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Lovely Lupine

June 20th, 2017

Here in Maine lupines are very common, you’ll see scores of them blooming on hillside, by the road, and in gardens. Most of them are purple, with a few white and pink ones scattered in. My mom’s garden features a nice stand of lupine, she started them from seed a few years ago. When I was visiting last summer, I bought back dark pink lupine.

Not only are lupines lovely flowers to have in the garden, they’re beneficial as well. Lupines are leguminous and make nitrogen. Incorporating nitrogen fixing plants into our borders is one way to save money in the garden, we need less fertilizer if we have plants that provide it for other plants.

What’s blooming in your garden today?

Nitrogen Fixing Legumes

June 30th, 2014

Most likely you have heard about the nitrogen trapping ability of legumes like peas and beans when it comes to our edible gardens.  Did you know that there are also lovely perennial legumes that we can add to our ornamental beds to help harvest the nitrogen for other plants?  I just planted two false indigo plants in front of a ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ rose in an ornamental bad I’m adding up the garage.
false indigo
Not only do these plants look lovely, they will help all the plants around them, especially if I cut back some of the foliage and use it as mulch.  If you haven’t noticed the root nodules on these types of plants look at this.
root nodules on legume
There are so many nitrogen fixing perennials, shrubs and trees it pays to incorporate them into our ornamental beds. I spotted these lupines on my garden tour this past weekend and I have a few growing in my garden as well. They will pair perfectly with peonies since they bloom at the same time.
lupins on ocean
From crimson clover to locust trees you can find nitrogen fixing plants in all shapes, colors, sizes, and for all climates. If you don’t have any perennial legume family plants in your garden consider adding them.  Of course you will want to check and make sure the ones you want to use won’t become invasive in your area before adding them to your garden.
Whenever you can use plants to increase the fertility in your soil you save time, money, and resources.

What’s your favorite nitrogen fixing plant?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.