May 1, 2016.

The lead picture is of a pretty little pink dogwood that we just noticed at the edge of the Prairie below the viewing platform. But the main topic of this post is about new plants. One of the greatest challenges in starting a garden such as this is acquiring the right plants—especially if the goal is to build plant communities matched to ecosystems where they might naturally occur.

As of today, some 9,000 plugs, quarts, gallons, and larger of about 40 species have been installed; 4,000 are on order; and countless others are being sought.  Overseeding from last fall will give us further richness—plants that will appear in unpredictable numbers, especially in the Prairie below the viewing platform. The photo of Rachel with flats of newly-arrived plugs to be installed is from April, so these have already gotten into the ground. Plugs planted last fall and just before the April drought have so far shown almost 100% success—why we like ecosystem modeling.

plants arriving 4.3.16

Our sources?

Last summer and fall the Center for Urban Habitats team collected seeds here of some of the more elusive and locally adapted species, and grew them into plugs—with added greenhouse space from the Wintergreen Nature Foundation. These are being planted this spring.

North Creek Nursery, New Moon Nursery, The Natural Garden, Wintergreen Nature Foundation and Monticello’s Center for Historic Plants are supplying plants in wholesale quantities. And the plant sales of Charlottesville Tree Stewards, Piedmont Master Gardeners, and the Jefferson Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society have come through with small numbers of harder-to-find species.

We hope our demand for local genotypes will help to create markets, and make such plants more available to other gardeners in this area. There seems to be great interest in native plants. Here’s a photo of the line last weekend at 12:50 for the 1:00 VNPA (Virginia Native Plant Association) at Ivy Creek’s barn. Shopping here is something of a contact sport insight quarters. Our reward was several pots of Spring Beauty we hadn’t found elsewhere.


Other news:

We had visits during the month from the Nelson County Garden Club (on the left) and from the proposed Mcintyre Botanical Garden (on the right)—and are anticipating several others in the next few weeks.

IMG_2836                          IMG_2846

Finally, here’s how the layout for the model of the Nelson and Albemarle is progressing.