Garden Surprises this year

treebarb Z5 DenverJuly 7, 2010

I've discovered a few surprises in my garden this year. First, I really like yarrow. I didn't expect to, but I do. I'm going to have to study up on transplanting it as I have several 2nd year monster clumps threatening to eat a Holger's juniper nearby. It may be a good candidate for the fall swap plant.

Second, I have alfalfa coming up next to my favorite rose bush, a Variegata Di Bologna old garden rose, a once a year bloomer. I absolutely love the purple alfalfa flowers. I'm shearing it, so it comes back and blooms again.

Lastly, I get an F in weeding this year. I've appreciated the rain the last few days so I have a fighting chance at catching up.

What's surprising you in your garden this year?


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The biggest surprise for me is the results of compost tea on the veggie garden and lawn. Everything is dark green, growing great and not to bothered by bugs. Asparagus harvest was a full two weeks longer, peas grew twice the height they have before with tons of harvest, parsnips are twice the size for this time in the season. I know the extra rain helped but how cool to have an even extra something. bonnie

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 9:15PM
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Well, those are some surprises, aren't they?

For me, a couple things did not come back and I am not happy about that. The Iceland poppy never came back but all my neighbors have them! The Fairy rose never came back even though it started showing a tiny bit of growth at the base. It just browned up and died. I'll still tend to it because maybe the roots are okay and will come back next year. One of the catmints I transplanted last year did not come back even though the other one did. Huh.

Oh, my, the weeds!! I'm having the same weed issue as you are. For one thing, I'm letting the dandelions go because we add them to our salads. We do that with the lamb's quarters too. I read in my Harlequin's Gardens newsletter that the bees need lots of blossoms to help them this year and that dandelions are great for bees. So, I kept them. Ugg, the grass is growing like crazy but I have to shear it by hand because it grows in between the raspberries which are all over the yard. I wouldn't want to accidentally weed-whack raspberries! And, I don't FEEL like hand cutting the grass..

I have a ton of irises! Holy cow, come late summer, I'll be busy pulling up some rhizomes. I meant to do it last year but never got around to it. So, yeah, lots of yellow with dark purple irises to go around come swap time.

A few Asiatic lilies are popping up here and there. I did not know that they would do that and am assuming that the babies are from seed. One was so tiny that it died out before getting much more than an inch high. Two are looking unhappy and dry even though I don't let them get dry. Maybe they are not happy in their location?

I also find that the rain makes things grow a thousand times faster and am ready to let the weeks take over. At least I am still pulling any weeds in the flower beds. Well, not the dandelions but there are only a couple in the beds...

That was fun!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 9:22PM
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Posted by treebarb . . . alfalfa . . . I'm shearing it, so it comes back and blooms again.

Posted by luckybottom The biggest surprise for me is the results of compost tea on the veggie garden and lawn. Everything is dark green, growing great and not to bothered by bugs.

"Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) is a nutritive herb rich in minerals and vitamins . . .

"One of nature's oldest legumes, Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is known to be cultivated for over 2000 years. However, unlike most legumes, where only the seed is consumed, the entire Alfalfa plant (leaves, sprouts and seeds) is eaten by man. The Arabs, . . . when they tried the herb themselves, they became so convinced of its benefits to their health and strength that they named the grass 'Al-Fac-Facah', meaning 'Father of All Foods'. . .

"Alfalfa plant burrow deep into the earth to reach minerals that are inaccessible to most other plants. Alfalfa naturally contains a variety of vitamins, minerals and enzymes." ~ Alvita Teas

"The tea can be made by steeping 1 ounce of dried herb in a quart of boiling water for 10 minutes."

"For more immediate action against pests and disease in the garden, use the same beneficial companion plants, either fresh or dried, as strong, health-giving and protective infusions or decoctions, to be watered or sprayed on to plants." The Herb Garden, by Sarah Garland

. . ?

Steve's digits

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 7:56AM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Aha! Thanks Steve. I'm pretty sure the reason the alfalfa popped up is because I use my horses manure mixed with compost to top dress under the mulch in the spring. I got smart enough to not use their pasture manure. When the horses are corralled in winter, I wait till they've been on grass/alfalfa for a week or so and set aside the good manure for the garden. Well, some of it anyway. Bonnie, thanks for the tip. I'm going to brew up some compost/alfalfa tea!
(JC)Jennifer thanks for sharing. I have a trio of asiatic lilies that popped up this year. I don't remember planting them, but I planted a bunch on the opposite side of the same bed, so I must have. The new ones are upwind from the others, so I don't think these spread from seed. It's good to know they can spread from seed, because I'd love that.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 9:11AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Our surprise is the gigantic amount of chewing insects across the garden in veggies, ornamentals. Otherwise, garden enjoying relatively cool, moist spring-early summer and is green and happy (when leaves stay on plants and allow plants to grow).


    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 9:35AM
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I have a deer and fawn that, in addition to snarfing roses buds and fruit tree leaves, eat the tops off of all of one kind of weed - I dunno the name, its one of those things that sits there then shoots up 3 foot high with tiny yellow flowers, deeply indented leaves, has wind-blown little parachute seeds - anywho, it has small thorns and has a nasty white latex-like sap. But every single one of those weeds, and I have thousands of them, has its top chomped off.

