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May 8, 2005

A Woodsy Wonderland

Of all the gardens we’ve done thus far, I’d have to say the woodland/dry stream bed one has given me the most satisfaction. That’s pretty rich coming from a prairie girl.

In addition to all the ornamental perennials that provide grace and beauty to the bed, I wanted to include those plants that I would see on our walks through the woods in the neighborhood and in French Park.

It’s been fun learning about Minnesota native woodland plants and acquiring them through nurseries or other gardening friends. I wrote a grant and received money from the City of Plymouth through their native plant initiative. These funds helped purchase plants at Landscape Alternatives, an excellent nursery which only sells native plants it grows. They stock an amazing array of woodland and prairie plants.

Spring is a special time in a woodland garden because so many of the plants are ephemerals. They disappear shortly after blooming, not be seen again until the following year.

Right now among the hosta shoots and fern fronds that are peeking through the soil, the rue anemone are showing their sweet pink faces and the trillium have begun to bloom. Three large clumps of Virginia bluebells nod in the wind. They were planted in memory of my dear gardening friend and native plant mentor Tony Pezalla who died of cancer in December 2003.

Two other ephemerals that add lovely color are not Minnesota natives but I wouldn’t be without them. The Turkish tulips are in full bloom now and their jewel-like yellow and red flowers provide wave after wave of color along the stream bed.

The snake’s head fritillaria are native to Britain but they just look so cool, I have to have them. They look especially good with the yellow Turkish tulips.

Other woodland plants in bloom include a variety of different violets are in bloom as well in white, yellow and purples.

These fleeting plants are such a gentle, beautiful way to welcome the growing season. I wish they’d stay longer but perhaps then they wouldn’t be so sweet.

What’s happening in the garden now:
Brian chose the plant combination for his new perennial bed under the spruce trees. We were able to purchase almost all the plants we needed and got them all into the ground Saturday night. The garden will be series of rings extending from the trees out and includes “Great Expectations” hosta, “Metallica” Athyrium nipponicum or Japanese painted fern, “Stella D’oro” daylilies and “Beedham’s White” lamium.

In the ornamental grass beds the prairie smoke have begun to show their pinky/gray bells.

Here’s What’s Blooming Now:
Tulips
Grape hyacinth
Virginia bluebells (View Virginia bluebells)
Rue anemone
Flax (View blue flax)
Merry bells
Snake’s head fritillaria (View Snake’s head fritillaria)
Prairie smoke
Turkish tulips (View yellow Turkish tulips) and (View red Turkish tulips)
Violets
Daffodils (View Daffodils)
Crocus
Forsythia
Serviceberry
Wild prairie crocus (View Wild prairie crocus)
Squill (View Squill)
Hellebores
Bergenia
Flowering crabapple trees
Creeping phlox (View Creeping phlox)
Strawberries

Garden Chores for the Week:
Continue to weed. Every time I go outside, I have to pick at least one maple sapling.

Water the new bed and the Graham Thomas (View Graham Thomas) roses we transplanted. The current forecast is for rain but I’ll believe it when I feel it.

Spread a low nitrogen fertilizer all over the garden beds. I’ve been reading that if you mulch heavily with woodchips, you need to replace nitrogen in the soil. When the chips decompose, they use up the soil’s nitrogen supply.

Start working on a garden center shopping list. Figure out which perennials need replacing and what annuals we’ll add for color.

Bring out the hummingbird and oriole feeders.

Dig up the yarrow clump under the magnolia tree. I’ve had it with this plant. It does nothing for me or the garden and just keeps encroaching on everything else. I’ll pot it up and donate it to a plant sale at work.

Vegetable Garden

Brian purchased some netting to use as “walls” to keep Pont out of the vegetable beds.

Seed Starting Update

Verbena Bonariensis
• 4/16 - Two have finally germinated

Celosia “Forest Fire” – Lake Valley Seed for 1996
• 4/11 – Had to knock off the seed coating of one of the seedlings so the leaves could open.
• 4/13 – 8 more seeds
• 4/15 – 3 more seeds
• 4/16 - potted up four seedlings that had their second set of leaves.

Penstemon “Sensation Mix” – Unwins for 2004?
• 4/11 – One seed germinated. It looks a lot like the celosia seedlings.

Scabiosa atropurpurea “Cutflower Mix” – Unwins for 2004?
• 4/11 – Potted 7 plants into peat pots in their own tray. I should have done this a week ago. A few have gotten very leggy. The smallest ones transplanted the best. One that had its stem roughed up a bit has died.

Sunflower “Autumn Beauty” – Fredonia Seeds for 2003
• 5/1 – Planted seeds in peat pots

Morning Glory “Grandpa Otis” – Renee’s Garden for 2003
• 5/1 – Planted seeds in peat pots
• 5/7 – They have germinated

Morning Glory “Flying Saucers” – Livingston Seeds for 2000
• 5/1 – Planted seeds in peat pots
• 5/7 – They have germinated

Tithonia Rotundifolia “Torch Tithonia” – Renee’s Garden for 2005
• 5/1 – Planted seeds in peat pots

Morning Glory “Scarlett O’Hara” – Burpee’s for 2004
• 5/8– Planted seeds in peat pots

Morning Glory “Early Call” – Shepherd’s for 1998
• 5/8– Planted seeds in peat pots

Woodland Wildflower Alert

The uvularia or merry bells are in bloom along the woodland walking paths. So are a white-flowering shrub which I think may be the native elderberry.

Posted by maasx003 at May 8, 2005 3:37 PM | Gardens

Comments

Jacki--if I promise to bring donuts or bagels, may I have an hour of your time to come by Sat a.m. to view your garden--???? I just love this website--but it makes me envious--I have tulips blooming--clumps of green foilage, but no flowers-- I'll be calling you karen

Posted by: karenm at May 9, 2005 8:03 PM