The Eruption of the Ferns

We’ve mostly gotten enough rain for the ferns. There are two very different ferns in this yard: the lady fern is small and well behaved, while the ostrich fern is big and…enthusiastic.

Lady Fern

Last year’s leaves that are mulching the rain garden are a key to this fern’s size. Each of these small, erupting ferns could just about be covered by the oak leaf in the lower right-hand corner of the photograph below.

Lady fern coming up through overwintered leaves. The fiddleheads are tiny, but at least two are visible to the right of the unfurling pale green fronds. Photographed on April 19, 2024.

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Mushrooms in July!

It is not your imagination—this is being posted in 2024. This post for July 2023 and the next, for September 2023, were drafted last year, but languished on my computer following an accident. I am mostly recovered, and finally have the bandwidth to take care of the fun, but nonessential, things in my life. I am dating this according to when the photographs were taken so that the posts land in the right spot in the timeline.  

It seems like an odd time of year to see mushrooms, but we’ve had roughly 1 ½ inches of rain since July 11.  We started the year with a rain deficit, then caught up on rain until May, which was quite dry. June was OK, but July has been unusually wet.  Continue reading “Mushrooms in July!”

C. R. A. P. in the Rain Garden

Contrast. Repetition. Alignment. Proximity. C. R. A. P. These are basic design principles, but not the only ones. This is a very handy mnemonic—a memory device—that I learned from William’s The Non-Designer’s Design Book* in another century. She laid it out as P. A. R. C., but it is just naughty enough for my students to remember when it’s C. R. A. P.

I’m a sucker for green and for texture. Green is very restful. On the other hand, an endless expanse of the same  texture, even in green, can become either boring or overwhelming depending on the scale of the texture and of the plants. Continue reading “C. R. A. P. in the Rain Garden”

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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