Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges
jbru

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Decisions, decisions

On a very slow night, I've spent a good deal of time thinking about what I'm going to do with that chunk of yard that I dug up last week. My overall plan is to transplant the evergreen shrubs that are there and plant some sort of attractive groundcover. I'm looking at prairie plants for their ability to keep out weeds once mature and their robust natures.

The very nice web site of Prairie Nursery has nice little charts in their plant selection area that are organized by the amount of sun your plot gets, how much water it gets and what sort of soil you have. The south side of my house is a mixture of dry sandy soil near the house and a moist loamy soil where the turf has been growing for many years.

So far, I'm sticking to short plants for this side, thinking that will make any maintenance easier and will also keep it "neater" looking for the neighbors. As grass is the base of any prairie, I'm figuring on a good dose of Little Bluestem and Prairie Dropseed grasses. These both top out at 2-4 feet when mature. Both are clump-forming grasses so they shouldn't spread too much and will leave space for the flowers. A fairly random selection process ended up giving me what seems to be a mix of interesting flowers for the area. First is Prairie Smoke, a short, whispy pink flower that blooms from May to June. Then Black-Eyed Susan, Narrow-Leafed Purple Coneflower and Purple Prairie Clover bloom from June to August. In the later summer Heath Aster and the grasses bloom for color from August to October. The grasses retain their gold and bronze colors for winter interest as well.

In looking for what I might want to do with the front yard I can see why the nursery sells garden kits! So many choices! The hardy, lovely Bergamot seems a natural choice (plus Ericka's favorite color is purple). The Cupplant looks interesting for its ability to attract birds and butterflies, but do I really want a plant capable of growing to 10 feet tall in my front yard!? The various varieties of Purple Coneflower look like they'd be good choices as would the Wester Sunflower. And then there's the very pretty Harebell and Mountain Blue-Eyed Grass with their blue flowers.

I've tracked down a place called Landscape Alternatives that's a short drive from my house. Their web site isn't as spiffy as Prairie Nursery's but they seem to be a source for plants hardy in the local area. I'm thinking I'll go check them out on Saturday if I wake up early enough. They might have some ideas on what works well together and perhaps somethings that are better to start with while others might be added later.
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