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Mid-Atlantic Gardening: How is everyone doing?

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rubyw
Crozet, VA

May 21, 2006
10:14 AM

Post #2301957

Hi folks - I was just wondering if anyone would like to share what they have been doing this first "legal" week of planting? I for one am keeping really busy and still have loads to do. My husband and I are in the middle of a very major project. We are taking our whole front yard which is actually just a very steep hill and using mulch to cover the most of it. There have been a few plants started in the area, but still a lot more to do.

As a person drives up my steep driveway, they see two huge piles of mulch and cow manure. Last summer in order to move some very large and heavy rocks we rented a bobcat, (heavy equipment) and in doing so ruined a large portion of the grass.

Now that the project has begun we have found out that I am not going to be able to tend things in lower portion of the yard. My sense of balance is way off lately. I almost have to crawl back up the hill after going down to bottom. So, hubby will have to be in charge of lower area.

I have found one really neat time saver. The large rocks that I mentioned earlier were moved to front and side of house in order to build a flower bed. I have a water spigot on the new deck that we built last summer. I am now able to water my flowers from the deck without having to go in to unlevel yard to do it.

My back yard has three much smaller beds. Yesterday morning I sowed some vegetable seeds that I hope will come up and supply us with fresh veggies. I have some tomato and green pepper plants that I haven't put in ground yet. The seeds I planted are lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots and canteloupe. Yum yum.

All right folks, I am looking forward to hearing what everyone else has been up to this week. Have a great day everyone.

Ruby
phuggins
Fairmont, WV
(Zone 6a)

May 21, 2006
11:03 AM

Post #2301990

I shoveled a yard of topsoil from my pickup into a wheelbarrow, trundled it up a hill, dumped it into my new raised herb bed, added half a dozen loads of homemade compost, mixed it all together, then wondered why I felt like someone had whacked me all over with a 2x4 the next morning. :) Man I wish I was 18 again.

I also transplanted about 200 tomato babies into bigger trays...they are small, probably won't set them out until close to June.

Bought two new books, this time on shade gardens. I pour myself a glass of wine after dark and pore over he pictures. I overheard DH mutter, Too bad we can't take a tax deduction on those darn gardening books.

pam
mickgene
Linden, VA
(Zone 6a)

May 21, 2006
12:42 PM

Post #2302128

phuggins, after having my 19-year-old nephew helping us in the garden the other day, hubby was wishing just to have his 40-year-old body back! I feel your pain.

We're making anew bed in the lower front corner, where I've had shrubs for the entire 6 years we've been here, but not much of anything else except weeds. I'm finally getting to adding the perennials and more shrubs and conifers now. But first I have to clear out the weeds. Here's how the bed looked a week ago, still many weeds with just a small section of the corners and edges planted out. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the day tomorrow. I received a large daylily shipment yesterday; so they're destined for the front bed and I have to transplant others from the front bed to the new bed. (Why did I pick the long way around??? :) )

Thumbnail by mickgene
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Bec_No_Va

Bec_No_Va
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 21, 2006
4:20 PM

Post #2302568

I just wish I had all the space y'all do, living in a townhouse I am forced to do the best I can with very limited space, still has not stopped me from going ballistic in the local nurseries and the online shopping!!
http://spaces.msn.com/beckysobsession

My camera & I have had so much fun, plants are the perfect subjects to take pictures of, they stand still and no need to tell 'em to smile!!

rubyw
Crozet, VA

May 22, 2006
5:57 PM

Post #2306003

Hi Pam - Your post made me laugh. My hubby has the same sentiments on me buying flower pots, as your hubby does with books. He has quit telling me to "not" buy any pots while out. He knows that if I see one that I like, I am going to get it.

Wow, you did a lot of work on Saturday. I am not physically able to do much of the harder work in a garden. I don't have a lot of muscle power or strength. My very favorite thing to do is to water the plants. I become lost in some other world while doing that. It brings me much peace and joy.

