Friday, January 31, 2020

Follow-Up on Mistakes- Corrections Made

A quick follow-up to show off the work done to make the front garden look a little better. I have most, though I know not all the Creeping Jenny out of the bed. We will see how much more work in the growing season it will take to finish the removal.
One quick trick for adding mulch to a bed where there are small or emerging plants- turn an empty flower pot over the plant and add mulch. Once the mulch is added, just remove the pots and smooth out the mulch to tuck in the plant.

While working with my nose almost at ground level while adding mulch, I found a bunch of Columbine seedlings from last year's blooms. Seeds for this Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana were from my friend, fellow blogger Vicki.

Seedlings the size of my thumbnail
Without fanfare- here is the finished garden, just in time before today's inch of rain!

Another view, could get another five or more yards of mulch to top dress the large center garden. Maybe it will happen in the spring!

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Mistakes Were Made

We all make mistakes in the garden. Sometimes the consequence is small and easily fixed and other times the correction takes time and a lot of effort. I have had to take shrubs out that were supposed to be four to six feet at maturity, they were over eight feet and growing. That mistake correction took a bit of elbow grease, digging up as many of the roots of said shrubs and dragging them into the woods to decompose. The culprit? Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'Daruma'. It was billed as a dwarf. While I know the straight species can get twelve to fifteen feet tall, I had hoped this would behave better. In the photo below you see the large shrub covering a bay window? That is the mistake shrub.

Unruly, Unpruned, and Unsightly

  I pruned this Loropetalum often, each time it felt like it wasn't enough to get ahead of the rapid growth. This garden has always been in flux. Trial and error, mostly error.

Pruned but still largely covering the window

Bushes cut- check

Roots getting dug out

New small shrubs were purchased and planted. Raw soil and clay still exposed, mulch needs to be added but first one of the other mistakes needs to be addressed. Does my current mistake fall under the "easy to fix" or "time and effort" category? I think it is a middle of the road mistake. 

Do you see the yellow ground cover? Yes, this is my current mistake to be addressed. Creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'

I know, I know. I knew it would spread but I thought I could contain it within the small garden area. Well, it had other ideas. Creep it did, through the Purple Pixie Loropetalum chinense 'Peack' and the  Salvia farinaceae 'Victoria Blue' and into the Dianthus gratianopolitnus 'Firewitch'. This is unacceptable! I did like the contrast in foliage though- bright yellow and purple or blue-green or even a bright red Salvia (name unknown) each made the other pop. 

Firewitch Dianthus and Jenny

Red Salvia pops against the bright yellow

Since digging up the aforementioned Loropetalum I have been hand pulling the bright yellow mistake. I have a large black plastic bag I have been adding to on a regular basis. Usually I just toss pulled vegetation into the woods to break down. This is too invasive so it will decompose in the black plastic bag. Well, I have not been able to keep up with the aggressive ground cover. Time to attack it with vigor. Today's plan is to take the shovel and dig out the Lysimachia and sift out the roots and any above ground growth. Any clean soil will be replaced. Plants in this area I want to keep will be dug up, root checked for any wayward Lysimachia, then replanted afterward. I don't want to use an herbicide if I can do it without. Time will tell whether I was able to get all of it removed. Later this week I will get some mulch and top dress this garden and other spots in the yard that need mulch. Time to get busy. Stay tuned for some after photos, hopefully without Creeping Jenny.

Do you have gardening mistakes? How do you address them?

©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, January 6, 2020

Do You Buy Plants Without Knowing Where They Will Be Planted?

A couple of years ago I started a post about this garden in my backyard. (I never finished it until tonight.) There is a large plant sale in our area (I use 'area' loosely- this sale is almost 2 hours away). I have gone three or four times since we moved here. Prices are getting higher, so I am not sure that I will frequent the sale regularly.

At this sale I bought a handful of Camellias and Azaleas. Not knowing where to plant the Camellias I decided to create a new garden bed. I am of the frame of mind that if grass doesn’t grow well in a spot in your yard, then mulch it and make a new garden. This area is on the north side of the house, under the deck overhang. It would be protected, have some morning sun and plenty of shade midday through the afternoon.

The plants were planted, garden created with the help of a certain German Shepherd. I planted a couple of the Camellias; C. sasanqua ‘Ashley Eden’, C. sasanqua ‘Elizabeth Ann’, and C. sasanqua ‘Leslie Ann’ and two azaleas, Rhododendron ‘Delaware Valley White’. One of the compost tumblers was ready to be spread. Compost and mulch and some newspaper under the mulch, voila - a garden.

I have a couple wagons that I make good use of in the garden. This one is one that dumps, and spreading mulch goes quickly when you can dump and go. Yes, I used some newspaper over the compost but under the mulch. It was a thin layer and decomposed pretty quickly. Chickweed and Poa annua grass run rampant in our yards where grass is thin. Some kind of weed block to give me a head start was needed.

Midway through the garden prep Liebling was very interested in something in the back near the wall. What was it? A baby Eastern Rat snake, one of the good guys.

Phase one of the new garden done! Unfortunately two of the Camellias did not do well. One was moved out front and seems to be doing better. ‘Ashley Eden’ remains and has bloomed a couple of times, she is still quite small, maybe eighteen inches tall.

The azaleas bloomed well and are settling into their new garden. I like having white blooms, the whiteness really pops in the shade. Between the shrubs are some ferns. I figure you can’t go wrong with ferns. This fall I also planted some Trillium, we will see how well they do. I planted Trillium in the large shaded garden a couple years ago and have no idea where they are. It might be too much leaf litter.

Phase two- the garden was expanded. The mulched area now goes along the edge of the patio under the deck. A few square cement blocks were added in the widest part of the bed so no one walks on any plants. Yes, I did add more. I divided my daffodils in one of the front gardens and needed a spot to put them. As I write the four clumps of daffodils are coming up. Most are about six inches of fresh green foliage already. Later this year I will place some stepping stones in a better pattern, when I know where all the daffodils are growing! At the end of the wall is very wet from the French drain and a downspout outlet. Since this edge of the garden gets sun, I planted a few Mountain Mint that I was dividing. What was I thinking?? I may need to put an edging around the mint.

July 2019

Oh,inquiring minds might ask what the plant is that is hanging over the wall. It is Edgeworthia chrysantha. This is one plant. Apparently it is happy there. I have five along that side of the house, all are quite large. Next month the blooms will be at their peak, sending glorious fragrance through the garden.

July 2019

Back to the question in the title of this post. Seems I always fall in love with a plant or a bargain on a plant (or ten) and then have to come up with ideas as to where they might thrive in my garden. What do you do?

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