Jan 29, 2013

What's Wrong With MESSY?

Schulenberg Prairie
  In 2013 Plant-O-Rama

Designing for Place 
Darrel Morrison

Plant Communities for Healthy Gardens
Roy Diblik, Northwind Perennial Farm

I am the first person to straighten the books on a shelf or line up spices on a rack, but when it comes to building a community of plants, I am not afraid of a mess.  This is a change of heart.

Roy Diblik is a straight-talking Midwesterner.  He is the first person to tell you he does not have a degree in Horticulture; yet he knows more about how plants grow together than almost anyone I ever met.  He is an opponent of the neat and tidy, which in his mind equals wood chips surrounding plants. 
He asks the question:  Does any plant know how to live in wood chips? 

Some people might say Roy proselytizes.  He is intolerant.  Without metaphor or geek speak, Roy does try to convince us of the value of complex planting.  Planting that is eclectic and messy.  Plants that relate collectively together.  He is all about using "old plants" in new ways. 

What I really like about Roy.  He doesn't pretend that maintenance or cost don't matter.  He can tell that he can weed a complex planting of his design of 1,000 square feet in 100 minutes or the exact cost of that 1,000 square feet.  Roy lives in a world, where people or clients are concerned about these two issues.  So do I.

The poorer soil, the better the outcome.  Roy plants through dead sod.  He leaves the debris from cutbacks in the garden.  He asks: How do we get people to pause and lift their idea of beauty?

I am still working on the answer to this question. 

Roy Diblik Plant List:
Sporobolus airoides
Carex eburnea
Carex sprengelii
Carex jamesii
Carex bromoides
Carex muskingumensis
Carex pellita
Carex normalis
Carex brevior
Carex plantaginea
Carex grisea
Carex shortiana
Silphium terebinthinaceum
Silphium laciniatum
Coreopsis palmata
Schizachrium scoparium 'Little Luke'
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium
Parthenium integrifolium


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