Wild Ones promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. The St. Louis chapter is one of the largest and most active chapters in the Wild Ones network, and it's run by an all-volunteer staff. We joined in early 2019 and have benefited a great deal already from the group's workshops, lectures, home tours, and seed exchanges.
The native plant movement is part of what inspired our work at Dragon Flower Farm. While I'd previously incorporated native plants into my gardens in the Pacific Northwest, the 1/4-acre native plant food forest we're now developing in the Midwest is quite an ambitious undertaking - one we couldn't do without resources like Wild Ones. It's a privilege to be members.
We encourage you to join a chapter - Wild Ones has 50+ chapters in 18 states located throughout the Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern U.S. And if you're in the St. Louis area, we hope to see you at some of their events. (Shout out to all my Pacific Northwest readers - you're invited to start your own Wild Ones chapters.)
The native plant movement is gaining huge momentum... just today we saw they've broken ground at the world-class Missouri Botanical Garden on a native plant garden. With noted lecturer Doug Tallamy's latest book out this month, the buzz will continue... and it's not just about bees!
In this post I'll walk you through some of our most resourceful, DIY sleuth-shopping and decorating moments of the past year. Ready?
Who doesn't love "free"? The above chairs were a curb pickup find from our neighbors down the street. The seats were a bit spongy from being left out in the rain, and the paint had mostly peeled off, but we freshened them up with a bit of spray paint in a new color from Rust-o-leum called 'ink blue.' This is not a sponsored post. I just thought I'd mention the color right off the bat instead of waiting for you to ask. The new spray paint colors make it really hard for me to pass the paint aisle without dreaming up new projects right there in the store and taking a few cans home with me.
Also I just learned from posting the above pic, (taken to illustrate to Anthony which kind and color to get from the store when I ran out) that Rust-o-leum is spelled Rust-oleum. The more you know.
Here's how the full set looks on the porch. The table in the middle is actually a thrift store find, not part of the curb pickup score. That shows you that in a common material like wicker, you can fake a set from separate pieces easily.
So there you have it: An entire suite of porch furniture in a trendy color for the price of a few cans of paint. I'd like to have gone further with this and cut out both the paint toxicity and the cost with a DIY natural substance, if anything would do the trick. Feel free to post recommendations below.
Another find came from Facebook, the source of a set of three of these Midcentury gliders. The whole set was 100 percent free; all we had to do was pick them up, curbside.
You can while away the hours rocking in this thing, sipping mint juleps...
They don't make 'em like this anymore. The frames are sturdy steel. The glide is smooth and steady. Each of the wooden slats is held on with a washer-and-bolt combo that will make restoring these beauties easy. I'm thinking of spray-painting the frames (unless you give me a good eco alternative) and sealing the wood against further wear. But I don't think I'll stain the wood; the patina is pleasing as-is. What's your vote on the frame color? I'm thinking:
Blue ink, like the chairs above
Aqua, like the mesh table top in the paint can pic above
Dark turquoise, like the planter below (I think it's called 'Lake')
Bright yellow, because why not
Some other color you could convince me to try
Weigh in by posting your vote below.
Another Facebook deal was a pair of birdhouses for $10 (US). They're handmade and a bit whimsical, and while no birds have taken up residence in them yet, they're a nice part of the scene in the garden.
Completing the front porch mission is this cute wicker planter, which came from a booth at Treasure Aisles Antique Mall here in the St. Louis area. It wasn't free, and I can't remember the exact price, but it was less than $30 (US). I think part of the reason it was a good deal was because of the original paint color, pretty much puke pink.
You know what's next: the refresh. Here it is after I applied that aforementioned dark turquoise, with native Missouri primrose planted in the pots. This sits between our front door and the blue wicker chairs above.
Moving inside the house now, I want to share a pic of this cutie-pie serving dish I picked up at South County Antique Mall. It's a very collectible 1963 vintage piece from the Sears Harmony House 'Honey Hen' set. Such a nice thing to have on the table for Thanksgiving.
When it comes to tales about fishing for finds, there's always the story of the one that got away. Here are two pieces I passed on but sort of wish I hadn't.
First, this basket stand is amazing, but I wasn't sure what I'd do with it in exchange for the real estate it would take up. Of course our friends and followers have suggested a dozen great uses ever since, such as yoga mat holder and blanket cozy.
