Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reuse and Reduce

I started a native plant nursery a few years ago because:

  • I like starting my own seeds
  • I wanted more diversity of native plants in my yard and that I can't buy locally
  • It's a lot cheaper ($2- 2.50/pack of seeds)
I have a running list of seeds I planted in each row, each year, so that I can monitor what does or doesn't come up and if something germinates the 2nd year within a row of another seedling I know what it would be. Some things don't germinate- this year I planted 2 alliums, neither of which germinated, but I was only out a few bucks. Conversely, I have lots of Late and Early Figwort and American Bellflower. You can't buy these as plants locally. So, I'm saving $, shipping and plastic pots. Here you see 2 rows of Figwort surrounding 1 row of Bellflower. Both of these species like shade and are great hosts to many pollinators. 
Figwort & Bellflower seedlings in the nursery.

These bellflowers will be perfect in this semi-shaded spot 
in the back row where they can grow tall. 

Transplanting Milkweed
Also from the nursery bed were several species of Milkweeds. Key notes on transplanting milkweeds:
  • only transplant when very young
  • take as much soil as possible around their roots from their original site
  • water very well until established
Milkweeds have taproots that once severed often die. They are very temperamental about being moved. Here are two recently successful transplants. 
 This is Poke Milkweed, Asclepias exaltata
It appears to be a successful transplant.

 And Butterfly weed, A. tuberosa, also a success. 
These were from a 2012 planting in the nursery that I had missed. 
The taller one drooped for a few days, but daily watering perked it up again. 

I've been at my house since 2001 so a lot of plants have had a chance to establish themselves and are abundant reseeders. Some of these have become somewhat of a nuisance. Cupplant being the big one. Another one, which really isn't a problem, but it will come up willy nilly is Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba). Normally this plant could turn into a 5-6 foot bushy thing, but the really nice perk about it is that you can cut it back and it will turn into a 2 foot flowering bushy thing. Having lost some plants to last year's roofing fiasco I had some holes. Instead of buying more plants and instead of killing the "weeds" (aka Brown eyed Susans) in the driveway I simply dug a few up, cut them back and transplanting them in these gaps. Ta da- instant and free native plants. 
Filling in the gaps with reseeders from around the yard:
Purple Coneflowers, River Oats and Brown-eyed Susans.

Fresh Food in Season
I've tried to incorporate foods from the yard into as many meals as possible. This week has included:
Green Curry (with cilantro, green onions, garlic, asparagus)- I'm looking forward to when my Kaffir Lime tree is big enough to harvest leaves from it for this recipe. We've eaten lots of salads with homemade dressings (with herbs & garlic). Salad season is coming to an end. I've nearly picked and stored all of the lettuce from the garden. Last night I made an enchilada casserole (garlic, oregano, green onions, kale) and Sunday we had Crepes with strawberries (with eggs & honey). 
 First Strawberries! 
 Lots of salads these days.
 Enchilada Casserole
(mental note: make your own jarred enchilada sauce this summer)
The romaine harvest. 
In Bloom or Growing
 Clematis along bedroom wall.
 Old fashioned tall, pale purple Iris.
 Yellow Iris and sweet smelling shrub rose along southwest fence.
 Bignonia is growing!
 Fun and random old-fashioned petunias from seed.
Spiderwort peak! 

Catmint, Spiderwort & Caradona Salvia are in bloom and where are my bumblebees? Is it too early? I've seen a few of the smaller ones. Where I wasn't looking was here:
 Native Yellow Honeysuckle -Lonicera flava
Not only were the bumblebees (or carpenter bees, perhaps) on here
but they were fighting with the Hummingbirds for food! 

I got a few lousy photos and submitted them to Beespotter  for identification and data collection. I took a better look at the bumblebee keys and I think they aren't as intimidating as I originally thought. I think I can figure this out, actually. In fact, here is a great key to Bumblebees of the area. Beespotter will only accept data/photo submissions from Illinois at this time. It's a U of I project. 

Random end notes & photos: 
 Chuy discovers the catnip and proceeds to get high.
 Finishing the lettuces & replacing them with peppers and random 
other plants.
White sage
 Pot of sedums. Thyme in foreground.
 Scutellaria- unknown species from MBC greenhouses in Millstadt.
 Hmmmm. Nya. 
 View from the Biergarten. 
 Murl escaping Big Meanie.
Big Meanie biting me instead. 

Happy May in the Garden. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love that Lonicera flava. How hardy is it?