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Notes From My Journal

Posted by runktrun z7a MA (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 3, 09 at 18:26

Its hard for me to believe that its August already, having had a wet gray June and July (along with Jan. Feb., March, April, and May) I must confess I am now feeling a bit panicky about spending as much time enjoying the sunny outdoors as my conscience will allow . Like many of you I have spent most of my time during the early days of summer in the garden weeding which oddly enough hasnt been such a bad thing as I have learned to consider weeds an important barometer in my individual garden environments. I began to notice that some of the weeds in my off the charts highly acid woodland were nowhere to be found on the rest of my property and the weeds found in my more cultivated areas were not showing up in my woodland. I do have a few escapees leaving my garden and happily joining my lawn grasses which of course are those red flag plants that I should have thought twice about anyway. So I am curious what are the most prevalent weeds in your garden? Have you noticed different weeds flourish in your different garden environments? What weeds have taken up residence in your lawn grasses?
I have also been spending time volunteering at my local arboretum and feel a little sheepish about the term donating my time as frankly I am learning more than I could ever give in return. I cant begin to tell you how much fun it has been to spend hours weeding, pruning, clearing brush, ect with likeminded crazy folk who are happiest with dirt under their nails. What have you been doing outside of your own garden are you studying, working, or touring other gardens? Please share. This leads me to ask is any one still interested in a volunteer day for Mass Hort? I would be happy to look in to it and put something togetherheck isnt it time we rally as a group of gardeners?
I have yet to take my camera out of its case all summer but each morning I swear to myself that tomorrow when I have more time I will start documenting my garden this year (including its failures) please, please, please, please, post a few photos of your garden (close up and for our Jersey garden buddy wide angle) and guilt me into charging my batteries and sharing with you what is happening in my little world. kt


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Notes From My Journal

Oh no! Katy gets to talk to gardeners whenever she wants - no wonder she has been so scarce! ;-)

I have a whole new set of weeds at the new place - garlic mustard at the top of the list and some old friends in abundance - poison ivy. The lawn here is more of a shorn meadow than a putting green - much to my delight. There are too many to list, but in the spring there were tons of small violets that looked very pretty. I notice that Heal All (Prunella vulgaris) grows in the lawn here although I had it at my old house and it didn't.

I wish you would share some photos of your garden even though I have non to guile you with. I actually have no camera right now as it was stolen out of my car. (hated it anyway!) I've missed your tappings.

Deb


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RE: Notes From My Journal

Deb,
Sorry to hear about your camera I hope you can replace it soon...you might consider a model that has an annoying alarm to remind you to take it out of your pocket and use it as well :)) My watch was stolen in Costa Rica a year or two ago and I still havn't replaced it I am now one of those annoying folks always asking some stranger for the time.
Here are a few photos of perhaps the stupidest thing I have ever done in the garden. Before hosting a party in July I took advice from someone (who doesnt garden) that the best way to keep the mosquitoes at bay is to spray your shrubs and plant life where they are lurking with Off. I am here to tell you we still had plenty of squeeters and the off killed anything it landed on even though it had been washed off in a down pour six hours later.
Earlier in the summer I was thrilled with this hell strip was coming along as it is just 12" wide on a north wall with no irrigation , under an overhang, and crappy soil. Oh well next year will be better.
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I suppose I wasnt so surprised when the Off killed the leaves on a more delicate clematis (C. Princess Diana) but look what it did to the thicker Hellebore!
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Oddly enough the begonia didnt mind a little deet but the Hydrangea both leaves and blossoms fried.
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During a pruning workshop dtd and I took at Avant Gardens this past winter I asked if tip pruning would help to thicken up my magnolia grandifolia Brackens Brown Beauty the answer was yes but I would likely lose that years blossom. Note how tip pruning resulted in four new branches per one older branch, at this rate I should have a nice thick specimen in a few years.
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Dtd suggested I only tip prune one third of the tree thus allowing for some flowering this year and I am glad she did.
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A new to me Hydrangea anomala Kuga Variegated is described as a new form of climbing hydrangea with leaves deep green with white speckles, more on new growth.
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Summertime is typically my moss gardens worst season but that hasnt been the case this year. I expanded the area this year, the ferns (which I still need to remove) had been the outside edge of the garden previously.
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Many of my more tender Hydrangea macrophylas were hit hard this past winter/spring and I dont expect any blossoms on my H. Pias
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Sooooo whats happening in your world?


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RE: Notes From My Journal

"you might consider a model that has an annoying alarm to remind you to take it out of your pocket and use it as well"
LOL this sort of feature would be SO useful especially if it had a little cattleprod feature to zap you if you ignored the alarm!

