Wandering in the yard

I’ve mentioned centraliowaplantexchange recently (my last post and the one before). Today, I have another story from that group. Someone wanted sun-loving hostas. Her son-in-law was laid off, his deck needs plants, you get the idea.

My hostas are not specifically sun-loving. Here they are after I removed some for for tonight’s exchange. They used to grow under a pin oak tree, which was taken down in 2000. It was mostly dead. Pin oaks are not native and commonly suffer from iron deficiency. There was visible evidence of past iron staking. I know the former owners went to great lengths to save it via iron supplements (BIL and his wife were close with the kids of the family), but it was too sick to keep. The hostas now live in full sun and look great most of the time, a little crunchy in August, but overall, they look great.

One of my goals is to shrink my lawn mowing space. Rationale: we have approximately ten more years of lawn-mowing children in the house, then the responsibility moves to Mr. GAIN and me. Our bodies will be ten years older by then, hopefully in good health, but you never know. I have wanted to alter the north yard for a while, and began planting there three years ago. Lamium, solomon’s seal, one brunnera (after a multi-year search), and lily of the valley currently grow there. The goal is to decrease labor around the window wells. Talk about a pain in the neck. I’d like to have one “mower pass” up this side of the house and one pass returning down and nothing else in the end. But for the cost of plants.

I offered my hostas for a barter, which is scheduled to occur this evening. I have split these hostas twice and you cannot tell. They keep growing back big and full. She offered ferns, lily of the valley, and/or chives. I declined the ferns. Ferns, hostas, and grasses are plants that I don’t take. Chives would be great for the front yard. Mine were recently divided and aren’t ready for another round of splitting yet. Lily of the valley would be great for the north yard since mine haven’t filled in yet. I just bought and planted them in Fall 2008.

Today ought to be a good day for planting. Both of my rain barrels are newly full and we’re not having strong sun and heat. I just brought home baby hellebores and red oaks from a homeschooling friend yesterday. We’d like a red oak to become our new shade tree since the pin oak left us (major factors over the years include city rules and the game “Money, May I?”) . We’re planting five trees for safety, hoping for two to survive. This photo is one of the hellebores. I’d planned to put them under the redbud that we planted two falls ago. Funny aside: The donor family has their hellebores growing under redbuds, too! I guess great minds think alike.

A hibiscus from my dad’s wife. Dug up early in the season, with hopes to gift to my MIL for Mother’s Day. Her favorite plant (don’t ask why). It looked dead on Mother’s Day. In the last two weeks, though, it has shown signs of life. Maybe this is now a gift for Father’s Day?

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