I've wanted to try some Ajuga (carefully) for some areas way in the back of the yard where nothing, but weeds grow. That area also tends to flood briefly in Spring after heavy rains, especially when the ground is still partially frozen.
I bought two 'Chocolate Chip' Ajuga plants from Bluestone this Spring (at half price) and planted them away from everything in a part of that area that floods just to see how they do. I figure anything that can survive there might help to keep down the small pond that develops in early Spring. Anyway, it's worth a try.
Very pretty flowers on yours, KyWoods! BTW, thanks for the new thread...
Funny, but I planted some Ajuga pyramidalis a couple years ago that didn't survive. Then last year, I found some Ajuga retans in another bed; it was being choked out by Anemone canadensis. This year I weeded my Iris cristata and transplanted the Ajuga amidst it in the hopes of deterring the weeds. So far, it's working =) I can take a current pic when I get home, but here's a pic of the initial transplant.
pirl - I'll try to remember to get a photo of the fencing stuff when we spray for mosquitoes again since it's close to the wetlands. Got it at Menard's, it comes 4 ft tall but easy to adapt the height. Has sewn in sleeves the slip over a metal post. I modified mine to 6 ft tall. Because it's in a very undulating area bordering the woods, I didn't want to use concrete for posts. If I had made the fence taller, my poor brother wouldn't have been able to pound in the metal posts from the top of a step stool. Deer haven't jumped it yet although the raccoons do get caught in it. Left a wicked hole that I'll go back and patch when the weather gets cooler.
I've tried various deer deterrent sprays in the past, but I have such a big yard,
it just hasn't seemed practical. I have so many gardening chores, and all has to be done on the weekends due to work schedule; it doesn't make sense to spend half of it spraying. My approach has been to protect individual special plants with fencing/cages, rather than fence the whole yard. Hostas/caladiums, etc are beautiful and can be enjoyed for half my season; once the deer find them, c'est la vie... I'll enjoy them again next year.
So far, the mesh fencing across 150 ft of the back of my lot has kept most of the deer out. I think I have one that's either jumping a chain link fence on both sides (doubtful) or is wandering in off the street (wooded cul de sac) into the back yard. Heads straight for the bird feeder - actually eating from it - and nibbling on one particular violet. Has nipped just a few Hosta flowers but that's about it. They've actually left me coneflowers to enjoy this year.
Real beauties for this time of year. Are you all dry down in STL? Up here, it's cooler but the humidity is higher than the temps with no breeze today. I'd be out in the garden except that the mosquitoes will carry me away or drive me crazy. Off and on rain is raising that population. Yesterday was a scorcher with heat exhaustion for one of the guests at a graduation party we attended.
We've had major thunderstorms for the last several days. Boy do we ever need it! Today it was nice and clear, finally, with much less humidity, but that won't last. I believe the higher temps and humidity are due back tomorrow.
Glad to hear the Ajuga is working out, Eleven.
Sorry about your Caladiums, Weerobin. Your Cyclamen are very pretty!
Well, this is a photo I took of Pirl's invasive weed Houttuynial that she sent me two years ago. It is in a shallow 42" pot. It has not grown that much on top but when planting other plants in the pot, it's roots were everywhere.
It had a hard time getting started and I had at least 10 starts and this is the only one that made it. So every time I see it I think of Pirl.
I like heucherella because it is a nice spreading groundcover for shade.
It's not aggressive and if it goes anywhere you don't want, it's easy to pull.
The only picture I have is of heucheralla Stoplight's precurser, heucherella Sunspot.
Stoplight has nicer markings on the foliage, otherwise similar.
Here's my Sunspot doing soil erosion control on a shady hillside.
Your Houttuynia, which you asked me for (I don't want people thinking I send out evil plants), seems to have lost its color, Sharon. If it reverts to solid green it will be just boring. It seems to do that in hot areas.
Thanks KyWoods - I have two of them. . .the first one came in a small batch of plants from Bluestone one Autumn that had some problems . . .a few of the plants appeared to be infested with something. So they replaced the entire order the next Spring even though some of the plants were okay (Bluestone is wonderful about replacement). I tossed the bad ones and planted the good ones & they've thrived.
Sharon - Your "invasive weed" doesn't appear to be very invasive in that pot, although if the pot was full of roots, I can only imagine what it would do if allowed to roam free. It's pretty, though.
Weerobin - Your Heucherella looks lovely growing all en masse like that, especially with all the blooms! I love Heuchera/Heucherellas. I just started planting them a few years ago, but the variety is staggering and they seem to do well no matter where I plant them.
I have one variety that has been blooming non-stop since Spring. It's relatively tame by color standards . . Green with some faint markings . . .but the blooms are very tall and very deep pink. Non of my pictures have done the blooms justice, but I might post one anyway.
Thanks Pirl. BTW, I love your term. . ."evil plants" . . .what a great name for invasives!
I agree, for an 'evil' plant, that one is really pretty! In containers, or in very steep shade where only weeds grow (like some of our property), there is definitely a place for the little demons, lol.
Weerobin, I really like your patch of heucherella. We have a lot growing wild at our NC cabin and I've brought a few here to Decatur, GA. They are nice growing individually among other shade plants, but I may try to find space for a patch. I'm afraid they will not take much direct sun in GA. And your photos are always beautiful.
Thanks, NAN, Sharon (my equally evil friend - all in jest), and KY. It was a great day for an old broad.
Mine was the cupcake with the Godiva truffle on top of raspberry frosting that covered chocolate ganache on a red velvet cupcake with raspberry filling, compliments of my darling daughter. She makes fabulous baked goods.
Yumm! Those cupcakes look "evil". . . (in calories, that is).
Sharon - your flowers are looking beautiful! You'd never know by looking at them how hot it's been.
We've been in the low 90's with very high humidity, but we've had huge thunderstorms on and off for the last week or so after being very dry, so finally everything is well-watered. Unfortunately, the weeds absolutely love it.
Nuts, I've only been gardening for 5 or 6 years and I didn't know what a Heucherella was when we bought our cabin in NC 7 years ago. I have bought native plants to plant there only to then realize that they were already coming up on their own. It's all worth it, I love to learn. I was familiar already with the rhododendrons and mountain laurels but there's so much more I've found and I'm sure there's more to be found. My wife and I are so grateful.
Mulch really is the answer. People are spending hours on end weeding while mulch could end it for them. I doubt I spend a total of an hour a week removing weeds from all of our gardens and it's due to a thick layer of pine needles. Just this year we've bought 50 bags of them and it's worth every cent. They smell wonderful and they're so soft on the feet.
Our mowing/blowing/edging brigade are strictly forbidden to blow FROM the lawn to the gardens or FROM the driveway towards the front gardens. We're quick to get outside to remind the blowing guy in case he forgets.
Pirl, when i get around to getting coffee ground from Starbucks, I also spread it around my front landscape. It bring the worms to the top and aerates the soil but it also smells so wonderful. I do no drink much coffee but I do love the smell. One guy about a year ago stopped and asked why my garden always smelled like a delicious cup of coffee. I told him. I got a strange look and he walked on.
I have been sitting on the back covered patio for over two hours watching a very slow sweet rain. I maybe here all day. Have a great day. I will photograph a wild violet, I am assuming, I discovered at the base of my mesquite tree. There was two good sized and one very small. I was afraid to leave them there because the "Gardeners" would think they were a weed. So they are in my holding garden. I will also take a photo of another thing that just showed up in the holding garden.
I love coffee grounds for plants and that's what I have used them for, exclusively, for about two or three years now. The radio gardening guy said to work them into the top layer of soil so as not to form a crust so I do that when I apply them to the top of the soil. Other times I mix them with potting soil-less mix for plants and a little compost is mixed into it. They still smell good, retain moisture and the plants seem to love it.
Coffee grounds are magical in soil since they really do bring the earth worms as Victor (victorgardener of the Northeast Forum) first told us about them.
I've been washing kitchen windows, Sharon, and staying cool in the house. Six done, three to go. It's too hot for me outside in the sun.
I love coffee grounds! I put them everywhere . . . on the garden, in holes, mixed into my compost bin, around trees. . .I never have enough grounds for all the places I like to put them, no matter how much I get.
Congrats on the rain Sharon! I'm sure you can really use it.
We had a massive thunderstorm on Tuesday evening. I heard a huge crack about 8:30 pm, but couldn't see anything in the dark. Then when there was a flash of lightning I was able to see that one of our neighbor's trees had broken nearly in half and about half of it landed on and around our shed!!