What a sad Helebore. Have you since removed the affected leaves? Helebores seem to steadfastly refuse to replace leaves while the old damaged leaves are still there. At least yours look better than mine. Except for 2 or 3 I think I lost all the rest of my taken-with-me helebores. I will not completely write them off until next year though.

Magnolia lookin' good! Four from one snip? That sounds like something embroidered on the belt in the retold version of Jack the Giant Killer. (In an uncharacteristic show of restraint I'll refrain from suggesting an updated title) Have you gone from being pruning-phobic to the pruning queen?

I love your yellow begonia that you can barely see the foliage. I have a pink version that is blooming its heart out right now, but I don't have nearly as pretty a planter as yours!


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RE: Notes From My Journal

No, not more reasons to hate the camera :-) Once I get past simple point and click at people, it absolutely refuses to do anything I want it to. Earlier in the summer I thought I had finally advanced to reasonable flower mug shots, but garden shots are still very much a work in progress.

If we are discussing hellebores, when should I plan on moving one? I am going to get around to this one year.


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RE: Notes From My Journal

Deb,
Helebores seem to steadfastly refuse to replace leaves while the old damaged leaves are still there.
I had no idea thanks for the nudge.
Have you gone from being pruning-phobic to the pruning queen?
Thanks to time spent pruning at the arboretum I have gained a new confidence with my clippers. I am also on the verge of being able to visually see the forest through the trees when initially evaluating the tree/shrub!!
I love your yellow begonia that you can barely see the foliage. I have a pink version that is blooming its heart out right now
How do you plan on wintering over your tubers? I am soooo sick of losing them.
Mad Gal,
If we are discussing hellebores, when should I plan on moving one?
Good question . I moved a number of hellebores this past spring that appear to be very happy but I might reserve judgment until next year.


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RE: Notes From My Journal

I've read that hellebores should be moved as soon after flowering as possible (on the hellebore forum). I know I've moved some, but can't quite remember when.

> what are the most prevalent weeds in your garden?

I've been daydreaming that my fairy godmother allows me to choose ONE weed that she will magically eradicate from my garden forever. Some days it's nimble will (Muhlenbergia shreberi), the grassy weed from hell, which has infiltrated my lawn is appearing in the mixed beds, and other days it's sweet autumn clematis, which is strangling some choice shrubs and is a constant battle to contain.

I'm very interested in a volunteer day at Mass Hort - especially late this month or sometime in September; I'll be away for awhile (9/12-9/25, I think) but would love to participate if it's scheduled when I'm in town.


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RE: Notes From My Journal

I'm very interested in a volunteer day at Mass Hort
I just wrote David Fiske at Mass Hort asking if he would be interested in a group volunteering for one day as they typically want folks who can work once a week. I'll let you know when I hear back.
I've been daydreaming that my fairy godmother allows me to choose ONE weed that she will magically eradicate from my garden forever. Some days it's nimble will (Muhlenbergia shreberi), the grassy weed from hell, which has infiltrated my lawn is appearing in the mixed beds
LOL I had to look this one up not sure I have seen it and if I have not in abundance. SAC certainly has escaped in my neck of the woods but I don't think it is as happy here (at least yet) as it is on the Cape.


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RE: Notes From My Journal

runktrun, what great posts and pictures. Somehow, whenever I do volunteer work I feel like I'm repaid in greater benefits. I look forward to the day when I can do volunteer gardening.
We moved to this house in 2007 and began total renovation (kitchen ell was ripped out to the studs). Our son and his wife bought our old house just 2 miles away and didn't want any of the plants. I hurriedly transplanted a lot of plants to a temporary bed where most of them still reside. The new addition of a screened porch is on hold and that's exactly where I want to do the most landscaping. Since the holding bed wasn't prepared properly, any bare ground was quickly filled in with wild sorrel and misc grasses. The vegetable garden is plagued by creeping jenny as well as 'witch grass' which has underground runners. We also have goldenrod and queen anne's lace.
This year, in addition to the vegetable beds, I worked on a shady garden between the new garage and the old barn. My husband built some brick steps and placed rocks to terrace the steep slope. The top of the garden gets a fair amount of sun. further down the slope is semi-shade. Transplanted hostas are doing great as well as other plants. The north side of the barn (part of our future backyard and screen porch area) was cleared of nasty weeds. Ferns are doing well against the barn but I had higher hopes for the rest of that area. Why didn't I plant buckwheat as soon as it was de-weeded? It is now grown up to grass. We'll have to work on that. I have more hosta and lilies to transplant next year once I get that area properly prepared.

