The list of to do chores here at the Fairegarden for the second half of July is very short.
No new plants should be purchased now. No moving or dividing of existing plantings should be attempted, for it is not possible to keep them properly hydrated. Rain, if there is any, consists of brief pop up showers that run off of the bone dry soil rather than soak in.
Yet, there is this blank space in the Gravel Garden where something has died. Thinking about what could go there, in the rare empty spot, the existing plants are perused for a likely candidate. Something that has seeded in the gravel and is blocking passage would be perfect.
The Aha Moment occurs whilst looking at the morning sun illuminating the reds of the Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’. Behind the stone from Christopher’s mountain is a grouping of native Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’ that spreads by runners. Babies have already been moved to other locations from this planting. More babies have surfaced and are creeping into the walkway.
This late fall bloomer meets all the criteria for the vacant lot left where a Verbascum thapsus that was dug from the railroad right of way gave up the ghost and died outright before flowering. What is needed is something of medium height, with larger leaves and that can take the droughty, sunny, poor compacted clay soil of this bed. Jindai, at your service.
Because the babies are so small, and because they are free, and because they need to be moved, and because there are plenty more of them if these die, the move is made. While digging, some extra Vernonia seedlings are noticed and added to the spot.
The photos: Drying on the plant flower head of Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dooley’, Daylily Hill at dawn, Tanacetum vulgare, Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’ berries, Jindai foliage with Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’, Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’ from 2010, the Gravel Garden, Black Swallowtail butterfly sunning on seedling oak leaf.