During a lull my husband went out to access the damage. These are very large old trees around here. We lost a couple of branches about 3 years ago on an Ash tree about 70-80' tall. The branches were bigger around than most trees!
My husband suggested I give them a call in case they didn't know about it...they didn't. We assured them we weren't concerned about it and my husband could repair any damage if there was any since he does all the remodeling, repairs, and building on our property.
Even so, the wife of the couple called me first thing Wednesday morning to find out how we wanted to deal with the insurance companies. I reassured her again and told her we had no plans to get insurance involved. She was extremely relieved.
It's a big mess, but no major damage (amazing!). Somehow the way it hit their fence allowed the fence to break the fall somewhat. Anyway, our husbands worked on it till about 9:00 last night, but it will probably take a few more days.
One of my garden beds is badly damaged...it looks pretty sad to see a whole bed-full of Hosta, Brunnera, Lobelia, Ferns, Astilbe, Lamium, Ajuga, Heuchera and more kind of mangled...but they'll grow back by next near. Maybe I can dress it up with some pots of flowers or fast-growing annuals?
Anyway, since no one was hurt, I considered it a good day!!
In the end, isn't that all that really matters?
KyWoods - Thanks, we're not good friends or anything...just neighbors...but we have nice neighbors on both sides and neighbors shouldn't just be "neighborly" when things are going well. When part of our big tree fell, it was all on our own property. I can only imagine the stress in having a tree fall on someone elses property. Like I said to the wife, "It was a storm. It's not like you cut it down and shoved it as hard as you could towards our property".
Pirl - I love the planter in the picture you took for Sharon's Birthday! The colors and balance are very attractive. You have a great eye for composition!
back40bean - It sounds like whoever owned that cabin before you bought it planted some wonderful perennials. They also saved you a ton of money. You can use all the plants that are already there to make more plants...that's so great!
Wow, pirl. . . That's so incredibly thoughtful of you . . .it put a tear in my eye!! You don't have to do that, though. I think they'll all be okay.
The roots should be fine and if I trim away the damaged leaves, some of the plants might not look too bad. The others, I might be able to disguise with temporary plants. As soon as it cools just a little, I might even move plants from other areas or divide some. But I want you to know, I really, really appreciate your kindness. Just that you offerred makes me feel good!
The really strange part is with that huge part of their tree gone, I just noticed today that my long thin raised bed along their fence is suddenly Sunny at one end that was always in bright Shade. This bed was not right near where the branches came down and the plants are fine, but I'll have to keep an eye on that area and decide how much Sun it's actually getting. Who knows...I may even be able to add some plants that require more Sun??
Deer have ravaged my gardens often enough and I do know the feelings you must have had seeing the destruction. If you want a deer eaten hosta I will send it to you. The name is Stained Glass but the deer call it Midnight Snack.
Odd how just one tree can make such a big difference but I can feel it in this guest room since we lost the big maple that kept this window shaded in the afternoon. Now the hot sun pours in so I close the blinds before the sun gets to the window.
If you're not tempted to say, "Yes", it's okay. If you'd like it then it's yours (send me your address) but this is what it looks like now (and you thought you had it bad!). Oh, stop laughing!
Oh my gosh, pirl...you're hysterical!! I'm so sorry...I really didn't mean to laugh...it's just the way you said it. I couldn't help myself.
I really do feel for you. We have deer too (and we love having them around, which is why I have to use Liquid Fence). I've had plants look like that, too. Kelly, you took the words right out of my mouth! I thought "celery" as well.
I don't think you should send it anywhere. It'll look beautiful again next year and then you can spray it before the deer go "refrigerator raiding".
Ky is right. The one next to it looks fine...maybe the wrong flavor?
Yes, KY, they left the other one. Amazing but true - they love plantaginea best, then Stained Glass. I don't have the time or the inclination to spray so if you want it, Nuts, just send me your address. There are many they won't touch but they do love to eat the roses. I'm glad they're not moose.
I can sympathize re: Hosta-loving deer. They definitely prefer the softer-leaved varieties and stay away from the heavy, corrugated leaves unless they're really desperate.
Pirl - what did you think of 'Stained Glass'? With the leaves, of course. :) I spent about $40 for a cloned version several years ago and it hasn't impressed me all that much. Mine's in full shade and maybe it needs a little sun to bring out more variation in the leaves?
Stained Glass is just too big for me: I didn't buy them, someone sent them to me. I prefer smaller ones and mini hostas. I did think it was very pretty in the shade (with leaves -ha ha) but the deer found them so now I have potted caladiums there.
Oooh, I didn't realize that the ones pirl's deer ate were the heavier veined leaves. I guess if they're hungry, they don't care which type it is. And being in the middle of the woods, we have lots of deer, and other woodland critters.
Yes! The odd part is they will devour Frances Williams and she has mighty tough leaves so maybe they can pick up a scent that makes it more desirable to them. I'm just tired of providing deer food for them.
Here they've eaten the young Frances Williams but left the mother plant alone.
Pirl - I was almost ready to jump on your offer for the celery...oops, sorry...I mean Hosta 'Stained Glass. I looked it up in PF and it is beautiful. But just like you with you, it's too big for any of my beds. It was a super nice offer and I really appreciate it. It didn't bother me at all that the leaves had been eaten since I know it would come back next year.
Question for any of you that have shipped plants - Just out of curiosity, since I've never done any plant trading or sent plants, how do you package plants so they travel okay, both large ones & small ones? Also, what shipping method do you use. I'd really like to know for the future since I may eventually have plants to send or trade.
Because I spray, I haven't had too many deer problems unless I get lazy, but I have one Hosta...I think it's 'So Sweet'...that somebody or somthing keeps biting off a whole leaf at the base, but doesn' eat it. They just leave it lying on the ground right where they bit it off! It's usually only one at a time and not every night.
Just about the time I think it's stopped, I go out in the morning to find another one laying there. I've wondered if it's cutworms, but if it is, they haven't bothered anything else. I've thought about going out with a flashlight, but it happens sporatically so I'm not sure I'd have much luck. Gardening sure is fun!
Too big is always a problem unless we're talking about lobster rolls!
I use the post office and always get a confirmation receipt. I wrap moist roots in paper towels and enclose the root ball in a plastic bag. You do not want bags that will leak into the box or the post office can refuse to ship it. You can use newspaper to cushion the plant and to avoid having the plant shift too much with the "gentle" handling it will receive on the trip to its new home.
Both UPS and Fed Ex are 30+ miles away so I don't use either of them.
Cutworms generally go for tender growth and cut the stem off at the soil line. I don't know what is getting to your hosta.
Remember I told you that I had everything taken out of my holding bed. I potted everything, planted or gave away. Then the triple dug it after removing all the roots from the trees next door. The roots actually go under ther block wall and invade the bed. So after all of this, I was out there a few weeks ago and there it was at the back of the bed. Pirl's evil plant. I took it out and planted it in a pot.
I always get delivery confirmation with everything I ship. I do a lot of shipping, but I've never sent plants. I rarely use UPS or FEDEX. UPS charges a premium for "rural" areas and FEDEX has messed up big time the last few times we used them. Most recently 1-1/2 weeks for an Overnight package and the time before, an Overnight Christmas gift arived a week after New Years...their "reasons" were also totally lame and on the second one they flat out lied.
Sharon, that plant sounds like a "bad penny" (but a pretty one).
Pirl can you just imagine this Hosta with empty toilet paper rolls on all the stems? Never mind, it's a stupid idea...
About the conformation signature from USPost, I never signed for my, they just left it on my front steps. I think it is overpriced, I used to send Priority mail to Hawaii, without eny conf. it always got there in 3-4 days. My son stationed there and mom was sending pecan tart and brownies. Last winter when I bough lots of plants, the UPS guy would leave my packages on the porch, safer in my neighborhood.
kiseta - Delivery Confirmation doesn't require a signature (you're thinking of Signature confirmation). If you purchase Priority Mail on the USPS website, Delivery Confirmation is FREE. It only costs extra if you go to the Post Office to purchase the postage.
I have no problems with UPS delivery & I also receive packages frequently from UPS I just have found it to cost more for the items I ship.
By the way, those Pecan Tarts & Brownies sound yummy! Your son is very lucky.
