Mid-Spring at The Battery 2018

Planting and Watering! Mid-spring: April 21 - May 21

Now that the temperature has risen and the rain is falling, it is time to plant! At the Battery Conservancy, we typically plant to fill areas in the beds where other plants have failed for one reason or another. It can be tricky to plan a garden; there is often a disconnect between the planned garden and the actual garden. For example, a plant that should theoretically do well in a location will not thrive. It may take years of trying out plants to find the right fit. In order to maintain a sense of continuity in the garden, my supervisor uses plants in Piet Oudolf's vocabulary. In addition to the Oudolf-designed perennial beds, the Battery Conservancy also features lawns, an urban farm and native plant gardens. I enjoy working in the native plant "forest farms" as it familiarizes me with native plants that I had never seen before. 

We use the work bicycles to transport plants from one end of the park to another. In this bike: Brunnera macrophylla, Actaea racemosa, Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise'

Erythronium americanum

Erythronium 'Pagoda'

Erythronium 'Pagoda'

The understated flower of Asarum canadense (Canadian wild ginger): pollinated by ants and flies

Podophyllum peltatum, May Apple

We often plant with school and volunteer groups. This morning we planted Packera obovata, Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus 'Lynnhaven Carpet', Chrysogonum virginianum 'Quinn's Gold,' Monarda punctata, Ruellia humilis, Rhododendron 'Chaptank,' Rhododendron 'Choice Cream' and Vaccinium corymbosum  - over 800 plants in total (!) with a group of local high school students!

Magnolia soulangeana in the Woodlawn with trees to be planted

On Arbor Day, we planted 10 trees in the Woodlawn with volunteers. It was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work! 

How to plant a tree? First: you dig a hole twice the diameter of the tree ball and a little less than the depth of the tree ball.

We use a tarp to collect soil so it does not mix with the surrounding grass. Later, we can add it back easily.

Digging a tree pit is like life: sometimes you hit a bolder and you either move around it, or you remove it. This wonderful child had more stamina and enthusiasm than the lot of us. How many of us can say that we planted three trees at nine years old?

Then, you place the tree in the hole. If the tree ball is heavy, it is important to measure the hole several times before you place the tree, as it will be difficult to move it again.

We remove the burlap from the top of the tree ball and tuck the rest under the tree. As burlap is biodegradable, it will not interfere with the tree roots. Some horticulturalists prefer to remove all of the burlap but in this case, the clay surrounding the roots was falling apart and we worried that removing all of the burlap would expose all of the roots.

We measure the hole and the height of the tree ball using our shovels. We want the root flare to remain 1-2 inches above the ground level. This way, water won't collect around the tree and rot the roots. If the tree is planted too low, we raise it with shovels and pack more dirt underneath it to achieve the correct planting height.

Once the tree is positioned at the correct height, we add soil to fill in the hole. We tamp down the soil to eliminate air pockets.

Once the soil is added and tamped, we rake to smooth out the soil and even it out with the rest of the ground plane.

More and more trees. After a while, you get used to it!

What a wonderful day! We certainly earned a good night's sleep afterwards.

Erythronium americanum and fading Narcissus

Emerging Tulipa 'Francois' by the East Coast Memorial to American soldiers who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean

Narcissus poeticus

Assessing a recent planting of Hosta halcyon

Mertensia virginica 

Mertensia virginica

Tulipa bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' with Heuchera and Scilla foliage

Polygonatum falcatum with Anemone nemerosa 'Vestal'

Anemone nemerosa 'Vestal'

Tulipa 'Menton'

Tulipa 'Little Princess' - this tulip may be a remnant of a previous planting. It doesn't exactly go with the rest of the planting scheme!

Tulpia viridifolia 'Spring Green'

Tulipa batalinii 'Yellow Jewel' (?)

Tulipa viridiflora 'Chinatown'

Zizia aurea and Tulipa gesneriana 'Queen Night' (?)

Tulipa 'Menton' (white) and Tulipa 'Francois' (salmon) and Polygonatum falcatum

Narcissus poeticus

Not sure of the name of this tulip. When I find out, I'll post it!

Athyrium nipponicum var. pictum

Athyrium nipponicum var. pictum, Actaea and Narcissus

Tulipa 'Menton,' Tulipa 'Francois', Helleborus

Polygonatum falcatum

Camassia leichtlinii 'Blue Danube' and Phlomis tuberosa 'Amazone' 

Epimedium sulphureum, Anemone nemerosa, Mertensia virginica

Epimedium sulphureum, Anemone nemerosa, Mertensia virginica

Crambe maritima and the Statue of Liberty

Narcissus Jonquilla Group

Camassia leichtlinii 'Blue Danube'

Wild Cyclamen?

Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation'

Amsonia hubrichtii

Watering the Carousel beds

Name this plant! We found it in the native forest farm. Although it looks like a wild geranium, the flowers have fused petals and the leaves are more dissected. If you know the name of the plant, please let me know!

Name this plant!

Name this plant!

Tiarella cordifolia

Aquilegia canadensis - native Columbine

Podophyllum peltatum - May Apple

Podophyllum peltatum and Polymonium reptans (Jacob's Ladder)

Tussilago farfara (Colt's Foot) with Asarum canadense

Laying brown drip line

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed

Allium 'Purple Sensation' with Allium 'Globemaster' about to flower

Phlomis tuberosa 'Amazone'

Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 

Paeonia lactiflora

Allium 'Purple Sensation,' Aruncus 'Misty Lace,' Geranium phaeum, Hosta 'Blue Angel'

Iris 'Depth of Field'

Allium christophii

The Battery is a destination for relaxation, even for practicing shavasana in public!


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