Monday, May 29, 2017

Notes to Self

Blogging in the actual garden on my phone, which is a first. Here are some notes from the season: We've had mostly a good spring.  After two or three weird and distressingly hot days in April, which meant that my tulips were shot really quickly, it turned cool again, down in the 50s to the low 70s. Lots of rain. The evergreens have made great progress this year. The limber Pines have candles that are like 8 to 10 inches long. There's even a few inches on the slow growing yews, which I want to hurry up and grow so they can make a wonderful green backdrop to my roses.

David Austin's were really stunning this spring. I can't really explain it. I didn't prune, they were the only ones I didn't really get to. And they just exploded.  I had a decent success with my new grow lights this year. Some highlights: lots and lots of thyme, larkspur, poppies, and these marvelous very blue annual salvia.  Delphinium were a bust. I do think I started things too early and they had to wait too long to go in the ground, had a pretty good success rate overall. As far as things that ought to be done, I think perhaps those red drift at the end of the rock garden should be replaced with something else, maybe pink Striatum geranium. While it would mean parting with the butterfly bush, it probably makes sense to replace the butterfly bush with another narrow sweet bay magnolia. The peonies look great this year, but I want some additional colors. Everyone else has a gorgeous mid  pink :)  I want some more Iris Caesars brother. peony Coral Charm. Of course Bascobel rose.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tulip Results

Not enough--

Charming Beauty. Did I really buy that few? or are they languishing in the basement?

Angelique. I bought and planted loads but they are still Not Enough.  Also not as double as I would like. Was that a weather thing, or the strain? Great color though.

The viridiflora, purpley ones, white lily flowered ones, and plain pink are are all a splendidly good idea. No duds.  Just not enough and not enough pink versus the purple and I WANT MY CHARMING BEAUTY.  If I get Chris to turn my new cutting garden area into a raised bed, I should pave that with tulips in the fall.

Of course the weather was tough this year-- several very hot days, 80 plus, so they really shot fast and got all rushed together and we didn't get the best display. My lilacs bloomed mid-April and the allium are getting ready to pop and it's not May 1 until tomorrow. But climate change is not a thing. Let's all be clear about that.

Notes for this year/next: pull all the tulips and replant. Keep up the nice display in the front bed. I could probably do with some pools of them on hemlock hillock. Like the pools in the fence bed near my newly planted (yay!) raspberries.  Could do more there really. Would love some more Winston Churchill daffs but I put along the back bed, although we had the usual problem of the choking blanket of mulch. Anyway, daffodils are a different post, although I will put in THAT post, the sundisc ones are DEAR and could definitely be added to the opposite side of the path.

Excited about my peonies blooming, woot.

More Notes for Next Year:

Lurgan's Greenhouse all the way. Huge selection of $2 perennials. Bought blooming forget me nots and those sweet yellow things I put on the wall whose name I forget. Awesome! Fabulous!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring is Coming At Some Point

Not yet. We are under a foot and a half of late snow out there, after a very mild winter.

Garden developments:  DH bought me growlights. The good kind that apparently are coveted in marijuana production.  All Amazon reviews seem to be from hopeful weed growers, some of them with not very good spelling (stay in school!)

Under the growlights, I tried some things and failed with others, and am now hoping I didn't start too early-- depends on what the weather does.  What look like successes so far:

poppy (lots of that)
Veronica Georgia Blue (ditto)
Salvia Blue Angel
Mother of Thyme
Culinary Thyme (too much! somebody come take some! ack!

Delphinium were a bust as were eupatorium and for the most part penstemon.  Moderate success with:

Indian Springs hollyhock
Rose Campion

I was fairly scientific this year and bought a box of cowpots, hoping this will please the larkspur and poppy when they can go in the garden without a lot of root disturbance. Liking the cowpots so far.

Note to self: Park Seeds fancy selfwatering start system with the space age sponge thingies was a bust.  Some seeds never sprouted and other sprouted but didn't grow, so $34 not well spent.

Additional note to self: Outside Pride's seeds had a great germination rate and there were tons of them.

The timers are great, and my favorite systems are the self watering kind with the wicking mat. Need to see if I can buy or McGiver (with wool and styrofoam apparently) some more.

This year's focus will be, I think, on developing the bit of yard outside the fence.  I ordered 15 raspberry plants, shocked at myself that I had never put in raspberries and deciding they were more important than some silly ornamental thing. I also got seduced by Instagram into buying Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden, which was worth every penny of the $18 I spent. Gorgeous hardback book with useful and specific information.  I'm thinking of turning the last bit of open ground by the driveway into a cut flower bed. It's a terrible position, right out front, and would have to be grassed over or replanted in shrubs before we sell the house in a few years, but when you want cut flowers and you're out of room-- what are you gonna do?  I guess I could make my patch next to the raspberries... the lot next to us is vacant and if my cut flowers overreach a bit, it won't cause any lasting harm. I think that bit is about 15' wide and maybe 30 feet long... even with A Lot of raspberries, there might be a little room for say a 4x10 strip of flowers.

So what I do want in my 4x10 strip, based on Floret Farm's luscious book?

--more peony always and forever, especially Coral Charm and Raspberry Sundae
--dahlia, especially Appleblosom and the staggeringly expensive Cafe au Lait
--delphinium-- I can order little packs from Graceful Gardens of the New Millenium series
--cosmos, Double Click Mix
--snaps, madame butterfly or chantilly mix

Erin of Floret Farm emphasizes lots of filler for bouquets. My yard is blessed with a lot of wonderful things I can use, so I'm not so worried about that.

