Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Compost is going to happen!

I have had bins, I have had big round compost heaps and they have all had the same frustrating outcome…no compost.  I admit it, I want to dump it and forget about it.  My worms make awesome compost and compost tea, but it’s not very much even with all I feed them.  So I decided to get myself a new compost bin.
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Every gardner needs a compost bin right and this one it’s a spinning style with two chambers.  I can’t wait to start filling it up with kitchen scraps and some leaf matter and maybe some grass clippings!  I am hoping that with the ability to turn it and the fact that I can sit it somewhere that it will actually get some sun that I’ll actually get compost.  I want compost for my garden not just my house plants and containers.
Wish me luck!

Woodland weeding…

 

I don’t have normal weeds, then again, I don’t have your typical garden either.  Remember I’m carving my garden out of a section of weeds, I mean woods.

When I think of the woods I think of several inches of rich moist leaf matter scattered below a lovely canopy of trees.  I think of understory trees and native flowers scattered through out and sun light being gently filtered onto the forest floor.  That however is not my reality.

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This is my reality.  A mess of weeds that I don’t know what they are, plus the ones that I do know and hate with a passion!  Japanese honeysuckle and oriental bittersweet mat the ground, climb and choke the trees and are growing like mad up the deer fence. Dog rose is easy enough to get up when the ground is wet and I’m double gloved. More shrubs to pull out are Japanese barberry and Euonymus alatus, a.k.a. burning bush. There are also these stinking trees and by stinking I mean they smell bad.  They are sprouting all over the place and they are as hard as heck to pull up. Oh and the poison ivy there is so much of it, I’ve never seen so much in my garden or the woods in all the time we’ve lived here! The worst is the Japanese stilt grass and now some sort of other grass that is similar but bigger and wavy. 

Complicating this issue is the fact that there are indeed native plants fighting to survive in all this mess, American Holly saplings, Mayapples, Jack in the Pulpit, Solomons seal and Virginia creeper.  Further around in here are ferns and birds foot violets and some other delicate wildflowers that bloom in the early spring. 

Ideally, I’d love to just take a brush mower through here and be done with it.  My conscience won’t let me though because I think about the critters that live in the leaves and well, by hand it is.

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I pulled, tugged, ripped and yanked my way through and if I left it, it’s because it’s a native plant, (or possibly I missed it). Most of what I left is Maple leafed viburnums, they are everywhere and I’m okay with that.  It’s a native, it makes berries for the birds and flowers for the pollinators and is very pretty.

The next overcast day I’ll be back at it!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How a garden grows..

I’ve been going through and labeling my gardening pictures.  I always planned to make a scrapbook that showed how the garden changed over the years.  Looking at the pictures has made me very aware of how much has changed, how the trees have grown and even the loss of some plants. 

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Look at all that sun this was 2002!  There was so much sun that I had a vegetable garden.  That’s pretty amazing.  Things change though, the maple trees grew and grew.

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No garden but there are those maple trees.  Just a mess of leaves and weedy brambles and vines in 2009.

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In 2010 we built the new pond right were the vegetable garden had been, between those maple trees.

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The maple trees are still there in 2011, but we’ve got a gazebo base, over looking the pond.

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2012 the gazebo is up and it’s when we added the stream, the fieldstone walls and the bog.

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Big changes in 2014 when we cleared the weeds and installed the deer fence, so much was about to change in a way I never dreamed of.  All those years of dreaming of plants not being eaten by the deer.  Of having quiet paths that meandered through a woodland garden rich with natives and shade lovers.  A place that was quiet and peaceful, with niches to sit in and just relax.

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2017 finds me still working but well on my way to achieving the dream I have.  Some day I’ll be able to walk all through my gardens with less weeds and less work.  Until then I’m going to keep relishing all the changes and enjoying every moment of striving towards my dream.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

A shopping we did go…

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The Green Springs Plant Sale has been something that my mother has told me about for years.  She said it was one of the best she had ever been to and that I needed to go, so go we did.  I got a lot of the shade plants that were on my wish list, including an Empress Wu hosta.  I will have to spend some time moving the plants around and deciding where I want to put what and with who. 

