In 2020, we shared with you the story of a client who wanted her grass lawn replaced with perennials. She is interested in native plants and sustainability. Transforming her space from grass to perennials was one of the first two projects of this kind for Art of Stone Gardening.
The plan for the Baskin project was a beautiful one by Scott McLendon (our architect). It included a number of plants such as Aster, spiked speedwell (Veronica spicata), and Coreopsis, all colorful natives that thrive in heat and humidity. Their inability to thrive was a telltale that let us know we needed to revisit this project. The cool, wet growing season of 2021 showed us what plants died and which ones thrived.
In addition to rain, deer play an unexpected role in the equation. Unlike most of us, this client loves all the animals that visit her yard and actually likes seeing the deer eating her plants! She may enjoy watching them munching in her garden, but she – and we – don’t want them to eat everything. So, we will replant a little here and there as we see what comes up this spring. Most plants hate to sit in water and will die if they do. Our plan is to replant with deer resistant plants that can tolerate wet feet.
CLM contains “slow release organic components derived from both Mr. Natural® Hen Manure Compost and Mr. Natural® Worm Castings, and excellent soil drainage from Permatill® Expanded Slate and coarse, natural, quartzite river sand (washed).” An additional plus for CLM is that Mr. Natural® is located in Lumpkin County!
Permatill® Expanded Slate, an element in CLM, is a very, very good soil amendment, which helps with poorly draining sites. Normally. The summer of 2021 was not “normal”.
In keeping with the original plan for the garden, the plants we selected were perennials. The plants return year after year, building a community and limiting the amount of labor required to maintain the garden.
We initially planted the garden in fall 2020. These pictures are from July 2021. You can see some empty spaces in the pictures, which is where the coreopsis was.
Even though I prefer using native plants, in this case, planting for the site conditions was of greater importance. One really important thing to note when planting – especially in low lying or poorly draining areas is something that my local nursery has on their t-shirt: “Plant it high, it thrives; Plant it low, it dies.” If a plant is planted below ground level or it sinks below ground level, water can fill in and the plant will die. We always plant high and bring the native soil up around the plant’s roots (1”above ground). Of course, this is all flexible because some plants like it wet!
For the Baskin project, these plants did well:
Working on the Baskin garden has been a learning experience for us, as are many of our projects. Solving problems and creating solutions is much of what our work is about. We will report again on this transitional garden. In the meantime, try, try again! Thanks for reading and stay tuned.
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