So as soon as the snow melts, I need to get to work cutting down the overgrown disaster that is the easement, and put down paper or cardboard so that I can kill the turf/weeds prior to putting in my raspberries and row of cut flowers.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Edging, mulch, and nursery tours

Really they're more like nursery haunts. I have three good nurseries within five miles, and I keep touring them repeatedly this time of year, as if some new shrub will leap into my arms and beg to be mine.  I am running out of space, which is overall a good thing I guess, but it means that I am even more wary of making a choice, in case it's the wrong choice, Also nothing I do will live up to what Brian the most excellent Landscape Architect designed, so I'm inhibited. But that's okay.  I don't mind haunting nurseries.

The very pleasant landscape guys came and edged and lay unfathomable yards of mulch everywhere. Things look really snazzy, at least now that this morning's snow has melted, but I will have to dedicate part of tomorrow to determining where I have shy fern,  tulips, peony,  camassia, baptisia, and groundcover daunted by a uniform blankets of mulch. Landscaping and Gardening are somewhat at odds with each other.

I have several tasks this spring:

1. buy and plant a narrow flowering tree to replace the crab that got et by fireblight

2. choose and plant something to go next to our freshly sealed and snazzy driveway, which will thrive, filter winds, not get too large and yet be large enough, look handsome, entice wildlife, and not be daunted or uprooted by the unused drainage culvert underneath. So, no problem there.

3. plant the 18' wide area next to the fence in the lower part of the yard, ditto everything above except there is no culvert to contend with.  From last summer--

4. replace two sickly Autumn Twist azalea when they come up for sale. The new ones look fine

5. Figure out what to put under and around the white dogwood in the front bed. Dwarf Cherry Laurel? I shovel pruned the experimental gardenia that was there. It did not like our winter.

The nursing home in my back yard replanted their row of Green Giant in the one foot strip between paving and a steep drop, and for the third time (yes, third) in what, two years I guess, have lost most of them. You can see them struggling last summer in the picture above. They put some firs between us on the slope when I pitched a snit, and those came through fine, and the pines at the base are okay.  The person in charge of the landscape was astonished and angered that I didn't believe in the Green Giant solution as they were replanted a third time. He accused me of not having faith.  I suppose I should start jumping up and down again but at this point I am more amused than anything.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring Plans

I was out exploring the garden yesterday, doing a little pruning and clean up.  Things seem to have come through reasonably well-- though the "Elle" I left out of the ground disgracefully long  before sticking it hastily into an empty spot has turned totally black. I planted hundreds of bulbs and am seeing a few early ones-- iris reticulata and crocus. My current focus is the 18x 50 foot stretch north of the fenceline, where I want to put a bird-and bee-friendly hedgerow. Current candidates:

Hawthorne or serviceberry
Nellie Stevens holly x 3
Face down with winterberry
Tuck in a pussywillow or two
Ditto an aronia

I have my Beauty of Moscow lilac there because there just wasn't anyplace else to put it.

Blooming now: iris reticulata, crocus, witchhazel.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Late May is the Best

I was out weeding and mulching at our community garden today (our church grows vegetables for the local food bank).  We were all agreeing that right now in the garden is pretty much peak.  I think our heat rushed a lot of things into bloom, but it's beautiful regardless.  Click if you'd like to see them bigger.

Catmint, Pink Double Knock Out, baptisia, rose campion from seed, some giant Souvenir D'Andre Chaudron catmint back there, and part of my 3-Flower Maple which is suffering some sort of distressing wilt.  Shake it off dude. We need you.

Rose campion blooming.  Isn't the form pretty?  I don't know what the guys put in this soil but it is like something out of Marvel Comics.  Stuff just gets huge.

Front walk with new dogwood (Eddie's White Wonder)

Carefree Beauty deserves a nod.  Effortless and gorgeous.
Today's additions:  Hidcote and Provence lavender, a mini-leafed basil, and a dendrathema Clara Curtis.  I still have a fig tree (!), a very expensive Beauty of Moscow lilac, and an Elle hybrid tea out of the ground.  Manana!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

 This is right after the mulching and edging was done in April:  woot!  Much crisper lines.

Kit Island: Baptisia, catmint, knock out roses.

This is Deutzia Yuki Cherry Blossom.  I just put in three in the hot West facing bed:  really like them so far.

Very pleased with the evergreens. Love the bluish note of the spruce, which I know was a goal of Brian the Landscape Architect.  The Encore Autumn Twist have really struggled. I put some Miracid on them today, hoping that would darken them up a bit.  They look anemic.  There's a view of the AntiGardener, transporting his chicken.

Back of Kit Island. You can see me trying to get some height/green backdrop near the house.  Those are yews, a Dragon  Lady holly and a Rocket Stewartia on the left.  Sweet Bay Magnolia on the right with some very happy Little Limes my friends gave me when they went on sale at the end of the season.

Tracy Di Saubato-Aust says you should plant serviceberry with itea, so I did.

Another view of sad azalea and thriving (so far) Cayuga viburnum and Winter Gem boxwoods.

The view from our back doors. I think it distracts pretty well from the ginormity behind it.

Apropos of nothing, this is a vignette I admired at Hershey Gardens:

Many plans and much to do.  It is a rather embattled time of life, trying to launch young adults, raise the middle schooler, and support the 80 somethings who are starting to have Issues of various kinds, all while battling the physical effects of midlife (I have metatarsalgia in my foot making it no fun to walk at the moment.)  But that forty minutes in the garden weeding and clipping and transplanting is soothing.  It's a lot of work but I would miss it terribly if I didn't have it.