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Old 06-11-2010, 07:21 PM   #41
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Garden update. I have six more prairie dropseed, 3 penstemon digitalis, 4 phlox pilosa, 4 meadow blazing star, 4 indiangrass and 4 purple prairie clover to plant. It is 90 degrees outside right now at 6:30 PM and I'm just waiting for a break in the weather, not for the plants but for me. The warm season plants love this heat but I wither.

Speaking of withering it is so interesting to watch the plants respond to the heat and sun given ample moisture. We've had pop-up thunderstorms every afternoon for a week on top of plenty of early spring rains so I'm not worried about soil moisture. When I see the leaves flagging I know they are not in need of water but are just responding to the sun or the heat. What is even more interesting is that the sun seems to have more influence than the heat on their response. Even in the 90 degree plus heat on the cloudy days the leaves remain mostly fully turgid but when the sun comes out, down go the leaves. Other more mature plants give up whole stalks to save the whole. I've been pruning back the fallen stalks so they don't shade out the new plugs.

It may seem late to plant but these warm season grasses and forbs are just coming into their own and can adapt pretty well to the conditions. I don't expect much in the early season, but I know that mid-summer well into fall will be incredible. I have a few cool season forbs but the bulk of the season comes later. My woodland gardens supply many spring beauties that I can enjoy early on in the season.

I'm trying to keep up with the weeding, I hate it when the grasses get entangled with weeds, they are so hard to pick out once they are established. The weeds aren't abundant, but they do need to be looked after.

Keep cool y'all!
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:32 PM   #42
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Welcome summer!

More musings on the garden. The echinaceas planted out last season are blooming now and the Rudbeckia fulgida are just starting. The swallowtails are happy. Both the little bluestem and the indiangrass are about half height, I'd forgotton how long it takes them to develop. The prairie dropseed are really looking good, I hope for a good flowering this year from the ones I planted out last year. I really love the grasses.

I finally got everything in that's going in this year. We've been lucky with good soaking rains at perfect times so there's been no watering needed after planting. The only issues so far are the rabbits grazing and the weeds need to be looked after every couple of weeks. Oh, and the moles which lead to voles which lead to chomped roots. I lost all my baptisias in that bed. Hopefully the three new ones will survive.

I did have a moment of questioning my methods, I'm such a nurturer at heart I had to give that up for this bed and use tough love. The soil was not amended, turned or tilled. No fertilizer was used save the Biotone starter. The holes dug for the plugs were about the size of a coffee cup. There are tons of rocks in that soil. A mother worries about her children at night.

Granted the echinaceas in my mixed bed with double dug soil and all kinds of manure and compost and other amendments are twice the size but who's worried? Tie my hands behind my back before I try to "fix" the work in progress. I'm great at second guessing myself. I'm trying to be more patient.

What I've realized is that a garden like this needs time. More time than a traditional garden. I can't imagine trying to start from seed, growing from plugs takes long enough, for me anyway.

No new photos yet. Like I said, growth is S. . .L. . .O. . .W. Maybe by August I'll have some new shots. Meantime I'll keep waiting and hoping.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:25 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
Welcome summer!

More musings on the garden. The echinaceas planted out last season are blooming now and the Rudbeckia fulgida are just starting. The swallowtails are happy. Both the little bluestem and the indiangrass are about half height, I'd forgotton how long it takes them to develop. The prairie dropseed are really looking good, I hope for a good flowering this year from the ones I planted out last year. I really love the grasses.

I finally got everything in that's going in this year. We've been lucky with good soaking rains at perfect times so there's been no watering needed after planting. The only issues so far are the rabbits grazing and the weeds need to be looked after every couple of weeks. Oh, and the moles which lead to voles which lead to chomped roots. I lost all my baptisias in that bed. Hopefully the three new ones will survive.

I did have a moment of questioning my methods, I'm such a nurturer at heart I had to give that up for this bed and use tough love. The soil was not amended, turned or tilled. No fertilizer was used save the Biotone starter. The holes dug for the plugs were about the size of a coffee cup. There are tons of rocks in that soil. A mother worries about her children at night.

Granted the echinaceas in my mixed bed with double dug soil and all kinds of manure and compost and other amendments are twice the size but who's worried? Tie my hands behind my back before I try to "fix" the work in progress. I'm great at second guessing myself. I'm trying to be more patient.

What I've realized is that a garden like this needs time. More time than a traditional garden. I can't imagine trying to start from seed, growing from plugs takes long enough, for me anyway.

No new photos yet. Like I said, growth is S. . .L. . .O. . .W. Maybe by August I'll have some new shots. Meantime I'll keep waiting and hoping.

linrose,

Thanks for the update! I was getting ready to ask for more pictures when I got to your last line. I'll let it go--even though, I bet you'd be surprised to see at least some difference (although, I'm sure a lot of the growth is probably underground).

I can relate to so much that you said. I too have been lucky with a bit of rain--I've tried to time my plantings--and transplantings--to times I know they won't need much extra watering.