Why do you have so many tomato plants? Are you planning to sell them or what is your use for so many? I hope you don't mind me asking.

Anyway - thank you for taking the time to share some of your gardening chores with me. I love reading what people have been up to.

Ruby
rubyw
Crozet, VA

May 22, 2006
6:03 PM

Post #2306017

Hi Mickgene - Yep, it sounds as if you have your work cut out for you. I love day lillies. My hubby put in a bed for me last weekend. He was able to get them from his parents home which is getting ready to be sold. His mom used to raise the lillies and sell at a Farmer's Market on weekends before her age began to catch up with her.

While at his home place, my hubby also dug up several hostas that he planted in our front yard. Poor guy is getting to do all of the hard work on "my" garden. haha

Anyways, when your day lillies bloom, please post another pic for us.

Ruby
rubyw
Crozet, VA

May 22, 2006
6:11 PM

Post #2306035

WOWZERS Bec - I literally sat here with my mouth open while watching your slide show of the plants. You stated that you are "making do" with little space. I would say that you are doing extremely great with your spaces. I was trying to think of words that are even above great, but realized that I can't spell most of them. haha But, you have some really sweet looking areas.

If I were giving out awards for Best in the Show - you would win for today. Thank you so very much for sharing your pics. You do seem to be having lots of fun with your camera. (I have to take the time and figure my camera and picture program before I will be able to post any of my lovelies.) Keep yours coming our way.

Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Ruby

Bec_No_Va

Bec_No_Va
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 22, 2006
6:44 PM

Post #2306137

Thank you Ruby, I am hanging in there for a "newbie" I think!
I had so many pictures that I had to make a separate "Spaces" on MSN, so there are 3 different albums there already, some from last year.
If you need any help with the camera let me know, I have gotten quite good with mine and the various programs that come with!
ldy_gardenermd
Highland, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 22, 2006
7:25 PM

Post #2306236

What haven't I been doing! We had our log home cob gritted last year and while the process did an amazing job it also left an amazing mess. The contractor of course promised to tarp and clean up, however their idea of tarping was to cover the very much alive and growing plants and then walk on them! Well that didn't fly to well with me and I told them to forget the tarps, they promised to rake out all the cob grit, yeah and I promise to fly with my very own wings! I spent an entire day cleaning cob grit (12 cart loads!) out of the bed that runs the length of my garage. It was planted with peonies, an assortment of roses, mums and some alliums. After cleaning out all that grit I moved all the alliums to the back of the bed as they keep flopping out of the front. I then planted a mismash of iris that I have that have never bloomed in any location in my yard. I have also added a host of other plants to the bed, coreopsis, artemisia and some native asters. I put the soaker hose back in place and mulched the whole bed. I spent several more hours cleaning out the hydrangena bed and a climbing rose bed that was full of that nasty cob grit. For weed killing I can't begin to say it is bad because it makes a mat that is as hard as a brick and nothing gets through it! However that isn't a good thing when you have plants that need water on their roots! I spent Sunday morning cleaning more of that stuff out of the bed against the front of the house, I used to have an entire patch of lily of the valley that perfumed everything there. I had three pitful little stalks come up and only one bloomed!

I got rid of a bed of japanese pachysandra that has just been in the middle of my yard (previous owner). I am filling it up quickly lol, but suspect I will be pulling that mess out for years!

I took my mom twice now to http://www.sunnurseries.com/ it is WONDERFUL! If you are looking for great plants at amazing prices RUN there. I have yet to walk the entire place, but what I have seen is grand. She and I both bought a Sum and Substance hosta which is huge for $12! I also got a Blue Angel and a lot of other plants that I have spent many a day planting lol! They have a fantastic selection of evergreen minis which if I had more sun and fewer deer I would fill my yard with! I got a stunning Red Henry Rhododendron that just screamed TAKE ME HOME PLEASE! I just haven't a clue where to put it yet!