Clay here too with some amending. I have 'Blue Billow' which is nice for my blue/pink ('Endless Summer' doesn't count since it's unreliable bloomer), 'Annabelle' for the white blooms that turn green and adorn my interiors during the winter months, 'Limelight' which is the last to bloom (have only had that one for a couple of years) and 'Snow Queen' (oak leaf that's first to bloom and real trooper considering the clay it's in). I think 'Endless Summer' has made me skeptical of acquiring newer varieties. Tardiva has yet to bloom for me and I've had it for several years. It's supposed to like the midwest but I don't know what I'm not giving it.
Cindy- i feel the same way about endless summer! How many years have you had yours? I got 2 this year, one from a greenhouse, one from walmart, they are literally feet apart and one gets maybe 1 hour more sun than the other. The sunny one is always wilting, and the other has powdery mildew! They seem to be snapping back at night, but it takes a toll on the flowers. The gorgeous large flowers they came with didn't last, and the 2nd wave are beginning to turn, now the third are half dollar sized blooms, nothing spectacular. I've been told they take a few years to shape up, i sure hope so.
I'm thinking it's been about 5 years. I did move it 2 years ago to a spot that stays a little more moist but it's in quite a bit of shade. For the blooms, I used triple phosphate and it came through. While I feel guilty these days about using the extra phosphate, I'm wondering if rock phosphate would produce similar results without the ecological impact. Does anyone know? Without the phosphate, the blooms are kinda insignificant but it might do better with more light.
I was planting some coleus clippings this morning in the holding garden and there was another one of pirl's evil plants growing. Just one little leaf. Kinda hiding from me like mint. I would take a photo but DIL has my camera with my son and grandchildren in San Diego.
Was looking through the Bluestone catalog last night (discounts for early spring ordering) and saw Cimicifuga 'James Compton' - a shorter variety. The leaves look darker than the species (at least in the photo) but not as dark as 'Hillside Black Beauty'. Has anyone being growing this one?
Soon you will be thinking evil thoughts when you spot that plant, Sharon. I haven't bought a plant at a nursery for awhile (haven't counted the days) but just got delivery, yesterday, on eight clematises - all wonderful.
Eleven - I think I picked up a 'Diana Clare' last year from a Menard's reduced rack. I say "think" because I've lost the tag before entering it on my spreadsheet.
Outlaw - I keep waiting for the prices to come down on 'HBB' but it ain't happening. Is anyone out there growing these in any level of shade? I'm assuming the dark color gets better with more sun but curious.
My only Actaea is the dark 'Black Negligee' and, when I had it in sun, it burned and turned (ugly) crispy. It is so much happier in shade with very little morning sun and just a dab of late afternoon sun.
It didn't go green, remained very dark, but lower leaves have crispy edges so I'll be giving it a barrel of compost "when I get to it".
Here it is in the center of the photo and looks fine but the photo was taken more than a month ago, before the awful heat wave. It is taller than it appears here but it's being crowded out by the hydrangeas on each side of it.
We've been in the middle of "lake effect" rain all day so too wet to work outside. I did spend the afternoon dividing potted cyclamen and severely abusing my African violets with their long "necks". And freezing those wonderful Michigan freestone peaches.
That's a lot of rain, pirl. Luckily, we've missed out on the deluge over the state line in IL all summer but we've had a nice amount. I've noticed that the trees in our area have not yet taken on that dusty coloring that comes with hot dry weather towards the end of summer.
Catching up on what you guys have been up to while I was away.
Unfortunately, we've missed out on all the rain. I'm jealous.
I have several dark-leaved cimifugas, incl James Compton and Hillside Black Beauty.
I've been disappointed by the greening of the leaves in the shade.
I think they at least need 'brightness' to stay dark. My wooded yard is just too dark.
I paid a gazillion dollars last fall to thin the canopy to let more light in.
I don't see that it helped much.
And I'm still despondent over how they trampled my garden.
As for the deer liking one variety of hosta vs another ... my deer are definitely not so fussy.
They eat anything, anytime, anywhere.
Incl leathery corrugated hostas like Deep Blue Sea & Alligator Shoes.
And my caladiums. And hydrangeas. And lilies.
I've been sticking with smaller hosta - I guess they're too little for the deer to bother with.
But of course, then you have to deal with the bunnies. Sigh...
Give Blood Meal a try for the bunnies. It works for me.
Here the deer will only eat five hosta cultivars but the flowers on every hosta. They found another entry to the terrace gardens but didn't touch the hostas under the deer mesh or those under the stylish blue tarp - LOL. They didn't eat any of the mini hostas here either.
Upstate NY and in MA they eat Japanese maples but they haven't touched mine since they prefer the few roses they ignored for the last seven weeks.
I'm sure my neighbors are jealous of the designer sheet arrangement over the ugly green (portable) fencing and the chairs blocking the path! So glad there wasn't a garden tour this year.
Amazing what we do to keep the deer out. When my green plastic snow fencing started failing on me (too old and brittle), I resorted to stringing up camo rope from tree to tree. I even tried predator urine to no avail.
Has anyone grown Disporopsis pernyi? Got an email from Sunshine Gardens (Barry Glick) about them. Totally unfamiliar with this one although it looks much like Polygonatum.
Sunday morning I went out (in the rain) to check on the tomatoes only to find that one of the 4-legged devils with antlers had taken a big bite out of my only red brandywine. He did not get the whole tomato since I had it blocked off. Most of the plants are covered with netting, but life is not perfect.
Peter the bunny is not able to get to my plants in containers, so he is helping himself to the plantains (weeds) growing up through the crushed rock. No idea what the chipmunks are feasting on.
Cindy, I have several clumps of disporopsis pernyi.
They grow easily, though none of mine are super big yet.
It's shade tolerant and looks nice in the woodland.
Flowers aren't significant - mainly for foliage.
Here are two views of same plant.
This is from a few years ago - it looks better now,
but it's pitch black outside, so this will have to do.
By the way, I'm not sure what insect has been nibbling on it...
Wee - I figured you might have that one. How do the flowers compare to a Polygonatum in real life? My Polygonatum tends to wander a bit underground, throwing up shoots a foot or more away from the main clump so it doesn't have the impact of a tighter cluster.
I'm thinking I may have the same "greening" issues here with the dark Cimis so I haven't invested in any of them to date.
Sorry to hear about the garden trampling. A lot of tree crews don't respect what's growing underneath. Today the tree crew finished taking out two 60+ ft oaks next to driveway and garage and near my little greenhouse. Very nerve-wracking so I just "had" to be out there the whole time. They did a great job so I can relax until it's time to take the half-dead oak out over the back patio. Most of it had to be roped down as neighbor didn't want anything falling on her lawn, including the branches that were hanging over her house. Sheesh! The stumps get ground down this afternoon so I'll have to either haul the sawdust to the compost pile or, if I have the time, top-dress with some compost first and then lightly mulch with the sawdust. Next on the agenda is moving part-shade loving plants out of full sun.
I can feel your pain, Cindy.
My wife forbids me to be within a country mile when the tree guys are here.
She thinks it's best for everyone for me not to be around.
But I loved the gigantic pile of wood mulch they left for me.
Some of the best soil in my woodland is a result of prior woodmulch decay.
I'm not exactly mister 'Johnny-on-the-Spot' when it comes to moving the shade plants.
I've got dozens of hostas living in full sun exposure as result of trees being cut down.
It's got to be 4 yrs ago, by now. Ooops... There always seem to be more urgent chores!
Frankly, they do surprisingly well in full sun, that is, until about this time of year.
But they're mowed down by deer by now anyway, so doesn't really matter that much.
One of these days, I'll get around to moving all those sun-exposed hostas.
As for the disporopsis, I don't think I've paid any attention to flowering, so I suspect not very spectacular. But my disporopsis is definitely more dense than my polygonatums. It's more of a foliage plant, I think.
Looking at the pile of sawdust this morning - don't know if I'm up to the physical challenge of hauling the stuff from the front of the property, down the stairs to the lower garden to the rear of the property where my big compost bin is located. It's a lot of stuff! While I hadn't originally intended on mulching with the fresh stuff with the composting action pulling nutrients out of the soil for the process, I'm wondering about adding some low nitrogen fertilizer and/or coffee grounds to it and going ahead with the thin mulching. The sawdust does have quite a bit of dirt mixed in as well as the stump grinding guy went about 8 inches below grade to ensure future grass growth and level out the root flare mound that had been created.
