A Better Sense of Place

2013 November 29 (Fri)

Doubt and patience

Growing natives requires patience. I would say moreso than gardening with exotics. This is because of the naysayers as well as personal inexperience with natives. I fluctuate between resolve and doubt when I go out and look at the rain garden, often in the same sitting. One minute, I see great potential and growth. The next, it's just a bare dirt ditch with weeds.

Well, I just read some good advice to keep going: "Most perennial prairie flowers and grasses will not begin to flower until their third or fourth full growing season. Patience is a virtue when establishing a prairie!... Although your seeding may appear to be a bit of a weed patch in the first year or two, by the third year numerous flowers and grasses should begin blooming.... Perennial prairie plants devote most of their efforts in the first few years to developing their famous root systems. They will not be readily apparent in the first year, with little visible above-ground growth.... The deep roots of the prairie flowers and grasses give them long-term staying power that allows them to squeeze out annual and biennial weeds, and to return year after year for decades."

I'm not exactly going for a prairie in the backyard (maybe), but I'd say this holds for rain gardens, too. "Just wait for next year," I tell people. And myself.


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