Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | May 21, 2013

Planting Native Lupines

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Lupines thrive in the heat of the Southern exposure next to our asphalt driveway.

When you live in a place with harsh weather elements like I do and love to garden, one answer is to plant native plants. My five-acre property, White Oak Acres is the epitome of difficult growing conditions. We have lots of sun, sand, high winds and winters snow and in recent years, flooding followed by long periods of drought conditions. And of course lots of below zero cold and heavy snowfall during our long winter months.

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A magical place in the Allegan Forest we visit every spring that we call the Meadow of Lupines.

In my twelve years of gardening here, I’ve happily discovered that native plants require less water, fewer chemicals and you have less plant loss. What’s not to love!

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It’s quite a walk in to see the Masses of native Lupines in the Lupine Meadow, but it’s worth it.

When I am “testing” a new plant for the first time, I but one or two of them and plant them to see how they do. This saves me lots of money and help to established what will do well on  our property.

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Lupines in a narrow flower bed along side the roadway in almost pure sand!

Right now I’m really into native Lupines. The species name is Lupinus perennis.

Lupines love sun and sand and easily reseed themselves requiring very little of me once they are well established.  With 2 1/2 acres of garden to maintain, this is great news!

One garden bed is located on a Southern facing area along the class two road way I live on. This is located on the front of my property where there was grass prior to the flood extension addition. When the contractors reseed this area they used crappy soil (more sand than soil) and the grass seed didn’t take. (No duh!)

The brick planters pictured are not my favorite but where here when we arrived and I am determined to make the best of them.

Once established, Lupines do really well here under tough growing conditions, even during long periods little  rainfall, no fertilizer, no real care of any kind. The perfect plant!

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Photo taken in 2010, of Gene and our two beloved Labradors retrievers.

Five years ago I bought 20, 3” Lupines plants from the Allegan County Extension and planted them in this hot spot in front of our brick planter along the side of the road. They have thrived!

Yesterday I bought 18 more 3” seeding plants with the intent to plant more of them in the same area.

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The 3″ lupines seedlings as they arrive from the County Extention.

With a long tap roots they hold up to long periods of drought and they love the sun and heat of the Southern exposure. And best of all they look so beautiful in all their purple glory when you pull into my driveway.

In truth, native plants are but one cog in the wheel of living sustainably but they are important ones. I urge you to also “go native!”

Small House / Big Sky Donna

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Responses

  1. What a great post! I would love to try this! I can’t seem to find the info for getting native lupines through the county extension – can you pass me the correct link? Many Thanks and they look just beautiful at your place!

    • Do you live in Allegan County, MI? Here they are on Facebook and in Goggle. In MI they are associated with Michigan State University. I Goggled Allegan County Extension Services. This is what came up.

      MSUE Allegan County Portal – MSU Extension – Michigan State …
      http://www.msue.msu.edu/portal/default.cfm?pageset_id=26748‎
      ALLEGAN MSU EXTENSION … Allegan County MSU Extension Staff Directory … Soil Test Kit Self-mailers may be purchased from our office or from the MSU …
      MSUE Allegan County Portal All 4-Hers taking 4-H Market swine to the Allegan County Fair …
      Agriculture
      Effective May 15, 2012, all MSU soil tests are sold as self-serve …
      Education & events calendar
      Allegan County | MSU Extension msue.anr.msu.edu/county/info/allegan‎
      msue.allegan@county.msu.edu

      If you live elsewhere, I’d Goggle your county and then Extension Services. If that does not work, try a STATE University nearest you. If that fails, try Native Lupines for sale near _____ (your town or county.)

      The Wild One’s organization is another possible source for native plants. In some areas Audubon Bird Clubs also sell wild flowers.

      Hopefully you have sandy, dry soil and sun too as that is what Lupines require. GOOD LUCK!
      Small House/ Big Sky Donna

      • Thank you so much for all the information! yes, I’m in Allegan county – I’m going to try planting some native lupines too- sandy dry soil here and lots of it! Can’t wait to give this a try! Thank you!

      • Thank you so much for all the information! Yes, I’m in Allegan county and I think I’ve got a perfect sunny and sandy site to give this a try – thanks again! Can’t wait!

      • Great. Just a FYI: The seedlings are small, cost approx.$4.95 per and take a few years to grow as big as those in my photo-maybe 4 to 5 years. But I think its worth the wait!

        Donna

      • Great, that make it easy!


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