Finally, this stunning, rubby ducky-yellow flip clock is not really my decor style, but I totally wish it was. It's so rad!
What are your great finds of the year? Post pics or links below!
This post was not sponsored, and we did not receive anything in exchange for the product and business references here.
It's been an intense year of mulching and planting. We covered the bulk of the 1/4-acre in sheet mulch in 2019. But we also had opportunity to put in seeds, seedlings, and young plants in some of the areas that had been sheet-mulched in 2018 and were ready to work. While it was too early in the lawn-conversion process for us to sow any annual vegetables or herbs this year, we did put in three perennials: asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarb. I'm sad to report that while the asparagus patch and horseradish plot are alive and well, the rhubarb didn't make it. Ah, well. The real stars of the garden this year are the Midwestern natives.
Milkweed vine seed pod.
Our twofold mission is to plant both natives and 'human use' flora, and the native plants have not disappointed. While the rhubarb gasped and expired, and the blueberries* have continued to struggle, the natives have taken hold and flourished, pretty much without exception. As an added bonus, we've been able to obtain many of them for free - either as volunteers or gifted starts and seeds.
Milkweed vine seed filament on rose.
Welcome Your Volunteers
The volunteers came of their own accord. Like the milkweed vine seed in the photo above, they were brought in on the wind or carried by birds or animals. Sometimes that means they were actually, um, pooped out, but that's part of the life cycle process; in fact, some seeds are designed to be distributed this way and won't germinate unless they are subjected to scarification or acidification first, to mimic transport through a bird's digestive tract or the frost and thaw cycles a seed survives through during the winter before germinating in the spring.
A volunteer sycamore (Platanus occidentalis).
Receive Your Gifts
The gifted native plants were surprisingly easy to find. The first batch came from a seed exchange hosted at a local brewery. We also joined and attended several Wild Ones garden tours, plus a seed exchange, a fantastic source for seedlings and seeds. Just starting out with a blank canvas at first, we could not bring anything to offer in exchange, but there are always so many seeds and seedlings on hand, and none of the Wild Ones members minded. Besides, our turn to donate came sooner than expected...
Swamp milkweed (Asclepius incarnata) blooms, popular with bumblebees.
We picked up the above swamp milkweed in early summer as a tiny seedling gifted at a Wild Ones event, and over the course of the year, it exploded into a sizable bush that attracted pollinators in droves. Another tiny Wild Ones seedling, anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), took immediately to a site with poor, rocky soil, bloomed its head off, and likewise drove the bees mad with love.
The next step with these now-established natives is to let them self-sow. I'm hopeful this happens with minimal intervention, though I have helped things along by spreading seeds around, like with this old field goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis), another freebie. All three plants picked up as free seedlings at Wild Ones garden tours exploded with growth, so I was able to collect their seeds and offer them back to the community at the fall seed exchange.
Take in the Fall and Winter Beauty
While a garden in summer delights with its color and scent, sights like the seed heads above in winter bear a quiet, elegant beauty. My brother and I often hike during these "off seasons" for just this reason; besides, forest vistas are more impressive with the leaves off the trees, and we often have the trails to ourselves. It's also a good idea to leave your garden in as natural a state as possible through the winter, saving the cleanup for spring. That way you provide food for fauna through the cold, lean months, and beneficial insects have shelter.
By the way, if I haven't convinced you yet on the virtues of milkweed vine (aka, honeyvine), let me tell you that a cheer went up, loud enough to attract our neighbors' attention, when we discovered a monarch caterpillar in the leaves of one this fall.
Planting in fall and winter is best for native plants, as it more closely mimics their behavior in natural ecosystems. You can plant seeds anytime from November to February for most native Midwestern plants. I picked up 12 packets of seeds at an exchange in late November, and due to the rush of work and holiday activities, I didn't have a chance to put them in until this week (between Christmas and New Year's). But with 2-3 months of freezes and thaws ahead, that should stoke them pretty well.
Last year I didn't know enough about how native seeds work, and I waited until spring to sow them. Only two came up: hibiscus (Hibiscus lasiocarpos) and common milkweed (Asclepius syriaca). Neither of them bloomed this year. I've heard that seeds can sometimes take more than a year to germinate and am hopeful this spring brings better results.
