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Attacking the Ravine

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Project by erika posted 03-30-2011 09:57 AM 3783 views 0 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I know it doesn’t look like much but my poor husband has been working very hard to clear the ravine and lower garden-to-be of those god-awful Manitoba Maples. He’s still got many more to go but he’s making very good progress. Here’s my question: What should I seed or plant among the rocks that will be a no-fuss plant, perennial, ground cover or flower, that will spread like mad on it’s own? Not asking too much, am I.

The third picture is of my winter sowing. I’ve looked in a few and most seem to be doing something. Calendulas have germinated as have the yellow beans. The others look promising. I’m so excited.

Oh and back to the ravine, any thoughts on how to channel the bog into a pond so the rest will be dry ground and I can grow grass and shrubs and the like? Right now it looks like it will never dry out.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON



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erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

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ravine rocks ground cover

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41 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-30-2011 10:51 AM

this looks like it will be a fascinating discussion. Do you know what is natural to the area?
When I asked my Native plant supplier what a good groundcover plant would be for around maple trees it was suggested to use wild/alpine strawberries.
I know you are pulling out the maples but it might be a good addition for around any trees that you leave behind.

this (http://ontariowildflowers.com/main/species.php?id=37) says it is a great Native plant ground cover for Ontario

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-30-2011 11:08 AM

another question: do you want a low plant, a medium-height plant?

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-30-2011 11:11 AM

you might find some good info here:
http://www.greenservices.ca/

http://fullerplants.com/

both, I think are in your region (more or less)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Gone_Tropical's profile

Gone_Tropical

510 posts in 2493 days
hardiness zone 9b

posted 03-30-2011 11:29 AM

native plants sounds like the way to go.
but if you plant something that will spread like mad you may invite trouble down the road ;)

-- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Gone Tropical Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-30-2011 11:39 AM

Thank you all so much. Lilacs seem to be natural to the area but I have more than enough of those.
Alpine strawberries? Gotta look that one up. I guess ideally, I’d want low, medium and high for interest. Anything but succulents. I really don’t like succulents.

Is there a plant that will cascade down the hill, setting rrots whenever it touches soil? I’d love a plant like that. I had one like that when I lived in the tropics. Can’t remember the name.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-30-2011 12:09 PM

what about virginia creeper?

that’s what I have planted by my walnut tree. Supposedly after the second year it spreads quickly. You can then plant some taller bushes (sumac?) in amongst the ground cover.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-30-2011 12:30 PM

Sounds like a good idea Debbie. I just want to halt soil erosion for now. Later, we’ll be building retaining walls. Well, not us. Somebody.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-30-2011 01:13 PM

thinking “longterm” is a good idea (not that I do that, myself) ... but planting something that you are not going to curse later is very smart—Gone_Tropical is very wise.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-30-2011 01:24 PM

I agree.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View Gone_Tropical's profile

Gone_Tropical

510 posts in 2493 days
hardiness zone 9b

posted 03-30-2011 04:46 PM

the tropical choice would be the Perennial Morning Glory, maybe that is what you were thinking of?

I guess if you take out all the existing trees, you will have to replant with root system again, or else the soil will be washed away, no?

-- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Gone Tropical Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3410 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-30-2011 05:02 PM

A perennial MG here in cold Ontario would have to be something like bindweed. Eek! Talk to MsDeb about this plant bf you consider it. Even the old-fashion, purple MG will become veryinvasive and impossible to get rid of when you are ready to go on to something else. They grow so profusely they can smother almost anything else growing.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-30-2011 09:14 PM

I was trying not to think about it .. thanks Iris …........ you’ve just put a damper on my spring anticipation :(
hahahah but I have faith that I WILL win this battle – on little bindweed at a time.. .mwhahaa

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Gone_Tropical's profile

Gone_Tropical

510 posts in 2493 days
hardiness zone 9b

posted 03-30-2011 10:39 PM

no, for sure not! don’t let such an invasive get loose! ... LOL…. I have the perennial MG on one of my arbors, it is manageable since i have it in a confined space.
no, I was just referring to this one since you mentioned having one similar while living in the tropics ;)

-- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Gone Tropical Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

View Ben's profile

Ben

33 posts in 2445 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 03-30-2011 10:54 PM

i have to agree with Gone _Tropical i have MG all over but they don’t seem to provide help with erosion control…
if you want a beautiful flower that holds the ground in place and spreads quickly… i have to suggest the standard daylily. Hermerocalis Fulva, (orange ditch lilies) we call them ditch lilies in Michigan for this exact reason they clump and bloom profusely for years with out care. i happen to have a patch planted in 1973 that had not been divided till 2009. They are hardy to zone 3 and naturalize wonderfully. And if the area doesn’t get too much sun, hosta of all kinds. they come in dwarf and giant cultivars. yellows and greens with just a few blues, purple and white flowers on tall green scapes. Trust me you can’t kill a hosta.

-- It started with stargazers and then stella's and then somewhere between colocasia and dicentra i decided to deny having an addiction.

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3410 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-31-2011 05:37 AM

I put periwinkle in my sloped area in the bush. It has spread nicely, and so far seems under control. I also put some lamium in another area of the bush. It has really taken off and spread. I hope that it will be as controllable as the periwinkle. I take the weedwacker to the step area where I don’t want the plant.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-31-2011 07:14 AM

Tropical, we’re not removing all the trees, just the Manitoba Maples. Let’s face it, they’re nothing but huge weeds. Unsightly. Plus, they were killing the good maples and elms by crowding them. Can’t have that, can we?

jroot, I’m liking the sound of the periwinkle.

Ben, we have some daylilies. Maybe now that the obnoxious manitobas have been removed from that part of the slope, they can spread more readily.

Hey, I’m looking out the window and on this day, March 31, it’s snowing again. This is a winter that doesn’t want to quit. Damn that global warming. :)

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3560 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-31-2011 07:39 AM

Erika did you know poison ivy grows pretty good in this area and spreads well.Just kidding.(LOL)
I can’t think of anything that hasn’t been mentioned already.The orange lilys that we see all along the roadsides would look nice there though.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3043 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-31-2011 07:43 AM

Your husband has done quite a bit of work clearing that ravine! I would think of introducing pioneer plants in that area because they are fast growing, will spread to fill vacancies and it will be mimicking nature. Nature uses pioneer plants when reforesting after a devastation creates the opportunity. Nitrogen-fixing plants are often pioneer plants because they can take advantage of damaged soil.

Here are two edible plants that you might want to consider:

In full sun, the Sea Buckthorn has beautiful gray-green leave and bright orange berries in the fall. It spreads by suckering and will help you eliminate erosion.

In partial shade, the Goumi produces nice red berries and has bright green leaves.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View Gone_Tropical's profile

Gone_Tropical

510 posts in 2493 days
hardiness zone 9b

posted 03-31-2011 07:47 AM

leaving the good trees in will provide some shade for ferns, Toad lilies, Solomon’s Seal, Blueberries…. :-)

-- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Gone Tropical Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-31-2011 08:52 AM

Thank you all. I’m thinking periwinkle, lilies, and grasses for the time being. Later we’ll get fancier. Oh, I can’t wait for the lower garden to be cleared and graded, pond in place. At the rate we’re going it will be a few years yet. I’m collecting pictures of dream gardens.

Yesterday, Charlie brought home a skull of a critter from the lower garden-to-be. Anybody know what it is?
I’d attach it but can’t find the damned browse button. Anybody know where it is? I had it yesterday and today it’s gone. Have to use Flickr.
Uploading is a royal pain. Here are the links instead.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tin_can/5577024888/?edited=1
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tin_can/5577024608/in/photostream/

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-31-2011 09:26 AM

that sounds lovely.
Periwinkle is my favourite flower.

is your “critter” a wolf?

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-31-2011 09:34 AM

Wolf? Egad. I don’t know. I was hoping you’d tell me.

