My gardens have always been a mix of natives and non-natives. I have found it best to go with what will grow and try to make it into a pleasing design of some sort. Fall in east Tennessee is when the roadsides, fields and meadows explode in jaunty juxtapositions of color, texture and form. Asters and grasses, among others, join the fall foliage to present quite the grand finale of the growing season.
In this new, as of fall of 2014, garden the method to achieve the vision has been to simply allow the former lawn, mostly crabgrass, to grow of its own accord, not mowing at all. The first year the sparse lawn grass grew tall and flowered. There were some wildflowers that sprung up, mostly fleabanes, goldenrods and asters. These plants shaded out most of the crabgrass and the front lawn/meadow was born. Unwanteds like the wild blackberries, tree seedlings and large crabgrass looking stuff were dug out. Desirables were and continue to be added, like our beloved dogwoods, Cornus florida, with clumps of lawn grass dug out to make room for the additions.
I really find the aesthetics of wildflowers/meadows/natural looking plantings most attractive. Those are also easier to maintain, less labor intensive than formal, rigid designs. That style is the vision for this new garden. There are still garden beds where I can play, but the majority of this yard is of the relaxed, see what will pop up type.
In the back gardens, it was noticed that along the newly replaced wooden fence, a pretty grass was growing. It was identified by my dear friend Gail of Clay and Limestone, whose Wildflower Wednesday meme this post joins, as broom sedge, Andropogon viginicus. I love it, but have to watch out for seedlings all over. There also appeared a relatively shorter Solidago ssp. that is still unidentified. A few tall white asters are allowed for some color contrast. The native grass Muhlenbergia lindheimeri was added and has done well. It will be divided and spread as it grows large enough to do so.
In the two nursery beds in back that were created with yards of imported soil mix dumped and spread about, natives and favorite exotics were added by the hand of the gardener. Spigelia marilandica has grown better than it ever did at the old garden. I didn’t even know it had a lovely golden fall color before now, it had always gone dormant in the dry summer. Gardening is learning.
The gardens will continue to evolve, with and without my intervention. Each season of each new year is different. I will wallow joyously in them.