garden diary: 15 april 2017


friday:  9,354 steps/3.8 miles; 10 bags of manure
saturday:  13,374 steps/5.5 miles
sunday:  ~10,979 steps/~4.3 miles; i forgot my phone for part of the day

neviusia alabamensis have arrived, are laid out, divided and planted.  they are stoloniferous and just keep going so even though i ordered 5 plants, by the time i got everything open, sorted and pruned i ended up with 10.


i am underplanting them with heucheras, asters and violets for now, and putting some really, really tall Asclepias incarnata “Cinderella” behind them.

planted in the front yard woodland:

  • primula veris (x3)
  • dicentra “heart of gold” (x1)
  • hepatica americana (x8)
  • phlox divaricata (x5)

still needs work.  stay tuned for more updates on this breaking story.

planted in the front yard woodland:

  • trillium erectum
  • tiarella cordifolia
  • anemone quinquefolia
  • trillium sessile

two things here; a photo i saw on pinterest and an actual photo of this combo in the wild at bash-bish falls last spring.

from my notebook of unachievable dreams


  • amsonia
  • little bluestem grass
  • columbines
  • dodecatheon media
  • tradescantia
  • veronicastrum / culver’s root
  • rudbeckia triloba / brown-eyed susan

seeds sown:

  • phlox divaricata
  • primula japonica / primula kisoana
  • carex radiata “eastern star sedge”
  • marsh phlox
  • sisyrinchium angustifolium “blue-eyed grass” (and white variation)
  • sisyrinchium campestre “prairie blue-eyed grass” (and white variation)
  • iris versicolor “blue flag iris”
  • prairie violet
  • new england aster
  • tennesee coneflower
  • rudbeckia subtomentosa “sweet black eyed susan”
  • coreopsis palmata “prairie coreopsis”
  • ascelpias arenara “western sand milkweed”


  • japanese cherry blossoms
  • fruit trees blossomed
  • trilliums
  • ascelpias exaltata (in pots)
  • penstemon digitalis
  • phlox paniculata
  • peonies, peonies, peonies
  • monarda
  • sisyrinchium angustifolium
  • echinacea “cheyenne spirit”
  • yarrow
  • celandine poppy
  • corydalis
  • pulmonaria
  • redbuds (not yet in bloom but ready to pop)
  • baptisia (itty, bitty tiny shoots, but they’re there!)
  • blue flag iris
  • crested iris
  • brunnera
  • “molly the witch” species peony
  • astilbe

garden diary: 7 april 2017


steps:  15,597 (6.6 miles)
compost temperature:  90*F (day 4)

  • dodecatheon
  • pulmonaria
  • primula:  japonica/veris
  • hepatica
  • bluebells
  • dutchman’s breeches
  • phlox divaricata

after a horrifying and demoralizing washout for thursday, took to the yard with a vengeance on friday and saturday.  because most of my plants are currently embryonic and in pots, i was free to not worry about planting and to think about yard chores.  i started by marking the areas of poor drainage in the backyard so that i could design beds and swales around them.  then, because the soil was so wet still, i took an edger along my marked areas.


this was fun for about 10 minutes and then my arms hurt, but i persevered mostly because it helped me stay warm…

i was also able to work on the willow arch, shoring it up after the ravages of the winter winds.


and when it got too cold and overcast even for me, i retreated inside to finish prepping the last of this year’s perennial seeds.


garden diary: 11/12/13 march 2016



spotted:  wood frogs, daffodils (DAFFODILS ALREADY?!), grape hyacinth, cherry buds, monarda foliage, yarrow foliage, witchhazels in bloom (FINALLY)


also, my first winter sowing results: some annuals in my large box of “bee-friendly” plants for the willow bed, and breadseed poppies.

i cut and prepped three new areas for flower beds, meaning, i laid out their approximate shape and size with either a garden hose or a 100-foot extension cord, then edged around it with my old half-moon edger.  then i took a rest, because that was tiring.


then, fortified by hot pockets and diet coke, i sallied forth again into the yard and prepared the cut areas for solarization.  this year, for a change, i actually splurged and bought several rolls of thick black plastic for the purpose.  that way, i can cover the to-be-planted areas and smother the grass underneath without any herbicides or other sprays.  depending on what is ready to be planted when, i will either cut through the plastic where appropriate or pull it off and mulch around the plantings.  i am anticipating that this year the plastic will stay on for most, if not all, of the summer, so that the new bits can settle in without too much competition.  then next year i can mulch and build up the beds.

