Sunday, July 12, 2020

Planting Trees, Root Wash and Grandkids

Cercis canadensis 'Carolina Sweetheart'
What do all three of these things have in common? Bear with me- there is a connection. We who plant trees know that it is best to untangle roots and spread them out in the direction of their growth. Many trees are sold bare-rooted and it is pretty easy to spread out the roots. What do you do if the trees are sold in a container? Root Wash!!

While many of us have had a time with the year 2020, I have had an additional dimension that has brightened the year. We started off the year with no grandchildren and by the end of the year we will have two! To celebrate the babies, I wanted to plant a tree in each one's honor. 

This idea was one borrowed from my friend Julie Adolf who has a beautiful tree for her daughter. Each birthday a photo of her daughter is taken with (or in) the tree. Since this daughter is now in college it has been fun to watch the growth of both daughter and her tree over the years via these photos. I wanted to do something similar for my grandchildren. Both daughters live hours away in different states, so I am not sure that birthday photos will be made, but hopefully, yearly photos can be taken. 

First grandbaby to be
First the tree choices had to be made. For the first baby, I chose a Redbud, Cercis canadensis 'Carolina Sweetheart'. Winter is the best time to plant in our area, so it was planted before Christmas last year. The Carolina Sweetheart was found locally and planted. As this tree has bloomed and leafed out this spring I am not certain it is the variety I wanted, multiple horticulturists have said it is not. It might be a 'Merlot' or 'Forest Pansy', both dark leaf Redbuds. Time will tell. Mistaken labeling is a topic for another post, in the meanwhile-on with the tree plantings! Our lovely model standing next to the tree planted for her baby. 

Second baby's tree is also a Redbud, Cercis canadensis 'Rising Sun'. While it was also planted in the winter, it was planted later than the 'Carolina Sweetheart'. Both trees had a root wash done when planted. I only photographed the second one. 

Beautiful spring foliage after blooming

Second tree was in a seven gallon container, as we have clay soil and lots of rocks, I wasn't interested in a larger container. Well, that's not completely true, larger containers means more roots, a good thing, it also means a large hole to dig. I try to limit my digging to a manageable amount. 

Rising Sun awaiting placement
See the rocks?

Did  I mention some of the rocks in the yard? I found two good sized ones that now adorn the base of the tree. As I dug and dug I was worried that I needed to move the placement of the hole- not sure how big the rock was that I was hitting. Luckily I finally unearthed the rocks and continued with the hole. 

Hole dug, time for the hose, the wheelbarrow, and patience. Taking the tree out of the container, handling it carefully, moving it by holding the stake in the pot or the root mass I began my task. 

Slowly rinsing and turning, turning and rinsing, I worked the roots out of the potting material. I dumped the full wheelbarrow into the hole and continued rinsing and turning the root ball. 

The yard was getting soggy as I continued.

Finally progress could be seen. When trees, and shrubs for that matter, are grown for long periods in containers their roots will have nowhere to grow but in a circular fashion. If allowed to continue in that manner the roots will girdle the trunk of the tree and like a boa constrictor, strangle the tree. Washing the roots from the soil in the container, you could straighten the roots from their limited growth pattern. Sometimes root pruning might be called for, though not in this case. Root pruning is eliminating a severe tangle of roots or a hard curve that can't be straightened out. I hate to cut any root material, it can stunt the tree. 
After the roots are free they are spread out in the hole, radiating from the trunk. Keeping the tree level and straight, soil was replaced, making sure not to plant too deeply. The tree was finally planted. Having a couple bowling ball sized rocks from the hole, I was able to anchor the root ball and kept it straight while the roots made their way, settling in their new home. 
Planted and mulched with pine straw

Pardon the amateurish arrows drawn on the photo below, but you can see where each of the grandbaby trees is planted. I can see each from the front door. 

Spring growth, first are the blooms then the leaves appear. Two beautiful trees in my landscape. One for each of my grandchildren.

Rising Sun with its golden foliage
Carolina Sweetheart or Merlot?


I love the epicormic buds on Redbuds 

The Cercis canadensis 'Rising Sun' new foliage is sunny yellow with a hint of reds and oranges. So far the foliage is still yellow. I can't wait for the fall color to see how much more of a show this beauty puts on. 

Those heart shaped leaves just glow in the morning light, the rising sun.

Both trees are doing well, still in their first season of growth. We have been lucky to have a good amount of rainfall, always helpful for newly planted trees. Both babies have been born. We are the proud grandparents to a boy and a girl. Both moms are doing great and the babies are perfect in every way. One day life will be such that we can visit and hug our family members who live in another place. Stay healthy and be safe my friends. 
What do you do to celebrate the birth of a child in your life? 
How do you plant your trees?


©Copyright 2020 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Mid-February Garden Blogger Bloom Day 2020

One of the blogging memes that has been going for a long time is the Garden Blogger Bloom Day. I haven't participated in a long time but am jumping back in. Every month, on the 15th, is Garden Blogger Bloom Day, or GBBD. The meme is hosted by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens. Be sure to go over to Carol's blog and see what's blooming in other areas.

One of my new pet peeves is blogs not saying up front where they are located. I don't mean your mailing address but what is your zone, what state do you live in? That said- I live in the Upstate of South Carolina, zone 7b- 8a. I am right on the line. Living on the lake helps moderate the temperatures so I am claiming 8a.

On to the blooms.

