It has been a busy gardening year so far. Back in January and February I ordered three bare root Paw-Paw trees from Twisted Tree Farm, a nursery in New York state, plus more bare root trees and shrubs from the New Hampshire State Nursery. We picked up the trees from New Hampshire in April and planted them in about a week. Most of them have done spectacularly well since, and I will need to add a separate post with photos. I ordered 10 each paper bark birch and alternate-leaf or pagoda dogwood trees, both of which already grow on our property. Unfortunately their crop of dogwood failed, but we received the birch and they all look great. I also ordered their songbird shrub package, 5 each of 5 different shrubs including service berry, american cranberry viburnum, hazelnut, elderberry and beach plum. When we were picking up our order they also had spicebush, so I snapped up 10 of those as well. These were all little sticks going in, so I’ve been impressed. Here is a birch tree:
I also ordered a pre-planned “shade garden” from Prairie Moon Nursery, and attended the 2018 Grow Native Mass Plant sale in Waltham, Massachusetts. The Grow Native Plant Sale is where I bought the majority of the plants for my garden last year, so I knew the plants were great quality and a great value, and bulked up again.
I had to create a small new garden for the 3 “Green & Gold” or Chrysogonum virginianum I found at the Grow Native Plant sale. They like shade so I grouped them under the Japanese maple in front of our house. I left the existing ferns but covered the rest of the grass and plants with newspaper and mulch to give the plants a chance to establish. Only the plant on the right is blooming, but the other two look healthy:
The bird bath in the photo above doesn’t have gradually sloping sides, as a bird bath should, and so was essentially ignored by the birds in favor of puddles in nearby tarps. I added a few flat stones and a piece of tile this spring, and it has since been popular with the birds, chipmunks and squirrels for drinking, and even as a bath by a brave few! I hope to replace it eventually with a small pond.
I prepared another new garden bed under a crabapple tree for the preplanned shade garden I ordered in February. Since the plants were late arriving, I used some of the space for other plants I picked up at the native plant sale, including fringed bleeding heart, creeping phlox, foamflower, white turtlehead, and two gorgeous maidenhair fern:
The maidenhair fern looks so delicate I never would have thought to plant it, but in the wonderful new book Native Plants for New England Gardens (published by the New England Wildflower Society), I read that it is a surprisingly tough plant. It is easily one of my new favorite native garden plants!
If you are not ready for a book, this is a helpful list of Native Plants that Attract Pollinators. You may have noticed that I’ve linked to the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder for plant details above – I have found their information more helpful for gardeners than some of the more local resources – I especially love the Comments section and “Plant of Merit” designations.