I do know that I'm taking out some Campanula that I've held on to over the years even though they look totally terrible this time of year. Forget which variety (one of the hybrids) but after blooming, the leaves turn brown and fall off and I'm left with a bunch of bare stems. I think it's time for it to go. May have to relocate the Delphinium tricorne, various columbine. I am concerned about the full sun effect on 'Gold Bullion' bachelor button and toadlilies. And now there may be too much hot afternoon sun for a few David Austin roses as well. I am looking forward to some additional sun and the increased light levels all the way to the back of the property so I don't mean to sound negative.
Thanks, Ky. Actually, I'd love to make a little room in that now-sunny bed to plant a few veggies in among the perennials and roses. Decorative trellises with cucumbers and zucchini, happier tomato plants, etc. I do grow a few tomatoes but production hasn't been great due to limited sun up to this point. But now I'm not limited to impatiens for color in that bed. Yippee. 20+ years of buying impatiens is getting a little boring.
I know I owed you the name of the fencing I'm currently using to keep out deer but not sure if this was the right thread. It's called EZFence and it comes in 4' x 100' rolls for about $50/roll. It has sewn-in pockets that slip over a plastic sleeve that's put over metal fence posts and then a cap goes over the top. Supposed to be easier to move around (except for maybe the stakes?). I cut one roll in half horizontally and added the 2 ft to the 4 ft roll for a total of 6 ft in height. It's worked fine for almost a year now. Sorry it took so long for me to get the info for you.
My deer fencing came from Benner Gardens on line.
They have 4', 6' and 8' heights in rolls of varying length.
It's heavy black plastic, but from a distance really isn't seen.
Unfortunately, after buying a bunch of it, I found it unrealistic to fence the whole yard,
so I fence off individual plants or groups of plants, which is totally visible.
Along with the wire cages of various shapes and sizes & bunny fencing,
it results in the lovely 'fortress look' some of us are familiar with.
Thanks for all the fencing information, Cindy and Scott. We're considering black aluminum fencing to at least close off all the terrace gardens to the deer but it would shut me out, too, from weeding or tending the plants. Aside from that I'd need four gates so it might end up being impractical.
"Fortress" is right. I even patrol my 150 ft line for any damage caused by raccoons. They can really tear up non-metallic fencing. For whatever reason, I don't have rabbits to contend with so I'm considering myself lucky.
Pirl - I wonder if you could stretch a bit of plastic fencing across the opening that you can unhook to gain access to the fenced in parts?
We do have areas with the ugly green wire fencing that I unhook to gain access to the rest of the gardens in the back. At night I close it and drape it with a large white sheet - such a sophisticated look. Maybe Fine Gardening will come to take photos of it!
I have heard that deer won't want to jump a fence if they can't see to the other side. Maybe the sheet is a good idea after all. You could always paint a mural or design on the sheet for a "garden art" aesthetic. :)
I've heard the same thing and it makes sense. The deer won't leap a 3' tall gate if a brick wall is 2' behind it. While we were gone I think they learned to stomp the fencing and designer sheet (Holly Hobbie - that tells you how old it was) but now I have it all back in place.
Pirl, you do have persistent deer. I did read an article in the Chicago Tribune this morning that said the deer populations have really grown dramatically and that it's not just a matter of them losing more of their habitat to development.
They weren't here 50 years ago but were driven east by developments to the west. They devastate farmers' crops and most vineyards out here have the deer proof fencing. It's fine for that use but ugly in a garden area.
Thanks. I'm not eager for snow either but the heat this past summer kept me as house bound as the snow does. The vineyards prune according to the "Four-Arm Kniffen" method to assure abundant and flavor filled grapes. The deer are not aware of that method and just devour all they can.
If only deer could be trained...
My yellow waxy bells (Kirengeshoma) are blooming and it seems like the flowers are a bigger than last year (which was very dry). I think it's one of my favs since it blooms late. Pink Chelone is also blooming. Luckily my plant hasn't spread outrageously but it is stalwart, blooms every year. Sadly, the only things left to bloom are the various Tricyrtis and mums.
The flowers on my Kousa dogwood hung on through the summer which I though a little odd this year. Wonder what that's about.
Cindy, deer CAN be trained. We trained ours years ago to eat out of our bird feeders. It was really easy too. . .all we had to do was leave the feeders out overnight and the deer ate every last morsel...
I know the deer come through the backyard every so often and eat half the seed in our stationary feeder. Our's generates a battery-operated jolt to the squirrels though. And the slinky hanging from underneath the bird feeder has absolutely deterred the squirrels from climbing up the pole as well.
We haven't had any problems with the squirrels getting to our feeders in years. My husband made steel squirrel baffles a long time ago and he replaces them every few years if they get ratty looking. We love the squirrels, though, so I put out food for them plus they also get the seeds that the birds drop while eating.
We also love the deer. In the Winter when we have more deer in our yard I bring in some of the feeders at night, but I always leave a little dried corn out for them.
I know...we're real softies...but one of the things that we especially love about our area is the wildlife!
While I can appreciate the wildlife here (from a distance), I don't want to repeat the year that the deer ate almost every leaf off of my 20 year old Rhodies. And I wouldn't mind the raccoons wandering through infrequently but we have a "herd" of 8 (last year it was 13) foraging in our yard every night because the idiot next door feeds them.
back40bean, where it your cabin? I live in Lake Toxaway.
As for ajuga, mine are wild but very healthy. They bloom every spring and I love the colorful, fuzzy leaves. They are on the lower part of my property and therefore spead downhill where I leave them be.
I have had daffodils come up through them before.
woodspirit1, our cabin is in the Sylva area. I believe you are between Cashiers and Brevard? Not so far from us but it seems a long way because of the mountain roads. The pictures I've seen of Lake Toxaway are gorgeous. Of course all of western NC is beautiful to me and we love our place.
back40bean, Lake Toxaway is about 10 miles east of Cashiers along U.S. 64. I don't live on the lake (super expensive), but only a mile or so away. We live on the side of a hill so all our gardening is done on terraced land. 55 steps from the bottom to the top. Because I have hip problems, I only go down once a day, do all the work I can do in about 1/2 hour and drag myself back up to the house. All my gardens are below this shot, down to the right.
BTY, I used to live in Avondale Estates.
Wow, woodspirit1, your phlox look beautiful. We have some around our cabin but we really don't get enough sun for a show as spectacular as you have. On the other hand we are surrounded by rhododendron so I don't complain. I've only been gardening seriously for the past 6 or 7 years so I continue to learn of 'new' (to me) plants that have been around forever. I bought a Viburnum acerfolium a couple of years ago and when I went to plant it I discovered one growing nearby. I've since found more. We love our NC place so much. Our part of Decatur is between Clarkston and the Farmer's Market and right next door to Avondale Estates.
Lily_love, the flowering quince is beautiful. They like sun if they can get it but will do all right in part shade too. I should go out and get some twigs to force -- I have that and Abeliophyllum distichum, which may be blooming now for all I know.
Hi Dawn, or is that Sharon?. I like your moniker. :) Indeed, the flowering quince is beautiful. A welcoming different color than the usual yellow of forsythias and other early season-blooms. I've been cutting those branch and force them to bloom indoor. I've a quince that first open white, then gradually turn pink. Those are fun to watch unfurl indoor. Abeliophyllum distinchum? I'll have to look that up. :)
Yes, they have been easy but by chance. Our lot is very shady, but this bank is right along the driveway and so there is sun there. They are my spousal unit's babies. I think this year he is going to have to trim some as the branching is getting dark and spare in place or two. It's quite rainy here so that may have something to do with how well they grow here.
moxies_garden wrote:Hi KYwoods! I found the new thread right after I posted on the old one. I didn't go into shade gardens much before, but now that I have a shade garden to create, I need an education.
Me three!! That's why I came here, to this thread, and boy oh boy I've learned a LOT! I suspect you'll learn a lot also, and have ooodles of fun doing it! =)
Oh dear, that means that your rain will be coming my way soon. Eewww! =)
Well, indoor garden planning is the thing to be doing then. maybe you could sit down with some graph paper and draw out fun ideas of what you want your beds to look like? =)
I've moved from mostly sun to mostly shade, and it's amazing how many plants I have that can make the transition, like epimedium, oakleaf hydrangeas, heuchera and bergenia. I even have an early blooming peony that works.
But Moxie and Speedie (you are really fun, Speedie) I'd love the rain. We got 5 inches of snow. The heavy wet kind! Pretty to look at, as it clings to trees. But a pain to shovel!
