Stacking Functions Garden

Project: complete!


Back in April, I applied for a grant from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. Their stormwater best management practices cost-share program helps homeowners in the district pay for landscape projects that help reduce run-off and support wildlife. I figured my back yard landscape project was a good candidate with its native plants and the rain garden. Found out last week that I got the grant!  It should cover all the plants. Awesome!

Knowing that the funding was secure, I bought the rest of the plants needed to complete the project this weekend. Fortunately Mother Earth Gardens in Minneapolis had everything I needed (mostly ferns).

Let’s dig in to the process:

First I wrote down the common and latin names, quantity, and location preferences for each plant. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of at least jotting down the latin name of each plant you buy. If you don’t, it is very difficult to know exactly what you have a few years from now.

Then I set the plants, still in containers, in their places to be sure of arrangement. Many of the plants I put in this spring are still tiny in their rabbit-proof cages, so I hope they survive the winter.

Next I made detailed maps of each planted area. This will be a big help next spring.

One of the three planted areas: a deeply shaded area between the compost bin and the wood shed where no grass has ever grown. The shrub in the picture is a alternate-leaved dogwood, also called pagoda dogwood (cornus alternifolia). Originally I had this area marked as “leave empty for potential chicken coop” but Adam put his foot down about the chicken issue. Plants it is. For now.

The other large planted area is along the north fence line, under a beautiful mature maple tree. It’s not much to see right now, but it should look much more filled-in next year. In a few years the 3 viburnums (2 trilobums and 1 lentago) will hopefully get big enough to provide a bit of screening.

I added six of these maidenhair ferns (adiantum pedatum). They are a great groundcover.

I was so jazzed to find Christmas Ferns (polystichum acrostichoides) that I bought 5 of them even though I technically only needed two. They’re an evergreen fern often used in holiday floral arrangements; hence the name.

I also added some cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis), though not in the rain garden as originally intended. They need a bit more sun than I originally thought, so they went into the sunniest part of the maple tree garden.

I definitely varied from my original plan, but the differences are relatively minor. Also, the edges of the rain garden need a bit more contouring before I post pictures.  I cannot wait to see all of this next year!

3 thoughts on “Project: complete!

  1. Good work! FYI, a more common common name for the Cornus alternifolia is pagoda dogwood.

    • Yepper! I got so involved with making sure I had the latin names right that I forgot the common name on that one. 🙂 Fixed in the post now. Thanks for all your help with plant identification!

  2. Doing this in your back yard is brilliant! We’ve got them on the street here and I hadn’t even contemplated doing one in the yard!

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