Besides all this I have of course been pulling weeds, mostly japanese stilt grass which is awful. Mowing the lawn, which I hate! Planning my next huge project which will be to pull out all of the dog rose and wild raspberries that are growing right at the wood edge of my yard. I want to clear all of that out from the front to the back around the pond and plant some of the native shrubs that I have been babying in "holding" beds. I have been clearing out the brush and scrub trees from around any and all maple leaf viburnums that I have been finding. Down back at the pond I want to get rid of the dog rose and raspberries because the ferns and Jack in the Pulpits (wild growing) are getting chased out.

Finally, the pond liner that I got for free from a member here Bluespiral was placed in the ground and has been running sort of. We are having a horrible time with the set up that we have, if I don't laugh about it I am bound to cry! See we bought a skimmer that is "supposed" to be for a preformed pond and that went into our lower pond, after much talk we purchased a new pump to run said skimmer. Well here is the catch, the pump pumps the water up into the small pond that we turned into a bio filter wonderfully and the water flows out of that pond at a perfect rate. However my engineering husband did such a great job in leveling the next liner (the one that Bluespiral gave us) that the water doesn't quite flow out of there fast enough. So what ends up happening is that the water gets stuck in that pond and the level keep dropping in the lower pond with the skimmer and well it ends up not working right. We tried a diverter on it and that seemed to work but then the water flow was so slow from the other two that it was barely a trickle. Today I was having my lunch on the deck when I head this horrible noise I looked out and saw that the skimmer box was out of the water! I run down and unplugged it and came back and called dh. I told him nothing else gets done till that gets fixed!

After all that I am pooped right now lol!
brr9270
Hanover, VA

May 22, 2006
10:45 PM

Post #2306862

I am new to gardening, and try to take on a new project every year. This last week my husband and I cleared and area and made a new bed. I have been growing some plants in my MIL's GH over the past few months, and it was so nice to set them out over the weekend. I still need to transplant some asparagus plants that I got into larger pots to save for next year.
I put in my first ever peonies, and am in love!
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

May 23, 2006
1:01 AM

Post #2307315

This past weekend has been chilly and damp. I did get my tomato plants planted in some self-watering containers that I bought from Gardeners Supply. I located them in the driveway so they will be easy to care for ( I have a health problem that will limit my gardening this season) anyways I had to cover them tonight as we could get a frost.

Hopeing this weekend is better and I fell up to playing in the dirt !


phuggins
Fairmont, WV
(Zone 6a)

May 23, 2006
10:26 AM

Post #2308334

Rubyw...yes I'm lucky to be capable of heavy manual labor. I'm a relative young 'un at DG (37) and have always been physically active...used to run distance races B.C. (Before Child :) ). I hope to keep it up as long as possible...in the meantime, I'm planting my gardens with woodies and perennials that will hopefully be reasonably low maintenance when I am older.

Oh no problem asking about the tomatoes... :) I have approximately 200 plants because I went a little bananas ordering seeds online. I'm new to gardening and decided to start seeds for the first time this year. I really wanted to try heirloom tomatoes and there were just so many varieties listed online and the seed packets were so cheap...and now here I am. :) I have room for 85 plants in my straw bale garden, and might stick a few elsewhere, and will probably give the rest away. Want any?? :) I do can, dehydrate, and otherwise preserve produce, so I'm actually less worried about what I'm going to do with all the tomatoes. (Of course, talk to me in August when I'm buried underneath a gigantic pile of them! :) )

So a bit OT...back to the "getting older" issue...I've watched my mom degenerate in the past few years and I'm terrified at the idea of getting weak and sick and not being able to do physical tasks. This is kind of a dumb question...but those of you who are older...how did you mentally/emotionally deal with having to physically slow down? Are there any benefits to aging, or should I just resign myself?

pam
phuggins
Fairmont, WV
(Zone 6a)

May 23, 2006
10:31 AM

Post #2308342

Bec--loved your slide show--what beautiful gardens in limited space! I noticed you have some sort of vine growing up a (pole?)...what is it? (I'm looking for a vine that will do well in a tight spot.)

