The folks over at Gardening Gone Wild are sponsoring a contest. The idea is to post a picture of the effective use of native plants in landscape design. The prize is a collection of Agastache (Hummingbird Mint) from High Country Gardens. My ears pricked up when I heard this, as I have been lusting after those very plants and HCG is one of my favorite places to shop for plants mail order.
This contest is right up my alley. I have been consciously incorporating native plants in the landscape at The Havens ever since I first started the garden here. Some of the decisions I made were absolute disasters, like when I decided to put Showy Evening Primrose and goldenrod into my front flower beds. Both of these plants are so invasive I ended up eradicating them from those beds. They are beautiful, but so invasive and thuggish that they pretty much crowd out other plants. In the right places, I still have these plants on the place, notably out by the little pond.
My big problem is finding the best example of using native plants in a landscape. I contemplated featuring my very untidy bird habitat by the pond, or perhaps the redbud and other native plants in the front gardens. I just planted a whole section of the Stroll Garden with prairie grasses and flowers, but they are all babies. I a couple of years that area will be spectacular.
I finally decided my rain garden is the finest, most photogenic, example of the use of native plants at The Havens right now. I got it built and rocked in and the flagstones set last June. This photo was taken last October.
The shrub to the left is Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius). Just above it you can make out Swamp Milkweed (Asclepius incarnata). Just to the right of that you can see the leaves of the Prairie False Indigo (Baptista leucantha). (That plant is getting ready to bloom right now.) Next is a grouping that has red Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), orange and yellow Sneezeweed (not a native cultivar), and a nice purple accent of Bristly Aster (Aster linariifolius). Sort of nestled in front of that group are several Echinacea plants. Up against the wall of rock that delineates the garden are a couple of Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycroschya) which had finished their bloom and are not visible in this photo. This grouping also includes some tickseed coreopsis and yarrow not visible in the photo.
While the above picture is my entry in the contest, I just can’t leave this post without including a picture of the rain garden performing its function of collecting rain from the roof gutter and allowing it to soak into the ground. Generally the little pond formed by runoff from my roof and the lawn above the rain garden takes about an hour to an hour and half to empty once the rain is over.
So, that’s my entry, and I hope I win. I sure need the Agastache for the plantings in the new Stroll Garden!