Amidst Some Painful Endings

When I was younger, endings used to sneak up on me and smack me in the head.

Having lived a little more life, I can see them coming. “See” might be the wrong word—I can feel the impending sense of several endings starting to coalesce.

Even though I am aware that things will soon change, no amount of forethought or planning will really prepare me. Plus, the time I spend preparing would be time lost enjoying the remaining time.

The impending doom I feel made this quote resonate with me as a nugget of hope to cling to moving forward.

Ready for the Plant Sale

These plant markers could be great, or a complete flop. The early days (yeah, like 8 years ago…ha! in the “good old days”) of QR codes required a special application.

I went to a design conference back then(ish) and had to upgrade from my flip phone to my very first smart phone because the organizers were communicating almost everything via QR codes. It was wonderful and horrible all at the same time.

Now the phone gives you that handy dandy link right in your camera…you don’t even have to snap the picture!

This threw a group of my friends for a loop when we went to a restaurant and the menu was only available via QR code. We’re talking about a group of 50-, 60-, and 70-something-year-old women with a full spectrum of phone usage beginning with “I’ll turn it on when and if I have an emergency.” Let’s just say it took a while for us to place our order.

My club members are just such a group, and so I anticipate some complaints. I’m hoping it appeals to the tech-savvy members and, more importantly, plant sale shoppers—they are the end users, after all.

It was far more fun to put together the posts than to write out index cards with the minimum details. Plus, I could add photos (when I had them) of the plants in their maturity. We’ll see.

I thought it was only fair to share these with you after the barrage of posts you’ve been forced to endure relating to various plants.

Wild Geranium

If you’ve reached this page via a QR code from the FSGC plant sale, welcome! You would like to learn more about this plant.

Wild geranium in bloom. Photo by Nan Mellem, 2018.

This plant grows 12-28 inches tall in a mounding shape.

Part shade preferred…wilts a little in full sun but tolerates it
Dry to moist soil (tolerates drought)
Semi-evergreen and VERY FRAGRANT leaves
Blooms May-August
No deadheading necessary
Spreads via thick rhizome – easy to tear back to control clump.
Deer resistant

Missouri Botanical Gardens page for Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’.

There are many varieties of wild geranium with a rainbow of color choices. The Bevan’s Variety seems to have the same flowers as mine. I like you, purchased mine at a plant sale with little information available.

If you are sensitive to fragrance, pinch a leaf and see how you like it—this plant has a strong fragrance when cut back or lightly brushed against.

Monarda

If you’ve reached this page via a QR code from the FSGC plant sale, welcome! You would like to learn more about this plant.

Photo by Nan Mellem 2014.

Monarda is most often referred to as Bee Balm, and the bees do love it, so do Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds! The picture above is of the variety in my garden—I’d describe the bloom color as a pinkish red, or light magenta.

Full to partial sun
Average/moist soil
2-4 feet tall
Zones 4-9
Native plant

Mine are prone to powdery mildew, but I am a bit crazy about watering my garden so the additional moisture can have that effect. They also have late afternoon shade.

Here are the Monarda a bit earlier in the year with newer blossoms.
Photo by Nan Mellem, July 2020.

New plants return pure every spring, and can be cut back in the late summer or fall. Cut the seed heads separately and drop them in the garden bed to reseed.

The Spruce has a detailed article on Monarda: https://www.thespruce.com/red-bee-balm-plants-2132327

Sea Oats

If you’ve reached this page via a QR code from the FSGC plant sale, welcome! You would like to learn more about this plant.

Sea Oats Union Paniculata are also referred to as Northern Sea Oats.

Sea oats have deep roots that are helpful for soil stabilization. In the southeastern U.S. they can be found along the beaches and they are often dune builders. They trap blowing sands in their firmly anchored clumps.

They spread by rhizome and seed. The more sun they get, the taller they get.

Mine are planted behind my pond which gets afternoon shade, and they grow to around two feet tall. I find the flickering seed heads caught in a summer breeze as mesmerizing to watch as rushing water or crackling flames.

Sun/partial shade
2-8 feet tall
Average to moist soil

I first saw them in a field at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and the impression stayed with me. On more recent visits to the CBG, I haven’t seen them again—it could be they were too invasive. They’ve been planted by my pond for three to four years now, and I do find them in other locations.

Sea Oats’ seeds. Photo by Nan Mellem, 2017.

I cut mine back in the spring because the tan leaves and flickering seeds cling to their stems and the plants stand tall through the winter snow. Snipping them off before the new growth starts makes for easy clean up.

Visit the Sea Oats Wikipedia page to learn more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniola_paniculata

Solomon’s Seal

This is Solomon’s Seal and it is a shade lover. Polygonatum Variegatum

If you’ve reached this page via a QR code from the FSGC plant sale, welcome! You would like to learn more about this plant.

It spreads via tuber (actually rhizome) and mature plants can grow around 10 inches tall for every inch of rhizome that supports them. Many new plants can be propagated by digging up a mature plant in the early spring and cutting off one inch sections of the rhizome. The rhizomes without mature plants can take two years to grow, so patience is required.

They look great in mass plantings. Mass planting can also help support their upright form. On their own, a stiff wind can bow them. At the height of their bloom they form white berries.

Read more about Solomon’s Seal and see photos of the plant.

After doing a little reading at the link above, I must correct my notes. It spreads via rhizome (not tuber). Please excuse me…lifelong learner.