Oh boy, you have some wonderful plants that love the shade!! Those hydrangeas and heuchera and bergenia (oh my!) really like the shade, and if your heuchera are light-leafed, then they probably prefer the increase in shade. (their tender little delicate bodies don't like too much sun).
Aaaw, thank you! I'm just a goofball, I can't seem to help it. There's too much in life to love and give one joy, ya know?
Hmm, well then, HOORAY for the rain! Maybe it'll wash some of that snow away so you won't have to shovel it! =)
My coral bells are all Heuchera Firefly. I have seven of them, grown from seed. I spent a fortune buying different ones - they would just peter out. I loved Cherries Jubilee. They would last a couple of years and I would replace them. That was OK when they were $7.99, then $9.99, and then they hit $11.99 and $13.99 (don't you love the .99?) Then JL Hudson came out with seeds for Firefly. I figured, what the heck. Not only did they germinate, grow and bloom really fast, but they have lasted for years.
I popped them in front of a peony on the west side of my house, with a little shade from a pagoda dogwood.
I had so many that I added them on the north side of my house, next to ladies mantle. I haven't lost any. All seven cost me perhaps $2.00. Talk about cheap thrills!
Donna - I'm with you on pricey Heucheras. Now if I absolutely HAVE to have one, I make sure that there's some H. americana or villosa in the parentage. Some of the now departed would survive the first year, come back in the spring and then promptly decline once the weather got warm. I like the eye-catching color of your 'Firefly' flowers - a nice change from all of the nondescript colors of a lot of the current Heucheras.
Dare I say it - I think nondescript completely describes it. I see Heucheras that would barely be visible in a yard, with very high prices. I went through about 15 heucheras that keeled. And you know the ones that keeled the fastest? The designer ones from the big names. At $15 or $18 dollars a pop. And they scare you by looking like they are gasping for air even in the fall.
You are clearly more knowledgable than I am about the hybridization. Jl Hudson describes is as sanguinea.
I always thought it was my fault. Are they planted too low? Too high? Do they need mulch? What kind?
Garsh Donna, you're gonna make my head all swelled up, you're such a sweetheart! =D
And, my GOODNESS, what gorgeous Heucheras you have!! That colour is fabulous, now I'd like 10 of 'em... oops, wait, not an even number.. OK, I'll need 15. =) We've got Heucheras at work but I don't remember any of 'em with bloom colours like that. We do have some neato foliage colours though, like Lime Rickey. That one looks like lettuce, every time I water it I wanna eat it! =P
Note to self: When it's time to get Heucheras, talk to CindyM first.
A lot of the current Heucheras coming out of the Pacific Northwest can't take our hot summers and I learned from the folks here at DG what to look for in plant breeding for a variety that will survive here. Um, I've killed two 'Lime Rickey's. If your summers are hot, look for 'Citronell' instead.
I did manage to start 'Palace Purple' from seed years ago and now it self-sows in the garden, a couple of new babies every year that I just move around as needed. The colors vary a lot though but that's fine by me. I've got some nice trendy look-alikes.
I killed Monet, which had variegated leaves and red flowers. I also killed Bridal Veil, which never bloomed. And the aforementioned Cherries Jubilee.
Cindy, I find it interesting that our grown from seed varieties are the ones that worked. JL Hudson, from whom I got my seed, lists several, and a friend of mine successfully grew Dale's Strain.
When I first started gardening, I was buying books by people gardening in Colorado (sharply drained soil), the Pacific Northwest (much cooler and damper) and England (don't get me started). They dominated the book selections then. Many of their recommendations bit the dust before season 2. Then books started coming out that addresses conditions more like ours. Michael Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs was a great help. He would discuss positives, negatives, and care. I bought 100% of my trees and shrubs after reading his books and taking his suggestions. I started reading gardening books produced by and for midwesterners, and I found, interestingly, that they were very conservative, and I had to stretch their boundaries. The best thing I did was get Milaegers Nursery's catalogs, which they used to mail. Similar soil and climate, and lots of care instructions, many of which pointed out to me what I could grow. He has separate catalogs for nursery stock, perennials, annuals and roses. I'm driving up there this spring to get a viburnum trilobum.
Here is the page in JL Hudson's catalog on which his heucheras are displayed.
I killed 'Bridal Veil' too. Or rather, it chose not to grow in my garden. I have a Dirr book as well and regard him as one of the big authorities but, in my landscape, I haven't had to purchase many trees or shrubs. And Mileager's - I used to get their catalog but haven't for a long time. It is nice to know that they don't use growth regulators on their stock. I did spy a very pretty salmon rose columbine in their on-line catalog (which is coming up with a 2011 plant list).
If you're old fashioned and paper wasteful I am too. I contacted every company I did business with when I moved, and let them know I wanted a catalog. The Lily Garden petitioned its customers and asked whether they wanted a paper catalog or whether they would prefer one on line. Overwhelmingly the response was paper. My thickest catalog is from Forest Farm. There is NOTHING quite like curling up and looking at the pictures and dreaming!
And Milaegers DOES have four catalogs for their categories. I drive up and pick up one of each every spring!
I do hang on to mine for a year and then the old ones go into the recycle bin when the new ones come out.
I do get the ForestFarm catalog and I remember them taking a survey a couple of years back re: hard copy vs. online. With their huge catalog, I can't imagine myself sitting at the computer for that length of time just to get through the whole thing. Yeah, there's laptops and tablets but I'm not one for being "plugged in" for hours a day.
I blush to disclose that before I moved I had all The WFF , THe Lily Garden, B&D Lilies and Brent and Becky catalogues, some going back to 1998, when we bought the house. That's when I realized how crazy it was. Now I just have the last two years of about 20 catalogs. I get at least 5 that specialize in seeds. Great reading.
I just like the feeling of paper in my hands. And turning the pages.
No facebook, twitter, whatever here either. I do have a cell phone (that I only turn on about 2% of the time) and an MP3 player but that's about it. Had to debate with DH about carrying a road atlas in the car rather than put 100% of my trust in a GPS. Went to a restaurant a month back, saw a family of 4 there at a table and everyone of them had a cell phone out, texting away. I guess that's the new version of "family time". I just don't want to be that "connected".
I simply don't use any of the social networks, and I think twittering is odd. Why does anyone want to know what I am doing every moment? But I see it everywhere. People walking into each other on the street networking. I have a cell phone because I used to travel a lot on business. I am geographically impaired so having a GPS actually freed me to drive without panic (yes, panic) but I waited until the prices went down and bought a $90 Tom Tom. I can keep my eyes on the road and not fear getting lost. I was in North Carolina last year and it was wonderful feeling that I could drive from arboretum to arboretum (yes! that's what I did) without getting lost.
I do love Skype because I have sister and friends who live overseas, and it is lovely to be able to see and talk to them at no cost. And my Mp3 player is wonderful, because I can put it on to block out everyone else on their cellphones! And I politely decline invitations to "like" people on facebook.
I knew a man with four children. So he had to have a five bedroom house. Each child had a television in his or her room. And a computer. How's that for family time?
But, back on topic, I love the seed catalogs. Select Seeds, the eye candy of Scheepers/Van Engelen.. irresistable!
I was talking to a recent college grad who was bemoaning her debts and inability to get a job. But her debts included a $200 cable bill and phone bill. Can you imagine?
I drive 8 hours to NC to see the son's family, 2 grandboys 9 and 11. When I get there they greet me and then desappear to they room, each one have a computer, they text to friends and keep bussy that way. My son is playing the computer games and the DIL is playing soduku. I am sitting on the sofa and peting the dog. I travel less and less, I can pet my own dog and don't have to drive 8 hours.
Many of my fondest memories relate to being at my two great aunt's home (my maternal grandma died of spinal meningitis when my mother was 3, and she and her brothers were raised by my great aunts) and sitting in the living room with them listening to stories and talking and laughing. We would roar around outside for a while and come back in to good food and the fascination of adult conversation, and then telling our aunts about school and friends.
When we watched television we watched it together, with my parents making funny comments that I still remember. My parents bought us a small record player, and a collection of records, but mostly we listened to music together.
I'm sorry your grandsons won't have those wonderful memories. Pardon me, but from here I am giving your son a smack!
