Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Fall Planting

Butterfly Bush
Each time we plant in the fall, we practice the gift of waiting. We believe the promise that somehow, these shrubs, or maybe bulbs, dormant through the winter darkness and frozen soil, will come to life in the spring. It's easy to plant when you're delirious with spring fever. In the fall, you're aware of the bittersweetness of the garden. The leaves are changing and you know you can't enjoy the blooms, fruit, or foliage for long. You're planting now for a later time. And, if you're extra spiritually mature, you'll note that nurseries have great sales on shrubs! So get 'em while they last!

My friend Maria and I moseyed over to Mostardi's Nursery the week that school started. This butterfly bush was 50% off. Butterfly bushes aren't native, but I'm not a stickler for that. Everything I plant, though, must either attract birds or bees, or be edible for humans, or be on sale. Mr. Forkenspader (as I'm cleverly calling him) and I planted it by the fence. It has some room to grow, and also I want vines of some sort on the fence, and I don't want the butterfly bush to interfere. I'm investigating hardy kiwi (certainly not native).

And while you're looking at this photo, see that clothesline? My father in law made the poles out of cedar a few years ago. Unfortunately it's planted under a black walnut tree (that big old tree you see there). What that means is every August brown stuff drips off the tree. For a few weeks I either don't use the clothesline or I turn the clothes inside out. My plan is to move the clothesline to a sunnier, more central-ish location and to prettify it with vines. At least the poles are not in concrete.

That same day, I bought a Giant Lemon Daddy Hydrangea, also, you guessed it, 50% off. Here it is, with Zane posing nicely and hoping I'll play with him. This is back under the infamous and lovely black walnut. The shrub seemed huge when I bought it, but not so big in the picture. I wanted to brighten this area back here and give the back woodland edge some diversity. The shrub by Zane is a viburnum I planted in the spring. Before that it was all pachysandra and pachysandra and pachysandra, and old tennis balls.

Big Daddy Lemon Hydrangea and Hopeful Dog
That wasn't enough fall planting, so I went back and bought two native American Beautyberry shrubs to disguise or to distract from the pile of branches and homemade leaf mulch piles in process in the back. The nursery guy wanted me to buy some kind of cherry laurel for this purpose because it's evergreen. But the cherry laurels, with their mononotonous dark green glossy leaves, seemed funereal. I wanted something a little wild and bright and crazy, with berries for the birds. Here is one of the American Beautyberries, below. Speaking of the gift of waiting, Zane has that, in spades. We're going out to play.

American Beautyberry

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