Humans eat alfalfa, huh. I'll bring a bale to the farmers market and see how it goes.......

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 11:39AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Sounds like yellow star thistle. Nasty little bugger, that. All over CA and horribly problematic.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 12:36PM
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windwhipped(Z4 WY)

the Good: Most all the perennials came back this year, including the Rozanne geraniums I planted last year. I was particularly worried about them after that -29 degree night that surprized us all in early December. The David Austin roses are growing well and pumping out the blooms despite going withut any winter protection! Like yours, Treebarb, the yarrows (Moonshine) are making huge clumps, and I like them better than I would have thought, too.

the Bad: Due to some warm/cold/warm temps in October, many trees in town lost their leaf buds. I lost my beautiful autumn purple ash. It is pumping out suckers like crazy and I guess I will harness one to start over, but that tree was getting so tall and lovely. Sigh.

No need to mention the abundance of weeds.

the Ugly: The guys who are helping me in the yard this year say they saw a mole, and there are a bunch of wolf spiders by the back fence (part of which is loose, by the way, and makes an ugly sound in the wind). Luckily, the new little wasp nest is right by the front door where I can keep an eye on it! Double sigh.

Ah well, "keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a songbird will come". Chinese proverb

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 3:18PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Windwhipped, sorry about your ash. I lost a Emerald Queen Maple, the trunk split over the winter, despite being wrapped. No suckers, so I get to start over in that spot. I have been pruning lots of dead wood on the trees, but most came through winter pretty well.
The bugs are crazy this year. Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, ants and earwigs are all thriving this year. The skeeters don't care what time of day it is, you move a pumpkin leaf and they're after you!
Looks like we're going to get hot again, so much for the break in watering. The cool weather has been nice, though.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 8:58AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hmmmm ... if we are giving ourselves a grade on weeding, I guess mine would be a B-. I have been pulling them every day, and the beds are pretty well under control, but the bindweed all through the lawn is just more than I can keep up with. On a positive note, I bought myself a stirrup hoe to use at the community garden, and that thing does an awesome job, and makes quick work of weeding. It works best on dry soil, and is great for weeding large areas, and between rows.

As you mentioned Barb, there appears to have been a population explosion of ants, and earwigs this year. The plants the ants chose to build homes under, are struggling to survive. They even decided to make their home in one of my large pots of annuals on the porch. They just seem to be everywhere this year. Grasshoppers have always been at plague proportions here, so no surpise there, and I have been getting bit by mosquitos in broad daylight this past week or so. Wondering if those new Off clip-on thingies really work, since I hate using bug spray.

As far as the actual plants go, I'm surprised by Giant Scarlet snapdragon. The flower buds looked more like pink, but it actually is a true red once it opens. A couple other flowers I'm trying this year that were supposed to be red, Petunia 'Fire Chief', and Scarlet Flax, both turned out to be more of a dark pink. More annoying than surprising I'd say.

Another pleasant surprise was the California poppies that reseeded abundantly. My area in front of the porch where I grow annuals is covered in them, and I didn't even have to plant anything there this year. I've had to pull a few that popped up in odd places, but I was happy to see them return this year.

Okay, one last surprise ... okra. Tried it last year, and it died as soon as I planted it out. This year, thanks to Mayberry's advice, I'm growing it in pots, and they actually have flower buds forming. Yippee! Don't know if I'll get enough to make some fried okra this year, but one can hope.


Here is a link that might be useful: Stirrup Hoe

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 10:42AM
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I stuck a six foot handle on my stirrup hoe, and its the bestest garden tool ever.

About 8 years ago, I bought a California poppy mix from Renées Seeds called Tequila Sunrise, the regular orange and a cream colored sport - and they've done much the same - self seeding from year to year. Put them in good, fertile soil and they just fill the place. They seem to need at least some water to self-seed regularly.

I'm sorely tempted to try another mix from them.

Here is a link that might be useful: link, check out the photos of the Tequila Sunrise

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 11:15AM
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The good - My plants are starting to recoop from the hail damage in may. Bought a punch of new perrenials (40% off at Paulino Gardens)Alot of my baby daylillies have blooms on them. Starting a bunch of cuttings (shrubs, vines, flowers) Oh and reseeded datura. Oh and I bought a dwarf butterfly bush, only suppose to be 2 foot, got it from bluestone perrenials. Any one have one of those? The bad.... Ants, bee nest in my mulch.Tons of weeds, but greatful for the rain. Lost an apple tree. The worst, never have enough time to spend in the garden. :(

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 7:48PM
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My best surprise is the new baby that popped up after I moved my Abraham Darby rose - note to self: always leave a bit of root behind when moving roses! Double bonus - it already has a bud on it. I also had some ginormous purple-flowered plant show up in the middle of my back border - it grew to 3' and bloomed for 6 weeks. No idea what it was (maybe a penstemon?) but it was fabulous. Plus, the marigolds I left standing over winter self sowed and I have them all over the front of my border (which is usually just a hellstrip of mulch where nothing wants to grow).
David52 - sign me up for the poppy seed order, those color mixes are gorgeous.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 12:55PM
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