Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best Way to Buy Delphinium

Note to self:  not the $4 short version available.  Wait and buy the $8 kind.  The short ones are getting et by slugs and they are not really doing anything.  The tall ones are dreamy, to wit:

Doesn't that Otto Luykens cherry laurel look nice in the background?  I'm attempting to grow some delph from seed in my boxed bed... will let you know what success I have.  They're not really perennial for me here, something gets 'em.  Maybe the heat, maybe not enough sun where I have them.

I am plotting about my back yard.  So many wonderful spaces in my neighborhood, so many great shrubs, trees, and plants.  My current plot involves taking about 2/3 of my back yard to make a garden room with curved borders, and then beyond that the "hidden" more functional space, potager-style, with narrow raised beds bordered by a fence with raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, cutting flowers, etc.  The slope of the yard has been confounding me but I think I need to just find a way!

Wandered the nursery this morning-- I needed it.  It's a gorgeous, present-from-God kind of day, after some painful events, and it was healing to look at Hypericum Hidcote and the tempting new hydrangeas.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden Problems

Too many thoughts streaking through my 45 year old brain like falling stars, leaving no trace.  When I'm gardening I'm thinking about children and to do lists and relationships and did I call so and so?  So let's see if I can recap for future information what I noticed in the garden this morning:

  • It looks prettier this year than usual-- :)
  • Some yellow leaves-- new Limelights, Monarda.  Carefree Wonder is a bit pallid.  Do I need fertilizer?  Iron?  Does rain (we've had lots) wash iron out of the soil?
  • Noticing many more slugs since I started using cardboard to prevent weeds.  I don't mind a few holey leaves, just noticing.  Will I have to d/c the cardboard at some point?
  • Need a good sunny space to put the tiny seedling peonies I have hopefully tucked everywhere and anywhere.
  • Wonder if I should move the Heritage rose, which has never accomplished much, to a sunnier location.  I read that it can act as a climber-- on the fence maybe?
  • I so want a berry garden.  Should this be done with raised beds?
  • A raised bed full of peonies for cutting would be gratifying.
  • Still not heard back from landscaper guy about new beds.
  • Which new beds should be shrub intensive, so as to diminish work.  Much weeding today.
  • Toyed around with planting Drift roses or spirea or perennials around the new planted area with the holly and Limelights.  Worried this would distract from the effect of the Limelights-- I want to see them bloom before deciding.  Plus, they'll get big and the other stuff will get crowded out.
  • My Walking on Sunshine rose which I transplanted looks peaky.  Does it need fertilizer?  Not enough sun?  
  • I need some kind of hoop or twine and stake arrangement for the mock orange and peonies in back.
  • Lots of things need dividing.  Hosta, daylilies, daisies, Siberian iris.
  • Need to take note of new perennial plantings so I can track them at least to the point of noticing when they disappear.  Didn't I have a--?  New today:  a pinkish-violet salvia between the two roses in the walkway garden.
  • OMG, need an arbor or a stone wall with battlements to keep back the New Dawn.  It is a pity to cut off flourishing disease free canes, but it is a positive hazard.  If we put an arch there that might provide something resembling safe passage on the walkway.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring Table Flowers

My sister in law is coming, so it was necessary to spend my Ashcombe's gift certificate on something wonderful for the table.  My husband built it with a hole and a shelf-- you can put the matching center piece in and have an unbroken table, or you can put flowers or herbs in the center.  I wanted something wildflowery I could add to the garden later-- picked species delphinium (it is species, isn't it?), coreopsis Jethro Tull, some fantastic looking penstemon whose tag fell out, and a May Night salvia.  Those are my new Kmart bistro chairs and I spray painted the ancient wicker and added Kmart cushions, so we are moderately spiffed around here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Help on the Way?

A friend has a neighbor with a lovely, interesting, leafy yard.  Turns out he's a landscaper.  We met at a party and he came yesterday to give us some thoughts about our sloped, weedy, bald-as-an-egg back yard.  He can help me with cutting beds along the back fence to reduce the mowing and raise the leafy, twiggy, sheltered, birdy factor.  Fingers crossed I can afford the help.  I am emboldened by my modest success on the side, but 100 feet of fenceline x 8 or 10 feet depth represents a lot of cardboard.

This shows my bit of garden in May-- Monarda thriving as ever, Jupiter's Beard and catmint well-behaved and reliable.  The pink Knock Out rose is huge.  I cut it back but it may just be too big for that space.  The Heritage is rather daunted there... never really amounted to much, though the blossoms are so wonderful.

Yes, that's a dogwood more or less inadvertently underplanted with Shasta Daisies (Becky).  I know, I know.

I need to think what annuals I want to tuck in... I put in some tall snaps already.  I'm thinking Profusion Zinnias at the edge and blue salvia scattered through the middle, maybe some pinks and whites too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Saturday the Best of Men built an enclosure for the AC unit so it doesn't get away.  At the moment said enclosure is drawing too much attention, but I plan to address that with plant material in a manner which I hope will become clear to me in time.  Here is what I did with my little spade and the intermittent help of my strapping spouse and equally strapping youth:



That's the Golden Raindrops crab that is 6 feet from the house.  You can't tell here, but there are no major limbs (yet) facing the house.  So maybe I'll get away with it.  Stranger things have happened.  At some point I want the bed to be quite full with shrubs, but I don't want to go too crazy with perennials until that time arrives.  Maintenance is an issue.  Some of the mulch has cardboard under it.  My exterminator guy (mice) told me not to put it close to the house.  So it's mostly a couple feet back.  What do people do about weeds right up against the foundation, short of noxious sprays?  I use Roundup sparingly but I don't care for Monsanto, so am open to ideas.