Garden log, 6.13.14

The tomatoes overgrew their stakes, and it’s only mid-June. I removed the stakes and replaced them with a trellis. The trellis uprights are two 1-inch bamboo poles, and the laterals are the tomato stakes I had been using. Lashed everything together with Boy Scout knots (feeling very proud of my handiwork); it looks quite nice, if I may say so.

How big are these ground cherry plants going to get? They’re 3′ x 3′ now and we have quite a long summer to go. There’s lots of real estate underneath those leaves so if it gets out of hand I will try putting some lettuce underneath.

Planted seeds of ‘Blue Hubbard’ and ‘Waltham Butternut’ squash yesterday, plus more shiso  (first seedlings died) and eggplant ‘Listada di Gandia.’ Today I’m getting in ‘Contender’ bush beans, ‘Yellow Pear’ cherry tomatoes, and some ‘Lazy Housewife’ shelling beans.

Working away on trying to get the new garden spaces in the back under control. Transplanted Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell’ to a new spot near the deck, replacing ‘Sophy’s Rose,’ which died. Also moved the massive English lavender to this bed. While it doesn’t get quite the full sun it got on the south side of the house, it is close. It’s sitting high and dry just off the deck stairs, and should get reflected sun from the stairs and the brick patio beyond. Absurd downpours and high humidity the past few days have left it looking quite depressed, but perhaps it will rebound soon. Planted seedlings of nicotiana, transplanted a Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ and weeded. Oh, the weeds.

The transplanted Rosa ‘Generous Gardener’ cl. has put on vast amounts of new growth, all of it fresh and healthy looking. I am impressed with what I believe are the results of feedings with nettle compost tea. If the nettles aren’t themselves working, they’re a brilliant placebo.

I need to move the Japanese maple before it gets too big  but it doesn’t make sense to do this before fall; it will just be too hot, and who knows what kind of moisture we’ll have this summer. I’ve also got to get rid of a rangy ash tree first; the only place for it to come down is right where I want the maple to go. If only I could find a money tree in a nursery catalogue.



Before the freeze

It’s going to get really cold tonight (for here), and possibly snow a bit, though not enough for the kids to miss school (hurrah!). The schools often cancel classes at the slightest suggestion of snow, so I’m proud of them for holding off. For now.

A bag of garlic sits on my kitchen counter, patiently waiting for me to plant it.   Unfortunately, I don’t have ground prepared properly for it, and life, as it so often does, reprioritized things for me so that I never got the containers I planned to use to grow it.  I am interested in companion planting and in mixing ornamentals and vegetables in the same garden beds, though, so I ran out as it began to almost-sleet to pop in some of the garlic by Rosa ‘Sophy’s Rose.’ Five cloves, six inches apart, right in front of the shrub. I  write this to help me remember they are there, because in spring I expect their greenery to be mixed in with lots of other green bits. Already I realize that the garlic is likely mixed in with the pale pink Chionodoxas I planted but forgot to mark.

I planted one fat clove in a crowded container with Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ before realizing there wasn’t room for more. Roses are said to combine well with alliums and their relatives (onions, garlic, and chives): gardening folklore, if not science, advises that alliums repel borers, aphids, moles, and black spot.  Half a dozen cloves went into the container with the snap peas, and a dozen cloves in with the mixed herbs and sorrel. I still have half a head to go. Maybe this is not the time to order shallots.

Deer: They always find us.

I had a good run of things, but last night, the deer found me. I walked out this morning to find all the lovely, fat buds on my daylilies munched halfway down, leaving sad, wet little stubs. They also did an effective pruning job on one of my roses.

I do have some Plantskydd in the shed, so I guess it’s time to break it out and see if it works as promised. It had better; it cost enough.


Garden log, 5.28.13


Today was a day for long-postponed garden chores: cutting back stalks of bearded and Dutch iris, deadheading roses and peonies, pruning back boxwoods. I am halfway through the boxwood hedge, reducing each plant by a third and thinning them to provide better air circulation. Removed some twiggy branches off a hickory and a droopy elm branch that had started to interfere with foot traffic through the garden. Pinched back Viburnum tinus and the camellias in the white garden.

Over the weekend, a neighbor was rumored to have found a copperhead in her garden. This reminded me that they often nest in piles of leaves, of which I have more than one or two lying around. Pulled on the long pants and rubber boots; got to work shredding the pile closest to the kids’ play area; hope to get to them all before the weekend. Sunny, 83 degrees.