Score Big at Native Plant Sales
While growing from seed is highly rewarding, for trees and shrubs, it's nice to have an established plant to give you a head start. I took advantage of numerous fall native plant sales sponsored by Forest ReLeaf, the World Bird Sanctuary, my local garden center, and for fruit and nuts, the Missouri-based Stark Bros. Non-profits are awesome sources, as it is often their mission to educate and encourage the public about native plants, and local garden centers and suppliers can help guide you with the best natives for your zone and topography.
An elderberry bush from Stark Bros.
One of the tactics I've employed to good effect is to pay attention to how flora behaves in natural ecosystems and try to mimic them. On my hikes in Missouri and Southern Illinois, I make note of where natives are doing well and why. For example, I know from hiking around the Meramec River that elderberries grow in the moist, forested areas where pawpaws thrive. At Dragon Flower Farm, we've created a shady woodland like their natural habitat in a wet area where drainage is a problem between our house and the neighboring building, set only a few feet apart. A crop of native sensitive fern do well there, so we've added pawpaws, elderberry, and a companion, indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa).
Indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa) is not only lovely but a nitrogen-fixer that's great for the nearby fruit bushes and trees.
Record Your Plantings
In order to gauge your progress and keep track of what's going on, you might want to make notes. I like to keep a journal where I staple or tape in the pot tags from everything I plant. Staples or tape allow me to read both sides of the tag, where good info like companion plants and growth size are often listed.
A plant journal might be too old-school for you. You could also try taking a photo of the plant in its place with the tag posed so you don't forget what's planted where, as below.
In 2019, we planted:
23 packets of native seeds for grasses and flowers,
24 native seedling starts for grasses and flowers,
8 native shrubs, and
6 native trees
Thanks for your interest in our Dragon Flower Farm project, and we hope this post is useful for anyone getting started on the native plant journey. Please tell us about your own experiences in the comments below.
*While blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are native in origin, most planted in gardens are cultivated varieties that differ from their wild ancestors.
This post was not sponsored, and we have not received anything in exchange for the references to organizations and businesses here.
I've spent a good deal of time talking about what we had to extricate from the Dragon Flower Farm, i.e., invasive plants like honeysuckle vine, winter creeper, and autumn clematis. Yes, in certain moments, it's felt like nothing more than the tragic tale of what the botanists call "disturbed" areas in nature. But not everything onsite when we bought the house in November 2017 was "undesirable." You might be wondering what we're planning to keep. Here's a list by category.
Let me start with the lilac.
Oh, my God. Do we love our lilac. Lilacs naturally stir a romantic, traditional feeling in the heart, I think, without feeling overly fussy or too precious the way some classic ornamentals can. And, as pictured in the photo above, our venerable old lilac has no trouble attracting pollinators during its dramatic show of springtime blooms.
It's the focal point of the garden in spring, providing a lovely backdrop for our seating area (and some semblance of privacy), with a heady scent of lilac wafting into the house when the windows are open.
I once had a white lilac, when I lived in Tacoma, but this lilac-colored lilac really takes the cake. Speaking of cake, you can decorate cakes with the lilac flowers, as some people do. The blossoms are edible for both humans and animals. Here you can see Chaco chomping down the sugary goodness.
Our lilac has been allowed to sucker out into a rangy bush shape, but this spring after the blooms faded, I cut it back with as much tough love as I could muster. It's a bit more tree-shaped now, but it will likely always be more bush than tree. Either way, it provides gorgeous cut flowers for inside, and this year, it bloomed precisely on time to play a role in Easter decorating, which was nice since we hosted the fams this year.
Lilac has other uses as well, which besides its beauty make it a candidate for keeping around. You can of course fashion sachets for your linen drawers out of the blooms, but they're also used to make syrups, teas, and candies. Got another use for lilac that I haven't listed? Tell us in the comments below.
The other ornamental bush we've kept so far is the rose, which we're told is likely the 'Knockout' rose variety. It's a bit of a statue, in that few insects are drawn to it, but it's a big, healthy bush, and rose petals do have a wide variety of uses, from rose water to tea.
Alas, this one doesn't produce many rose hips, but at least it has all those other uses, besides being gorgeous and fragrant.
