It has been exceptionally windy here in Michigan. As in, wake you up in the middle of the night windy.
I can deal with cold. I can deal with snow. I don’t like getting wet but can gear up for rain. What I really hate is wind. I’m tired from not sleeping and cranky from every walk turning into resistance training as I fight the 40 MPH gusts.
I don’t like it, but my Physocarpus (ninebark) does. These are the conditions this native species loves. It thrives in cold, windy conditions. Just make sure it has full sun, too. That area in the yard that’s killed Japanese maples, hydrangeas, etc.? Plant a Physocarpus.
The beautiful coppery foliage is a really nice option for landscapes going with a mellow, earth-toned palette. It looks really nice with the Prairie Winds® grasses that share its love for sun. The colors and textures play off of each other beautifully.
Ginger Wine® will grow 5-6′ tall and wide and is hardy in USDA 3-7. If you’re enduring a cold, windy spring like I am, you should try it!
Bad soil? No problem.
It’s funny how so much advice to gardeners starts with the admonition to add compost or otherwise amend the soil to make it fertile. That’s fine and good for plants that need that type of soil, but many plants don’t. Species that are native to dry, rocky, or poor soil want – you guessed it – dry, rocky, or poor soil.
Many plants don’t want highly fertile soil or regular water. They want to be left alone with plenty of sun and wind. Physocarpus is one of those plants. Poor, shallow, rocky soils are fine. Clay soils, too. It doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer, either. Aren’t you glad there are plants like that?
I admit that soil science wasn’t my best class. I’d like to think I’d do better in it today. I’m not going to repeat the course, but I do kind of like this website from the Soil Science Society of America that’s aimed at K-12 students. Maybe that’s where I need to be. Your state probably has an official state soil. Look it up!
And if you’re looking for something vaguely related to soil but not a bit helpful to growing plants, check out this very weird art based on soil color charts.