Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Planting

Probably not what most gardeners are expecting. I'm refuse to plant tulips, crocuses, daffodils and so on. Next year I might make an exception for our native hyacinths, Camassia angusta, but that gets two feet tall. No I won't be planting anymore of those European imports. I'm still planting in preparation for next year but it's more to get the roots established. During the winter the root system of most plants still grows. In fact some plants like garlic are growing green and happy in below freezing weather, not to mention all the evergreens out there. So here is a list of plants in the new garden I put in.

First though let me state most of the plants came from and I'm very happy with their selection of plants. The only failing I've had with them so far has been with the soil their plants come in. One of my plants came in a pot that had another plant obviously growing in it and still alive. Something called Crinkled Creeper (I know because the tag was still in the effing pot!) and as far as I can tell it's not native but also doesn't grow in my climate so we'll see how far it gets. Otherwise though they sell plants you just can't find anywhere else.

Solidago rugosa, Goldenrod, one of the shorter bushy varieties. I would have preferred a taller one, something higher then 4' but it will do I guess.

Chelone Glabra, White Turtle Head, I already have one of these planted and I was so interested by it that I decided to get 4 more. The Baltimore Checkerspot, Euphydryas phaeton, is my end goal here. It's a beautiful butterfly. Checkerspot butterflies in general are a colorful touch to anyone's garden.

Cassia hebecarpa, Wild Senna, a semi tropical looking plant. This produces extra-floral nectar to attract ants to feed on it. The hopefully, but not always protect the plants from the Cloudless sulphur, Phoebis sennae, an all yellow butterfly I'm reasonable sure I've seen flying through my yard. What's neat is the cocoons they form looks just like one of the flowers on the plant.

Lupinus perennis, no common name I'm familiar with. A native Lupin that is the host plant to a Blue butterfly. The caterpillars of which over winter inside the nests of ants, feeding on their brood and emerging from the nest in spring like a nuptial flight. This group of butterflies is on the decline and hopefully these plants will survive. I think my soil is a bit to clay like for them.

Eryngium yuccifolium, a very odd looking grassy plant that blooms a cluster of white ball-like nut. Similar to Sea Holly but white. I'm told bees really go for the nectar.

Amorpha canescens, Lead Plant, (Lead as in the metal) another plant I'm going for pollinators. Also I think it really looks neat. It's native to the US but not the east coast. Still grows in this zone though so hopefully I'll see it bloom nicely next year. Lots and lots of little purple flowers with bright orange stamens sticking out.

Silene regia, Royal Catchfly, a medium sized plant with bright red tube like flowers. I'm told perfect for hummingbirds and hopefully I'll get to see some. There's a native honeysuckle planted right near them. Royal Catchfly is a semi-carnivorous plant. Insects get stuck to parts of it like a sundew but it's not needed for the plant to survive.

Filipendula rubra, Queen of the Prairie, easily the gayest plant I've ever seen. 9 foot tall stem leading up to a pink cluster of tiny flowers often forming a heart shape. I'm planting it because it vaguely reminds me of Joe Pye Weed and I really want to know what on earth pollinates this giant ball of cotton candy! I'm not put off by the "gayness" as I describe it but it's not a plant I want to have to much of. Could send the wrong signals. (Watch it turn out to be the best honey plant in the yard.)

Antennaria neglecta, Prairie Pussytoes, easily one of the gayest common names I've ever herd. This is one of those early blooming plants important for early flying insects. It's one of the host plants to the American Painted Lady butterfly too. It's also low growing that it can be planted in the lawn, assuming the grasses you have aren't aggressive growers.

Cornus alternifolia, Alternate-leaf Dogwood. Before the addition was put on our house we had a beautiful pink flowering dogwood tree. For unknown reasons though my dad decided to chop it down, even though the construction of the house had nothing to do with this tree. So I've planted a new dogwood near about where it was planted. I would have gone with Cornus florida but there is an introduced blight killing those trees sadly. Whole branches of the tree just go dead one year and it slowly spreads to other limbs as the tree gets older. Cornus alternifolia I think is unaffected by this so hopefully it will do well. Not so much a tree though as it is a bush on par with viburnums. Supports lots of caterpillar life as well birds too.

Lindera benzoin, Spice Bush, I bought two of these. Another all around good plant. If I have a male and female then one will have berries on it. Berry plants are always pretty to look at with snow on them in the winter. This also the host plant to the Spice Bush Swallowtail, Papilio troilus. The caterpillar mimics a snake (one that's 3 inches long but a snake all the same) even going as far to flicker it's antenna like a tongue.

Caltha palustris, Marsh Marigold, I'll be honest by now I was running out of room. So these went in the front garden. I'm hoping they'll tolerate mostly shade. Another early blooming plant I see from images online that they grow well in water.

Hepatica acutiloba, Sharp-lobed Hepatica. Another early blooming plant. I don't expect it to bloom though until the next spring. A variety of Hepatica I planted last year only produced a leaf and it's kept it all year. I'm told this leaf will die back and make way for a flower followed by another group of leaves and they'll spread from there. What's neat about these is they're distributed by ants. They make seeds with elaiosome on them and the ants bring that back to the nest (assuming the ant is the right size compared to the seed).

Can't wait for next year.