Newbie who could certainly use some help.


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To keep a long story short, we bought our first house four years ago in upstate NY. We were city people who didn't know much about lawn-care and gardening but I've been a quick study and our lawn now looks quite good. But one thing has been driving me nuts: a big boulder in the middle of one side of my lawn. We had a new house built on an empty lot. The builder offered to have it removed but my wife insisted we keep it, I don't quite remember why. I would like it removed but the cost just seems like too much.

I've done some research but I just can't quite figure out the best course of action, when trying to beautify it. I'm thinking of encircling it with a flower bed, but am not sure which flowers/plants to use and what exactly would be the best way to go about it. I would really appreciate any suggestions or advice. Thanks!

The picture is of the rock, i snagged off of google maps, clearly taken a few years ago. Trust me, my lawn looks much healthier these days :)

garden rock.jpeg
 
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JBtheExplorer

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You are in the prefect position to create a native garden. I'm jealous of the boulder! I wish I had some of those to use in my gardens! By using native plants, you'd not only beautify it, but you'd give that area a greater purpose. They also require very little maintenance. Most local nurseries carry a small section of native plants. There are also native plant nurseries online.

I'm imagining a garden similar to the native garden at a local nature sanctuary. Some of the plants in that garden include:

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Foxglove Beardtonque (Penstemon digitalis)
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Prairie Coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata)
Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

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I'd also recommend Stout Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium). I've been using this small specie to fill in some gaps between my other plants.
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alp

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Yes, the boulder should be kept. People pay good money to buy it.

Nice to make it a feature, perhaps as a seat with areas for wildlife .. You could even make a path leading onto it.
 
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You are in the prefect position to create a native garden. I'm jealous of the boulder! I wish I had some of those to use in my gardens! By using native plants, you'd not only beautify it, but you'd give that area a greater purpose. They also require very little maintenance. Most local nurseries carry a small section of native plants. There are also native plant nurseries online.

I'm imagining a garden similar to the native garden at a local nature sanctuary. Some of the plants in that garden include:

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Foxglove Beardtonque (Penstemon digitalis)
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Prairie Coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata)
Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

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I'd also recommend Stout Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium). I've been using this small specie to fill in some gaps between my other plants.
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JB, what is the transparent flower in the third picture? It is awesome!
 

JBtheExplorer

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JB, what is the transparent flower in the third picture? It is awesome!
I couldn't agree more. It's Prairie Smoke. The "troll hair" or "smoke" is one of the reasons why it's becoming so popular as a garden plant, and it's just the seed head stage!

The plant blooms with very unique pink downward-facing flowers.
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The flowers that are successfully pollinated will eventually start pointing towards the sky, and eventually the "troll hair" grows. If you like interesting plants, this is definitely something worth having!
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I actually just added this plant specie to my own garden last spring because it's a very early grower and bloomer. In fact, even with the much colder than normal spring we've been having, my plant is growing very quickly. Here it is a week ago. The amount of new growth since the snow melted is remarkable. I've already decided I need A LOT more of this plant!
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alp

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Yes, SR! I saw it and was very taken with it. The seed heads are more interesting than the flowers. Very unique!
 
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I couldn't agree more. It's Prairie Smoke. The "troll hair" or "smoke" is one of the reasons why it's becoming so popular as a garden plant, and it's just the seed head stage!

The plant blooms with very unique pink downward-facing flowers.
View attachment 34422
The flowers that are successfully pollinated will eventually start pointing towards the sky, and eventually the "troll hair" grows. If you like interesting plants, this is definitely something worth having!
View attachment 34423


I actually just added this plant specie to my own garden last spring because it's a very early grower and bloomer. In fact, even with the much colder than normal spring we've been having, my plant is growing very quickly. Here it is a week ago. The amount of new growth since the snow melted is remarkable. I've already decided I need A LOT more of this plant!
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I read up on this flower and liked what I read. Until I came to germination and propagation. It sounds like this is a real bugger to get started. Was this your experience?
 
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Thanks ya'll, especially JB, for your generous feedback. You've already inspired me to do more than I originally planned. I plan on going to my local nursery this week, to discuss which plants/flowers will do the best in my climate. Once I've made some moves, I'll update this thread and hopefully make you guys proud. Again, thanks!
 

JBtheExplorer

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I read up on this flower and liked what I read. Until I came to germination and propagation. It sounds like this is a real bugger to get started. Was this your experience?
Since I just bought an actual plant last spring, I have almost no experience or knowledge about growing it from seed. However, the plant did produce a handful of seeds last year. I collected about 7 or 8 of them and after 60 days in a wet paper towel in the fridge, 5 of them germinated and are growing well, so it doesn't seem too difficult. The only thing I'm unsure of is how many years it'll take to bloom from seed. It may be easier to just buy a plant and start out that way. I do believe that it is a plant that can be divided successfully.


EDIT: Here's a great page I just found about Prairie Smoke: https://wimastergardener.org/article/prairie-smoke-geum-triflorum/
 
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JBtheExplorer

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Thanks ya'll, especially JB, for your generous feedback. You've already inspired me to do more than I originally planned. I plan on going to my local nursery this week,
Good luck! Ask for native plants and they should point you in the right direction. If they don't sell natives make it known that there is a demand for them! I'm lucky that all of my local nurseries have small selections of native plants, but I know that some places aren't as lucky. You can also have some plants or seeds shipped to you from nurseries like Prairie Moon. They have a massive selection of native species. Seeds, of course, will need to spend a winter outdoors before they will grow, so if you plan on starting the garden this year, you'll want to use plants instead of seeds.
 
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