Pollinator garden

Right plants, wrong place

Doesn’t that picture look fabulous? Unfortunately, that’s not my garden. It’s just one I admire. As the one-year anniversary of this blog approaches, my wild garden is looking wilder than ever. Instead of an attractive, well cared for perennial border, our plants look like what you’d growing see in a ditch.

That is not what I had in mind at all. This is what I had in mind:

Not my garden, unfortunately

Cheery clumps of rudbeckia are blooming now in every flower bed and every parking lot in town–so I know it’s possible to get this effect.

But in my ignorance I selected a variety that grows five feet tall. The same thing happened with the milkweed. The botanical gardens have pretty little knee-high sprigs that butterflies buzz around. Mine is like bamboo.

Who would have predicted all those tiny plants I bought as plugs would grow to be so huge? (I know, someone who read the descriptions more carefully.) The rudbeckia has crowded out many other lovelies, some of which are barely hanging on down in the shadows. Something’s got to give. It’s too hot now to start relocating things, but I dug up some that were in danger of dying and will replant them when the weather cools. Our table is now a plant hospital.

I run outside every few minutes to check if any new leaves have sprouted. 

Some of my purchases have been pleasant surprises, thriving where I planted them–like the Agastache I got at Family Tree on a whim. The Achillea, bought at the same time, doesn’t look like much now but has bloomed steadily all summer. And this Eutrochium purpureum (Joe Pye weed) is a compact variety.

A visit to the Kauffman Gardens convinces me that I have the right plants, just in the wrong places. They have some super-tall sunflowery things growing in their pollinator area, but they’re judiciously spaced among other, lower plants. The picture doesn’t do them justice, but they look great.

Before I do anything rash, I’m going to consult with a pro. (More on that later.) In the meantime, it’s hard to feel too sour in the midst of all this gloriousness. Happy summer and thanks for reading!