I got into the habit then of getting lots of books from libraries. I own a ton of books, but my four libraries (three reciprical) keep me in the habit of reading hard cover books. From which came the habit of reading garden catalogues with a cup of tea.
kiseta - love the picture! Sorry about the 8-hour drive to pet the dog! Until last fall, we had to drive 8 hrs to see DD and granddaughter in TN (now in MI - 2 hours away). While they all have the latest in electronics (SIL in IT), everybody preferred to be outdoors chasing chickens or picking veggies or lounging in the warm weather.
I've always been a reader and have had to give a lot of books away with not enough space to keep them all. Staring at a computer screen is too much like being at work. Only reason I got a cell phone was for emergencies. Still haven't memorized my cell phone number. Our old "bag" phone in the car was phased out (analog).
It's so nice to see that I'm not the only one who just simply isn't into the (as I call 'em) DUMB PHONES. I do not need an app to tell me how to live my life. DH just recently had a Garmen (sp?) installed on his work van, but that's because the company had 'em installed on the whole fleet due to insurance cost cuts. He has said that it *would be* helpful getting him from point-A to point-B if he hadn't already been doing it for the last 15 years, but many of the other features are quite helpful. Me? I like maps. =) And, I have to admit, I do love my Kindle. DH got it for me a few years ago for my birthday and, as an avid reader, it's been worth a FORTUNE. Otherwise, I don't think I would ever have enjoyed so many classics as I have on my Kindle. (The d'Artagnan series, all the Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer treats, so many from Alexandre Dumas..the list goes on and on). That being said, I *do* still have quite a collection of 'real' books as well, mostly of the Cookbook and Stephen King variety. =) But ya know what's funny? I still do not have any seed/plant catalogs! I think it's mostly because of where I work; I can get seeds and plants that I KNOW are either native or hardy in my area right from work, and I'm still a bit too much of a chicken to try stuff that I'm unsure of. ;) (not to mention, when I get 'em from work, I get a pretty discount!) =)
Oh believe me, it is soooooo hard to NOT come home with a truck-load instead of a paycheck!! If I had my druthers, I would come home every Friday with my bed FULL of compost and potted goodies!! But, ALAS! One must have money to pay for groceries...darnit!
(and being warned by DH not to spend the entire paycheck every week didn't help matters any, either!) ;)
KyWoods, it's quite true. And heavens, don't make a wrong turn into one of those subdivisions based around cul de sacs. The GPS can make you keep going forward in a big loop. Sometimes I just turn around.
I was trying to go to Park Street in Elgin. The GPS wanted me to go to Park Street in SOUTH Elgin - 25 miles away. So, frankly, I often check it against Mapquest.
Had to take a detour off of I65 in KY last year due to road construction and couldn't get enough detail on rural roads from the GPS to find a good alternative, especially since the suggested detour also had road construction. Grrr.
Speedie, you are right. I have never paid for maps. But I find my $90 Tom Tom quite accurate. The 5" screen is great. At least so far I haven't paid for them I may give in. But the free updates have been quite nice.
What's great is that everything comes down in price if you wait. I knew people who paid almost $500 for Garmin. I heard about it because they mounted them in their cars and people stole them. I never understood people who boasted about the high prices they paid for the initial GPS units that are now inferior to the $100 dollar one. I love finding things like that on Amazon. And then getting free shipping. And no sales taxes, which I know is supposed to be wicked.
Oh you wicked wicked girl!! < =D LOL!!!!!!! Maybe one day when DH and I get a little more tech-happy we'll get a garmin... or something, but FOR SURE we'll probably get 'em from amazon, after we check them out in person so we can pick the salesperson's brain! =) Amazon is wonderful, and I do love the free shipping also. And, another cool part of being a prime member is being able to "borrow" books for your Kindle! < =D heeheeheee
Oh, so you're bad too! I love being a prime member. I love using the points I get buying gas and groceries to acquire things for no money. And I really enjoy watching films on line. I put my move on Amazon, so I could get the points - and then paid it right down.
Almost too good to be true.
Are you familiar with PriceGrabber? You plug in the make and model of an item, and it finds the lowest price on the web. The really great part is that it takes into consideration taxes and shipping. And you know who usually has the lowest price? Amazon!
I know we're so waaaay off-topic but the Prime really pays off at Christmas time. I hate shopping in stores for the most part and get totally spoiled with the one-click. The state of IN just worked out an agreement with Amazon and we'll have to pay sales tax in another year or so. We have to claim out-of-state sales on our IN taxes anyhow.
Oh Cindy, YESSSS, Christmas is the BEST time for Amazon Prime!! (and I just made a rhyme!)
Ok, no more bad girl for me (except to say that I've never checked out PriceGrabber, but I will now! Thank you a ton Donna!) ... OK, back to being a good girl.. >>ahem>> So, I'm gonna try a mini-bit of a "Hoogle Kulture" (heeheeheee) bed back in that corner-near-the-fence area in my shady back yard. I think I'd already decided on Hostas and Columbines... and Begonias. I'm hoping the current Ph of the soil doesn't come into play at all, 'cause I have yet to see what sort of soil those babies need. Already I've got a pile of mulched leaves there... but I will be moving them aside today to put a layer of twigs and branches down, then put the leaves back over-top... then I'm thinking I'll put a layer of left-over mulch (that's falling apart anyhow). I'll have to wait for later when I get more compost and top soil to complete the coverage, but that should give me a decent start, I think. I can't really use too big of pieces of wood at the bottom 'cause it's a relatively small area, and there are 3 small trees there.. and it's an odd pie-wedge-shape to boot.
DH has lovingly offered to build me a stair-step thingy so I can have a pretty little "container garden" back there, instead of having to dig up the icky ground. I think though, that I'll have him do 2- 5ft ones, 'cause I have a plan! (R'uh R'oh, Raggy!) I'll put one Rhodie (the soil back there will be PERFECT for 'em!) on each end.. then inside of those I'll put one stair-step beside each other, with a small gap in between, which is where I'll put the water pump.. then my little hanging guys up on the fence behind and above all that. Wheeee!!! Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, so that's when I'll sit down and draw it all out on paper. Oh boy oh boy, this is sooo much fun!!
I gotta say, a HAAYY-OOOOGE THANK YOU again to you all for encouraging me, and lighting the fire under my dupa to get this done, you all are wonderful!!
I'm starting to realize that I am going to have to do some serious planning. I am not certain of the light in my new yard, and ordered two shade tolerant roses (Marchesa Bocchella) for a spot where there may be no shade at all! I filled my sunniest site with peonies, and it is in the front of the house, so the season of interest is limited - not that they don't have lovely foliage. I used to fill my peony beds with long blooming perennials. I may actually have to do some serious digging and expand my front beds. And three peonies are still in the garage in pots!
The daffs put in by the previous owner have spouted foliage. All of my daffs are white or white and pink and midseason - most of his are yellow. But my chionodoxa are starting to appear - love those guys. And my madonna lilies, after their long process from seed, will bloom this year. I have moved them from the fridge to my quite cold and sunny front area. They would have bloomed last year, but the squirrels dug in the pots!
The yard is filled with violets and lily of the valley. I can't even see them yet, but I think some serious digging and applications of Roundup will be required. I am going to have to create entirely new beds in the sunny places. Ah, my poor back!
Donna, maybe those roses will tolerate a lot of sun, too? I sure hope so! I wonder if some raised areas might work well, instead of all that digging. Goodness, my back has sympathy pains just thinking about it! I remember well digging to expand just one of my beds last year, OUCH.
A suggestion, if you don't mind. (it's working SUPER DUPER for me). Ask your hairdresser to collect a day's worth of hair cuttings for you, and use that hair to tuck into your pots where your bulbs are. Just a few small tufts tucked just barely under the surface should suffice, to keep the squirrels at bay. I've had all my potted bulbs sitting RIGHT SMACK DAB in the middle of the squirrels' playground, and with hair tucked in, not ONE of 'em has been touched. Also, collect the hair from your hairbrushes as well. Just to keep the collection full. =)
Ha! Never thought of that! And I'm seeing my hairdresser in a couple of weeks. That's a great idea! Don't hold back, my dear!
I do find that freshly ground black pepper is effective. But little else. Years ago in the city, squirrels were eating my lily flowers. So I sprinkles cayenne pepper all over them. One morning I heard a strange noise. It was a squirrel, eating a lily flower, cayenne all over his face, sneezing but not missing a beat!
A squirrel sneezing!? Oh man, that must have been absolutely adorable to hear!!
