Three Goats in the Garden
Reading to the kids was something I really enjoyed. It was a nightly ritual until they hit around the age of 12. A story I especially liked when they were preschoolers was The Three Billy Goats Gruff (“Who’s that clip-clopping across my bridge?”). Last year it hit me that I already had two “goats” in the back garden: Goat’s Beard (Aruncus dioicus) and Dwarf Goat’s Beard (A. aethusifolius).
The eldest and largest (and tastiest, as the story says) of the Billy Goat brothers is represented by A. dioicus. Goat’s Beard is about 4′ tall in our garden but I always have to give it some support to prevent flopping. The flowers are kind of like Astilbe on steroids.
A Midwestern native, it likes shade and prefers moist, rich soil.
For the middle Billy Goat Gruff I found this goat made out of rusted sheet metal.
Here’s a view from the other side. That’s Purple-flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) to the right.
Finally, for the smallest Billy Goat Gruff we have Dwarf Goat’s Beard. This non-native makes a fine ground cover in shade.
The flowers are nice enough.
But low mounds of ferny foliage are this plant’s biggest selling point.
So we’ve got the three Billy Goats Gruff, now how about the troll? Well, this fellow above seems pretty trollish. He’s surrounded by White Corydalis (C. ochroleuca) on his left and Yellow Corydalis (C. lutea) on his right).
The troll and the Middle-Sized Billy Goat Gruff are eyeing each other warily.
Now all I need is a bridge in the proper scale. Everything I’ve found so far is too small or much too big. Any suggestions?