pam
phuggins
Fairmont, WV
(Zone 6a)

May 23, 2006
10:37 AM

Post #2308349

Idy--phew!! What a workout. :) Hope you had time to sit back and relax after all that. :)

Brr--When I bought my house 3 years ago I noticed these odd red weeds poking through the leaf mulch in the back yard. I managed to convince DH to not weed whack them (that man is a terror with a power tool in the garden) and lo and behold, a big patch of peonies sprouted! I have no idea what type they are, but they are white tinged with pink and smell quite like roses. Beautiful :)

pam
rubyw
Crozet, VA

May 23, 2006
11:08 AM

Post #2308386

Okie Doke - I will speak to the "aging" question. Oh yeah, to be 37 years old again...in my dreams. Anyway Pam, I turned 50 last October. I feel so much younger, but my body is starting to tell on me.

I am like "ladygardener" and have some health issues. I have had an autoimmune system disease for over 20 years now. For about the last ten or so, I have called myself being in remission. I think that I just finally learned how to cope with the disease and so things are much better for me.

Pam, I had to deal or come to terms with basically being "disabled" in my late 20's when I became ill with Behcets Disease. What is happening to me now, is just a regular part of aging and not disease related. Well, I take that back. There is another disease that runs in my family and I thought that maybe was gonna bypass me. This summer as I have been trying to garden on a slope I have become aware that I am showing symptoms of a type of Muscular Dystrophy that my father, brother, uncle and several of my male cousins have. It usually hits around age 40, so I was given at least a ten year reprieve. It attacks strong, healthy and vigorous men and leaves them in a very weakened state. (I am female.) The MDysthrophy attacks muscles in the extremities and leaves the person with little or no muscle control. Most of the men have ended up with shoe type braces to help.

At this time there isn't a lot known about Charco Marie Tooth Disease. I haven't researched it yet, because I am gonna fight it to the bitter end. I won't let it get me down. I was able to live through about ten years of chronic and debilitating pain and come out on the other side of it, really being able to enjoy life and all that it offers. I am not going to let weak muscles get me down either.

I come from a family of fighters. My one cousin who has this MDystrophy serves in our local fire department. He doesn't actually fight fires, but does all the other services that are needed. My brother who has a pretty advanced stage of it recently wed a girl 20 years his junior. haha Like I said, we don't let it get us down.

While writing this, I suppose Pam the answer to your question about aging is: learn to adapt and do what you are able to and enjoy and be grateful for all that you can still do. And hey honey...it is way too early for you to begin preparing for old age. I have known many 80 year olds who still get out and tend their own yards and gardens. They definitely put me to shame. haha I am not sure what their secret is...maybe we should begin asking them what do they attribute long health to.

Happy Day to all of you. And thank you to all who are posting their thoughts here. I am finding it all very interesting to read. You guys are TOPS.

Ruby

Bec_No_Va

Bec_No_Va
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 23, 2006
11:20 AM

Post #2308410

Pam, them be Morning Glories and Sweet Peas!! They are another experiment, one of them "don't know if you will grow but it seems to be working" thingys. I also have some Moonflowers coming up, a Brown Eyed Susan and several Clematis and others! If it would only heat up a little more, last night was fairly cold!! I am leaving town for two weeks (vacation, yuhuuuuuuuuu) and hopefully our house/pet sitter will NOT kill anything while I am gone! :) With any luck I will come back to a still intact garden/deck and I can keep on adding to my addiction!! :) I am venturing into uncharted territories with more houseplants when I come back, I have had to curb my plant purchases in the last few weeks due to vacation time, but I will come back with a vengeance! :) I am perpetually impulsive and lots of my plants have been on a whim with no planning and reasoning! :)
Next up, indoor container gardening!!

