To give you an idea of how I created my garden, I took photos as I planted my fragrant sumac shrub today.
First I dig a hole a lot wider and deeper than the plant.
I put the clay into 5 gallon buckets. The clay from one hole usually fills up six buckets.
I dump the clay out at the edge of the woods. This is one of the clay ridges I’ve created.
I dump top soil and compost into the hole and mix it up.
Then in goes the plant… I water it very well…
And my fragrant sumac is happy in its new home!
Fragrant sumac is not poisonous, like regular sumac. It is a low growing shrub with amazing fall color, which you can already see!
The female plant has fragrant flowers in spring, which provide nectar for butterflies. In fall it produces berries that are food for birds and wildlife. (I sure hope I got a female plant!) and it’s a larval host for the Red-banded hairstreak butterfly.
Each time I finish planting one plant, I take a little break. Today Roman gave me a hug during my break, to tell me he was very proud of me!
Earlier today I planted these natives as well…
Great blue lobelia is the blue counterpart to the red Cardinal flower, so I planted them next to each other. They both attract hummingbirds in late summer and early fall.
Monkey flower’s blooms look like monkey faces. They bloom spring until fall, and are larval host plants for the Baltimore and Common Buckeye butterflies.
Blue star is covered in soft blue star-shaped flowers clustered at the top of the plant for several weeks in spring. In fall the leaves turn yellow. It is a larval host plant for butterflies, and provides nectar to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Thread leaf coreopsis (aka Tickseed-because the seeds look like ticks) is covered in yellow daisy-like flowers from early spring until fall. The leaves are narrow and fern-like. Birds (especially goldfinches) eat the seeds in winter, if flower heads are left on to dry. I will be leaving all of my flowers out in winter to provide food for birds and wildlife. They make great cut flowers too.
I have always called Woodland sunflowers “Elizabeth’s flowers” because they bloom profusely along the side of our road on her birthday each year. So I had to add it to my garden! The yellow daisy-like flowers on 5′ – 6′ stems attract a wide variety of bugs, pollinators, butterflies and moths. Many birds and other wildlife eat the seeds.
Spikenard is a perennial that will grow up to 6′ tall each year, then it dies back each winter. It has large heart shaped leaves that are covered in cloud-like white or yellow flower-clusters in summer that pollinators love. In fall the leaves turn yellow and it produces red berries that turn purple, which birds devour!
Spicebush is a very important host plant for Spicebush Swallowtail and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. In spring it is covered in yellow flowers before it leafs out (some people call it “wild forsythia”). In fall the leaves turn yellow and the branches are covered in bright red drupes (elongated berries) that birds, possums and raccoons eat up.
So… this is what my yard looks like after a day of planting! Not so pretty, huh? Haha!