Friday, August 21, 2015

Plant with Purpose

We must be as busy as the bees these days! Sorry for my online absence, but in the land of 10,000+ lakes, we tend to cram as much into the growing season as possible.

As I talk to people about green roofs and land conservation, the more I hear myself saying "planting for purpose." I guess I enjoy the workhorse part of horticulture, meaning my preferences in beautiful plants stem from their ability to perform in a certain function. This could be edible fruit production, resources for pollinators, little need for maintenance, or selecting vegetation that has extensive root systems that help in eroded sites.

My selection of native perennials on green roofs (albeit limited based on soil depths) helps the pollinators who might have a hard time finding nectar and pollen in the urban environment. The grasses I choose for at grade landscape designs are ornamental, yet naturalized to the region, and growing asparagus along side them brings more diversity while keeping textural elements in the background.

This year I selected oregano and mint to be the trailing plants in the containers at my front door. I grow rainbow swiss chard and bok choy in my "ornamental" beds because it's protected just enough from the hot sun, and I can harvest at a moments notice. And, let me say that my "ornamental beds" are nothing more than columbine, bee balm, 'Karl Forester' and miscanthus grasses, black eye susan, chives, purple cone flower, a mini-blueberry shrub, and wild indigo. Nothing fancy!

For me, planting with purpose carries the weight of thinking of system goals: planting the right thing, in the right spot.
Enjoy the wild days of summer!
Target Center roof, in bloom (August)