Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Plant more Plants!

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker,Mary Elaine Stone, Garden of Life, Claudia West, Plant More Plants, Native Plants, Native Plants, Mimic Natrures Landscape, Natures Inspiration, Wild Garden

Hello Fellow Readers,

“Plant more plants” was music to my ears shared by Claudia West at the recent NJ Plants tradeshow held in Edison NJ. Claudia is the Ecological Sales Representative of North Creek Nurseries; my go-to wholesale propagation nursery in Landenberg PA. Her presentation was entitled Planting in a Post-Wild World. She along with Thomas Rainer co-authored a book with the same title.

Available on Amazon

Claudia described how to layer plant communities akin to those seen in nature to create a beautiful and healthy ecosystem. The Structural Layer is made up of “plants that have naked feet,” Claudia explained, which allows room for plants to thrive below. Its comprised of trees, shrubs or large perennials that should cover no more than ten percent of the landscape. One of her favorite structural perennials is ‘Jeana’ Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) which grows 4 to 5 feet, has outstanding mildew resistance, and fragrant lavender-pink flowers from mid-summer to early-fall that are magnets for pollinators. Then there’s the stately Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) with mauve-pink fluffy flowers in July through September atop deep burgundy stems.

The second layer, called Seasonal Theme Plants, creates a “strong color moment” each season that should consist of at least thirty percent of the landscape. Amongst nature we see fields of glorious Goldenrod (Solidago) in fall or native Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) we have grown to love. Its best to design using six to seven themes a year, advises West. She shared the attributes of Blue Wood Aster (Aster cordifolius) with puffs of blue flowers in early fall; perfect for naturalizing under trees or along a woodland edge. Then there’s sun loving Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) with intense orange flowers in mid-to-late summer that attracts butterflies especially Monarchs.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker,Mary Elaine Stone, Garden of Life, Claudia West, Plant More Plants, Native Plants, Native Plants, Mimic Natrures Landscape, Natures Inspiration

A Ground Cover Layer of ferns amongst nature

I was dancing in the aisle when Claudia talked about the Ground Cover Layer. At last an ecological expert that advocates understory plants rather than the wasteful cycle of mulching. The Ground Cover Layer occurs in the wild with waves of ferns, moss, and lichen on fields of rocks. Claudia touts a native “liriope alternative” Creek sedge (Carex amphibola). Then there’s Golden ragwort (Packera aurea) which is semi-evergreen. Its yellow daisy-like flowers spike up from the field of green and therefore serves as a seasonal theme as well as a groundcover.

Claudia wrapped up her presentation sharing a picture from her native land of Eastern Germany formerly destroyed by industry. She then shared the same scene restored with blue water centered in a meadow of textures and colors. Thanks to funding from the European Union, she explained, the transformation took place and concluded “Nature is resilient. We can make a difference.” Indeed, we can.

Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker,Mary Elaine Stone, Garden of Life, Claudia West, Plant More Plants, Native Plants, Native Plants, Mimic Natrures Landscape, Natures Inspiration

Landscape designed by Mary Stone, Stone Associates Landscape Design Consulting

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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