now need to choose a stone path. I could probably plan to have the path stone purchased with the solarization plastic so they can hold the plastic down. I think August 2019, probably late August, may be the prime time to get the plants into their places and grasses seeded. Time's almost up. January 10th I believe I have to have the project proposal (with plan and budget) for the chance at grant. Have I said that I think the budget may be around $20,000? It both looks like a lot of money, but also not enough! If every plant were a plug, 1 square foot and $1, then that's $15,000.

It's been both great and stressful. Great because I get to learn more about plants and see more about them! Stressful because the time frame for the possible grant. I think I can do it. I'll take it easier tomorrow since it's Christmas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
I forget how large the area is you'll be planting but Myself.....
I find the earlier I plant the better as they do much better in the long haul no matter WHAT the upcoming temperature or rain predictions but you MUST.... keep an eye on them and give them supplemental watering between the storms... The longer they are in the ground the more their roots develop prepping them for the long Winter ahead.
Thank you. This is why I'm thinking August, or even Early September, is a better time to plant on the site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skip1909 View Post
That's a nice list, I saw some bush clover still standing with dried seed heads at the park today, its ornamental this time of year when everything is brown and desiccated. I would plant things that take more than a couple years to mature, and seed the rest. When you sow seed, include forbes as well as grasses. Here is a real basic quick planting guide https://www.ernstseed.com/resources/planting-guides/uplands-meadows-and-pollinators-planting-guide/ the books go into more detail about design, my favorite is the Larry Weaner book. He has some helpful templates in it for ordering seeds and creating mixes. He doesn't recommend planting until early fall as well, but seeding in august is fair game. There is a great emphasis placed on what to expect over the years, the first year of growth will be dominated by quick growing and flowering plants but eventually they will yield to slower growing but stronger rooted plants.
Thank you. I don't have the books yet. I may not even have time to read them until after January 10th. I'll get reading on making seed mixes and update the list again for plants that are better off bought as seeds.

Happy Holidays
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:31 PM   #17
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Do you have pictures of the site? Are there paths already or is it a big rectangular field? Are there any low spots within the area where water collects after a rain? Are there any hills on the site? Any structures or nearby trees that provide shade at various times of the day? Its hard to envision paths without seeing the site but if its a big flat rectangle or square, Id probably have 1 winding path through it or 2 or 3 gently curving paths that intersect. I would keep the path clear by mowing, make it about 4'-5' wide, and not worry about mulching it or putting down a path surface unless it tends to get muddy.
The site is going to tell you where to plant things. If you have a low spot or the north side of a hill, or a spot that gets afternoon shade, thats where lupine, golden ragwort, switchgrass, muhly grass, joe pye, NY ironweed, and any moisture lovers should be planted. That dry west face is goig to be fine for little bluestem, sideoats and prairie dropseed.
If the soil totally dries out Joe pye, golden ragwort, and NY ironweed will go dormant and possibly die for example. I think the blueberry needs consistent moisture as well. Lupine doesnt like to be crowded by vigorous species and prefers some protection from strong winds. If you had a hill, the lupins would do better on the east side where the afternoon sun isnt hitting the ground so much.
If you are going to plant rose, try to isolate it by planting it at a back edge where one side is mowed and the other sides are surrounded by indian grass or something stout. Roses can look pretty messy and take over large areas.

I was walking around the park yesterday just looking at how and where things grow in the meadow there based on exposure. The first picture is all day sun on the east side of a hill, I think its mostly indian grass. The second picture gets strong morning sun and is on the west side of a hill, but the hill is shaded by the wood edge in the afternoon which allows it to grow much taller there compared to the unprotected high point of the hill. There were spots where the ground was lower that were dominated by 6-7' switchgrass. I would upload more photos but the site isnt cooperating. Try sketching the site on graph paper, draw the paths, and maybe shade in or color code areas by sun and moisture, then plug in your plants.
If you write up a decent proposal, the DNR or some relevant agency providing the grant might take notice and provide assistance with getting it planted.
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Old 12-25-2018, 10:58 AM   #18
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Sweet-Fern in the wild usually has some sort of a shorter grass growing beneath it.
Solidago nemoralis Gray Goldenrod Hmmm I'd think twice before planting that one as it is REALLY hard to pull out if it takes over an an area. Impressively strong roots.
Monardas.... really don't like the mildew they tend to carry and transfer to others. Unsure if that one carries the trait but something to consider.
Echinacea purpurea Eastern Purple Coneflower Love this one. It's a definite bird draw!
Castilleja coccinea Now that one is most difficult as you have noticed.. It depends upon and NEEDS a host plant. You've done your homework well!
Pedicularus canadensis another one I've failed miserably at but it's a very nice plant if you can get it started.
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Old 12-26-2018, 12:24 PM   #19
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I've come back after spottily reading the book you recommended, Skip. It's a wonderful book! I haven't gotten the other two books yet. What I read made me more fascinated by plants though! I'm not done reading, but it made me realize how big of a mistake choosing the plants first was. The site chooses what stays and what goes. It's bad that I tried avoiding annuals on the list. I didn't know their function, but now that I think I do, I see how neat they are! I have an idea of what annuals/biennials the site would like, like Partridge Pea or Field Thistle. I also wonder if it likes the flowers I like, which are Firewheels and Basketflower. Are Firewheels and Basketflower appropriate? I think they're adventive. Black Eyed Susan, Cowpen Daisy, and Annual Sunflower could work. My Teacher said he'd like to see sunflowers, which is why I imagined Helianthus divaricatus would work instead of annuus because it was perennial and non-adventive. Hoary Verbena is nice, too. I shouldn't get attached to any ideas just yet. I should try and finish reading the book, but I've got to come up with a plan. The stress from now to the tenth is distracting my reading.