Self-Sowing Natives and 'Weeds'
We noticed early on that a large number of ferns were thriving in two shady areas, and we had them ID'd by the Audubon Society as native sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis). Unfortunately, the bulk of them were interwoven with honeysuckle vine and winter creeper, two thugs we needed to eradicate, so we had to cover over the ferns with our mix of cardboard and mulch meant to make anything underneath die off. This biodegradable mulch method worked great, and to our great joy, the sensitive fern, and NOT the two invasives, came bursting right up through the mulch. So we saved the native fern and destroyed the nasties.
Sensitive fern, native to Missouri.
The second native that seemed undeterred by our cardboard/mulch barrier is vine milkweed. This one grows in profusion in the St. Louis area, and I remember it from when I lived here before. I didn't pull it out then, and I'm not going to now, either. Some people seem bothered by it, calling it a garden weed, but the monarchs love it and thrive on it. Given a choice between offending garden visitors by the sight of a so-called weed and giving monarchs and other pollinators what they need to survive, I side with the pollinators.
A lot of what we need to do to survive on this planet - and we need those pollinators in order to ensure our future food supply - rests on changing our mindsets about relatively subjective things, like what a garden should look like. If you want your garden hermetically sealed and angled off with a lot of chemicals and gas-powered tools, then have yourself a yard full of plant statues and grass that does nothing for the life cycle other than sit there looking green. But don't you think the vine above is lovely, twining around our solar lantern?
Speaking of subjective viewpoints, we had another so-called weed growing to beat the band this year: cleavers. The Missouri Botanical Garden lists it among their "Winter Annual Weeds," and outlines methods for its eradication. But I'd come across cleavers before, back when I worked at New Dawn Natural Foods, which used to be on Grand Avenue here in St. Louis' Grand South Grand neighborhood, before the regentrification wave changed this funky ghetto into a strip of trendy shops and restaurants. A longtime sufferer of a condition called interstitial cystitis, I took cleavers tea for its known anti-inflammatory properties, specifically related to the bladder. So when we ID'd it coming up in the garden, Anthony gathered a bunch and used it to make a cold infusion. Besides the bladder tonic effect, I noticed the swelling in my feet and hands go down after drinking it.
Cleavers, scaffolding their way over neighboring plants.
The name "cleavers" comes from the seed-distribution method for this plant, which is via hooked burs that stick to animal pelts, or in this case, human socks. Keep at least a few cleavers around in your garden, if only for the botanical fascination.
We are also blessed with a number of sedums, aka stonecrop, of the variety Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' AUTUMN JOY. The genus is native to North America, but what's growing in our yard is a cultivated variety, hence the special name here in all caps. Still, they're known for their great value to butterflies, specifically, and are recommended for fall color and pollinator-friendliness by many.
If you have any doubt about the butterfly population's preference for this flower, come on by the Dragon Flower Farmhouse. In late summer and early fall, it's a butterfly festival.
The violets growing in abundance across Dragon Flower Farm make us nearly as happy as the lilac does - maybe even moreso because Viola sororia is another freebie native. Like the sensitive fern, the violets were only too happy about the mulch situation, and no longer having to compete with turf grass for space, they seeded themselves all over the top of it.
Violet makes a lovely, soft ground cover, and the fritillaries in particular flock to it.
Lastly, we're default-keeping many of our flowering bulbs. I say 'default' because we're not actively trying to dig them up or anything, but we're not going out of our way to save them if they are interplanted with something we really must remove, like winter creeper. (We do put them in pots and give them to friends and family, though. We're not monsters!)
One of the problems with the property is that the blooming was set to all happen in the spring. It's a common problem I've seen in yards planted only with ornamentals. While I will say that we've got a staggered series of blooms throughout the spring, sadly, the only thing blooming any other time of the year is that late summer sedum. This is something we've already started to rectify with our choice of new trees and shrubs, but for now it's heavily weighted toward spring. And what a spring it is!
It all starts with the first crocus.
Then the daffodils emerge, trumpeting the arrival of spring.
Oh, did I mention daffodils? If you're paying any attention at all, you know we're daffy about them.
This is a double daffodil called Narcissus 'Tahiti.'
After that, it's iris avenue, with three incredible hues on display in succession.
First these royal purple beauties...
Then a big mess of yellow bearded irises.
