- Author: Betsy Buxton
Today while going through my e-mail, one of them really caught my eye. It was the monthly newsletter from BIRDS & BLOOMS, a magazine dedicated to those who both garden and bird-watch. I first came across this magazine when my mother, who subscribed, gave me her copies. I always thought of it as one of those publications for the “older set” and didn’t give it much thought. After mom passed, the subscription still had 3 years left, so I kept getting it. The more I read it, the more interesting this magazine became!
So here it is 2013 and now I have my own subscription that is complimented by this monthly on-line feature. Sometimes the features are on target and other times they are not –when not, it’s usually big time: articles that pertain to the Mid West only.
Imagine my surprise when the topic for this month is “Plants for Clay Soil”. I had to read the article thoroughly in case it held nuggets of wisdom I should -- nay, must have! I feel better now, since most of the plants listed are in my yard! Asters were the first on their list (which is only correct as these plants are listed alphabetically). Not only it common name; botanical name (a real plus when you are actually looking for the listed plants!); hardiness, bloom season; size ( that’s another big plus to the list); flowers, both colors and shape; light needs; growing advice (this is necessarily somewhat vague when you consider that this advice is trying to cover the entire USA, but you can tweak it according to where you happen to be); and, finally, what is called the “prize picks” or listing of what the editors consider to be the best variety.
Of the plants selected, I have the day lily (hemerocallis), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Viburnum (Viburnum sps), and various ferns including the squirrel’s foot fern (Polypodiumspp.), which hangs from a piece of all-thread screwed into the pergola . Potentilla (Potentilla fruitcosa) is a favorite as a small ground cover in the side yard, running into the baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii).
The entire list is Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Coreopsis, Daylily, Ferns, Japanese Iris (mine died a very painful death, at least to my wallet), Runner bean, Switchgrass, Potentilla, and Viburnum. How many do you have in your yard?
PS: To those of you who noticed that the Switchgrass was listed before the Potentilla, it’s because using botanical names, Panicum comes before Potentilla!
Now to go and unwrap and plant my new rose from Vintage Gardens. The last sale – until the management announces another release before they go out of business for good!
PPS: I guess I have joined the “older set”!