Here's what I have so far:

No prices yet. I have some satellite pictures from google maps of the area and drew a bit on top of it. I also don't know the cost of solarization, but I read that painter's plastic can be used for 3 to 5 weeks before breaking up. The steps have been switched around for solarization, too: Roto-till first, then even the ground out, wet the soil, and then solarize for as long as I can. I think the idea of signs should be scrapped if it's going to be a dynamic garden.

The pathway almost became a can of worms. I was thinking of a wooden plank pathway similar to stepping stones, but it's planks of wood in the ground. I read that black locust and red cedar make good outdoor woods (and also Osage Orange/Bodark, but it's harder to get online, unless it's Argentinian) but how much does the type of wood really matter? Those woods can be expensive, but are far better than any treated pinewood. I don't know the lengths of the paths, but I know they have to be around four or five feet like Skip said. It's a public space, it should be accessable. I think the spacing between the planks would be one foot? But that probably depends on the dimensions of the planks. Like if I'm given a bunch of thin planks that are 2"x2"x4', a bunch of sticks really, then they might need to be closer, right? Or if the plank is 6"x2"x5' they'd be half a foot to one foot apart. Or the planks could be vertical with the path instead of horizontal. Or what if they're scrap pieces of wood that can be irregularly placed? I'll have to keep reading on paths, but not too much. The cheapest path and easiest path is a mowed path, but I think the wooden planks are charming. There's already another path built by another student, the same bold student who recommended the backhoe to clear the turf. It's not a very pretty path in my opinion.

Here's a description on the satellite pictures:
One picture is the plain site from last year before the wind turbine was installed by the students. Only a portion of the wind turbine pole is on the ground there. North is up, South is down. It's an older picture without the red gravel path or the part of the fence installed, which will be completed next year along with a ground-mount solar panels.

The next picture is where the fence will be. It's an odd shaped area. This is the space I have to work with. The fence is aluminum painted black. It's purely for decoration I think. It's four feet tall.

There is the current site with objects highlighted. The orange is the gravel path, the white are the class's current solar panels (mounted on the roof, shed, and on poles), the red is the shed, and yellow are the larger and smaller windmills.

Then there is the same, but with the additions of where the ground mount solar is going and the purple is where I'd like the wooden plank path to go. The one that leads to the little grey dot is the entrance to one of our classrooms.

The blue section of this last map has something I think is a mint. It only grows there. By the classroom entrance there's white clovers.

In the center area there's what I thought was lyrate rockcress, but I doubt it is unless lyrate rockcress has heart-shaped seedpods, if those are seed pods. There are also dandelions. By the east facing wall I found what looked like white heath aster or calico aster sprawling on the ground. I read that white heath aster or the like didn't have a noticeable smell, but this flattened patch definitely had one. They smelled like asters, of course.
I haven't seen rain gather into puddles on the site. There has been mud on all of the site, but commonly in the green encircled area after rain. The gutters go underground into the sewer I think.

The south facing pole mounted solar panels get shade around them. The shed has shade at almost all times. The east facing wall gets shaded in the afternoon, it's a slim area where a few plants could hide.
Attached Thumbnails
My School's Green Energy Park / Serpentine Grassland Garden?-20181225_104950.jpg   My School's Green Energy Park / Serpentine Grassland Garden?-20181225_105141.jpg   My School's Green Energy Park / Serpentine Grassland Garden?-20181225_110447.jpg   My School's Green Energy Park / Serpentine Grassland Garden?-20181225_105910.jpg   My School's Green Energy Park / Serpentine Grassland Garden?-20181225_111058.jpg  

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Old 12-26-2018, 12:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
and the purple is where I'd like the wooden plank path to go.
How large an area between the shed and building? Is there really a need to just cut through against a wall or disturbing students by windows? Alternative route? See below:

Quote:
In the center area there's what I thought was lyrate rockcress, but I doubt it is unless lyrate rockcress has heart-shaped seedpods
This comment brings to mind that it could possibly be shepherd's-purse. See: https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/s....html?sub=5222

Quote:
found what looked like white heath aster or calico aster sprawling on the ground. I read that white heath aster or the like didn't have a noticeable smell, but this flattened patch definitely had one.
Now that could possibly be what's called chamomile! see: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/chamomile.aspx

My School's Green Energy Park / Serpentine Grassland Garden?-20181225_105910.jpg
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A walk among the elusive Whitetail Deer
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