Irrigation-free: making progress

Irrigation-free landscape, with mulch laid down, bee high-rises in place

We’ve laid the limestone mulch down, the bee high-rises are in place. Now we’re just waiting for the interpretive sign to be printed out and we’ll install it and away we’ll go. The on-site workshop on the irrigation-free landscape will be held on July 28 at 11:00 a.m. The project location is at 2853 42nd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. For more photos and info, click here.

Irrigation-free planting plan

Here is the planting plan for the irrigation-free landscape. It’s curves layered upon curves layered upon curves and proved a wee bit difficult to translate into marked locations on the ground. But, after a bit of doing, we figured it out.

The above image shows all of the plants in the drawing marked out within the planting zone. It also shows the pathways excavated out, which will be filled with crushed Minnesota limestone. This limestone will double as the mulch for the plants as well. One seamless surface, and site and soil conditions that mimic the natural growing conditions of the plants chosen.

PRAIRIEFORM on the Fine Gardening site

PRAIRIEFORM landscape featured on the Fine Gardening site

Fine Gardening magazine is currently featuring small-scale residential gardens and landscapes around the country on their blog – and they’ve chosen one of ours for one of their daily slots! You can check out the photos and the project description on their site here. Many thanks to Associate Editor Michelle Gervais for selecting us. Enjoy.

Plant of the week!

Brazilian verbena / Verbena bonariensis in bloom

We are normally not huge fans of annuals, as they simply evoke extra WORK. Having to plant them every spring and tend to them until they get established rarely seems worth it, particularly when so many perennials, grasses, and shrubs can provide just as much visual appeal at a fraction of the effort. In any case, one annual in particular we have fallen in love with, and this is Brazilian verbena. While the springtime planting of them takes a bit of doing, they become established quickly and begin blooming early. Blooming virtually all summer long, they attract countless monarchs, honeybees, and other pollinators to their electric purple flowers. Form-wise, they provide a feathery but pronounced vertical accent within a landscape. When planted in drifts, they create a glowing purple screen that seems to float over the lower-growing plants nearby. Add high drought-tolerance to the list of pluses and you have what amounts to a perfect annual to mix in with your existing perennials and grasses. The butterflies will thank you for planting them, and your neighbors might too.

Cutting through some dogma

Front-yard prairie planting in Plano, TX

We are never ones for dogma, especially when it comes to landscapes and native plants, which is why we dig this post on the Plano Prairie Garden blog. A bona fide prairie lover, he writes on why prairie gardens are not 100% maintenance free. It’s a refreshing read that acknowledges the grey areas within the quest to infuse more native plants of the prairie into the landscape. Read here.