Gardening log week of December 24

We have officially had the most rain in a year on record (since 1944): 59.2 inches as of 28-Dec. Average is 41 inches. 34 of 52 weekends, we have had rain. We are within 0.6 inches of our wettest winter ever–57.10″ so far. So when I get both several days without rain AND holidays, I get to work!

I did the milk jugs last year and it seemed a lot of fuss because I had some family health issues going on. This year, I’m going back to what a daylily hybridizer told me–just plant them in the flats and set them outside. They’re on shelves because Callie likes to walk around out here and she will blunder into them if they are on the floor (she’s blind). I’ll move them to the sunny side of the house in March.

I planted my two Gardenia ‘Frostproof’ finally, deciding to pull them out from the french drain rather than tuck them behind close to the house. Eventually, the path along that side of the hose will meander rather than be straight. I pulled up some of the clover patches in the lawn and replace them with the turf grass from the holes.

Also planted a couple of Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood Asters) from Niche Gardens, near the Rhododendron austrinum, Florida Azalea. This aster likes light shade.

  • Bloom period: early fall
  • Height: 3′
  • Spread: 2′
  • Zones: 3-8

Blue Giant Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), also from Niche, was planted near the Nanjing cherry—another prairie plant, but a pollinator magnet:

  • Bloom period: June-Oct
  • Height: 2-4′
  • Spread: 1-3′

Added a few ornamental onions for some early spring flowers near the clothesline, east of the cherry: Allium ‘Gladiator’, which blooms early summer and stands 36″; and Allium. Tore up some honeysuckle and saplings while I was there. I also started removing the evergreen azalea and the honeysuckle growing over it; I plan to plant a red cedar there.

To deal with the muddy paths, I bought several pavers and started installing them as stepping stones. They are 8 inches x 16 inches, so I’m still trying to find the right layout.


The first five are entirely too close together, so I laid out the next few to check the spacing. And yes, I’m using the damn stiltgrass to cover the bare dirt. 🙂 My faithful Callie is checking my work.

I planted the seeds listed in Seeds from Wood Thrush Natives Nursery and More seeds to plant…, plus some goldenrod that grows along the wood edge near Twin Lake park, about 12 inches tall in the part-shade. There may be two different species here, as the seed heads of one are nearly twice as long as the other, but I never did identify them this summer. Also, I planted some year-old seeds from NCBG that I found:

  • Stokesia laevis, Stoke’s Aster: blooms Jun-Jul, 1-2 feet tall, evergreen leaves, full sun, well-drained soil (I know I have little of this now, but I love the purple asters).
  • Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Largeflower American Aster: blooms Oct-Nov, 2-3 feet tall, average to dry soil, full sun.
  • Zizea aurea, Common Golden Alexanders: this year’s seed, blooms May-Jul, 1-2 feet tall, sun to part shade, average to moist soil. I planted one of these a few years ago and it is very happy, so I hope to have them throughout the garden this year.
  • Baptisia albescens, Spiked Wild Indigo: this year’s seed, blooms May-Jul, 2-3 feet tall, sun to part shade, average to dry soil. (Edit: After seeing Avent’s article, I will drench them in boiling water in March.) B. alba, purchased from Hayefield, will bloom first. Here’s another article on how to grow Baptisia from NCBG curator, Rob Gardener.

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