Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
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Comment by Randall Smith on December 27, 2018 at 7:08am

Best of luck with the hernia thing, Daniel. I've had two in past. Nothing to be alarmed about. Just takes one out of commission for a while.

Sounds like you've been busy with your yard. The only thing I've done recently is cleaned up the asparagus patch.

I still have persimmons hanging on the trees, but they don't taste good.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 26, 2018 at 11:51pm

Daniel, have you thought of turning the border by the house into space with a soaker hose on a timer, adding some low growing groundcover so you don't have to weed it, and keeping your plantings.

Another possibility is to plant anemone among the other plants. They spread like wildfire and squeeze out any weeds. I grew them in the space between the sidewalk and garage and it worked beautifully. 

I used hellebores beside a walkway and it self-sows, does not require care, and the new season comes up through the previous season's growth. There are many different colors from which to choose. The buds begin to form in January and mine bloomed about Spring Solstice time.

I planted Hardy Geranium, the true perennial geraniums, common name "Cranesbill," between my house and driveway and it spread beautifully. it is an easy-care for plant that grows best as a border,  or as a spreading ground cover. The deeply-cut foliage and bright flowers have a long bloom season and a neat growth habit.  I didn't clean them up in the fall or early spring.  I just let the new growth come up through the old, creating its own mulch. If you don't like it, it is very easy to pull up, transplant, or throw into the compost. 

In fact, all these plants are easily pulled out, transplanted, or thrown in the compost. They all self-sow, will fill the space available, grow well with other perennials or shrubs, and thrive with water from a soaker hose on a timer. It is easy to adjust the amount of water they get with the timer. I grew them all from seed. 

The beat mowing grass! 

Comment by Loam Gnome on December 26, 2018 at 8:46pm

I've been wanting to decommission a border by the house.  It's difficult to reach with garden hose in summer, and deer eat so much stuff, I fenced it with tall deer fencing.  As a result, it was difficult to weed too, and it became a mess.  It's not worth the effort.  I want to convert it to lawn, without losing the plantings.

In the fall, I transplanted 2 columnar apple trees.  One might die, we'll see.  A larger, 3rd one, is too big to move, so we'll see if deer go at the higher branches.  This week, I moved out some daylilies and a nice milkweed, and divided a massive sedum clump.  That's all for now, I have to pace myself.

Next are the remaining 3 big daylily clumps, and a big sage bush.  Also a dwarf buddleia, which needs pruning, first.  That's almost all.

It seems odd, gardening in late December, but it's not frozen here yet.  The plants are dormant.  I think they will survive OK.

There are also 2 big helleborus.  Im not sure I want to salvage them.  Slugs eat them and they always look sad.  And a brilliant red Oriental poppy. I might leave it for late summer.  They seem to transplant best when fully dormant and dried out.

I stopped then.  The hernia became too painful.  Surgeon will evaluatecthat on Friday.

Comment by Loam Gnome on December 20, 2018 at 9:38am

Randy,maybe a soil test is needed?  I had it done, very helpful.  I discovered I had very high iron, high potassium, and high-normal phosphorus.  The calcium was very low, magnesium was low, and copper was low-normal.  They didn't test nitrogen.  Salts were not high, and pH was very acidic.  So the most important thing in my garden was to add calcium in the form of lime or wood ashes, and magnesium as epsom salts or in dolomite lime.  Plus nitrogen (pee or milorganite or other forms).  Some of my trees went from yellowish leaves with poor growth, to lush dark green leaves.  The sweetcorn grew faster and greener too.

My state extension service does not provide tests, so I had it done commercially.  I looked up Indiana - it looked like the same is true for you.

Comment by Randall Smith on December 17, 2018 at 6:59am

My garden is resting now, covered in leaves. I, too, have been saving my pee for the garden. I wasn't too happy with my produce last season, despite the scattering urine. I'll blame it on something else.

Spud, I see red-tailed hawks all the time around here. Many people don't appreciate them since they take kittens and chickens. Since I don't have either, I like them.

Daniel, take it easy!

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 17, 2018 at 2:29am

Daniel, thank you for your encouragement, yet again!  Yes, I think a blog is a place to document my memories; fun for me, maybe not for anyone else. But, what the heck, at least my reveries will outlive me. 

Your ambition amazes me with moving beds and adding to others requires a lot of physical effort. I hope Rufus calls you back to the house for a nice refreshing drink and a rest. 

I like your strategy of nourishing your garden. Let nothing go to waste. 

Comment by Loam Gnome on December 16, 2018 at 5:31pm

Spud, that's great about the hawk!  They are a much needed predator.  Having a hawk nest would be wonderful.

I put up a barn owl box, but after 4 years there are still no occupants.  They eat a huge number of rodents.   It's on a portable post, mounted on a post made from a kid's basketball hoop system with wheels. Maybe I should move it.

Comment by Idaho Spud on December 16, 2018 at 1:56pm

I've lived in this city for about 29 years and don't remember seeing a hawk before.  Today, I stepped outside, and a hawk took off with what looked like another bird or squirrel in its talons.  

I hope it's a squirrel and the hawk has a nest here.  Those squirrels are cute, but a pest.  They destroy my apricots.

Comment by Loam Gnome on December 16, 2018 at 12:05pm

Joan, how are your memories from earlier life? You are a great treasure.  You have done so much.  I would love if you are able to recall, for example, "In 1950, here's what happened and here's what I did.  In 1960, etc".  I know your family would treasure that as  well.  Even sitting down and doing a blog post, one paragraph at a time, once a day, would be immensely wonderful.  And if not, you still did and experienced those things, and that too is enough.

Yesterday in my garden, I expanded one of the beds by about 2 feet, so it has new space 2 feet by 8 feet.  I plan to decommission two beds that are in an easement that until now has not been usable because of wetland laws.  The laws are changing, and I don't want to worry about having some of my garden paved over.  So, what little is there, I will move to a new area.

Unfortunately, despite being very careful digging, I was in some pain last night.

I want to expand some other spots, mostly just add a foot or two of width to beds that are around 30 feet long.  That will more than cover the beds I want to abandon.  As for those old ones, maybe I'll plant them with rows of annual wildflowers.  If they get paved over, not a big loss.

On a somewhat gross topic for some people, I decided to save pee for the cypress trees.  When I did that two years ago, they grew much faster.  About a quart per tree, diluted to a gallon and watered around the tree's drip line.  The youngest are 6 feet tall, the oldest now about 12 feet tall.  My theory is the roots will take up the nitrogen and phosphorus when the soil permits, and they will have a head start for Spring.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on December 14, 2018 at 8:05pm

Joan, your appreciate today attitude is great. I've been living more day to day myself. Most of my garden is brown mush now, with one green holdout.


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