June 11, 2016
Blooms are Coming
A few things have managed to bloom even though we are having a cool, dry spring:
The iris is from Cop Car - planted last summer. I'm surprised it bloomed as conventional wisdom says not to expect blooms for 2-3 years after dividing. I had a couple of this color bloom, and several purple iris bloom (you can see some in the background behind the lupine in the picture below)
I don't think the rhodies out front ever have a bad year - no matter how bad they look after a winter!
A red squirrel was scolding me as I was reading under the crabapple tree.
This is an area that during early spring I had pulled everything I could; poison ivy, blackberries and oriental bittersweet were prevalent along with some "good" plants, but I didn't discriminate. The last 3 weekends I have sprayed for poison ivy and the invasive vines. Last weekend, after spraying and letting it dry for several hours, I covered it with heavy plastic, heavy gardener's fabric, then mulch. Hopefully the smothering will finish off the stuff in that area.
I have to smother a 3-4' section alongside the back of that rock wall too. Then I will be religiously spraying in and around the rock wall and the huge stump all summer and into the fall (that is about a 3' diameter stump that poison ivy has thoroughly entrenched itself on the right).
I knew I had poison ivy coming out of the trees behind the house, and out of the swamp to the right of the house, but yesterday I found a good size patch just outside the fence on the left side of the property toward the back corner. I'm officially surrounded :(
May 22, 2016
A Few Spring Pictures
Not much happening besides mowing, work and other mundane things, but some of the plant life around here is finally convinced spring has arrived.
Phlox with a Primrose backdrop
The crab apple tree - it didn't have a real good bllom this year. I caugh this at what I thought was the beginning of the bloom on 5/13, but it was actually the best day to take the pic
Last weekend I could tell what vehicles were in that parking lot behind my house, andsee people walking down that street. The leaves were budding, but not in the way. This pic was taken yesterday.
The lilacs and forsythia did not bloom well this year, which I knew would happen since I severely pruned them during the summer (after this year's flower buds had developed). Some of the plants I put in last year are starting to develope, but it will be another year or two before they are picture ready. Other plants don't seem to have survived the winter; None of the redbud trees are even trying to put out any growth and 3 roses were lost (the two by the front door are coming back though). Looks like even some of the winterberry was lost, while others are coming in.
Hoping to find some time to work in the yard during the summer, bring some sapplings down, plant some shrubs that I overwintered in pots etc., but with my current schedule and the weather pattern, I'll be happy if I can just keep the lawn mowed and weeds down to a minimum in existing plant beds.
May 01, 2016
Yesterday was an awesome day to get out and do some yard work; it was in the mid 50's, sunny, with a light breeze. I got out and raked leaves and limbs (this pic is just one of the piles of leaves.
I saved the 3 cu/ft bags from mulch I laid down last year and stuffed those full of leaves (you can cram quite a bit in there, just keep compressing and compressing). The bags are of a nice thick plastic, and even when a hoe or tear develops, it doesn't enlarge from pressure as it would using normal trash bags. Using those, and a large trash barrel, I loaded up the truck to take it all to the dump's brush pile.
There are some large limbs below all the bags, but since I had done a limb cleanup last month, I didn't have a second load to take. The pellet bag (yellow/tan bag) and the white trash can are my trash and recyclables. You probably can't see it, but the 33 gal trash can full of leaves and sticks is in the front of the bed, on the right side. You can just see the handle sticking up toward the middle of the windshield.
Although I threw most of the mulch bags away after dumping the leaves, I did save 3 of them for future yard work. I'm sure I'll get more mulch later in the season, so will replenish my stock then. Between what the former owners left in the house for large plastic bags (I still have a box of them), mulch bags and pellet bags (for household trash and lining the kitty litter bucket), I don't think I've bought any sort of trash bag since I moved here :) .
I have been getting good use out of the Explorer - I couldn't have done this in one trip with the Patriot - heck, the trash barrel would have to lay down (I've used that barrel a lot for transporting detritus from various demolition projects).
April 23, 2016
Happy Birthday Cop Car
Cop Car's birthday was a couple of days ago - although her card should have made it to her on time, my blog posting is a bit belated. However, my Hyacinths bloomed right in time so these pics are for her.
Love you lots Mom!
April 17, 2016
First 2016 Spring Flowers
Sad but true, here are all the flowering plants at this time; two English Primrose - one whcihc is much more expesed to wind and cold so is still showing affects from the really cold day a couple of months ago - but it is going for the flower, so I assume it will survive.
The bulbs I planted last year are coming up
Sadly, the gardens will most likely suffer this year as I will not be able to do any work at night, and weekends I have other house projects I want to get done. However, I'm not saying nothing will get done as I never know what I will be in the mood to work on.
October 24, 2015
Last Rose of the Season
Queen Elizabeth gave me the last rose for this year. I picked it on 10/16/15 so I could enjoy it for a while. It lasted for a week in a vase.
September 26, 2015
Dark Corner Brightened Up
When I last left you, the dirt pile that I had accumulated from all the garden planting had been reduced by some nice young men. Last weekend I consolidated what was left, and moved the pile so that I could get some root bound hollies planted. I was amazed that I still have about a truckload left, but this is true fill with a lot of tree roots, so will be hard to get rid of. But that is not the point of this post.
