Monday, April 09, 2012

Potting Day

Today is Potting Day for the Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners.  It starts in an hour, meaning I need to leave in about 30 minutes.  With 30 minutes to fill, I decided to share photos of what my offerings look like in full bloom.

Larkspur.  Yes, it's an annual.  But, if you put it (in full sun or light shade) where you'd like it to reseed, it will come back reliably year after year.  I'm not sure what the species of my variety of larkspur is, so I can't say for certain whether or not it is native.  It certainly needs no extra care and seems to attract bees readily.

Aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius).  I originally planted both 'October Skies' and 'Radon's Favorite', which have long since cross pollinated.  The species is native.  This somewhat washed out photo is from last fall, towards the end of our horrible heat and drought.  It shows the aromatic aster underplanted with gaillardia along my front walkway.  These plants got very little water all summer, yet still they bloomed beautifully.  Word of caution:  aromatic asters look like yellow-green mounds of nondescript shrubbery (about 2' tall and 3' wide) for much of the summer, but they are covered with purple blooms in the September-October time frame.  They bloom for a long time and are some of the last flowers to come into bloom in my garden.

Wild bergamot/beebalm (Monarda fistulosa).  I have seen this species growing in the middle of a hot, dry prairie in SW Iowa, so I am going to transplant some into a similar locale to see how it does.  So far it's doing very well in my garden bed, where it also got almost no extra water last summer.  The clump has expanded to a large (3') diameter over several years, but it has not "run" like many of the other Monardas do for me, so I do not consider it invasive or particularly aggressive.

Sand lovegrass (Eragrostis trichodes).  This beautiful, relatively small prairie grass is wonderful, although it will seedreadily, so watch for seedlings nearby and pull them if you don't want a clump in that spot.  Sand lovegrass tops out at about 2', with a light airy seed head, looking very much like a smaller, refined version of switchgrass.  This photo was taken 3 months ago, in January.

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).  Judging from the number of seedlings that I have under my "bird trees", this relative of elms is one of their most popular foods!  It's reputation is that "everything eats it, but nothing kills it".  The leaves are rather rough and ready, but the overall form of the tree is attractive, it's hardy, and (did I mention?) the birds love it!  I do not, however, have a photo of it at this time.

Early, deep/bright purple iris.  A passalong from my father-in-law, this iris has done exceptionally well for me.

So that's this year's line-up of passalongs.  I'll be curious to see which ones are most popular!


greggo said...

You can passalong a few to winfield, can
can't you? I have some rudebeckia hirta and goldstrum, salvia 'black and blue', purple echinacia for trade.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

That bee balm is intriguing. I love larkspur. It's one of the first flowers I remember growing as a child. It does reseed nicely and thanks to a friend I have more of it returned to my garden this spring.
We have a hackberry tree. Got it from my parents' farm because the birds planted a lot of them there too. Irises are always great to share. Hope the pass along day was fun!

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Me again. Sorry. Forgot to make sure you saw my reply on the tulips. I dug up some more info for you at my post!

Gaia Gardener: said...

Passalong potting day was very enjoyable. I scored some compass plants (hopefully with enough root to survive), 2 Solomon's seals, some bronze fennel, a couple Husker Red Penstemon, and some surprise lilies. I've got the compass plants and Solomon's seals in the ground. Tomorrow will be another planting day!

Melanie said...

Sounds like a productive week! My larkspur is just starting to bloom. .and it will be a stunning show when all the sprouts start!! I have been checking out that Wichita Bergamont for a couple years now. I love bee balm but have never been able to keep it watered. We saw some smothered in swallowtails last summer when we went to Chaplin nature center in Ark City. .I then saw it listed in High Country garden. .and it is on my "list" of plants to put in someday. I notice that many people have iris blooming already. .mine don't seem to be close yet. .though I did notice a small swell looking to be a bud in one of my water iris in the pond this evening. .my favorite part of gardening. .the continual excitement of something new!! I'll bet that penstemon will be great. .I have loved the foliage of that one. .those plants are new to me in the last couple years. .and I have a couple varieties. .I LOVE them!! Enjoy your cloudy planting days. .and hoping you don't see any of the severe weather this week.