Fall color on Cascade Peak on the way back from the stone yard. No garden shots this month, unless you like dirt and fence construction.
Manic is the word of the month. I finished an article for the Autumn edition of Wilder Quarterly. Deadlines are stressful. I would invite you to order a copy to read it, but it’s okay if you don’t. The only way I can afford a copy is to write for them.
Regular readers may recall I mentioned bringing in some outside eyes for a consult, which I did. It was just what I needed too, as my plant tastes are botanical-garden broad, even a little schizophrenic. After much exchanging of botanical latin, things are sorted and I can see forward with a laser-like focus. I have a plant list, and I know how to use it.
There were some important takeaway lessons and reminders from my genius-expert-for-hire. The big timely one is that it’s okay to not plant bulbs right away. Why put a bunch in when you’ll be slicing them in half and digging them up as you put in more plants? There will be more autumns and more springs. I do have a few I’ll be putting in, but I’m definitely cutting back on quantities this year and diverting those funds elsewhere. Mostly to High Country Gardens, as they are downsizing. I mentioned this already, but you really need to be paying attention, as High Country Gardens is downsizing. That’s a really bad thing. Please, order from them people!
The second point was to avoid mashups. The new dry land planting abuts a mesic area of planting. I had planned to put a Salix chanomeloides ‘Mt. Aso’ in there as it would have looked great with backlighting in the spring, and it would get enough water as it would get irrigated by the nearby in-ground sprinkler. The genius-expert pointed out that such a water loving plant would look incongruous in such a spot. I needed a transition between the wetter mesic border and dry land areas. Lesson learned: don’t plant a Japanese pussy willow in the background of a garden full of sotols, Ericameria and cacti. It rings false. Instead, go with that Chilopsis you’ve always wanted. ‘Paradise’ is the most cold-hardy strain, apparently.
Third takeaway is that soils are weird. We spent a lot of time discussing what plants should be doing well here, but based on my trials, are not. In the end, we chalked it up to the fact that some plants really like some soils over others. Just because you’ve got a lot of sun and dry conditions doesn’t mean that you will be able to grow everything. I have to kiss a dream of Chilean high-desert plants goodbye as I was informed that my soil is just not be acid enough for them. The Tropaeolum polyphyllum will just have to go in a deep trough, I guess.
So, I’m really only coming up for air with this post before I go back into my frenetic fall gardening quest. I’ll probably get some flats for wintersowing perennials next week. I really don’t want to be doing that again in January. January will be for hibernating and recovery, especially at this rate.