Thumbnail by Bec_No_Va
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Bec_No_Va

Bec_No_Va
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 23, 2006
11:37 AM

Post #2308432

On the aging part...I have been bothered with Fybro Myalgia and Migraines for many, many years and like Ruby I have just learned to live with it, no, I am not "old" by any stretch of the imagination (age is just a number), I turned 40 last year. You learn to live with "age related" illnesses I guess, good eatin' and exercise is supposedly the best medicine, being I have a "sit on my rear end job" from home I am afraid I do not get even a fraction of the exercise I need, granted vacuuming 3 floors in a townhouse is 'nuf to kill me some days! I have found that inner peace and learning not to sweat the big stuff is just as healing as anything. Too many people stress over stuff they really have no control over, it has been proven time and again that your mental well-being has sooo much to do with how you feel physically! It was a lesson hard learned and many days/nights of pain later I am more at ease with life and just deal with it. Stress in today's world is a huge factor in peoples well being and health. Nope, I am not a tree-hugger, nor do I live a "zen" lifestyle, but sometimes just stopping and smelling the roses is enough to make the day go easier! But "old", not even close!! Turning 40 was the best thing (granted celebrating it in Vegas did not hurt!:) )
roxroe
Winchester, VA
(Zone 6b)

May 23, 2006
2:39 PM

Post #2308996

well now that I am on "plant restriction" (not allowed to purchase any more plants) and have planted all seed and plants except my last bed - I have mostly been weeding and mulching. Been tweaking my irrigation system and rebuilding the summer compost pile...and of course mowing mowing mowing.

Now I am trying to build new tomato towers because the tomatoes are coming on fast.
rubyw
Crozet, VA

May 23, 2006
5:58 PM

Post #2309688

Wonderful attitude Bec!!! You said it all in just a few words. Yep, I have been forced to learn to accept things that I would have certainly fought against had my health been better over the years. My illness has probably been one of the best things to happen to me. Ironic, I know but it made me a much better person for having it. I don't tend to judge others as harshly as I might have before. I am more compassionate to others in their struggles. I am a much calmer person that I was when younger.

You said it on the turning 40 gig. When I attended my 20th high school reunion "all us girls" were comparing the women that we had become to the wimps that we had been before. We grew stronger and better with each and every year that passed.

I would not go back a re-live any of the past times in my life. Too much struggling. At the age of fifty, I have really learned to be better to myself. I appreciate life like nobody's business.

While watching my own two sons and my three nieces struggle through their lives, I am able to reassure them that most of the hard times pass, or we become so much better at handling our stresses. I would like to think that I am helping them realize that worry and stress don't get you anywhere, but sick.

Again, to all of you posting. Thank you for sharing. And hey there Roxroe, don't work so hard. haha

Ruby
phuggins
Fairmont, WV
(Zone 6a)

May 24, 2006
1:05 PM

Post #2312241

Thank you everyone for your input...and putting up with my neuroses :) !

pam

Bec_No_Va

Bec_No_Va
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 24, 2006
10:05 PM

Post #2313824

roxroe- am I to understand hubby put you on "plant restriction"????

That is SOOOOOO wrong on EVERY level...I would kick, scream and pout for the rest of the growing season (& I am very, very good at it), does he not understand that a happy-plant buying-content-cheerful-wife is the wife to have!?? What is wrong with the man - tell him he is on dinner & clean underwear restriction and see how he likes it!! LOL

ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

May 24, 2006
11:48 PM

Post #2314080

Hi, Pam.
You introduced a very good question, the age thing is important. But also as we age health problems pop up, some times they pop up no matter how old you are. I'm 57 by the way.

Last year I was hit with a double wammy, 1st my back when out, found out I have 3 degenerating disks. Well that didn't stop the gardening, I got through the season. Then in November I found a lump in my breast and it is cancer, I started chemo Dec 30, had my last treatment was May 23rd. Yea!!! And then will have mastectony, date to be set. Sometime late June early July

So I have been planning my gardening carefully, First of all the chemo is making me tired so no more all day gardening, no making new flower beds or all day digging. Right now I am taking care of the "must dos" like getting what plants I have in the ground, or in my nursery bed. The other is weeding and getting the area by the patio and watergarden ready so that when I am recouperating from surgery I can sit out there and enjoy and not feel like I have to take care of a weed or whatever.