There are probably about 100 yellow bearded irises on the property. I love to bring them in the house for cut flower displays, but Chaco ate them and threw up, so they had to be taken outside, as they're toxic to cats. Some were growing up through winter creeper and honeysuckle, so I dug them out, put them in pots, and gave them to my sister to distribute amongst her neighbors.
The last iris to bloom is a rarer, wine-colored variety. Definitely a keeper.
Deciding the fate of plants is a heady sort of power, and we don't take it lightly. We've armed ourselves with resources and support from the St. Louis Audubon Society, Wild Ones, Missouri Botanical Garden, the Missouri Native Plant Society, and others. We reserve the right to change our minds and admit to feeling conflicted about some plants. For example, we have ornamental azaleas in the front, and while we wish they were useful Ozark native azaleas, they're not. They'll bloom themselves silly, and not a single flying insect will even take notice. They probably need to go, but who wants to rip out an old, sturdy bush like that?
Thanks for your interest in our Dragon Flower Farm project. By the way, now that I've written this, I'm wondering if we should have called the place 'Viola Sororia' instead. What do you think?
We're still in the throes of a long-term project to replace turf with a blend of plants that are ideally both native and edible, or at least one if both can't be satisfied together. I'll describe the very important turf remediation project in a future post dedicated to one of my favorite topics, mulch. But for now let's talk about the super fun part of gardening: putting in new plants. While we slowly deal with the turf layer on the ground, we've begun to carve out the green infrastructure of the garden, the really big plants that give the garden its bones. That means trees and shrubs.
As briefly mentioned last week, we got a jump on the planting when we put in two important trees in the fall: 1) a serviceberry and 2) a grafted persimmon. The two trees satisfy both criteria in being simultaneously native and edible. The serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) produces white blooms in spring, followed by red berries that look a lot like blueberries when they ripen in the fall. The birds will eat them, and so will we. The persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) will provide year-round interest, with its characteristic broken-block bark, greenish-yellow blooms, and deep orange fruit, also edible for both humans and animals. If you haven't eaten a ripe persimmon fresh off the tree, I highly recommend it.
Also last fall, I took time off on my birthday in November and spent the day planting a blueberry patch. The whole affair was prompted by a 75 percent off sale at Home Depot, which really means I rescued four withering blueberry bushes leftover from the summer rush. These were 'Spartan' blueberries, AKA Vaccinium corymbosum, and since blueberries need another species nearby for cross-pollination, I ordered four of another, compatible variety, the 'Dukes,' from Stark Brothers, a Missouri grower recommended to us by the St. Louis Audubon Society. So it's the Dukes vs. the Spartans here at Dragon Flower Farm.
Lisa's birthday blueberries.
Sadly, the blueberry bushes nearly met a tragic end over the winter, when the rabbits saw them as tasty treats. The Spartans (from Home Depot) suffered the most damage, not surprisingly, as they were far weaker. So early this spring, we cordoned off the patch with netting, and that has kept the rabbits at bay. However, we think the bushes are lacking something. After a bit of research, the list of potential amendments that could do the trick is pretty long: pine needles, citrus peels, lemon juice, sawdust, epsom salt, and even a horseshoe, though that last one seems to be as much for the iron as for the luck. Wish us some of the latter as we try these out.
One of the Dukes has already produced a bit of fruit. So the Dukes win.
That was that for the fall. Our spring planting began with a trip to the Butterfly House for the Wild Ones native plant sale - I mentioned this sale excursion previously when I went on about daffodils in April. (I told you I'd go into more detail later about the native plants we scored. Look at this, promise kept!) Channeling our inner Monty Pythons, we judiciously chose three shrubberies, all natives, of course: 1) New Jersey tea, 2) hazelnut, and 3) wild hydrangea.
The New Jersey tea leaves have been used as a non-caffeinated substitute for tea, the hazelnut is exactly what it sounds like, and the hydrangea has some known medicinal properties. So while the hazelnut squarely satisfies both the native and edible criteria, arguably, the other two do as well.
This plant will produce hazelnuts!
Our next wave of plantings happened over the past two weekends. This is a bit later than we would have liked, but we had that epic trip to Helsinki, Finland, in early May, and it took some time to get back into the routine after that.
