Sunday, September 26, 2021

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 72: mountain Indian-physic

 I admit that I selected this plant totally for its name. I don’t know why but it seems mysterious and a bit exotic for a native plant!

It’s very delicate and pretty and I had a spot in the bluebird bed that needed something special, so this is where I planted it this morning.

I also took the chance to clear the bluebird boxes out.

More on the mountain Indian-physic here, from NC State’s plant site:

Gillenia trifoliata 

Previously known as:

  • Porteranthus trifoliatus
Phonetic Spelling
gil-le-nee-ah try-foh-lee-AY-tuh

Bowman’s root or Indian physic, is a perennial flowering plant in the Rosaceae or rose family. It is native to the eastern United States and Canada and spans from southern Ontario to Georgia. Bowman’s root can also be found west to Kentucky, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Its native habitat is in the woody mountainous regions where it enjoys partial sun, dry to moist conditions, and rocky soil.

This deciduous herbaceous plant that blooms with five-petaled white flowers on wiry red stems from late spring to early summer. The airy look of the flowers is effective in mass plantings or borders. The serrated green leaves turn red in fall.  This plant may benefit from support.

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 71: southern shield fern

 On Friday evening we brought home the next batch of natives and yesterday planted those going into the bird haven garden space. 

There was a great spot for the grouping of southern shield ferns, and they’re now in the ground. I chose these because the light they’ll get in the bird haven is perfect for their needs, and also because they get quite large and turn a bronze color in the fall, which I think will be quite stunning in that area.

I weeded a few things out of the space and we also put in the dwarf crested irises and the hearts a bustin’ shrubs. I have another thing going in that space today and then more coming Monday. My plan to create layers of height and foliage in that area is definitely coming to fruition this fall. I’m very excited to see how it grows into maturity. 

Several of the southern bayberries that I planted inside the fence along the back of the bird haven space have died - they’re all in close proximity to large oaks and I’m not sure if that has something to do with it or if they just don’t like that area. I have come replacements coming Monday but am now wondering if another shrub or two would do better in this space. 

For some reason I ordered two new species of native shrubs, two of each, and those will be here Monday as well, so I may switch out my plan a bit. I’ve learned that if a plant dies it is likely true that I didn’t place it in the right spot, or what I think fits in terms of light/soil isn’t quite the right match for it. There seems to be a spectrum where a thing grows and thrives to the point of spreading hugely, grows and thrives, but not so much that it takes over, and doesn’t thrive and gradually peters out. 

It’s worth experimenting and also moving a plant to a new location before it dies. For these few bayberries (out of the 30+ we planted) I think I’ll try a different shrub. It’s very possible they didn’t like the wetness of their location during big rain events, and the new species I have coming very much do like wet feet, so hopefully I’ll solve the dilemma.

More on southern shield fern from NC State’s plant site:

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Thelypteris normalis 

Previously known as:

  • Thelypteris kunthi
Phonetic Spelling
theh-LIP-ter-iss KUN-thee-eye

Sun to partial shade; prefers average to humus-rich, moist soil but tolerates drought; short to long creeping rhizomes; spreads quickly to form colonies rather than clumps; easy to grow. This plant is seldom damaged by deer.

Long arching, triangular, bright sea green fronds; pinnate pinnatified blade; very hairy on upper and lower surface; sori have rounded indusia and are borne along the midvien of pinna lobes,

Thursday, September 23, 2021

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 70: coral honeysuckle

 This is the plant I’ve putting in our potager on a trellis along the perimeter fence as part of my “wall of climbing pollinators.” I’m excited to see how this looks once I have the entire strip of trellises planted and the plants have matured to full blooming.

Coral honeysuckle is a native, unlike the Japanese honeysuckle that is not native and very invasive. We just had to remove a small stand of that from our Poplar Folly fence this year. The native coral honeysuckle is not invasive and in some zones keeps its leaves throughout the year. That would be a nice benefit for screening. 

More info from the NC State plant site:


Lonicera sempervirens, commonly called Trumpet Honeysuckle, is a vigorous twining vine that is primarily native to the southeastern U.S. but has naturalized in many other areas of the eastern U.S.

Trumpet Honeysuckle is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained, neutral to acidic soils in full sun. It will grow in some shade, but best flowering is in full sun and does best in humusy, organically rich soils with good drainage. This plant flowers in mid-spring, and is often non-fragrant. Flowers are always terminal and never axillary as in L. japonica. There is a significant variation in leaf shapes over the growing season. This is a twining vine that needs a support structure and is an excellent choice for a trellis, arbor, or fence. It can also be allowed to sprawl as a ground cover. The plant flowers on new growth, so pruning should be restricted until after flowering.

High nitrogen fertilizer will produce foliage at the expense of flowers. This plant is noninvasive, and it is excellent for natural, low-maintenance areas. This vine is evergreen in the warm winter climates of the deep South.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: There are no serious pest or disease problems, but powdery mildew and leaf spots may occur, particularly in hot and humid summer climates. Watch for aphids.

Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.  Plants with a low flammability rating should be chosen for areas closest to the house.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 69: hearts a bustin’

 I have a couple of these going into the bird haven space this week. A note - they are beloved by deer so be aware of that when planting. Since these will be inside our perimeter fencing and I’ve not seen deer jumping in since we added the boards with no-climb wire, I think they will be safe. 

More info from NCSU website:

Euonymus americanus 

 This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below

Strawberry Bush is a low maintenance deciduous suckering shrub native to the southeastern and southern states. Its common name derives from the showy warty capsules that split open to reveal red-orange seeds in the fall. Spring flowers are small and non-showy but fall leaf color is a showy red. It has a sprawling form when young but matures to a more upright growth pattern.

It is native to wooded slopes, moist woodland and creek or river areas, and is found in a variety of soil conditions ranging from sandy to clay. The typical range is from New York coast all the way south and across Texas and inland to the midwest from all those points.  

The shrub can be grown in a wide variety of soils, including clay, and tolerates both drought and wet soils to a degree. It tolerates being planted near black walnut trees. It frequently sustains damage from deer that eat the foliage and twigs. Fruits and seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals. Plant in a woodland naturalized area for best results.   

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 68: dwarf crested iris

 Yesterday I put extra plantings of white wood aster and wild ginger in the shade bed. These have previously been featured in my series, so I won’t add them in again today. I have a few more things to add to this shade bed this year and can’t wait to see the layers these new plants will create in this area.

Today when we get a break in the rain, I’ll be carting a nice grouping of dwarf crested iris down the hill to the bird haven bed. 

When I start thinking about a new garden space I usually do some kind of sketch like this to get a visual of what I’m trying to do.

I sometimes deviate from the original sketch, but it’s always a useful endeavor to think about what I envision eventually being in the space.

More on dwarf crested iris, from NCSU’s plant site:

Iris cristata 

Previously known as:

  • Evansia cristata
  • Iris glumacea
  • Iris odorata
Phonetic Spelling
EYE-riss kris-TAY-tah
 This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below

Dwarf Crested Iris is a native species of Iris that grows in North Carolina. It reaches only 4-9 inches tall and spreads to form a groundcover in its native peaty woodland habitat. It offers an early perennial spring bloom in partly shady areas and grows well in rock gardens and woodland sites.  Following the blooms, the foliage is useful as a ground cover in the woodland shade.

This plant grows best in partial sun to partial shade, preferring rich, well-drained soil. A too rich soil will encourage foliage growth and no blooms. It can tolerate full sun but needs more moisture. Use this plant for a ground cover in partly shady areas of rock gardens, woodland sites or in a perennial border.  It is resistant to damage by deer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Slugs and snails.