in fact, while doing this i finally had an epiphany on a tough shady area i’ve been battling for a few years…

…so of course i had to order more plants to fill the aforementioned shady area.

garden diary: 22 february 2016

a wrinkle!  prairie moon nursery just emailed to say that some of the plants i ordered (in the interest of having multiple back-ups, i ordered enough plant plugs for some of my top potential combinations in case the winter sowing does not come through) aren’t going to happen.  somehow, they had an issue with their entire seed stock of prairie dock this year.  how does that even happen?

thinking i’m going to go for compass plant instead.  i know i wanted some prairie dock just to play with, mainly inspired by this combo from perennial combinations:

echinacea, grasses, compass plant

but i did WS an entire flat of that, so maybe my seed stock won’t suffer like theirs did.  the actual potential combo will go something like this:

compass plant, big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi), common milkweed (asclepias syriaca), pinelands milkweed (asclepias humistrata), echinacea ‘pow wow white’, sisyrinchium ‘quaint and queer’

there is this huge wet…meadow, basically, on a quarter of my yard.  i’ve sort of divided it into sections, in rings, really, going from the outside in.  i’m working on a huge wet meadow design for the largest and most consistently wet area, and i’ve started a kind of hedge of willows that i plan to underplant with sedges (fox sedge), ascelpias incarnata, and perhaps some blazing stars and/or blue flag irises (iris versicolor.  i ordered and winter-sowed an ounce of seed from prairie moon).  immediately behind this border is a swale that is pretty dry, and the incline behind that is very dry and kind of sandy.  i have in mind for that to stabilize the slight incline with sisyrinchium ‘quaint and queer’ which i bought from plant delights nursery in 2015 (alas, they seem to have no more inventory of that this year) as well as some ascelpias humistrata that i both winter sowed in a flat and made seed bombs out of.  it’s called ‘pinelands’ milkweed and it seemed appropriate for the soil.  behind that will be a large grouping of echinacea ‘pow wow white’.  i seed-bombed that last fall and then winter sowed a flat (backups again).  behind that, compass plant and big bluestem grass, and next to that a large grouping of ascelpias syriaca – seed bombs again, though i did find a huge stash of it growing wild on route 32 (sawkill road) in kingston, and when the seed pods opened i helped myself shamelessly to them, and winter sowed the seeds.  (also growing in this wild stash was monarda didyma, and i snipped several spent stalks into paper bags for their seeds as well)


in the swale itself i am considering a combination of yellowroot and arkansas bluestar.  one of the gardeners at catskill native nursery last summer was telling me about a bike trip he took through the ozarks, and how he saw those plants growing wild in shallow ditches.

garden diary: 12 february 2016

it’s 4:30 pm on the coldest day so far this winter – an extremely breezy 25 degrees F – and my entire car smells like potting soil.  it’s a fresh smell and it should be reassuring but instead it is a reminder of a broken vow:  i solemnly swear i am done with all of my seeds for this year.

yeah, right.

last week alone was two trips to adam’s faircare to say nothing of the two orders to prairie moon nursery that happened in the dead of night, totally on their own, of course!  i had a hankering to grow my own ornamental grasses instead of paying $25/container for the classics (big and little bluestem, indian grass and prairie dropseed) but that necessitated ordering the seeds AND the containers AND topping up my dwindling soil supply.  since all of the outdoor potting soil stocks have well frozen by now, even if it took much longer than usual, i went with the happy frog brand.  it comes in a nice big 2 cu/ft bag and with a hefty price tag, but damn if it doesn’t smell fantastic.

other than the aforementioned grasses, i really am (really, i swear) nearly finished with the perennial winter sowing chores.  (i say nothing on the subject of annuals)  i’ve got most of them in re-used containers from last year’s nursery purchases, and the remaining lot split between perforated underbed storage containers and propagator’s pots ordered from johnny’s seeds.  i haven’t decided which method i like best – though if the experiment is a total failure i’ll have nothing to compare it to.

my panic arises because it was literally just last week that i realized, amidst a late-night ordering spree, that someone (i.e., me) was going to have to PLANT ALL OF THESE SEEDS come spring.  why i never thought of this before can best be described as denial, i suppose, or the over-enthusiastic naivete of a girl with a new hobby – that is, winter sowing.  once i discovered the secret to unlimited plant-starting space i was lost, and i have an entire binder full of ideas that require plants to execute.

even better worse, the annual bluestone perennials 50/50 sale season has started.  i learned my lesson from ordering last year and have managed to be more judicious in my ordering, but the boxes will still start to pile up eventually.  #truth