Maybe I’ll erect a sign with the skull perched on top. The sign will read “Trespassers, Beware!”

Sure wish they’d fix the uploading thing. I much prefer to just upload from my computer. Much less complicated. How do you feel?

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View dini's profile

dini

1591 posts in 3497 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 03-31-2011 11:04 AM

The skull is definitely canine. How big is it? That should give you some idea what it was.

-- the day you quit learning is the day you quit living.

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-31-2011 11:35 AM

9” x 4” but those fangs are pretty scary.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-31-2011 12:11 PM

“all the better to each you with, my dear” :)
(Quote from “The Three Little Pigs”, in case you missed the reference)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-31-2011 12:19 PM

Oh boy, so I have wolves. Swell. Another thing to worry about.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-31-2011 02:00 PM

well, you “had” wolves :D
Wolves are ok unless their habitat is reduced to nothing and then survival mode will have them making choices they usually wouldn’t make

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Gone_Tropical's profile

Gone_Tropical

510 posts in 2493 days
hardiness zone 9b

posted 03-31-2011 02:25 PM

I like the idea of the skull and “Trespassers, Beware!” sign :D

-- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Gone Tropical Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

View dini's profile

dini

1591 posts in 3497 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 03-31-2011 07:38 PM

Most likely a large dog, too big for a coyote, and you’d know it if there were wolves in your area. Judging by the condition of the teeth, it was a pet, not a stray.

-- the day you quit learning is the day you quit living.

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-01-2011 06:30 AM

I saw a pretty sizable coyote not long ago. He ran through my back yard. Maybe it wasn’t a coyote? I also saw a couple of red fox puppies playing in the back, at dawn one winter morning. Oh, they were so cute. I watched them for several minutes until they disappeared into the woods.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3560 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-01-2011 08:47 AM

My guess is is that someone buried their dead dog a few years back and now it has eroded to the surface.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-01-2011 08:55 AM

Ahhh. That’s sad in a creepy sort of way. Where’s the rest of the body? I’m not sure I want to know.

Let’s talk plants. That’s a much nicer topic. I’ve decided I need periwinkle. Where can I get some?

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 04-01-2011 09:23 AM

if you have a friend – that is a great way. Take several clipping and get them rooted.

Although they say it is an invasive plant, my experience is that it is such a slow spreader (as opposed to mint, from my experience) that you can easily keep it under control.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3410 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-01-2011 03:35 PM

I was lucky. My friend and I were driving along where they were putting in a new subdivision. There was a lot of really nice miscanthus sinensis malepartus growing there, as well as a large patch of periwinkle to which we helped ourselves as it was going to be bulldozed the next day. One can often find neat things growing in old homesteads that are about to become a new development. Of course, one should “ask first” before digging. ;-)

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-03-2011 08:01 AM

Thanks jroot. Maybe Bon and I can do some scouting around for treasures such as periwinkle and such. I love getting stuff for free. “sinensis malepartus” I had to look up. How awesome. Beautiful. I would love to find it – even in a nursery.

Is it normal to want everything? Seems one only has to mention a new plant and I want it. Greedy me.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3410 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-03-2011 08:06 AM

I know the feeling. I have to be restrained.

Now, I have to go to work to pay for my lack of restraint. ;-)

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 04-03-2011 08:08 AM

restraint ??
interesting concept

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3560 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-03-2011 08:17 AM

Jroot what is this restraint thing you talk of.Never heard of it. (lol)

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View erika's profile

erika

435 posts in 2829 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-03-2011 12:00 PM

I see we all suffer from lack of restraint when it comes to plants. I feel I’m in good company. Now I don’t feel so alone.

-- Erika, Hastings, ON

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 04-03-2011 12:40 PM

I’d do far better at the restraint thing if it wasn’t for GardenTenders! So many inspirational postings.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3560 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-03-2011 03:32 PM

And so many new things to try and so little time. I sometimes feel like the Mad Hatter. (lol)

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

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