Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meadow Brodiaea

The rate at which the wild things can encase a garden and store bought plants is astounding. Gardening in the wilderness is not for the timid or the easily intimidated. The unknown blue Aster, Ageratina, Erigeron, Eupatorium, Clematis virginiana, Parthenocissus quinquefolia and Impatiens pallida to name just a few, all vie to fill an empty space as quickly as possible. The wild understory is at three feet tall and growing.

Venturing into the garden is like going on a treasure hunt. You have to find the plants that make up a "garden". Brodiaea is poking up in several spots.

Campanula has been spotted in blue, white and this speckled, palest of pink.

Great swaths of the Coreopsis actually seem to do pretty good at keeping out the wild things.

Wild rambling roses line the fence line. They have a hard time with the Clematis virginiana that wants to sit on top of the pile and the Goldenrod coming up through the middle. Weeding such a tangled mess is a delicate procedure.

You have to give Bulbarella and her assistant credit. This is a lot of steeply undulating ground to tend and at eighty they are both still clambering over this mountain trying to give the store bought garden plants an advantage. Without them this floral abundance would not be as diverse.

A meadow is created by a process of eliminating the unwanted and adding seeds mostly, of the pretty flowering things. The result is a particularly diverse true meadow. It is far too rambunctious to try to tame or civilize this space.

I watch all this and contemplate my future attempts at the notion of a garden. I know it can be done, but just how far do I want to exert my will on this wild place? It will require a lot of will to contain the wild things.

That is where mulch comes in. A thick layer of mulch accomplishes about 90% of the battle.

After a trip to Raleigh and Plant Delights nursery, the resident gardeners came back convinced of the power of mulch. Ten yards of double ground hardwood mulch was delivered to be spread in the ridge top garden. I think this will give them the upper hand in containing the wild things, at least in the areas where they are actually willing to remove them. The wild things are often pretty in their time. Having a mountaintop change from white in the late summer with the Ageratina to blue in the fall with the Aster is not something to give up entirely.

Having a walk through a garden be a regular treasure hunt isn't such a bad thing either.


Frances, said...

Bulbarella and her assistant deserve more than just credit. Just walking around at eighty, let alone planting and gardening at all, then add in the steep, and I can attest to the steepness, slope, they are beyond super human. The wild plants you name are here also, and if let to grow, would quickly cover most of the garden plants I have put in. If mulch is the answer, I had better get me some mo'.

Annie in Austin said...

The edges are where the interesting things happen - and your garden has a lot of edges and boundaries, Christopher. More mulch would help here, too.

How wonderful that Bulbarella got to go to Plant Delights! I treasure my old catalogs from the early nineties.


Christopher C. NC said...

Yes my parents are pretty amazing for their ages. Keep in mind my dad is physically helping me build the cabin too. Mostly he is the brains and I am the muscle, but it is still very physical for him. Between my added weeding assistance and the mulch, if I could just get Bulbarella to put it on thicker, we might make some major headway this year. I have been concentrating on making sure all the shrubs don't get engulfed.

Annie they had a great time in Raleigh and were majorly impressed with the gardens at Plant Delights. "Everything there is four times the size of ours", they kept saying, "and it was all mulched".

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the altitude difference didn't also have something to do with the difference in plant sizes, but I mostly wanted to comment on your spectacular parents! The garden pictures you have been showing in the last several days reveal a true labor of love, and I am just in awe of what has been accomplished on that mountain. You sound like their genes have you firmly in their grip and you are proceeding down the same wonderful pathway. I am privileged to be a spectator.


Phillip Oliver said...

It is amazing to see all that growth after viewing your winter and early spring photos. It looks like summer has arrived. I really like that pink colored bell-shaped flower - what is that?

Christopher C. NC said...

Phillip the pale pink almost white flower, second from the top is a Campanula as far as I know. The darker red flower, second from the bottom is a Penstemon 'Ruby'.

Carol Michel said...

Those are some good gardening genes you've inherited. Beautiful flowers. Keep on mulchin'!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

chuck b. said...

Do you know the name of the Brodiaea?

(Everything is amazing.)

Christopher C. NC said...

Carol my gardening genes go even further back on both sides of the family.

Chuck are you referring to the common name, Fool's Onion?

Anonymous said...

Christopher, Your photos and gardens are beautiful! I too live "outside Clyde" and on a steep terrain. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and photos. If only I could do some of what you are doing on my land.....Where are you exactly?

Christopher C. NC said...

Hi Siria. Welcome to OutsideClyde. I am at 4000 feet up on Hwy 209 on the Haywood and Madison county line. Exactly on the county line.

I am sure you can do some of what is done here depending on your sun/shade regimen. That is the most critical factor in plant choices.

Where are you here in the mountains?

chuck b. said...

No, I was asking about the species name. We have lots of native ones in California. Lots of taxonomic confusion betw. triteleia and brodiaea.

Anonymous said...

I am at the end of Upper Crabtree Road, although I don't know the name of the mountain, I am next to Glade Mountain on the Newfound Mountain range at an elevation of about 3800 ft. I am also near the county line, but on Haywood County and Buncombe County line. I can't be too far from where you are at. Most of our 4 acres is wooded and heavily shaded and steep. This is all natural vegetation, and although we have cleared some paths here and there,it is a monumental task to keep them cleared. We have some area around the house that is cleared and sunny and also steep. I try adding new flowering perrenials every year. I am just learning!

Christopher C. NC said...

Chuck my best guess to the species name is Brodiaea corrina. It fits the catalog description best. Of course Triteleia and Dichelostemma are listed at the top of the whole Brodiaea section as possible alternate genus.

Well howdy neighbor. Siria as the crow flies I am just over Sandy Mush Bald on the side of Hebo Mountain. It isn't so far by car either. I have the distinct advantage of having arrived to a mountaintop garden that has been tended for over twenty years, with plenty of trial and error to get it where it is now.

The paths here ebb and flow with the seasons. Keeping them open, even with daily travel and weeding requires roundup on ocassion.

Anonymous said...

I will continue to work on my project little by little with the help I get learning from your site and others. Thank you! One of these days I will head on over to see if I can see your garden and meadows from the road. It is such a beautiful area.

Anonymous said...

I will continue to work on my project little by little with the help I get learning from your site and others. Thank you! One of these days I will head on over to see if I can spot your garden and meadows from the road. It is such a beautiful area.

lisa said...

I bet your folks are healthier because of the walking and gardening they've been doing all this time. Their efforts have sure been worth it!