All the Crispy Plants

by - October 25, 2018

I just sat down to share pictures of the fall fire-pit garden and heard a loud buzzing coming from behind my head. I took off my sweater and then shook out my hair, and an angry bee flew out and into the overhead light. I turned off all the lights, opened the backdoor and eventually guided it to freedom. Most days I would have to agree with her that my hair looks like a bee's nest. I can't blame her for the mistake.

Ironweed
I've been snatching up crispy plants for major discounts - typically 75% off. Please, give me all the slightly crispy plants this time of year! At Campbell Road Nursery, I picked up gallon pots of Ironweed, Cutleaf Coneflower and Boneset. At Logan's I scored a Joe Pye Weed and Solomon's Seal. These are all wildflowers I've seen along the Virginia Creeper trail and along streams, and the butterflies and bees flock to the them. All these crispy plants had healthy root systems, and I can't wait to see what they bring next year. After listening to a podcast on the importance of never leaving open patches of dirt and getting living roots back into the soil to promote healthy soil ecology, I was inspired get get a few more things in the ground that would also benefit native pollinators.

Boneset
One of my favorite areas of this little garden is beneath the redbud tree. We initially determined to remove the redbud but never dug out the stump. I quickly regretted cutting it down, and to my delight, the tree came back. With selective pruning, the tree has a much better form coming out of a large, gnarly stump. I planted new Solomon's Seal next to it, and I love the effect. 

Solomon's Seal

The free pile of wood chips has proven to be a much larger project than I expected, but I'm slowly getting them around the yard and gardens, and I know that in a year's time, the soil will be all the richer for it. I've been using them as a good excuse to go ahead and divide autumn ferns and fountain grass and expand the edges of the firepit garden. We had been leaving a strip of lawn wide enough to drive the truck into the back yard, but now this is no longer possible. I'm still not satisfied with the looks of this area from the deck, but some of the issue is that it's just a very highly trafficked area with compacted soil. 

Shrinking lawn, work in progress
As the Autumn ferns have grown very dense, I split them up and extended the bed next to the hammock while moving the bench to another shady part of the yard. This is starting to carry the feel of some of our hikes in parks, even if these Autumn ferns a not native to the area. Maybe some day I'll replace these ferns and grasses with native species. 

Splitting up the Autumn Ferns
Autumn Fern
Fountain Grass

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