I've also heard that cayenne works, but the downside is that you have to re-apply it after it rains, and that can get to be costly, especially in today's economy. That hair will be free! (though, ya might get some funny looks when you ask for it!) =)
Funny that you mentioned hugelkultur, speedie. I just learned about it over the weekend via a podcast DH caught. And there's a thread over in the soil and composting forum about it as well. I was wondering, as the wood rots, will the soil settled at a lower level. Would be a real pain to have to dig up established plants just to set them higher if the bed needed topping off with soil. I am definitely intrigued with the idea though.
Crocuses here are up but not open yet. Might be by the end of the week if it stays above freezing and we get the rain that's forecasted.
Cindy, I didn't catch that podcast, however I found the thread in here about the hugelkultur beds, that's why I decided to try it. And, as we speak (I'M POOPED!), that corner hugel bed is re-vamped. I moved the leaves aside, got about 60 feet of tree line raked out and those leaves mulched (then replaced, 'cause that'll make some NICE compost/soil next year!), all the twigs gathered from the leaves and placed in my hugel bed, then the leaves replaced over that. Need more leaves, and DARNIT it's gonna rain tomorrow! I wanna go out and play more!! Oh well, it won't rain forever... so far as I know. ;) Please keep as much of that rain as you like Cindy, I really won't be needing it, honest! =)
Donna, I bet you won't even need the round up, just lay those boxes out flat and I'd bet in about a month or so all those weeds will be dead n' gone. Then pile fresh soil/compost on top of the area and away you go! =) (personal experience with letting things lie in the yard longer than the stuff should have has taught me that it doesn't take long at all to kill off those weeds.) =/
I'm not a Roundup fan but would definitely put down the cardboard but you might have to leave it in place for a while since a lot of weeds haven't woken up enough to be smothered. I'm more of a skimming off the top layer of ground person. Are you thinking of a raised bed or just flat ground?
speedie - you sure worked fast on the kugelkultur bed. Too soon for me to be doing any fun stuff but I did get out to do a few maintenance things and work the compost pile a bit before it rains tomorrow. Since we've missed out on a lot of snow this season, I don't mind the rain but it makes things too wet to work. Plus we still have another month of potential snow yet.
Speedie and Cindy, thank you so much. I always thought that the conservation community I just moved from LOVED Roundup. I think it's a last resort.
Since it is relatively early in the spring here I think I will go out tomorrow and lay boxes. I have noticed that some areas are surprisingly damp. Everything I have put in so far has been raised, and I think I'll continue that. They have a big clothes line that is really ugly. I like having it in theory, but it is in the best place for a big bed - right in the sun in a section of the yard with very little sun.
I inherited a complete compost setup and I must say I'm intimidated. There is one of those big tumbler things. They left, and I have been adding to, a box for kitchen stuff (peelings and coffee ground and eggs), a box for old leaves, a section for small branches, a box for new leaves, and some bigger branches which I believe I am supposed to break down. Being able to make my own compost is wonderful but I don't know where and when to start. At some point when it is warmer, do I start putting a mix of these ingredients in the tumbler, and then spinning the tumbler every few days? I have gotten several books from the library, but I am still a bit puzzled.
It's great getting your feedback. Clothing line down! Boxes in their place!
Hmmm, I'm having MAJOR problems posting, so I hope this one comes through ok. =/
Donna, WHEEEEEEE, rollin' rollin' rollin', RawHiiiide!! =) For your composting, I'd say just go ahead and start throwing stuff in now. Toss in some from each pile (preferably the smaller bits from the branches), if it's dry, give it a little sprinkle (to make it lightly damp, but not squishy wet), and give it a turn or 2. Then, you only have to give it a spin or 2 either each time you toss something in, or every week or 2. That's just my take on it: No Guts, no Glory. =)
Wow - after the rain last night (with thunder and lightning) and the sun shining this morning with temps in the 40's, it does feel like spring here. The wind is starting to pick and I believe there is a wind advisory until tonight but that's part of spring. Of course, we might get snow on the weekend!
I admit to becoming a big fan of Mike McGrath. He used to be the on-air "Bugman" for Paul James but he now does a podcast and has a connection to Gardens Alive (mail order amendments for gardening). He's anti-MG, Roundup, wood mulch, etc. He does have some good tips on composting and soil amending without getting expensive with purchased amendments. (See youbetyourgarden.org) Based on his recommendations and my own experience, I wouldn't put the branches in the compost tumbler since they will take longer to break down and it's a pain to sift through them to get to the good stuff. Instead, chop them up as much as possible and start a composting pile back in the corner somewhere out of sight or try constructing a kugelkultur bed. It might take a year or more for large branches to break down.
Hmmm - maybe the clothesline pole could be disguised as a support for a Clematis? Decorate it with flexible copper tubing? Made a small arbor a few years back out of all copper plumbing supplies for several different vines and the flexible tubing is kinda fun to work with.
I'm surprised that a conservation-minded community would love Roundup. Guess it depends on which plants need to be eliminated. My favorite toy last year was a Bernzomatic propane torch for the instant gratification of obliterating chickweed and other annual weeds in the gravel walkways, beds and driveway. Not to be used on poison ivy though!
I just checked in the morning sun. 50 here, so I went for an early run. The branches are already divided into 2 piles outside of the tumbler. The previous resident would chop them up into smaller pieces. Imagine - a large and small branch pile!
I actually have three mature clematis hiding the neighbor's chain link fence. Which is good, because there is no way this clothesline could be disguised. It's an eyesore. And it's smack dab in the middle of a pool of sunlight.
Oh, yes, I got accosted about old garden roses, lilacs and peonies by some of the native nazis in my old community, but they approved of Roundup. And they fell for the old myth that native gardens are easier. They are a LOT of work, or they turn into weeds as the most aggressive plants take over. Queen Anne's lace was in their mix. So there are many yards that are now 90% of just that. Wow, does it seed.
Or all goldenrod.
Some natives are wonderful and I would choose them under any circumstances. I had a pagoda dogwood, a viburnum prunifolium and lots of other goodies. To me, the pagoda dogwood is one of the most beautiful of ornamental trees. I want one again some day.
I'm definitely not a Native Nazi. If I was, my yard would be full of poison ivy. It doesn't seem to me that native gardens are easy to maintain unless you're going for a full blown meadow effect allowing everything to seed about as it wants. But I can't see how using Roundup figures into their environmental picture.
I have a pagoda dogwood that I grew from a mail order stick and really love it. I don't do anything special for it (lucky for me).
Golly, dunno if my advice is good or bad 'cause I'm definitely no expert. I can only pass on what I see or hear.
Sounds like the clothesline is comin' down for sure. Can't say that it will be a fun project for you but I am sure you will be immensely happy when it's gone.
Donna, keep them doggies rollin' for sure!! =D You got accosted about old roses and peonies and lilacs?? What, the old neighborhood didn't want them!?? Eeek! But they think that round-up is ok? Tsk tsk tsk.
Heh heh, I like the term "Native Nazi", never heard of that one before! =D So, is the clothes line down yet? Are you going to have to get approval to remove it, or are you in a more relaxed environment now?
Cindy, you made me LOL when you were describing your "...propane torch for the instant gratification". Haaahaahaahaaa!!!!!!! I can see you sidling around out there in your cat burglar suit, sneaking up on unsuspecting weeds, then shouting 'AH-HA!! GOT YOU!!!!!' as you burn 'em to smithereens!!
I am embarrassed to admit that I have never heard of Mike McGrath. What's he got against wood mulch? I use it a LOT, so I'm wondering what new thing I can learn today. (that I'm doing wrong, heeeheeheee)
speedie - I don't even pretend to sneak up on the weeds - just a full-on frontal assault.
MM is big with organic gardening. You can check out his website (youbetyourgarden.org) and read all of the different topics and answers to submitted questions. His premise is that wood mulch is just a way for the lumber industry to get rid of their waste and that the mulch actually brings diseases into the landscape without providing much real benefit other than making things look tidy. But check it out for yourself to make your own decision.
I am intrigued by the person that said they had ajuga in their iris beds and it kept down the rest of the weeds. We have wild ajuga here and live the blooms and the beautiful leaves..
My iris bed is a constant problem. Unfortunately, it's on a slope so upper soil washes down and covered the lower irises too deeply. The ajuga would therefore, serve 2 purposes: weed abatement and soil conservation.
We do have a lot of ajuga but it has never gotten out of hand.
