Yesterday we had a family graduation in town. Our “adopted” nephew Mathew graduated from his Christian high school and we were celebrating.
Native lupines shine at the Small House Homestead
While we were in the area, I picked up my two special ordered flats of native Lupines from Hidden Savannah Nursery. One of my favorite nurseries, this place specialized in native plants. My favorite kind!
The ideal would have been to come right home and plant like a banshee because rain was predicted for the following day but I was just too tired. I’d been up working in the garden and with the chicken since 5 a.m. and then on the road by noon. But I was up and planting by first light today and planted about half of my new plants in the ground before the rain began.
A close up show the pea like quality of our native lupines.
You may recall my earlier posting “In Love with Lupines” when I explained how I started planting native lupines n our property in 2009 after testing 40 plants that I bought from the same nursery through the Allegan County Extension plant sale.
Lupine and tomatoes fill the truck of my Subaru this weekend.
Showy, elongated clusters of pea like flowers that tops the 1 to 2 ft. stems, this native perennial features blue, pea-like flowers in an upright, elongated terminal cluster on an erect stem. The blooming period is from late spring to early summer and last for about a month.
Lovely lupines are definitely the star of the native plantings in our cottage -style garden.
Lupines grow best in sandy soil, in the full sun where the tall grasses and shrubs are minimal. It is best to plant them while dormant in the spring or the fall. I plant them with the buds 1” deep below the soils surface and space about 1 foot apart. I also like to plant in grouping of three for interest when in bloom.
I recently extended the original bed filled with three White Pines, stones and lupines.
This plant was once thought to deplete the mineral content from the soil but actually the plant enhances the soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form by and fixing it into the soil. They bloom blue or purple from April through July, depending on your geographic area and USDA zone.
Their growing conditions are sun, part sun, dry to moist sandy soil with an acidic pH of 6.8to 7.2. Very good drainage is needed but the plants are adaptable once established. It is considered a water-wise plant so planting Lupines offer beauty with water conservation efforts as well.
This is the view that greets our guests and family as they pull into our pole barn driveway.
This plant attacks butterflies and hummingbirds and is the larval host for the Karen Blue butterfly that is a protected species. This plant is also of special value to native bees. And bumble bees.
This is propagated from dry treated seeds in the spring. Does not transplant well due to its long, tap-root. The lupine is tricky to propagate as the seeds must be scarified, inoculated and then needs moist stratification for 10 days. Soil should be inoculated before sowing the seeds.
I buy my lupines in cells from a native plant propagator.
This is a plant has very few if any pest problems associated with it.
I live on the edge of a sandy oak savannah forest parcel called The Allegan Forest and I happen to have the right soil conditions for this plant. Because of stabilized sand dunes and power line clearance in sandy area this is becoming a rare and uncommon plant in many places. Field stones, bark chips and lupines…oh my!
I have a dream of a front yard overflowing with gorgeous masses of purple lupines. Each year I add a flat or two to my garden and many seeds blow, re-seed and pop up throughout our property much to my delight.
Everybody loves lupines!
Small House homesteader and gardener, Donna