A Better Sense of Place

2015 February 8 (Sun)

Winter update

The rain garden has now been in existence for about 1.4 years. Way back in August and September 2013, I carved out a retention area and sowed the seed. The Chicken Yard was sown at the same time but without any land-sculpting. So how do they look now in their second mid-winter? (Or is it late winter?)

Here is the rain garden this evening.

What stands out the most in this picture are the cabbage I planted a year ago and the Christmas tree from December. (It's somehow still green.) All those goldenwave annuals from last spring are now brittle little twigs, bent over like straw. There's a poof of Gulf muhly at left and a patch of swamp sunflower, but they're hard to see right now. Also hard to make out are some young deciduous shrubs: buttonbush, Virginia sweetspire, and strawberry bush.

Moving on to the Chicken Yard.

More goldenwave straw. What this picture doesn't show so well are all the lanceleaf coreopsis, one of two new red mulberry sticks at left, a still-alive oakleaf hydrangea at top-right, and an Eastern redbud in the back left corner. Small deciduous things just aren't very photogenic.

And now for the new territory: the front yard. If you recall, I sowed it with seed from the backyard. This one is the strip nearest the street.

As expected (and hoped for), the goldenwave and lanceleaf coreopsis have come up first. I just didn't expect so much clover-like sprouts. They're all over. And sprouts from those thistle I let go to seed last year. (What was I thinking? Was I really trying to help out hummingbirds with this stuff?) I've also found some hairy bittercress and mock strawberry, both exotic.

This last picture is from the bed on the house side of the sidewalk. There's a lot less random weeds in this area. Not sure why. I am seeing a lot of Rudbeckia here. Top-center, surrounded by pine straw, is my star-to-be: sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum). I'm really looking forward to that guy. At top-right is a bunch of turfgrass I still need to hoe. Maybe in a month or so, I'll get to it.

I'm really curious and impatient to see what happens in the second spring for the older beds. I really don't know what plants have decided to stick around after all that rain garden flooding and shade. For the front, I can't wait for the partridge pea to pop up. And I don't know if the coralbean, which sprouted from seed before a hard freeze and then disappeared, will come back.


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