Woodspirit, I'm not sure who said that they have Ajuga, but I can say that I've got some lovely Homestead Purple Verbena canadensis in my largest bed, and they've spread out wonderfully in less than 1 year and are already helping to keep weeds down there. I've got 4 of them and they were planted rather late last summer, but already the branches have sprawled out a foot or 2 in all directions and have rooted themselves where they've sprawled. I have a feeling that, in your area, they would work well for erosion control. They seem to be growing very quickly and their branches really self-root very easily. If you decide against Ajuga for any reason, then maybe the Verbena would work for you?
Cindy, I'll have to check out that (those) video(s) later today, it sounds interesting. Personally, I love my regular ol' hardwood mulch. I know well that it doesn't add anything to the nutrient content of the soil, but I must say, over the years it sure is making a difference to the texture of the soil, which used to be rock-hard clay. Years ago, when I used to "pretend" do garden (ie: I had some scraggly-looking shrubs where my REAL garden beds are now), if I did nothing else, I did put down mulch each year. Three years ago, when I decided to "get real" about gardening, I went to dig up all that old crappy stuff and start anew, I was astounded at how much softer and more workable the soil was, it was NOTHING like the clay it used to be, and I never amended with compost or anything... heck, I didn't know anything about compost back then, all I ever did was water (when I remembered) and apply mulch. I'm afraid, no matter what MM says, I'll have to stick by my belief that, the breakdown of the mulch over the years really benefited the texture of my soil, if nothing else. Now I'm MUCH better about regular feedings and using compost... but I still love my hardwood. ;)
Oh, good, I was getting nervous. I'm the queen of pine bark mulch. I put down compost, and that on top. But now I will have lots of leaf mulch.
Speedie, all the yards were filled with purple coneflowers, black eyed susans, Autumn Joy sedum, coreopsis and cosmos. But then there were lots of barberries. The Crimson Pygmy type, which is invasive. So most of the yards looked the same. Native Nazi is a term used far more around those of us who get accosted by the plant police.
And no! Now that I am not in a place with a homeowners association, I can do what I want. That place was so weird that when a Greenspire linden they had installed improperly died (I realized it when we dug it up, and it was still in its wire bag!) and I wanted to replace it with the same cultivar, I needed approval. I had to write a request, enclose a plat of survey, and provide a description of the new tree. And then wait 2 weeks for approval. And no, they did not pay for the new tree. And no, I did not let the install it.
I loved my pagoda dogwood. I requested it, and it was so poorly installed (much too high, and on the north side of the house) that it was listing sideways, and down to (I kid you not) one leaf. I was going to toss it, since it was only two feet high, but was persuaded to keep it. So I put it on the southwest side of my house, gave it some shelter from a paperbark maple and huge lilacs, put soaker hose under it for easy watering, used pine bark mulch and Ironite each spring, and this was my reward.
Wow!! Amazing what some TLC will do, huh?
I have ajuga (mentioned at the top of this thread), but no iris, so someone else must have it, too. For some strange reason, the variegated one never did reappear. I was really disappointed. I'll have to look for some at the nursery this year.
Donna - that's a beautiful specimen! Mine isn't as dense, probably growing in more shade than yours. Mine does lean towards the west and more sun since it gets all shade on the east.
speedie - in the past, I dug in all of my wood mulch into the clay that I have and it was helpful in breaking it up some. I am going to experiment this year with leaf mulch instead though. Have plenty of leaves so that shouldn't be a problem. When I do put down wood mulch, I go through 40 bags at a time and use hardwood mulch which does last a little longer for me. But that only covers about half of my gardening space so it gets a little pricey. A bulk load would be difficult to move since it has to come to the backyard and also 10 ft down to a lower level. My back's not getting any younger. :)
Oh my goodness Donna what a GORGEOUS Dogwood!!! It definitely looks very well-loved, that's for sure. I'm glad you're not in that Stepford Wives neighborhood anymore, it sounds really creepy. I bet they wouldn't let ya have your beautiful Dogwood if you still lived there... BAH! I'm glad I haven't been accosted by any plant police, 'cause I'd have a word or three for THEM, let me tell ya! < =D (and, those words would not be "Happy Birthday" neither!) =)
KYWoods, you should come visit my place of work, we sell some really nice variegated Ajuga! =) heeheeheee
Cindy, Yeah I hear ya, my back ain't no spring chicken either, but I do haul the bags here at home anyhow, 'cause that's what I do at work, so gotta keep up to speed. I've dug in some mulch for amendment before as well, just for texture, and it was quite nice. I did that in the Fall to prep my soon-to-be tomato bed; Had one boring old rectangular bed in front of one side of the house, it's currently got nothing but a couple Schip Laurels and some old unsuccessful attempts at bulbs and Marigolds (squirrel food), but as of this Spring it's gonna be my tomato and herb bed. =) So, in the Fall, I dug in a bunch of stuff, like Lime and mulch and compost, and I don't remember what all else. This weekend I'm gonna move those Laurels to the back to get more shade, and that bed will be ready to play in! Wheeeeee!!!!!!
Brilliant to get your new tomato bed prepped in the fall. I had pulled out some ho-hum perennials and added a few amendments last fall in my tiny sunny space to make room for a few veggies. It's gonna be too wet to work with it much in the next couple of months unless we have a drier spring.
Yeah, it's looking like it's gonna be a wet one here too. Had rain day before yesterday (I think it was), and now it's started again. And supposed to rain again on Monday. >>deep sigh>>. Oh well, at least things will be softened up enough to make digging out those Laurels easier! =) (there's always a bright side, huh?)
So far, light rain here. I think we're far enough north to miss all of the terrible weather down-state and just south of any real snow. I think we'll get an inch of slush tonight but that's about it. Starting next Tues though, it'll feel like spring with a couple of days in the 50's so I'm happy.
Well, you are! =) I can remember ever so clearly a few years back when we had oodles and oodles of snow. Hubby and I traded places every-other hour or so, from deck to driveway, shoveling and push-brooming all the snow. His back was TOAST after that day. I would NOT want the same thing happening to you; and believe it or not, "just simple" pushing with a push-broom can do it too! =/
Are you alright this morning?
Glad to hear you didn't get hit too hard with snow, Donna. I think the Chicago suburbs, especially those to the north, get hit a lot harder than we do. And most of the lake effect snow goes just to the east of us.
No snow here overnight but there's a chance for some over the weekend. The crocuses (some of them) are up but the flowers haven't dared to open yet but I bet they will come Tuesday or Wednesday. Means I probably need to go out and trim last year's foliage from the Epimediums before they start sending up buds. Should also clean the leaves away from around the hellebores as well. I can do that without tromping all over the wet lawn and beds.
Cindy and Speedie, we got less than an inch. I wondered about you, living in Indiana. The lake efect is huge. I loved in a north suburb until a couple of years ago, and we could get slammed, although it could be lovely.
The blizzard of March 29, 2009. Heavy wet snow, but a beautiful sight!
Ky - I did see that KY got hit pretty hard. Glad to hear you're ok.
Donna - lovely photos. I do love the sight of new snow but when it gets treacherous, it's not much fun except for the kids. My GD moved from TN to MI late last summer. Before, in TN, she couldn't get enough snow. I taught her a couple of years ago how to go sledding on an icy hill and she loved it. This year in MI, even though the snow is less than normal, she's already gone through one pair of snow pants. We had to get her a whole new wardrobe for winter. I'm seeing some snow flakes today but not enough to stick.
Ha! Only got half an inch. But some yahoo plowed through the front parkway and gouged out soil, and clipped a shrub. But my neighbors really caught it. It looks like someone (teenagers?) reved up in my yard in order to destroy their evergreens. They went through twice.
The two pictures are my damage. I've asked the village for seed and compost.
The others show the damage suffered by my very nice neighbors. Two miniature evergreens ruined. I feel terrible for them.
The people next door called the police. I have sent an email to Public Works asking for assistance in repairing the parkway, at least compost and seed. I just have to fill in gouges. The wife was in taers. It's obvious that they thought it would be entertaining to mow down their evergreens. I jusst happened to be next door. I was actually thinking of putting a crabapple or a yoshino cherry on the parkway (a tree was removed years ago). NOPE!
On a Saturday night in the middle of the night? Two passes? Gotta be teenagers. Mine is a quiet street. We are parallel to two passthrough streets, so we don't get much traffic.
It was a very cruel thing to do. The wife was in tears.
The member who started this thread hasn't posted since June of last year, so I guess I'll volunteer to start new threads--if anyone else wants to, that's fine, too. I have dial-up and these long threads take forever to load.