Creating a landscape and making friends

By Betty Struckhoff

Wild Ones planting at the 2014 Landscape Challenge

Planting crew at work

Our Wild Ones annual landscape makeover has become one of those markers in my mind’s clockwork — marking a changing season and another year. Always close to the fall equinox, we gather (like Druids?!) to dig in the dirt.

This year was no exception. On September 27, 2014 Scott Woodbury showed up with a truckload of mulch. Jeanne Cablish was super organized with the design and the plants, putting us all to work quickly. The homeowners were delightful to meet, the coffee and bagels were plentiful, and their teenage son helped us throughout the morning.

Our morning concluded with the traditional group photo with lots of dirty hands. Then Ed Schmidt presented the new homeowners with Dave Tylka’s book, Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People. It will their guide to years of enjoyment.

Though I have been playing with native plants for years, I always learn something at the landscape makeover. This year I learned:

  • Be sure the hardscape (boulder) is firmly in place before laying out your plants.
  • Give Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida) plenty of room, especially near a sidewalk. It will take up more space than you think.
  • At least one of the 250+ members of the Kirkwood High School Marching Band can sling mulch with the best of us!

Here are more photos of the process.

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