The plugs from Possibility Place were watered diligently during the first few weeks after planting and I'm happy to say that nearly all have produced robust blooms. As it's late in the season, it appears I'll have to finish planting it int he spring with more of the same and perhaps a few more penstemons (Penstemon digitalis), whose substantial foliage provides a handsome deep green three season backdrop in the parkway beds (which the burdock did its best to thwart this year).
The 4' - 6' "Wall of Flowers" (thank you, Phil Spector) along the sidewalk serves as a living privacy fence, since in my neighborhood there is a 4' height limit on front yard fences. The difficulty, however, is that they tend to flop across the sidewalk. In lieu of installing an actual fence, I'm continuing my inexpensive and rustic vegetable garden motif by using 5' bamboo stakes and jute twine. For the towering prairie flowers flopping across my front walk, I'm considering rebar as a semi-permanent staking material. The rebar can be dropped into 18" pipe sections pounded into the ground with a mallet. Rebar can be bent using a conduit bender, as I understand it, and I'm investigating the possibility of using rebar to make arbors, as well.
The Essential Urban Farmer introduced me to the concept of using welded wire concrete reinforcement as trellising. Each panel is 42" x 84", fitting perfectly between the 5' bamboo stakes around the veg garden (each stake sunken in about 1'). They're not rust-proof so they won't last forever but the rust renders them virtually invisible from the street - all you can see is vegetation and classic bamboo (and weeds, but more about that later). Each panel costs under $8 at Home Depot, making them an excellent option for the thrifty gardener.
Burdock: Friend or Foe?
Burdock (Arctium lappa, A. minus - love that name) grows exceedingly well in this area, particularly in disturbed soils, and I find myself asking as I remove it for the fifth time this year from my parkway beds, "Is this plant valuable enough to grow elsewhere in the yard? Or will it just aggressively crowd out more desirable plants?" The 7' burdock plant that volunteered along my driveway remained untouched this summer, only to bomb me on multiple occasions with the same incorrigible burrs that inspired the invention of Velcro (true story). What is burdock good for, anyway? It's often used as a "chop and drop" green mulch by permaculture enthusiasts but on a lot as small as mine, chop and drop isn't very practical. Burdock root is often used in Asian and European cuisines and is considered to be a highly nutritive, tonifying addition to the diet. It particularly benefits the liver, kidneys and, resultantly, the blood.
In my 1 second search for burdock and Velcro, I stumbled upon the Biomimicry Institute:
"The Biomimicry Institute promotes learning from and then emulating natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable and healthier human technologies and designs."
Thank you, Internet.