In the mud and the muck


The spot of damp ground where ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel died a slow death is a work in progress. Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Duet’), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), and sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus, below) will fill this void, but today the shrubs still have a few years  to go before I’ll be satisfied with this space. In damp ground, tolerant plants can grow remarkably fast, so there’s some hope it might be sooner.Sweetshrub

Sensitive (Onoclea sensibilis) and Autumn ferns (Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’) are  planted between the shrubs and these will spread (I hope) to cover the soupy ground along with Japanese iris (Iris ensata, below) that is flowering today. Yellow leafed Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ ) has begun to spread through the muck, though I question if the purple irises against the yellow ground cover might prove to be a bit too garish.Japanese iris

In any case, I’m curious to see how quickly Creeping Jenny will spread in this wet ground. In other spots, it’s planted in drier soil in part sun, and it spreads moderately fast. In dry ground it has failed, which should be expected, but I figured it was worth a try. If Jenny creeps from one end of this wetland to the other it will not cause a problem, and anyway, it is not as aggressive as the mint planted in the slightly less damp area on the far property line. In fact, I’ve been very pleased with the mint, and since it is mostly shaded it has not gotten out of hand.

Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Sweet Kate’,

As soon as spiderworts (Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Sweet Kate’, above), hostas, and daylilies emerged, deer found the new growth and began to nibble. Fortunately, I noticed, and quickly sprayed the repellent. I alternate two repellents, one that smells of rotten eggs and the other wintergreen. Since I was spraying in a hurry, and my wife was dragging me off to some event, I sprayed the wintergreen, though if I had stunk of rotten eggs she might have excused me from the gathering.

Diablo ninebark

‘Diablo’ (above) and ‘Little Devil’ ninebarks (Physocarpus opulifolius) are flowering, and after great expectations I’m mildly disappointed with the compact growing ‘Little Devil’. ‘Diablo’ is a large shrub with arching branches, and though its dark foliage and flowers are exceptional, the shrub is suited only to the side and back of the garden. I envisioned ‘Little Devil’ with similar foliage and flowers, though on a smaller scale, but it is has not grown into the full bodied shrub I anticipated.

Black Lace elderberryI’ve buried ‘Black Lace’ elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’, above) between the wide spreading ‘Wolf Eyes’ dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’) and a crapemyrtle (and others), so that it can only be seen by pushing through branches while being cautious not to step on snakes and varied wildlife that might lurk beside the large koi pond. I’ve been startled more than once as I carefully step around baptisias (Baptisia australis, below) and blue stars (Amsonia hubrichti) that obscure the ground.Baptisia

After the late cold this spring I was concerned when Chinese indigo (Indigofera kirilowii, above) did not leaf until a few weeks ago. The woody perennials border the wetlands at the rear of the garden, and while they had tolerated this wetness, it can take a few years before a plant finally fails. This area has become increasingly damp in recent years, but I’m happy that they came through it, and today they’re flowering. While the wet ground has resulted in some unfortunate casualties, I’ve learned to enjoy those that thrive in the dampness.


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