Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday~Natives For Fall Color

Amsonia and asters

Once upon a time, many years before
Clay and Limestone, this sloped land was a rocky forest of native trees, shrubs, perennials and ephemerals.

Slippery Elm/Ulmas rubra in bloom

Fifty years ago
a developer's bulldozers cut streets through the woodland. They built brick houses that had deep backyards and grassy front yards. They left a few trees, but took out the understory and planted grass, so that boys and girls could play baseball, kickball and reach for the sky on their backyard swings.

Shagbark Hickory ablaze

Grass wouldn't grow
, but, shagbark hickories, elms, oaks, junipers and rough leaved dogwoods kicked butt and thrived.
Cornus florida

Twenty five years ago
a new home owner surveyed the property and dreamed big dreams. She envisioned a Cottage Garden filled with the palest blues, pinks and whites just like she saw in every book and magazine.

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'

That young woman
would be shocked were she to time travel to this garden.

A cacophony of fall colored natives





Today,
in place of lawn, there's a garden filled with yellow flowers, golden grasses, burgundy shrubs, pops of red, rich blues, purples of every shade and a little lawn.

'Little Henry' Itea and 'Northwind' panicum

The canopy trees are taller
. The yard is shadier and it resembles the woodland that was once here.


Ostrya virginiana, the beloved Dancing Tree was here all along.

An understory
of cercis, dogwoods, and cherry laurels has been added.

Hamamelis virginiana

Juniperus virginiana
'Grey Owl'
, Hamamelis virginiana and H vernalis, Viburnum rufidulum and Cornus drummondii have replaced the invasive bush honeysuckles at the shrub layer.
Hearts-A-Bustin/Eunymous americanus a favorite deer food in the woods

Itea,
aronias and native eonymous add color and interest year round. Many native perennials, grasses and ephemerals have returned.
Bottlebrush Grass/Elymus hystrix planted itself!

She would be shocked, but, not disappointed.
That long ago gardener would resonate with the prairie plants, smile in recognition at the cedar glade natives she saw here years ago,

Hypericum frondosum native to cedar glades

and celebrate that she had grown as much as the garden.


Really, has much changed for her? She loved beautiful flowers then and she still does now.

Gulf Fritilary on fading baptisia


Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Please add your url to Mr Linky and leave a comment.

Have a wonderful day.

xxoogail

59 comments:

  1. I love the way you have re-created a kind of native woodland again, your younger self would be proud I'm sure! Beautiful pics. I got rid of my lawn to make way for more plants and a pond, but would never have imagined doing so 15 years ago when we moved in.

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  2. What a sweet post. We all have ideas of what we want our gardens to be when we first start out, but what they become, if we work with nature, is so much better than we ever imagined! I'll be posting for Wildflower Wednesday late this evening!

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  3. Gail,
    That Hearts a bustin is so cool I never take it for ordinary. Loved your aster photo too!

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  4. A beautifully woven tale, dear Gail. Thank goodness we evolve along with our gardens. :-)
    Frances

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  5. Gail, a lovely post. We all change with time and the garden really lets us 'see' those changes. I love your woodland but I love woods, most of my favourite plants are shade lovers. I planted some of our English bluebells last year and I am really looking forward to spring to see if they like me as much as I like them!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

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  6. I enjoyed the timeline of your garden. It has been a couple of centuries here since this land was wild. It was a family farm and was then sold to a developer anxious to sell to people who wanted to be connected to the latest technological innovation, the streetcar.

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  7. It is fun to look back and see where we have been. It gives us a sense of growth not only in our gardens but in our lives. You have a beautiful garden Gail. I hope to see it in person some day.

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  8. I love the story of your yard and its recovery.

    Hearts-A-Bustin is so appropriately named. I had never seen one before, so pretty. :)

    -Mary

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  9. No wildflowers for me anymore, but I loved this post which speaks to change in the landscape and in ourselves. Inevitable, and sometimes surprising.

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  10. What a beautiful post, Gail! Your journey as a gardener could be a metaphor for life's journey--we all start out with big dreams, but along the way we learn to accept what life gives us, and hopefully embrace it as well. Your garden may not be the cottage garden you envisioned, but it's beautiful nonetheless, not to mention more practical and more bee-friendly. So many lovely and colorful natives here, and it's so good to see the woodland area being restored.