Once I got the consolidation complete, I installed hollies in the back section. Since that area had been covered up most of the season I didn't have to remove any sod - just removed a bit of soil to make the area a bit more even. The hollies, from left to right: Blue Princess and Blue Prince hollies, then two sets of China Couple hollies
I planted the front row, then took a break to run down to the local Agway for mulch. Of course I found some bulbs to plant:
And, the final product. The front row of very small plants (they will grow to 2-4' eventually) contains two rose Cletras, two Cardinal Viburnum, and a Blue Princess holly. Hyacinths and other bulbs planted between
The corner these are planted in is fairly dark as it is shaded by trees most of the day. The red berries on the hollies should help brighten it up a bit. The hollies are evergreen and should grow tall enough to hide some of the buildings behind during the winter.
By far the easiest and fastest garden project this season.
Oh, and by the way, somehow I still have a bunch more plants still in pots (plus the 3 poor roses that are in large planters. Why yes, I did find a great sale online - LOL
In that shot (in no particular order) are Snowmound Spiraea, Indian Summer Rudbekia, Chadwickii Pyracantha, Rose Creek Abelia, Rumba Weigela, Dark Horse Weigela, Coppertina and Centerglow Ninebarks.
September 20, 2015
Proof You can get Rid of Anything on CL
With all the digging I've been doing getting in gardens, I acquired a very large dirt pile that I didn't know what to do with. So, I put it on Craig's List. This is how the pile looked on 8/22 and I added more when I put in the extension to the trailer-side garden:
This is how it looked Thursday night after 3 nice young men took a large truck bed full
This is after another truckfull left on Friday (same kid came over with his dad instead of his two buddies this time).
There is still a little more left, but it is manageable. I just have to get it all back into a pile, then I can plant some very root bound holly - they should be very happy!
August 28, 2015
Still More Gardens
Last weekend I tackled getting more plants into the ground. I extended the shrub / perennial garden by the fence next to the properties that contain the trailer and apartments. I had covered that section with newspaper and landscape fabric to help keep weeds to a minimum after the neighbor "helpfully" removed all the leaves I had piled there. additionally he "helped" by pulling up and discarding some cotoneaster starts that I had gotten from a former neighbor. Never did find those, and yes, the neighbor got the full b*tch treatment - especially since the cops have been called several times to tell him to keep off my property. He's brain damaged, so can't do much but yell at him. Anyway, this was the before on Saturday afternoon:
It took about 3 hours to get the sod pulled up:
Then the planting started:
As you can tell, Saturday evening I still had a section that was bare (to the right of the redbud tree, which has a tree ring around it).
Sunday I went to a BBS looking for mulch, but I found plants on sale. Earlier in the year I had coveted Kalmias (mountain laurel - a native plant), but wouldn't pay the price they were asking. But, on sale, I decided to get a couple. I wasn't impressed with the mulch offerings, so I passed on that. However, I did stop at the local Agway on the way home, and they had great natural cedar mulch. And, of course I had to look at plants they had on sale and I scored some hollies and daylilies.
So, I filled in with more plants, laid landscape fabric on the perimeters and layered newspaper in between plants, and finished off with mulch:
Very left side - that redbud was there, as was the top, left male winterberry. I added (front l-r) Sneeze Weed, Round Midnight daylily, Bigger & Better Echinacea, and unknown daylilies that I got from someone a couple months ago. In the back, I added female winterberry (very hard to see it is so small), a clematis, then a male winterberry.
Front: Echinacea (seen in previous pic), daylily, foxglove (from former neighbor) then a newly planted redbud. Back: The clematis seen previously, a male winterberry and another clematis.
Front: Kalmia, Pardon Me daylily, kalmia, Japanese iris. Back: Two female winterberries and the last male winterberry.
And - the whole enchilada (the timbers are not "set", just laying there)
Oh, and what garden project would be complete without 1 big rock to dig up? Good thing this was in a sandy area because it was big enough, and situated in such a way that I had to "float" it up: dig around it, wedge it up, shove sand under - wash, lather, rinse, repeat about a dozen times.
The sad part is, when I finished on Saturday, I had 3 potted roses, 1 China Couple holly duo, a couple of day lilies and some Japanese iris left to plant. Once I got this garden completed, I ended up with 3 roses, 2 coneflowers, several lilies, 3 single hollies, 2 lavenders and 2 holly couples to plant.
August 23, 2015
Another Front Flower Garden
Last Sunday I decided I had to get more plants in the ground - it was the middle of August and winter is approaching fast. To the right of the front door stairs, I have been keeping several roses and other perennials that I potted up until I was ready to plant them. Made for pretty flowers by the steps, and kept them all together to make for easy watering.
Unfortunately I didn't take a before picture, but it wasn't pretty with a bunch of pots, one planted hosta, and a bunch of tall grass and weeds in between. I moved all the plants to under a tree and removed all the sod from the area, then planted, placed landscape timbers and landscape fabric, then hauled pea gravel. Pretty funny that I had to haul the gravel since it was only about 15 feet away, but I certainly wasn't slinging it at the plants.
Obviously that picture was before I moved gravel. Don't know why I don't have a picture with the gravel from this angle. Anyway, in the front (L-R) creeping phlox (2 different batches), hosta (planted when I did the planting by the lilies in front), Coneflower.
Behind (L-R) Easter Basket Rose, Gertrude Jekyll rose. Way back right (you'll see in next picture) is Gay Feather (aka Blazing Star - a native plant) that a former neighbor gave to me.
Once I was done, I still had lots of plants left - roses, Rudbekia, holly and a couple of male winterberries. And, that doesn't count what I still have in the raised bed I have been using as a holding garden (female winterberries, named day lilies, redbuds etc.).
The 2 yards of pea gravel was too big a pile to be covered completely by the 25' tarp (top and bottom), and I had to use another piece of plastic on the downhill side to keep it dry. I certainly don't have that problem now!