The man and I have been talking about pawpaw for about a year, but we had trouble finding any last fall (we looked, we called, we scoured the web). It's native to Missouri and in high demand, as it produces a delicious fruit most people liken to banana custard (yum). Anthony sometimes lapses into a Walla Walla-by-way-of-Oklahoma mode of speaking he inherited from his father, whose people were Okies who up and decided at one point to head even further west. One of Anthony's country sayings involves a pawpaw and a prickly pear (which, incidentally, is another native, edible plant):
When you pick a pawpaw or prickly pear,
And you prick a raw paw, next time beware.
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw;
When you pick a pear, try to use the claw.
Of course, the Internet tells me this is from the Jungle Book, which makes sense, since my husband knows all the words to "I Wanna Be Like You," and now you can see why I adore this big Baloo.
Back to the plants. We wandered over to Sugar Creek a couple of weekends ago, and lo and behold, they had a mess of pawpaws. The only problem was, they didn't have the sexes marked, and you need both a male and female in order to get fruit. Apparently, telling the sex of a pawpaw is known to be difficult, at least until it flowers. We took our chances and picked two, but if we end up with two of the same, we'll just add a grafted pawpaw later next fall. Like our aforementioned persimmon, this would have both a male and female grafted onto the same trunk, so it will be self-pollinating, and it will pollinate the other two, because science.
CORRECTION: Some folks in the Missouri Native Plant Society's Facebook group schooled us on the fact that pawpaw flowers are "perfect," which means they contain both male and female parts. The trick with pollinating them is actually that they need another species of pawpaw nearby, and the pollination is typically done by flies. What this means is that people sometimes hang raw meat among the branches of the pawpaw to attract the flies. That or you can hand-pollinate with a special brush. Hmm...
Pawpaws (Asimina triloba) like a bit of shade, so we planted them where the neighboring building on the other side casts a shadow all day except in the morning. Here they are next to a funky little water bath I made for the birds, to Audubon Society specs. Birds like shallow watering areas, with places to perch. We haven't had any takers yet, and they prefer moving water, but a friend told me to wait a month before giving up or moving it.
We scored two other lovely natives at Sugar Creek: 1) a vernal witch hazel and 2) a chokecherry. I was really impressed with the sheer number of natives this garden center had on hand, double what I'd seen there in the fall. The staff mentioned the interest in native plants had certainly gone up, which is great to see.
The chokecherry got a bit beat up in a dramatic thunderstorm. Hail pummeled it, knocking it over, and when we went to plant it, the leaves had curled. It seems to be recovering now, but when it went in, it looked a bit in shock.
Chokecherry, or Prunus virginiana.
This lovely tree will grow to 30 feet, eventually screening the back part of the garden from the apartment building as well. Its berries are too astringent to eat off the tree, hence the name, but they do fine in jams, sauces, and the like, and the birds find them delicious.
We have a weird little corner that slopes down, receiving more water than other parts of the garden. It's directly under telephone wires, too, and this is right where we'd removed a stunted, diseased willow tree that had been topped too many times. So in this spot we put an Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis), which will only grow to 6 feet. It will give us our first blooms of the new year - bright orange, ribbony crinkles appearing on bare twig as early as January.
Last came a few fruit trees. We opted for pears, as they work marvelously for my arbitrarily-sensitive-to-everything eating situation; I've never reacted to pear. A full-sized Bartlett variety called 'Moonglow' went in right at the end of a long sidewalk path out our back door. The path was bad feng shui without the tree, draining energy out of the house, so the tree placed there blocks and balances instead. Its pollinator pair is a semi-dwarf Bartlett.
Fruit trees just look like twigs when they go in as bare-root saplings, and that's OK.
These pears aren't native, of course, but we made an exception in light of the future food value. Closer to native though not truly native is the Arkansas black apple we planted nearby. Its flesh will be dark red, nearly black, and it's rust-resistant, which is a good thing in light of the red cedars we have on the property, a potential source of rust disease.
Arkansas black apple.
So there you have it. Since fall, we've planted 17 trees and 14 bushes on a property that had zero trees and only a few ornamental bushes. I realize this is a lot of plants already, but the reality is that we'll wait anywhere from three to five years before we see any output, so we wanted to get these bearing plants in as soon as we could. They also form the garden's main structure. We needed the bones in place before we can layer on flowers, vegetables, herbs, and other plants. So far, nothing has failed to take root and grow. We think that's a great sign.