Many of the local plants I grew up with today introduced me for the first time in their natural state. When the native plant began to take over (or at least I learned about it), it was a lot of fun to take the species that I know of many natural areas and start experimenting with them in my home landscape.
I am now in constant contact with other gardeners, looking for new natives to try in my house, looking for local plant sales details. For me, gardening is a big experiment, and I always want to try new plants. While some of the results of this experiment have not been shown, there is something interesting about most new additions.
A few years ago, I was observing a list of plants for the annual sale of my great primer friend, and in the early 2000s, I ran to a plant when I remembered the key for the first time using a plant identification book. At the time, I was working as a laborer, and I was asked to prepare a brochure highlighting 20 hectares of farmland.
I focused on showing the most popular plants in the walkway, a traveler would really notice. At the time, the vernierum vernium was in full bloom, and the tall, pointed flowers were difficult to lose because of their unique shape. It seemed natural to my brochure.
With fond memories of my first experience, I planted it in the spring in three clusters of plants selected from the list of Great Primary Friends. During the harvest season, it was clear that two of the three plants were struggling and one healthy plant was damaged by the same animal interaction, resulting in a misaligned and inclined plant. By the end of the summer, the two fighting plants were all gone. Disappointed, I wrote this as a failed attempt.
Planting Year 2 It was spring, and I was thrilled to see my first two plants come back. However, last year’s poor performance was lower than I expected, and at the start of the growing season I didn’t really pay much attention to plants.
Now, at the end of the summer, I have really changed my tune. The plants grow tall and beautifully with little pollen. I love the white rods of the nectar that flows on nearby asters and grasshoppers.
This lesson shows some of the challenges and joys of gardening. Since many Indigenous people take a year or two to establish, it is really costly to give them the space they need to be patient and develop.
One of the two plants returned this year is almost extinct this year. I guess it was rabbit consumption, but I saw this listed as rabbit-resistant and herbal. So it is difficult to say where he went, but there was no sign from last summer until he grew up victorious this spring. The lesson I learned was that I would never count a plant until the following year.
Another new lesson for me about this plant is its amazing height. When I look at it on the field, it does not look as long as it is mixed with friends such as the big blue (Andropogon Geradi) and the primordial dove. On my landscape bed is a towering display of creeping, branch baskets.
If you are interested in adding cavernous root in your own garden, it works best in the sun, but tolerates light shade. This relatively pest and disease-free native is suitable for most soil conditions, tolerates poor drainage and soil compaction. Its high height works well within boundaries to add a vertical element or background. I highly recommend this plant, but be careful that gardeners tolerate it first.
Ryan Pankaw is a horticultural educator in UI Extension, Champagne, Ford, Iroquois and Vermillion provinces. This column is also available at go.illinois.edu/GardenScoopBlog on the “Garden Scoop” blog.