Early May 2018 Yard Tour
We've had a really nice run of spring weather recently, so that means I've been out working in the yard and not spending as much time updating the blog. I thought that tonight, with it being a little cool and foggy, that I would taking a tour of the yard, try to take a snapshot of the progress I've made and that the plants have made this spring, along with catching up on some of the smaller projects I've been working on. The cool weather veggie bed is starting to show some signs of life. The peas are doing the best:
These are the shelling peas, but the snap peas are at the same size. The spinach is also doing fairly well. There aren't that many lettuce or carrots coming up -- I'm a little concerned that the heavy rain we had not too long after sowing the seeds dislodged them. The peas and spinach seeds are larger and likely had a better time holding their own. But time will tell.
In the front yard, between the edge of the house and the side yard on the west side I planted a Big Blue Stem grass (Andropogon gerardii) last summer. I cut the dead grass back this spring and new growth is starting to sprout!
Beyond the Blue Stem is a good size bed almost on the edge of my yard (right next to the over grown paper street). Last spring, I pulled several dead rose bushes out of that bed the previous home owners had left. I replaced them with a bunch of native perennials. Unfortunately, once all the overgrowth from the paper street area leafed out, that bed got more shade than I wanted for the plants I put in. Earlier this week, I moved a number of them to another bed in the front yard (more on that below). I did leave a couple of plants in the bed however. One is Lupine (Lupinus × hybrida) that I started from seed last year. I was very pleased to see them come back: The other plant in the bed, I believe, is the spreading suckers from a perennial sunflower I planted last year. If that is what these are, they should be in a sunnier location, but sunflowers don't transplant well at all as they like to sucker and spread. So we'll see, as they may not be sunflowers at all...
Along the edge of the overgrown paper street, I planted an Old Fashion Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis), along with two in the backyard. All three are returning nicely, but I especially like this one:
I've numbered the plants in the photo above: 1 - New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is a native plant. I bought this plant last summer and planted it here; it is just barely beginning to regrow from the winter. 2 - Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) There are four of them in the back (in front of the daffodils and tulips) that I moved into this bed. 3 - Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) There are three columbines in the front of this bed. 4 - Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a member of the milkweed family. They are crucial to butterflies, but especially monarchs as milkweeds are the only plants that monarch caterpillars can feed on. These plants don't transplant well once established, but I gambled that they weren't super established after less than one growing season. They are the four bare spots in the mulch as they are just beginning to re-sprout. 5 - Wild Senna (Senna marilandica) is hanging out in the far corner of the bed. It is also just beginning to reemerge after our long winter.
Between the kitchen patio and the driveway is a narrow strip of dirt. Last year, I planted three Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) plants. They are back and blooming beautifully.
Here is what lives here: 1 - American Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a beautiful native shrub that produces nice little berries that are a big hit with the birds. 2 - Another New York Ironweed 3 - Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) was a staple of my childhood. We had a big patch of them in right by the back patio and they were everywhere in the fields and ditches of the Midwest. They aren't a true native plant to Maine but I love them and they do attract many pollinators. There are 10 of these in the bed, along with several smaller seedlings. 4 - Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a tough little native plant. There are three of them in this bed.
Moving to the backyard. Along the garage, I put in two Snowberry bushes (Symphoricarpos albus). These are a nice little native shrub that I had never heard of until I saw it at a nursery last summer. They produce beautiful snow-white berries in the fall.
If you remember from the Spring Cleaning post, this is one of the Bleed Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) that was just starting to leaf out. Now it's completely leafed out and has striking red blooms:
Speaking of old blog posts, remember all of those bareroots that I potted up about a month ago? Well earlier this week, they were all planted in the back yard. Unlike the front yard, which faces south and get plenty of sun, my back yard is on the north side of the house and has three large deciduous trees, so there is a lot of shade. The plants that are going in the back yard are woodland plants that don't mind chilling in the shade. All of those bareroot plants fit that bill and I'm starting my little woodland garden in the far corner of the back yard, closest to the overgrown paperstreet. Here is the patch of six Yellow Trillium (Trillium luteum) I think ... I was told by Fedco Seeds that these were Yellow Trillium...however this bloom sure looks a lot more like a Red Trillium (Trillium sessile)
I'm not complaining as it's a beautiful flower, but it certainly looks red to me!
I also have a nice little stand of Great White Trillium, aka Wood Lily (Trillium grandiflorum)
Here are close ups of the two plants. First the Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
And finally the stunning Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my yard as much as I enjoyed taking the pictures and putting it together. I have so many more ideas and plans -- stick around to see what is growing next.