Thursday, January 29, 2009

Garden Diary: Two Views

Looking west across what's left of the winter garden near the end of January. The first view near sunset, the second in the morning. The house is on the raised area to the right.

Changing light is one of the delights of winter. Sunset light certainly adds a lot of drama to the scene, a depth and complexity like aged wine. I can almost hear the crackling fire and the murmuring voices of imaginary storytellers as dark comes on.

It looks ragged, doesn't it? I think I need to cut it all down before I let time get away from me. I'll probably burn some too, and certainly want to do that while the ground is still frozen. Don't want to harm any emergent seedlings.

I broadcast 1.5 ounces of Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia) seed last weekend. I know from past experience few of those seeds - several hundred thousand I would guess - will result in viable plants in my conditions. I won't see those plants until the summer of 2010 but, added to the colonies already in place, I'll have substantial groundcover in a couple of years. The photos below show some of the lobelia seeded three years ago. (This plant volunteered after we cut down the cedars to make the garden; it appears to be native to this area.)


  1. That lobelia will be lovely when it finally blooms.

    I love the light at sunset.

  2. Looks like you have some nice grasses there. Is this area a wildflower meadow?

  3. What a gorgeous sight to behold! I have tried L.siphilitica in the past but find that I cannot provide what it needs.... its only about 12-15" in height with few flowers. I shall come here to admire it in all its beauty!

  4. Susan, I have several nice patches that bloom very well. I'm hoping I can use it as a groundcover (i.e., the new seeding will expand coverage). I wish the builders of the house hadn't planted those tall White Pines filtering the sun. I'd have a lot more light without them.

  5. Jean, the garden emulates a wet prairie more than a meadow. I have heavy clay soil that's rich in nutrients but sodden most of the year. I'm using lots of grasses and prairie perennials that take to the heavy clay well, but I'm also using exotics that are appropriate to the environment. Most of the perennials have been crushed by several freezing rains, so only some grasses still remain upright.

  6. Teza, the lobelia I have now seems to really like the wet conditions my garden offers and it blooms profusely. But since I seed into the existing matrix of plants, germination is low and slow. I believe the seed I planted last weekend will germinate this year but the plants won't be large enough to be really visible until the following year. That seems to be the pattern here.

  7. Thank you for creating such a marvelous place for humans and wildlife alike to thrive. It is such an inspiration!



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