Fall is near, it’s time to reflect on planting

Sheri Hagwood, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

When I look about the garden I see a lot of finished projects for the first time in a long time. This year’s been very productive. Not only have I found a few plants that are beneficial to both birds and me, I have found a new sense of appreciation for maintenance, the test of time, and happy accidents.


Black eyed susan (Rudbeckia Hirta) grow well in a partly shaded, light soil with regular water.  I intend to disperse more seed around the edges of the lawn. Little  yellow finch loved their seeds.  Small bees and wasps took to their pollen mid summer. To increase these in the garden I planted the pot full from the upper deck  into the practice prairie.  

A volunteer sunflower Helianthus annus?  brought in many a bee and Finch.  I think this guy had six or seven hungry little birds feeding  on bouncing, burly stems.  I loved photographing these guys. The popularity of this plant makes me want to guerrilla this in the meadows.

Three lovely purple asters gave color to an otherwise drab late summer in the garden.  They needed support as they began to bloom. The beautiful little bees they attracted make the care worth it.

A catalpa volunteer has been cared for in a planter this summer.  I will overwinter it in a pot in a veg bed.  It will eventually grace the south side of the house.  Concrete work must be done first.

Lovely norway spruce are being tended until I can decide where in the meadows they will have the most impact.  I worry they will not do well outside an irrigated plot.  I’ve offered a few to a friend who has the perfect acreage out east.  They too might have some troubles with irrigation.

I wouldn’t have guessed the mexican hair grass would propagate in the front planter but indeed I had babies I hope to move to the back of next to Eyrl.  These went in on 10/3.

Big blue stem was the only grass from prairie moon  nursery to hold its own. Though only one produced a seed head.

June grass seems happy in its place at the front of the prairie though they are only 4-5″ tall.

Sideoats grama was not very successful propagating indoors. Its a pleasant surprise to see a few have a seed head come August.

Meadows blue grass seemed happy in all places I put it.  In the meadows it grows on a sunny dry slope.  


While alive, the dalea purpurea are only just.  If they arrived with three stems from Prairie moon, they come into fall with two.  Knowing now how clay clogged my soil under the bluegrass is, I need to change my native palette.

Anaphalis survived in two spots in the garden.  Dry shade by the back fence.  Well drained mound by the pond.  The heavy clay next to the snow in summer died, as did the one in the south desert. In the pollinator garden big changes are coming.  A new yucca will take center stage in front of the shed and the walkway will move closer to the house along with the pig fence arbor.   This is a project that will happen over winter.

Better luck next time?

Casualties included, Liatris transplanted from an amended bed to clay. All native liatris seed I received as part of the native plant garden tour 2019  never came up. Little blue stem no matter where I put it crawled out of the soil onto spindly dry stems that couldn’t find its way back into the soil.  I don’t hold much hope for it in the prairie.  It’s a bummer, as it’s one of the showiest native fall grasses I’ve seen.

Prairie smoke times two.  This plant seen at the top of the page was going to be a great addition to the dry portion of the prairie next to walkways.  Not only did I never find a good place for these, when I did plant them they died. These will have to wait for the finished walkway.


Two of the three echinacea (purple coneflower) are doing okay in the prairie, though they continually look floppy like they need water.  They do perk up with a little more water.  Originally in the pollinator garden, the area became too dry for these to thrive in the full sun.  I am hoping in a spot with more cover will be a better fit. The Weigela florida ‘Minor Black’ planted in 2011 was moved in the hopes it will be happier in an irrigated spot. It never gets as pretty as it was at the nursery.  Perhaps now that we have better sun and a nice contrast with the  Spirea ‘Gold Flame’.  

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.

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