I put in some little bluestem last fall, and I hope they take...I've not seen much growth on them, but like you said they are late starters.

I finally got (almost) everything planted. I think I have one more dogwood to plant of the six I bought this spring. ...then there are a couple things I still have in pots that I've lugged around with me everywhere we've moved. Mostly, what is left there are for a water garden. Since they've been overwintered many times, I'm not really counting them. Just one dogwood left from my purchases this year.

We went to a local community festival, and were surprised and thrilled to find they had a booth of native plants. We now have four new foundlings...baby wild ginger with only one true leaf each, obedient plant, great blue Lobelia (not a favorite, but it is a valuable addition...'though I was hoping it was cardinal flower), and a Monarda didyma--and I'm proud to say they are all in the ground and watered!

I am so glad that I'm not starting from seed. However, I am collecting seeds in the fall and growing my own to add each year, so I'm not spending money on things I already have (that I just don't have enough of). So, I'll spend my money on others on my wish list and divide and grow what I can from seed every fall/spring.

As for your tough love attitude, I concur. I expect a lot from my natives and they usually can handle some pretty unforgiving treatment. I've divided and moved a few things in the past few weeks--not the best time, obviously. I often cut them back a lot, put them in the ground, sometimes just "heel them in" and water them...and not as often as I should sometimes. They are recovering nicely. I would not amend the soil, if you do the plants will tend to get leggy and fall over (I think).

Thanks again for the update.
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:26 PM   #44
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I think everything you're doing is on the money. I wouldn't fuss over them. By me it's sink or swim for plants. I do water them the first year or two and after that only if there's a major drought. It's why I plant natives.... so I don't have to fuss over them.
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:32 PM   #45
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dapjwy - congrats on the new additions! I love wild ginger, it's a great shady groundcover. Blue lobelia is beautiful, and easier to grow than cardinal flower. Be careful where you site the obedient plant, it can take over if it likes where you put it (moist soil) and you'll never get rid of it. It spreads by rhizomes. Monarda can get aggressive too but it's so easy to pull out, the roots are so shallow.

Thanks for encouraging me on the tough love guys. I needed that. Gotta learn to just let go. Maybe I was fretting because my 17 year old is in Boston visiting her sisters this weekend and I have a bad case of empty nest syndrome. I have to worry about something!

On another completely different topic, I just went up and checked the bluebird boxes and noticed the butterflyweed is blooming! I took a couple of pics. I think this is a spicebush swallowtail on the butterflyweed. I haven't noticed any spicebush around but we do have a lot of sassafras which are also hosts. Also the ruellia is blooming and the hoary mountain mint is forming flower buds. I love the "sugar dusting" on the upper leaves. The butterflies go crazy for it too when it's blooming
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New pocket prairie garden project-underwing-spicebush-swallowtail.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-spicebush-swallowtail-butterflyweed.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-spicebush-swallowtail-flight.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-ruellia-humilis.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-field-late-june.jpg  

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Old 06-27-2010, 12:55 PM   #46
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Beautiful pictures, Linrose! I have a spicebush swallowtail caterpillar in my classroom right now. It changed from brown to green on Friday (shed skin, second to 3rd instar now) and the kids all say 'Ooooooh!!' at the same time when I unrolled the leaf it was on!

We have a spice bush and a bunch of sassafras, but we found the cats on the spice bush. I check the sassafras all the time, but I think the birds find the caterpillars before we do!

I will have to post a photo of the caterpillar here. They are so unusual looking!
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:23 PM   #47
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I've got my fingers crossed for rain tomorrow, 80% chance with 3/4" to 1" predicted. Yipee!!! Hopefully it won't all run off.

Just a few garden updates. Still not much to look at but I did take a few new pics. The green dots are now green blobs so that means they are growing, if ever so slowly. I'm imagining all the roots they are putting down to make myself feel better. A few things I put in last year are blooming, the cutleaf coneflower and purple and orange coneflowers. I took photos of the indiangrass I put in last year and the new one from this year for comparison. It helps keep me positive!

Here's the latest. Looking down the bed, cutleaf coneflower, baby sweet coneflower, indiangrass year 2, indiangrass year 1.
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New pocket prairie garden project-prairie-bed-early-july.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-rudbeckia-laciniata.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-sweet-coneflower.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-indiangrass-year-2.jpg   New pocket prairie garden project-indiangrass-year-1.jpg  

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Old 07-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #48
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Looking good, Linrose! Did you put newspaper, cardboard, or anything under the leaf mulch?
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:35 AM   #49
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Yes, I started last fall by layering cardboard and newspaper over the grass and piling chopped leaves on top. Then this spring I dug holes for the plants and plopped them in. I found I had to remove some of the leaves because they didn't compost down fast enough over the winter and the layer was too deep to plant in practically. I'll add more this fall as leaves break down considerably faster over the summer. I have mostly oak trees so it takes a lot longer for them to break down than most.
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:22 PM   #50
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Great project, and wonderful thread! Thanks for all the updates.
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