I planted the tomatoes (a must have for me) in a self-watering container and also basil in pots easy to care for.

I got a kneeler with handles that help we stand up, it also flipps over so I can use as a bench, this really helps with the back. I also found gloves with water proof fingers and palms and are cool and have snug fitting cuffs. The last type of chemo could effect the fingers and nails, and then after surgery if there is lymphnode envolvement I also have to be carefull of my right hand.

I plan to keep up with my garden journal in DG and if up to it, take lots of pictures to download and share.

roxroe
Winchester, VA
(Zone 6b)

May 26, 2006
4:30 PM

Post #2319252

wow ladygardner - that is double whammy. I hope that you are fine shortly. My best friend is having the same experience and surgery shortly. I will be thinking about you

no Bec_No_Va - my restriction is not from my DH who would never consider even suggesting this and I am sure it never crossed his mind. He is entirely too respectful and kind for that. My restriction is a result of money spent and the few places left to plant anything! Most of my ground is shade and heavy shade at that. So I spent all this time finding and planting these super shade plants. Then I planted an entire garden. So the ground is covered and the bank is empty - hence I must STOP!
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

May 26, 2006
5:11 PM

Post #2319361

Roxroe,
Wishing your friend best wishes and hugs!! And you the strength to see her through this.

Chantell

Chantell
Middle of, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 26, 2006
7:14 PM

Post #2319729

Congrads on the end of the chemo, Ladygardener!! That must be such a relief!! I keep responding to any of the daisy offers in the trade forum as my good friend just finished up her chemo a coupld of months ago and is in a new place. Daisies are her favorite - so I thought surrounding her with them might give her the peace that I feel when surrounded by the plants I love. You all that have battle cancer and/or are living with other illnesses are my heros!! So many folks whine and complain about trivial things in their lives that aren't anything compared to what ya'll go through on a day to day basis!!
I so agree with the age old sentiment (no pun intended) that age is simply a number. I am a very young, immature (LOL - my teenagers tell me to grow up - with a giggle of course) 41 year old. The only age I difficulty with was 26! How nuts is that!!??
And Becky - you are "right on" about one's mental state affecting everything including our physical health. I've worked for a psychiatrist for 7 years now and I can tell you this is a fact!! I always believed it before...now I've seen it!!

Bec_No_Va

Bec_No_Va
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7b)

May 29, 2006
4:31 AM

Post #2327271

Greetinga all from the land of the Midnightsun!!!

I am sitting on the deck with borrowed laptop, watching the sun come over the mountains, drinking waaaaay strong coffe, its 6.15 AM, I cant sleep...so I guess surfing is just as cool!! Today we are just going to relax and enjoy home & family, it is truly spring here and from the deck I can see my aunts primulas and tulips coming up! I have located every flowershop in town, which I am sure I will hit before the weeks are over, I just need to offload hubby on family and I can do my own thing!
Its been a beautiful trip so far, expensive as all get out, Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I thank god we are in my hometown now and family & friends will feed us!! A semi expensive meal in Oslo was more than you even wanna imagine, (& I could have spent on plantstuff and chocolate!!) but, the fresh seafood was so worth it! Yall be good, (I do not have spellcheck on this laptop so if the spelling is bad...sorry) When we return from the islands next week I am going to hit the stores with a vengance, they have the cooles pottery plant hangers for the windows & I feel the need to aquire some! Later, Bec

Chantell

Chantell
Middle of, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 29, 2006
12:55 PM

Post #2327716

Becky,
So glad to hear vacation has been good for the mind and soul!! That's what they're for!! Also good that you can visit with family - warm and fuzzies everywhere!! Have a wonderful time!! You'll be happy to know I have hit 2 more Giants...didn't find "your's" but found another cool...sure that's just what I need "another" one...LOL
Chantell

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