In an earlier post, I discussed the foundations of my Meadow Nord planting schemes and the inherent complexity of gardens wilder with intention, modeling the behaviors and patterns of natural systems. The history of art and architecture has often vacillated between simple and and complex movements, each with their own intellectual arguments.The history of horticultural plantings is remarkably simplistic, born of an almost purely aesthetic vision (which isn’t bad, if only it weren’t so one-dimensional or boring). I disagree with simplicity for simplicity’s sake and am planting my own argument in favor of a legible exuberance at the overlap of form and function. I’ll have it wilder, please.

To that end, I planted 80 taxa in phase 1. A dozen or so taxa weren’t available or were backordered until spring, bringing the unofficial count to somewhere north of 90. In my previous post, I described the process of planting the meadow and explained a little bit about how dense planting schemes don’t always make sense mathematically (after the remaining plants are installed this coming spring, Meadow Nord will have 116% of its square footage covered in green matter, assuming a theoretical survival rate of 100%, of course). I’m most excited to see how this assorted assemblage forms its own patterns over time. A planting scheme like this is never really “stable,” as the composition of the community will shift interminably. But it can be durable, an idea I wish we would talk more about in landscape design. I have no illusion that every planting choice I’ve made will work out or that every placement is permanent. But I hope for durability of my assumptions over time as each planting decision occurs within a range of tolerances.

Plant List and Sources

A word about the column heads. Phase, Taxa and Cultivar are fairly obvious. I separate cultivar names into separate fields so I can sort by cultivar within diverse genera like asters, for example.

Component contains labels I often use throughout my design process and in Plants With Style: matrix, structure, emblems, vignettes, kitsch.

I liberally defined the bands for Seasonal Interest. I used approximate dates based on previous experience in Iowa when applicable. For others that I haven’t experienced, I used a guesstimate. For groundcovers like Tiarella, I counted the period from flowering through the time when their leaves start to sag a little in the summer heat. This isn’t to say they wouldn’t contribute ornamentally outside of this period, but the design isn’t relying on it exactly. Here is an example of how I used this data to create a phenologic chart using a Gannt chart template in Excel.

A sample Gantt chart generated from a free Microsoft Excel template.

A sample Gantt chart generated from a free Microsoft Excel template.

% of planting signifies the percentage of the entire planting occupied by that taxa. 0% entries result when a species falls below 1%.

Order Qty. indicates the number of units ordered for that taxa. Taxa grown from seed only have 1 unit indicated because I purchased 1 seed packet. I track it this way for costing purposes so I don’t have to break out costs per seed (the rest of the spreadsheet calculates individual costs per plant).

I relied on several Sources to procure this beautiful chaos. Most companies are recognizable. GDMBG stands for Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden indicating plants I purchased through our Spring Garden Festival or propagated from collections I’ve made on behalf of the Garden. My own initials (KDN) or Rainbow Iris Farm (RIF) indicate plants procured from my nursery and garden at my family’s farm.

