Rain Garden Planted in the Nick of Time

A week ago Saturday, on May 20, I helped sort plants purchased through the Washtenaw County Water Resources Office by people who were putting together rain gardens—like me. The advantage of helping out was that I got to take my order home that day instead of the following one—one more day to plant!

I planted them Sunday. I had done a partial planting last fall, so the plants I picked up just about completed the garden, with the last pieces coming from transplants from other spots in the yard.

The Rain Garden

We had better start with a schematic. You cannot see from one end to the other due to the redbud, so this will keep you oriented.

Site plan showing rain garden layout in relation to front of house, sidewalk, and road.
The rain garden, as planted in 2016–2017. The rough brown lines represent exposed tree roots. There are three green circles with perhaps too-tiny numbers in them; from left to right, they are (1) Rosa setigera, (2) Clethra alnifolia, and (3) Cercis canadensis. Adobe Illustrator file updated May 27, 2017.

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Editing the Garden

Just a very quick note: the tagline of this website mentions editing. What’s that about? Here is a good example. The wood sorrel, Oxalis, is sprouting everywhere, including among my dwarf Japanese Solomon’s seal.

Dwarf Japanese Solomon’s Seal, in need of weeding. Photographed May 17, 2017.

The Solomon’s seal begins to look a little scruffy with the weeds, and there are forget-me-nots in there, which spread like wildfire, so they have to be pulled. It’s very easy when the weeds are this small; I pull out everything I spot that isn’t a dwarf Japanese Solomon’s seal.

Dwarf Japanese Solomon’s seal, just weeded. Photographed May 17, 2017.

Is it perfect? Perhaps not, but it is good enough for now.

Heat Wave Pushes Spring Ephemera Towards Dormancy

It reached 85°F here yesterday, with very little rain and a relentless breeze that was just dry enough to escape being called muggy. It will be in the mid-80s today and tomorrow—muggy today, and if we are lucky, rain tomorrow.

When it gets over 80°, the spring ephemera start going dormant. Leaves start yellowing and drooping, and obvious signs of putting energy into reproduction appear. Continue reading “Heat Wave Pushes Spring Ephemera Towards Dormancy”

Bluebells Going to Seed

The bluebells have reached that awkward stage; the flowers are just about gone, but the plants haven’t keeled over. They are not at their most attractive, although from the street, they are back to being an amorphous blob of green instead of a haze of blue by the back fence. There are hostas and arrow-leaved asters among the bluebells, so that when the bluebells finally do keel over, they will be hidden. It’s a little hard to believe right now.

Bluebells going to seed. Photographed May 11, 2017.

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How Twinleaf Got Its Name

The twinleaf have reached their full summer size. Now it’s obvious why they are called twin leaf.

Twinleaf in its summer glory. Photographed May 2, 2017.

They are cooling to look at. The next big deal with these plants will be the seedpods. It will be soon—the cool weather has slowed them down—but I am not going to spoil the surprise.

The Wild Ginger Is in Bloom

Back on April 8, I mentioned that the wild ginger had poked out. They’ve completely leafed out, and they have started blooming.

Wild ginger. An ant’s-eye view. Photograph taken May 3, 2017.

On the far left, you can see parts of maple-seed wings—one coming out into the foreground, and the other just partially in the frame, more or less at a level with the flower.