How One Thing Leads to Another…

“]”]Northern Sea Oats)  

 

 

Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) photo by Jonathan Willis

This episode goes back to a visit to Boston last year when I saw Northern Sea Oats growing for the first time.  The bronzed seed heads were lovely and all the steps along the way were attractive too.  I added it to our order list from Bluestone in January and got three lovely plants that were especially large for 1 Qt containers.  In the meantime we began reading about how, as pretty as they are, they can be somewhat invasive for many people.   Armitage in his Native Plants says that this is one plant that wears its invasiveness with pride.  So we decided to be a little cautious and not put this, as originally intended , in the rock garden.  But then, the question was where to put them with a full sun opportunity to shine.  

 

And so the need for another garden space arose.  We have a sunny bank where the Walnut Tree used to be (yes, I know the walnut roots may still be in the soil but I’m not one to be stopped by details), and even more specifically there is a bare place that used to be a Red Pine.  Time for the Kubota Tractor.

Using the post-hole digger to start a garden bed

Using the post-hole digger to start a garden bed

The post-hole digger finds out real quick where we can go deep enough for a garden and where not.  Most of this area, except for one rock shelf, we were able to go down about 2-3 feet without too much trouble.  And once you get started it seems like a shame to limit this to just a few Sea Oats, so it got bigger…

The rototiller follows the post-hole digger

The rototiller follows the post-hole digger

The only difficulty with the Troy-bilt Rototiller on the slope is that the soil gradually  moves down the hill and then you have to rake it back up again.

Add a layer of topsoil and then compost

Add a layer of topsoil and then compost

Fortunately I have a pile of topsoil left over from the previous year and the compost is pretty easy to get from the landfill now and I’m finding lots of uses for it.

A critical tool is the  landscaping rake

A critical tool is the landscaping rake

In the end you still need to rake all this level.  And I find that the landscaping tool is wonderful for that purpose.  Years ago a contractor left this behind on the property and I’ve found it invaluable.

Landscaping rake has serious big teeth

Landscaping rake has serious big teeth

So even with the power equipment it took over a half-day to get the new garden where I wanted it to be.

Final result

Final result

A Stump is added in lieu of a boulder that should go there some day, but I haven’t found a good one yet.

A home for the Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)

A home for the Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)

And that dear reader is how one thing leads to another.  The area is big enough that we can already see that it needs a Caryopteris (Blue Mist) on one side and a Potentilla (Gold Drop) on the other.  I hear the local nurseries singing their siren song…

One comment on “How One Thing Leads to Another…

  1. josh

    great photo journal of this bed’s creation! i love the pics of the Northern Sea oats at the beginning – you really captured that bronze touch. Who knows where this bank is headed, now….I wish we had pictures of it 10-15 years ago!