Meadow Nord Plant List

PhaseTaxaCultivarComponentSeasonal Interest STARTSeasonal Interest END% of plantingOrder QtySource
phase 1Agalinis auriculataKitsch20-Aug10-Sep0.001Prairie Moon Nursery
phase 1Agalinis tenuifoliaKitsch20-Aug10-Sep0.001Prairie Moon Nursery
phase 1AgastacheVelvet CrushVignettes17-Jul11-Sep0.0130Intrinsic Perennial Gardens
phase 1Allium stellatumVignettes7-Aug4-Sep0.0350Bluebird Nursery
phase 1Amorpha nanaStructure1-Jul30-Jul0.0232Bluebird Nursery
phase 1Amsonia tabernaemontanaStorm CloudVignettes8-May5-Jun0.013GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1Amsonia tabernaemontanaShort StopVignettes8-May5-Jun0.0112Intrinsic Perennial Gardens
phase 1Anemonopsis macrophyllaEmblems1-Jul15-Jul3Opus Plants
phase 1Antennaria neglectaMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1Antennaria plantaginifoliaMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.01100Pizzo Native Plant Nursery
phase 1Aquilegia canadensisCorbettEmblems24-Apr15-May0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1Aronia melanocarpaIroquois BeautyStructure15-May30-Oct0.015GDMBG (plants)
phase 1Aster x frikartiiMonchVignettes15-Aug15-Sep3GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1Boltonia asteroidesJim CrockettEmblems15-Aug15-Sep5GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1Calamagrostis brachytrichaVignettes21-Aug30-Oct0.0132Stonehouse Nursery
phase 1Calamintha nepetaBlue CloudVignettes5-Jun31-Jul0.0132Stonehouse Nursery
phase 1Callirhoe digitataKitsch15-Jun1-Aug0.001Prairie Moon Nursery
phase 1Camassia scilloidesEmblems1-May15-May32Pizzo Native Plant Nursery
phase 1Carex albicansMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.05150New Moon Nursery
phase 1Carex blandaMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.05150New Moon Nursery
phase 1Carex pensylvanicaMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.06200Greenwood Propagation
phase 1Carex sprengeliiMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.04100New Moon Nursery
phase 1Carex woodiiMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1CaryopterisSapphire SurfStructure1-Aug15-Sep0.018Bailey Nurseries
phase 1CaryopterisBeyond MidnightStructure1-Aug15-Sep0.016GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1Cleome serrulataKitsch15-Jul10-Sep0.001GDMBG (seed)
phase 1Dalea purpureaVignettes3-Jul31-Jul0.0132GDMBG (plants)
phase 1Delphinium tricorneEmblems1-May15-May0Prairie Moon Nursery
phase 1Deschampsia caespitosaPixie FountainsMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.04128Stonehouse Nursery
phase 1Desmanthus illinoensisKitsch20-Jun1-Oct0.001KDN/RIF
phase 1Diarrhena americanaMatrix1-Apr15-Sep0.0276Midwest Groundcovers
phase 1DiervillaKodiak BlackStructure1-May30-Oct0.018GDMBG (plants)
phase 1Dodecatheon mediaVignettes23-Apr21-May0.0176Pizzo Native Plant Nursery
phase 1Eragrostis spectabilisMatrix7-Aug4-Sep0.0370Intrinsic Perennial Gardens
phase 1Eragrostis spectabilisMatrix7-Aug4-Sep0.0250North Creek Nurseries
phase 1Euphorbia corollataVignettes7-Aug28-Aug0.011Prairie Moon Nursery
phase 1Galium odoratumMatrix1-Apr30-May0.0264Stonehouse Nursery
phase 1Geranium maculatumEspressoVignettes24-Apr26-Jun0.0132North Creek Nurseries
phase 1Geum triflorumMatrix1-Apr1-Jul0.0250GDMBG (plants)
phase 1Gillenia trifoliataPink ProfusionVignettes1-May21-Aug0.0232North Creek Nurseries
phase 1Glaucium hybridsKitsch15-Jun15-Sep0.001Panayoti Kelaidis
phase 1Helianthus salicifoliusFirst LightVignettes1-Sep30-Sep0.0150North Creek Nurseries
phase 1Hypericum kalmianumCobalt-N-Gold™Structure1-May30-Oct0.0116Bailey Nurseries
phase 1Iris (miniature tall bearded)variousEmblems1-May15-May0.01KDN/RIF