We have had a very mild winter so far and many plants are saying, "hello".  I went outside this morning with new camera in hand to get some shots- after a few photos the battery light was blinking red. Bummer. The cell phone came out. The photos are a mix of both.
Starting with the daffodils- there are so many blooming right now. Some varieties are known, but not all.
Narcissus 'Carlton'

N. 'Barrett Browning'

N. 'Ice Follies'
N. 'Erlicheer'

possibly N. 'Avalanche'

N. 'Barrett Browning' and N. 'Carlton'
One of the nice things about our Garden Blogger Flings is the wonderful sponsors who share tools, products, plants, and seeds with us. The above daffodils were swag from Colorblends a few years ago. They sent you bulbs based on your location. I received 'Gritty Southern Mix' and they have done great!
Another bulb that I kept looking for and didn't see emerging. Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis. All of a sudden, there it was!!

Iris reticulata, a sweet little iris

Let's move along through the garden- so many blooms!!
Another spring favorite are Helleborus. Some named, some pass-along plants- all great!

Helleborus orientalis 'Brandywine Series'

H. orientalis 'Brandywine Series'

View from the deck- Edgeworthia with Helleborus under planted

H. ballardiae x 'COSEH 710' 'Pink Frost'

Next up are the trees and shrubs that are in bloom.
Viburnum tinus  'Spring Bouquet'

Edgeworthia chrysantha 

Forsythia x intermedia

Lean in and take in the fragrance! Osmanthus fragrans Tea Olive

Flowering quince Chaenomeles sp.

Magnolia 'Jane'

Loropetalum chinese 'Ever Red'
"Close to the ground" group-
Iberis sempervirens, Candytuft

Violet, Viola walteri 'Silver Gem'

And last but not least- Gaillardia, it is a sporadic bloomer during the late fall through early spring. Once summer comes, it is in bloom full force.

Thanks for stopping by to see my blooms for GBBD. Be sure to stop by Carol's blog to see more gardens. 

©Copyright 2020 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Blogging and Flinging

Why blog? Why Fling? Eleven years ago I could answer the first question. I just started this blog and it was going to be a garden journal of sorts. The frequency of my posting waxed and waned, depending on what was going on in my life. I wanted to keep track of what was going on in my garden when we lived in Virginia. Once we moved to South Carolina I had a new property, new garden, MORE gardens to fill, more journal material to record.

Photo from my first post

Blogging is a two-way street for many of us. You write your post and hope someone reads it and comments. You in turn read others' posts and let them know by commenting on their post. Many used pseudonyms for themselves and any family members mentioned in the blog. As we got to know each other our true names were used. The more blogs you read the more bloggers you  got to know, sort of an electronic pen-pal.

Chris Mello's Garden, Asheville, NC

Chris Mello's Garden Asheville, NC

Flinging takes the blogging to a new level. The full name was Garden Blogger Spring Fling, we have since dropped 'Spring'. Each year a few bloggers host a Fling in their area, plan visits to public and private gardens, host/cater a dinner, and arrange bus transportation and a hotel, and invite garden bloggers from all around the world to attend. My first Fling was in Asheville, NC. Knowing certain bloggers were attending, you looked for friends who you haven't met yet. Their blog names might be the only name you know. I remember overhearing one of the bloggers ask another, "Who is the Queen of Seaford? Is she here?" Strangers in person, pen-pals online and now friends. This coming Fling will be my ninth one.

Keeyla Meadow's Garden San Francisco 

Viewing the gardens is always fun. You might see familiar plant material or you might see completely foreign plants. You can appreciate color and design. You might want to try something you have seen- will it work in your horticultural zone? Broaden your horizons.
Timing for the Flings varied -different climates and different seasons, you don't want to tour Texas in July and Toronto in May might be a tad chilly. The Flings are during the growing season best suited for each location.

Outside the hotel in Toronto
Here's where the coming back again and again makes for friendship bonds that last over the years, getting stronger with each gathering. Whether you read each others' blogs or Facebook posts or Instagram pages, each Fling you get to know each other better and better.
Maya (from California) and Beth ( host for this coming year's Fling in Madison, WI)

Bus rides are great for getting to know each other
First time Flingers have a  newbie designation on their name tag. We who are not first timers search out newbies to say hello, make them welcome, and make life long friends. Each year we in the Carolinas/Georgia try to get a group photo. Texas bloggers seem to have the largest number of attendees. There are some very charming ladies from Great Britain who have been numerous times. Friends from across the pond! Canada is well represented each year. Photo below - two Canadians, one Brit, one Northerner and a couple of Southerners (one behind the camera).

Breakfast before we fly out Monday morning

NC/SC/Georgia group

Evening gathering grows, adding table after table
Whether you go home with plans for your garden or memories of great gardens with killer views, the Fling is always a good time. We have been rained on, more than once, endured some really hot afternoons, and love every memory made.

Denver Fling- see the mountains in the distance?

More than one of us talked about trying to make our own rock garden

I will end this post with a photo of one of my favorite gardens (minus the mosquitoes) outside of Denver. Interested in joining the group and coming to a Fling? If you write a garden blog you have met one of the requirements. The rest of the guidelines can be found here. Lots more info about this year's Fling in Madison can be found at I know I shared many of these thoughts in a post earlier this year, but it certainly bears repeating. Registration for Madison is now open, time to sign up!
Both the hosts have lined up a wonderful weekend for us. Come and join us!

©Copyright 2020 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.