We are about to tackle renovating a circular bed left by former people. I added some new plants but the area was already infested with weeds so it was difficult to keep up with it. 4 large old hostas were removed. It looked nice in the spring but next step is just to rip everything out, mound up the bed and make sure as many witch grass roots as possible are removed. It helps that my husband has a small backhoe. I vow to do a better job edging the beds. It helped once we removed the rock edging that merely made it more difficult to mow close to the bed, requiring more work for the weed wacker.
I love garden tours. This year we made a special vacation to Maine so we could go on the Camden House and Garden tour. We loved one house in particular, with more modest gardens and wonderful whimsical folk art. While it is nice to see huge gardens that require a staff of horticultural experts, I'd rather see gardens that the average homeowner can manage.
Unfortunately, mother nature rewards my lack of deadheading and weeding by sending lovely birds to enjoy the insects and seeds. Last week during lunch we watched a bluebird and a goldfinch share the small granite bird bath. My husband has promised to build some official bird houses for next year to encourage more birds. We hand one feeder and suet near the kitchen window where I have planted a compact viburnum and creeping cotoneater for the birds to enjoy. As soon as we can figure out where to put it, I have my eye on a Adams crabapple which is currently on sale at a local nursery. We have a white house so I want a dark pink flowering tree.

The summer isn't long enough!


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RE: Notes From My Journal

Katy - Some of the tuberous things that I overwinter get frost-zapped, dug up, dried off, wrapped in saran wrap and put in a cooler in my basement (Dahlias and Four o'clocks) Other less tropical things like Fuscias and Lantanas get stuck straight down there in their pots after they have gone dormant. Others get brought in before a killing frost (Calla, Colocasia)and live in my living room until they start looking ratty from the lack of light and then they go downstairs too. That Begonia was still blooming its little heart out when I brought it in and I planned on keeping it upstairs all winter. Begonias are supposed to make good house plants, right? It was really looking pathetic by early Winter and I got sick of looking at it. Down to the basement it went to go dormant. I usually manage to remember that I have pots down there at least once or twice to water them lightly just so they won't dry out completely. It is dismaying to bring up those pots of dirt in the Spring. I usually don't lose anything but Caladiums, but they are definitely lost to operator error - somehow I always manage to forget about them while they are drying in the Fall! This year I have no basement so limited options for dormancy, but have a room with big sunny windows. Let's see how they make out this winter!

Nan - A good example of how the same plant can be one person's bane and a non-issue for others. I had a SAC for 15 years that never seeded once! Heavy shade was the key! I would use my weed wish against poison ivy: the evilest and sneakiest plant ever. (what kind of psycho fashionista would waste her wishes on a dress and shoes???)

: D


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RE: Notes From My Journal

defrost,
I am exhausted even reading about all that you have accomplished in such a short time. Congratulations! In my opinion you should overlook all of your husbands foibles simply because he has a backhoe. ;) Just the thought of all the oversized poorly sited plants that could be moved with a backhoe gives me goosebumps.
I hadnt thought of it before because I am not lucky enough to have one but a circular bed would demand quite a bit of edging work. In the areas where I do have stone for edging I allow my plants to hang over the edge and shade out the lawn grasses then run the mower under the overhanging plants. It is certainly not an ideal solution but works in my rag tag yard. In other areas where I have edged and cut a trench between the grass and the garden I have sometimes found that to be difficult when I mow as well.
I love crabs and happy with all but my latest purchase two years ago Malus Lollipop which I am now beginning to suspect is one of the crabs that only sets fruit every other year grrrrr.
Deb,
What temp was your old basement and what did you mean by cooler? Yes begonias do make great house plants but will they still bloom their little hearts out next summer if I keep them going all winter rather than allowing them to go dormant?


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RE: Notes From My Journal

Katy - My basement (cellar really - fieldstone walls) was on the warm side - maybe 50-55 degrees? I had a half-height dirt part (old house) that was the farthest away from the furnace that would hold all plants (easy watering!). The cooler was just a picnic cooler (unelectric) that I used to moderate any temperature fluctuations and keep them secure from any possible mice investigations. I didn't have sun to keep the plants looking good much less the flowers going strong so couldn't guess how it would affect next season's blooms.


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RE: Notes From My Journal

Katy, I used to think the same thing about every-other-year blooming crabs. My Sugartyme was behaving like that for several years, but eventually it got mature enough (or the soil beneath it got good enough?) and now it blooms wonderfully every year. Patience!


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RE: Notes From My Journal

Deb,
Wow 50-55 degrees is pretty warm you must have a magic touch. I did follow your advice last fall to winter over Salvia Black and Blue and it was well worth the effort I thought.
Wendy,
My Malus 'Lollipop' thanks you for the reprieve it has received, patience is definitely one of my strong points. But perhaps now that I am getting older and lazier I can just attribute my lack of action to patience.


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