DescriptionAfter living in the home in which we raised our children for 25 years, my husband and I decided it was time to leave homeowning behind. The Allegheny River, which flows past Pittsburgh, PA, has a number of apartment complexes and so we moved in the Fall in 2010, sadly leaving behind a glorious and well-loved garden. Before the snow fell that year, I noticed a small planting of daylilies in a patch of dirt near the entrance to our apartment. Hmmm...as we were renting, I never dreamed I could have a garden! Fast forward 10 years...I have been slowly adding to this “small patch” and now it is 150’ long, packed with early, mid and late blooming perennials, bulbs, annuals, and vines. This bed is on a distinct slant! Wearing cleats is a must!
As a member of two garden clubs, I have many friends who have supplied me with all of the above! Thanks to Dr. Doug Tallamy and his enlightening book, “Bringing Nature Home,” I have added many native plants. Some of the plantings include Cercis canadensis, Redbud tree for Spring; Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias tuberosa, and Asclepias syriaca, all Monarch butterfly attractors; Native honeysuckle Lonicera ‘Dropmore Scarlet,’ a long bloomer; and Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet,’ a long bloomer. Important plants: Rudbeckia laciniata in Summer; Rudbeckia triloba skips around the garden...love it! Baptisia australis in Summer, Baptisia perfoliata in Spring; Silphium perfoliatum, cup plant in mid-summer; and Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ in late summer. I have had three gardens...all of course private, as they were in our homes. This garden is the opposite! Many people walk by this “public garden” and tell me they love it, saying “this reminds me of my Grandmother’s garden,” or “I am having a bad day, and this garden delights me!” How I love to hear this! And maybe I am having a bad day too! Then there are the birds. Goldfinches come in early spring for the Niger Seed I put out for them, changing from dull green to brilliant yellow. In mid-June the cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) blooms, followed by its seed heads, which are quickly devoured by them. In the Fall, I leave all the native plants with their seed heads up, which attract the Goldfinches, Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, among others!
At 85 years young, I am still adding! Thanks to my friend Donna, I purchased 25 Tulip bulbs early this Fall and have a new small bed ready to receive them. Never give up is my motto!
Story contributed by Sally F.