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  11. Hi Gail: Loved your approach to the end of the season with your post today. I look out on this rainy and windy day with no idea of what I can offer for Wildflower Wednesday as everything is past its prime. I enjoyed your then and now.

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  12. What a wonderful journey you've had - I remember the gardening press of 25 years ago, and it worshiped at the feet of Sissinghurst and its cousins - beautiful places that would never work in the average American space. I'm so glad to live in a time when we think about our spaces as places to be shared with native plants and the critters they feed...

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  13. Dear Gail, I am right there with you. We cultivate and enrich our soils and gardens while creating a habitat and blossoming into our truer selves. Gardening, working with the land . . . being close to nature and all her rhythms and wildlife, in a more native way ourselves, can only be good for us and the world at large. Your story is so rich and sweet. Beautifully written! Your garden is a treasure of light, colors, textures and a wondrous wildlife habitat for both flowers and animals. Stunning photos!! I love the Hearts-A-Bustin! Mine is smiling deep and wide from this wonderful post! ;>)

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  14. Nice pictures Gail! Is that St. John's Wort the same one you gave us? Ours hasn't changed colors yet..or at least I haven't looked at it yet!

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  15. Working with the climate and mother nature is much more rewarding. Beautiful fall leaves!

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  16. Dave, it is and only a few are coloring up as nice as this one~I love different micro-climates and my garden seems to have a few~ gail

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  17. That "hearts a bustin" makes my heart feel like bustin - it is so beautiful! Well of course it is ALL beautiful!

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  18. You're so right ... as the garden grows, so does the gardener. I shake my head and smile when I think of my first tentative efforts here on my corner of Katy. I'm so glad both my garden and I kept growing!

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  19. I just love your shagbark hickories. They are one of the neatest trees around. The fall garden is such a delight, and yours is one of the best.

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  21. I like thinking about the history of my garden, and the history of plants. Like Commonweeder, my wildflowers are "history" for this year, but I found a wildflower with a history on my travels this weekend.

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  22. Very beautiful post!
    I really love the colors of your garden.
    Also I wish i had some wildness to show on my little balcony garden.

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  23. I loved that story and the gardener friend 25 years later. It made me think about my garden and how my dreams evolved into what I have now. Thank you for such a thoughtful post with so much information weaved within.~~Dee

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  24. Gail that was lovely to read through and the pictures are fabulous of the trees. Hickory trees are something we don't have here but my favourite has to be the fruits of the Hearts a bustin - gotta love that name!

    I remember nearly 10 years ago coming to an empty plot and imagining what I was going to grow but I had not taken into consideration that the huge "pond" of water that was sitting in our proposed back garden was going to affect what I could and couldn't grow.

    My wildflower post is going to get published within the next hour or so.

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  25. Gail, what a wonderful story and a great source of inspiration to those out there who might think that their patch of lawn couldn't possibly be host to a lovely garden.

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  26. Clay and Limestone is a captivating example of the evolution of a dream and a dreamer, Gail.

    Thank you for hosting Wildflower Wednesday. Have a beautiful day!

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  27. Gail as always your photos are beautiful, so full of color and light. It's wonderful what you've done with your garden and also what you've allowed it to do.

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  28. Your fall is so much prettier than ours! I love the colors of your Bhagbark Hickories, and your Dancing Tree is gorgeous!

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  29. Gail - I'm entranced by your marvelous butterfly - great angle! And never had heard the name hearts a bustin' - how perfect - growing wild here, we have E. atropurpureus and E. obovatus. Wonder if it's one I might try?

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  30. 'resembles the woodland that once was here' Praise be!

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  31. To have been able to garden in the same place for 25 years must be wonderful. I've been here only 5 and have barely scratched the surface. Your garden looks something like what I am aiming for, except yours is perfect for its place and I hope mine will be for mine. Lots of natives, lots of colour. Gorgeous.

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  32. gail, i love your native garden and the story you've told about it. it's inspiring.

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  33. So much beautiful color in your garden! I'm sorry to say all my wildflowers have finished blooming so I missed WW this month.

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  34. Much better now than when bull dozed clean for so much lawn.

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  35. Just beautiful -- thanks for sharing!

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  36. Hi Gail, I hadn't intended to post here but saw your post and my Wordless Wednesday post just happened to be a Wildflower Wednesday post too! I'll edit my post to include a link to your blog.