phase 1Iris cristataEmblems1-May15-May50New Moon Nursery
phase 1Iris kochiiEmblems1-May15-MayKDN/RIF
phase 1Mentha longifloraVignettes1-Aug30-Sep0.015Arrowhead Alpines
phase 1Molinia caeruleaMoorflammeMatrix1-Jul15-Sep0.0276Midwest Groundcovers
phase 1Monarda bradburianaVignettes8-May5-Jun0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1OenotheraLemon DropVignettes19-Jun17-Jul0.015GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1Packera plattensisVignettes17-Apr15-May0.021Prairie Moon Nursery
phase 1Patrinia punctifloraVignettes7-Aug28-Aug0.015Opus Plants
phase 1PenstemonPocahontasVignettes22-May19-Jun0.0250Intrinsic Perennial Gardens
phase 1Penstemon digitalisPrairie SplendorVignettes22-May19-Jun0.0232Bluebird Nursery
phase 1PhloxOpening Act BlushVignettes15-May15-Jun5GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1PhloxForever PinkVignettes22-May19-Jun0.0132Stonehouse Nursery
phase 1Phlox divaricataBlue MoonVignettes24-Apr15-May0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1Physocarpus opulifoliusFestivus GoldStructure1-May30-Oct0.018GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1PolemoniumHeaven ScentVignettes1-May22-May0.0272Intrinsic Perennial Gardens
phase 1Prunella grandifloraVignettes29-May12-Jun0.0132Bluebird Nursery
phase 1PulmonariaShrimps on the BarbieVignettes15-Apr15-Jul5GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1Ruellia humilisMatrix10-Jul14-Aug0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1Salix repensBridal RiceStructure1-Apr30-Oct0.018GDMBG (plants)
phase 1Salvia moorcroftiana x indicaVignettes1-May5-Jun0.0132Bluebird Nursery
phase 1Salvia verbenacaVignettes1-Jun1-Aug3Flowers by the Sea
phase 1SanguisorbaBlackthornVignettes17-Jul7-Aug0.013Opus Plants
phase 1Scutellaria incanaVignettes17-Jul14-Aug0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1Sedum takesimenseVignettes26-Jun31-Jul0.0120KDN/RIF
phase 1Silene stellataVignettes26-Jun10-Jul0.020Pizzo Native Plant Nursery
phase 1Sisyrinchium angustifoliumLucerneVignettes10-May12-Jun0.0132Stonehouse Nursery
phase 1Solidago drummondiiVignettes4-Sep16-Oct0.0120KDN/RIF
phase 1Solidago odoraVignettes4-Sep16-Oct0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 1Sporobolus heterolepisTaraMatrix1-Jul15-Sep0.0136Midwest Groundcovers
phase 1Symphyotrichum cordifoliumSnowstormVignettes21-Aug11-Sep0.018KDN/RIF (transplant)
phase 1Symphyotrichum ericoidesBridal VeilVignettes21-Aug11-Sep0.0132Stonehouse Nursery
phase 1Symphyotrichum lateriflorumPrinceVignettes11-Sep1-Oct0.015Opus Plants
phase 1ThalictrumNimbus PinkVignettes15-May1-Jun5GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1TiarellaNew Moon MotleyMatrix15-Apr30-Jun0.03100New Moon Nursery
phase 1TiarellaSylvan LaceVignettes15-Apr30-Jun0.015GDMBG (SGF)
phase 1Zizia aureaVignettes22-May12-Jun0.031Prairie Moon Nursery
phase 2Asarum canadensisEmblems0.0130Greenwood Propagation
phase 2Asclepias exaltataVignettes0.0138Pizzo Native Plant Nursery
phase 2Asclepias tuberosaBlonde BombshellVignettes0.01Walter's Gardens
phase 2Ceanothus americanusmy collectedVignettes0.013GDMBG (plants)
phase 2Dianthus knappiiVignettes0.0132KDN
phase 2EchinaceaKismet RedVignettes0.0150Terra Nova Nurseries
phase 2Erigeron pulchellusLynnhaven CarpetVignettes0.01North Creek Nursery
phase 2EurybiaTwilightVignettes0.0150New Moon Nursery
phase 2Lamium orvalaVignettes24-Apr15-May0.0132Stonehouse Nursery
phase 2Liatris ligulistylisVignettes0.0250New Moon Nursery
phase 2Millium effusumYaffleVignettes27-Apr5-Sep0.015Opus Plants
phase 2Oligoneuron albumVignettes19-Jun17-Jul0.0132Taylor Creek Nursery
phase 2Tradescantia bracteataKrystalVignettes22-May26-Jun0.01KDN/RIF (transplant)