May 2010


Liatris spicata

There are many many varieties of Liatris out there that will not disappoint. We love them for their combination of distinctive foliage and the shots of electric color they send out upon flowering. This combination is quite crucial when crafting landscapes for enduring visual appeal across the seasons. The varieties range in drought-tolerance, but many – such as Liatris ligulistylis – can survive on very little water. Addtionally, we love ligulistylis for the simple fact that, like clockwork, its flowers open and the monarchs arrive. They actually emit a particular pheromone that monarchs cannot resist.

In Phase IV of the Zenith Avenue Landscape, we will be planting Liatris ligulistylis, Liatris pycnostachya, and Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White.’ Stay tuned for photos. As an addendum, be sure to plant your Liatris in well-draining soil and in full sun. They generally do not survive without a healthy dose of sun throughout the day.

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Many of you have probably seen a sculpture by Patrick Dougherty but haven’t realized who it was by. His tilting and spiraling sculptures and structures (and, some would say, topiary) are constructed of cuttings and trimmings of softwoods, which are thus perfectly pliable for the kinds of stick-y edifices he produces. Along with 80 volunteers, he is currently completing a large installation at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, to commence the summer season. For those who do not live close by to one of his installations, this quick video will give you a good idea of the tone and form of his work. Enjoy.

Tomorrow commences Phase IV of the Zenith Avenue Landscape, which includes the area featured in the planting plan shown on the page. Stay tuned for photos of the work in progress.

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