Local is a powerful buzzword these days. It resonates with people of all ages who are concerned about where the products and services they buy actually come from. And for that reason, all kinds of companies try to convince folks that what they have to offer is local. But just how “local” is local?
Every year I get on my soapbox to remind people that now is the perfect time to plant all kinds of things, and this year is no different. But to be clear, I’m not talking about things that most folks know to plant in fall – mums, pansies, asters, ornamental kale and cabbage, cool-season veggies, fescue and rye grasses, spring-flowering bulbs – the stuff that practically defines fall planting. I’m talking about practically everything else, in particular trees, shrubs, and perennials.
Fescue is originally from Europe. It didn’t arrive in this country until the mid-19th century, but it’s been happy here ever since, first as a pasture grass and later as a turf grass in lawns across America. Here in Green Country, fescue is the go-to turf for shady spots, where it thrives with a little fertilizer and regular watering.
No other plant on the planet gives you more bang for your buck than a single, solitary, spring-flowering bulb. Think about it: in most cases you shell out less than a buck per bulb and in a few months you wind up with a gorgeous flower that’ll return year after year for decades. And in that time all the plant requires is an occasional drink and a light snack.
Is there a difference between conifers and evergreens? You bet there is. And at the risk of making your head spin, let me make one critical distinction right off the bat by saying not all conifers are evergreens and not all evergreens are conifers. How’s that for clarifying the matter? Hey, I don’t make the rules!
I love to watch folks at the nursery as they check out just to see what they’ve got in their carts. Sometimes I try to imagine where the conifers or ornamental grasses or whatever else they bought will wind up in their landscape. Mostly I just get excited knowing that every plant that goes out the door will soon be set free from the confines of its pot and given a permanent home.
Twenty years ago, I spotted a sign on a variety of sedum called ‘Autumn Joy’ that claimed the plant would “thrive on neglect.” Convinced the phrase was nothing more than marketing blather, I took one home, stuck it in a one-gallon terra cotta pot, and vowed never to water it, fertilize it, or intervene in its life in any way. I figured it might last a year, maybe two. I was wrong.