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Random spring notes -- needed to tell someone

18 years ago

My first spring after starting the new native plant backyard (correction: landscape based on the New England oak-chestnut-hickory forest community) and it's been a mixture of ups and downs:

(1) The Amelanchier canadensis in bloom was disappointing, just a few flowers. Same with the Vaccinium corymbosum. One plant had maybe 10 flowers, the other had none.

(2) Didn't survive the winter: one Kalmia latifolia, one Comptonia peregrina, one Kalmia angustifolia.

(3) Non-natives that are much too healthy: lesser celandine (Ranunculus?), star of Bethlehem. Newspaper smothering didn't work -- probably because I did it over the winter and didn't put enough mulch down over the paper.

(4) Natives that are still very aggressive: violets.

(5) Not sure if it's dead or not yet awake: Lonicera sempervirens

(6) Looking sad but not quite dead yet: one Rhodo periclymenoides; one Rhodo prinophyllum; one Gaylussacacia baccata.

(7) Best comeback after looking pretty shabby last summer: Diervilla lonicera

(8) Most surprising bloom: Carex pensylvanica

(9) Most pleasant surprise: Medeola virginiana transplanted from my sister's house in Maine survived the winter! Can't buy this anywhere close by.

(10) Favorite bloom this week: Actaea rubra.

(11) Favorite blooms next few weeks (I hope): Viburnum acerifolium; Maianthemum canadense; Polygonatum pubescens.

(12) Bizzare and beautiful at the same time: Interrupted Fern.

Still don't know what to do with all the rocks (I swear they multiply during the day when I'm at work). Still don't know how to control the weeds - they're all mixed in with the natives and they have deep roots and rhizomes, etc. As much as I profess to believe in the woodland garden aesthetic, I sometimes look out at the yard and think: it looks like a mess. Friends ask "when are you going to rake?" I say, "Leaves are nature's mulch."

Overall, very satisfying (insert from DS: you mean 'very time-consuming') -- 'it's the journey not the destination' and all that (just because it's a cliche doesn't mean it's not true) -- but also making sure to notice the bumps in the road, not sugarcoat them (can't stand that rose-colored glasses mentality; we're allowed to complain about the bad stuff) -- but don't want to get consumed by the negatives either.

Gardenweb, this forum in particular, has been an essential source of inspiration, information, support, advice and laughs (and drama, when the debates heat up) through it all,

OK, done for now,

-- wd

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