A Better Sense of Place

2014 October 22 (Wed)

Fall failure

I talk and think so much about native plants that I'm sure people assume my gardening is nothing but success upon success. Surely I've got a lush, healthy, multi-layer ecosystem flourishing around the house, right? Well, now that it's fall and plants are starting to peter out in preparation for the winter hibernation, I thought it'd be a good time to share how things did in this 2014 growing season.

Ah, here are some lovely white asters. They grow all summer and finally bloom in October. Bees love them.

And here's some sort of purple aster. Hmm. They seem to just be growing in the grass. I wonder what that's about.

Well, the first picture was a close-up of a plant in this third picture. It is one of many leggy things that make it hard to walk along the path. There's some goldenrod in the back, falling over. You can't tell, but there's the "grave" bed (mentionned earlier in the year) to the bottom left of the frame. It's mostly covered in basketgrass.

The purple asters in the second picture are next to the juniper (redcedar) at the back left of this picture. In the foreground is a giant mass of blue mistflower, broomsedge, nameless weed, and knockout roses.

Here's another angle, looking in the other direction. All those leggy, weedy things are those white asters like in the first picture. This is what I'm pretty sure the Dear Neighbor hates.

That picture is what it looks like farther toward the alley entrance. There's some mistake-looking common hackberry growing at left, a bunch of stuff in the middle surrounding Carolina buckthorn, and a large grove of male yaupon toward center-right. Virginia creeper is on the fence. I did start hoeing the grass a few weeks ago, but I haven't finished. I'm still not sure what to do here. Shrubs? Wildflowers and grasses from seed?

And that was turning to the left a bit to see the alley entrance. The tall goldenrod is now starting to droop behind the (way too fast) speed limit sign. Behind that is a large patch of herbicide-sprayed ground with a bunch of dead seeds I paid for. Then two coralbean, dying partridge pea and Maximillian sunflower, etc. Wild grapes are growing on the fence. I don't think I'm there yet.

Back to the driveway is this mess. Some barren-looking parsley hawthorn and mayhaw. Closer to the wall is exotic loropetalum. The actual green stuff at the front of the house is exotic shell ginger.

Further up the driveway is this stuff. Best I can figure is it's primarily crap. Exotic grasses and whatnot. I've tried to pick out all the chamber bitter, but I'm sure there's still some in there. The main plant is a bottlebrush from Australia.

And finally there's the backyard rain garden, now full of dead annuals with some scattered, highly poisonous American nightshade. Yep, that there is not success. And that about wraps up this year's failures. Well, I didn't mention all the plants that withered and died: a couple sweet pepperbushes, coral honeysuckle, a scrub titi, a silverbell, and I can't remember what else. Yep, it's not been a killer year for natives around here.


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