    Your post is a beautiful story and your garden looks so peaceful and well loved.

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  37. I did enjoy this post, its nice to wonder what your predecessor would make of your garden. There was only grass in mine and a few conifers when I moved here so I suspect my predecessors werent gardeners

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  38. My apologies, Gail and all who followed my link! I was the first to respond yesterday, but lost my webcoms (this is Africa, you know) before I could either comment or post. This is the first opportunity to make amends - and my wildflower post (on Scilla natalensis) is now posted!

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  39. Jack that's okay and marvelous that you joined us! gail

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  40. Oh, so you can post more than just flowers. I stopped because I have no more blooms.

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  41. Sandy, You can post most anything! Even if it's past bloom~This is just a celebration of wildflowers and native plants~gail

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  42. Glorious. Simply glorious. I like that gardener and her wisdom! (and her blog, of course)...

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  43. You have lots of fall color.
    Loving the pinks and reds like the Brilliantissima and berries.
    Isn't autumn grand.

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  44. I enjoyed your post so much. I often wonder what this area looked like years ago. I find my evolution has been from evergreen shrubs and pastel flowers to natives as the years (we won't say how many) progress. I was smitten by Hearts-A-Bustin/Euonymus americanus. Who could resist a plant with the name Hearts-a-Bustin? I was more familiar with Euonymus Japonicus, and went on a little research journey--what fun!

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  45. Thanks so much Gail! I loved the little walk through your garden, perfect thing after a difficult day at work. (Yes, I forgot Wildflower Wednesday again... maybe next month, or next year)

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  46. I just learned of Wildflower Wednesday. I have been visiting blogs and have really enjoyed the images. I will look for the next WW and hope to join our meme.

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  47. How lucky you are to have Shagbark Hickory. What an amazing tree. We're too far north for that one but I like to take trips south to the bottom corner of our State to see them on the Mississippi River bluffs.

    Great photos.
    Heather

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  48. What a great post, Gail! Gardens are such wonderful teachers, and how lovely it is when we can look back and see how we have grown and changed along with our gardens. -Jean

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  49. Hi Gail,
    I had the week off of work, and ended up doing a lot of housework. I wasn't feeling the best, and it was so windy, I didn't have the energy to battle it.

    Today, it was nicer out, though still pretty windy. I got a few buckets of compost dug and spread around, then notice our next door neighbor's yard guy spraying her nut grass. Anyway, as I was out working, I got to thinking about Wildflower Wednesday, and how I think I missed it again.

    When I took a break, I looked to see if I was right. I loved your post! I took some photos so I could join you, even though I am quite late. I had to let others know to come see your post. Thanks for that, Gail!

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  50. What a charming post, I am not familiar with the hearts-a-bustin, but would like to find some.

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  51. A beautiful heartwarming post, Gail. The piece of good earth is blessed to know this dear gardener.

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  52. I didn't realize there were native Amsonia--mine's a cultivar but I do love the fall color. Also amazed by Eunymous americanus, which is completely new to me. My fave natives for fall color are chokeberry, viburnum, and tall coreopsis. :)

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  53. I say bravo to that young girl. I just wish there were more like you Gail.....I live in hope.

    Your gardens are an absolute credit to you and always, always a pleasure to view.

    Have a lovely weekend.

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  54. Gail,
    What a wonderful and true post - thanks!

    I'll check out Mister Linky's Magical Widgets--

    Cheers,
    Lisa

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  55. Hi Gail, I've got the Aronia plant you have pictured. It is a great plant and the robins love it. Love your fall colors next to the blue pot.

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  56. Hi Gail,
    My Asters are blooming so I can finally post....thanks for keeping the post up. Your story and photos are gorgeous...you could frame that wild grass shot (after Hearts-a-bustin') and hang it in any gallery! Wow!
    You live in a beautiful place. I'm thinking I wish I could go back to Tennessee just now.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ in flat Houston

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  57. It's a lot less frustrating to just work with Mother Earth than against her, isn't it? Whatever your climate, topography, etc. You've learned your lesson well and done a beautiful job. Imagine how you'd feel about gardening if you hadn't conceded your original ideas!

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  58. Gardens evolve, but more important, so do gardeners. I enjoyed your celebratory, introspective post, Gail.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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