New to Bloomington, Indiana - what to plant?

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Hi, all! Well, DH and I just moved to Bloomington, Indiana from Chicago 3 weeks ago and, while I know what the climate is, I don't have a clue what the soil is like or the pests, etc. The former owner of our new home has some nice borders, but there are some plants I want to replace. I've been fiddling a bit out there and the soil seems sticky (clay?) and light brown as opposed to our Chicago black soil.

We had kind of a loamy-clayey-mineral rich-nitrogen poor soil in Chicago (away from the lake). My shade standbys were Hostas, Hellebores, native woodland poppies, and Solomon's seals. My sun standby was the daylily and . . . well, the daylily. I didn't have much sun and still don't due to lots of trees!

So what grows well in these parts? Maybe the same things? Would love to hear from fellow Ohio River Valley folks!

Here's our new home with a screened in porch we had built the day after we moved in!

Thumbnail by sherriseden
Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Welcome, stranger, to the less (but still somewhat) glaciated region...

Without knowing much about Bloomington, IN per se, I would venture that all your go-to plants would do just as well on those new soils as they did on your former glacial till - maybe just in a slightly different fashion. All those are standbys in this (slightly) warmer part of the world.

You could help further (before you invest in a soil test, courtesy of your county Cooperative Extension Service) by describing more of the successful existing plants in your new landscape. They are kind of like a Rosetta Stone, when we don't have additional information.

You can grow every hardy viburnum, though. I see lots of invasive turf that could be eradicated.

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the feedback, Viburnum Valley! Well, there are a couple of Celandines (Stylophorum diphyllum) that show chlorosis. These did beautifully in my Chicagoland garden. I'll need to research what mineral is abundant in Chicago, but maybe poor in these parts. Or, at least in my yard. Somehow, I'm thinking phosphorous. Sigh. Once again, it will be years of trial and error. But, it is fun!

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

PS: Of COURSE I will grow Viburnums!!! :)

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Sherri, Welcome to the board.

I would imagine, too, that most all plants grown in Chicago will grow in Lafayette. The ones you mentioned thrive well everywhere in the region.

You might want to save your oak leaves or other nice leaves this fall, chop them up, let them compost, and then add them to your new borders if you don't like the 'stickey' effect of your soil. Of course, you could set up a whole composting operation too.

I grow all the plants you mention and they do pretty well as long as I feed them with nice compost every year or so and give them some water once in a while. The deer get the hostas though.

Good luck. t.

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