Looking at the picture though I think that the Grape Soda Heuchera looks really good with the yellow plants!

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I also found some miniature hosta to add to my gardens.  I could see getting hooked on them, there are so many to chose from!

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Happy sights..

 After working in the morning I was sort of just meandering around in the afternoon, pull a few weeds here, adjust a rock on the pond, watch the hummingbird zooming around.  I saw something that made me very happy and had to run back to the house to get my camera.

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I have not seen or heard a peep from these two bullfrogs since we cleaned the pond and to be honest I was afraid they had left.  So I was delighted to see them perched in the grass on the side of the pond.

Up next was this

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Apparently the Cicadas have decided, or at least some not to wait and are baffling scientist by coming out early.  I know a lot of people don’t like them but I loved it when they were last here.  Well except I refused to mow the grass because they were everywhere and I didn’t want to run them over.   A few minutes after seeing several of these I made friends with this cute little bugger.

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Personally I think they are adorable and very friendly!

I went to check the hummingbird feeder and saw this.

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My American Wisteria is getting ready to bloom!  I’ve waited a long time to see this.  When I bought it, it was just a stick!

Finally as I was headed back to the house I noticed something that a lot of people probably would never even see.

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The tiny delicate bloom of the sedum that is growing in the pond wall.  It’s an adorable little flower.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mulching matters…

 

It is way to hot out for May.  It was 95 yesterday and is supposed to be the same today with higher humidity.  I was out a little before 7 this morning getting some weeding and mulching done, I only have a little to spread…

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For the last several years I confess that I’ve had a landscaper come in and weed and mulch my easier garden beds.  It’s a lot of work and it takes me a long time to do what a crew of 5 can do in a day.  Customer service however is not what it use to be and my landscaper let me down big time this year.  It took him almost a month just to get back to me, then another week to set up a time for an estimate, then two more weeks to get the estimate to me.  By this time with the weather having been so warm the weeds and plants had exploded in growth.  I had already spent 2 days weeding beds and told him just get out here with the mulch, days later he informed me it would be several weeks before he could get here.  That wasn’t going to work, weeds wait for no one. 

Now the debate raged between myself and my husband bagged or bulk.  I wanted bulk, he wanted bagged.  He said bagged was easier for him to move around.  I am having a hard time using these bags, they are almost as tall as I am and because of torrential rains two weekends in a row, they weigh a lot.  So spreading for me goes like this. Fight to open bag. Let bag fall forward. Grab bottom of bag and lift up. Then shake and or jump up and down with bag to empty.  Then spread with hands and or rake.  If area is tight with plants, scoop small flower pot amounts out around plants..

Does it look great when I’m done? No doubt.

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It’s just the getting to that point that is giving me one heck of a workout.  I’m still thinking I’d prefer bulk at the very least for the flower beds out front.  I’d rather do a cart load that I can maneuver at a time then dance with mulch bags.  Maybe for the back bagged is best because it will be easier to get back there and spread in the larger beds.  In the case of mulching maybe we are both right, just for different reasons..

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A new old favorite

Us gardeners we will get our hands on a lot of tools over the course of our gardening lives.  Some we will hate, some we will like and some we will love, but there is one other category the ones that we can’t live without.  These are the tools we will reach for over and over again, the ones that we take good care of, the ones that we always know where they are.  I had three such tools, now..I have four.

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Meet my new old little garden shovel!  This is an inherited tool, when my husband’s grandmother moved she left behind a few things for us.  A wheelbarrow, a pitchfork, a birdbath, some concrete garden statues and this shovel.  At first glance it’s just a little shovel on a long handle, but for me this is the perfect shovel for planting, for scooping mulch into tight spaces, and even chopping up roots.  Regular size shovels are heavy for me, the handles are thick, the blades are big and when dirt sticks to them they can weight a ton.  This little guy skinny handle, small head and so no issue even when dirt sticks.

I’ve been using this shovel daily and I told my husband I now know how his grandmother managed to do so much for so long.  So thank you Grandma for giving me this shovel I love it!

Compost is going to happen!

I have had bins, I have had big round compost heaps and they have all had the same frustrating outcome…no compost.  I admit it, I want to du...