It may seem brutal, but one of the goals for this garden is minimal or no supplementary watering. I posted what I thought was an alarming picture of a beleaguered section of dwarf Japanese Solomon’s seal, wondering if the problem was too much sun or too little rain, in another post.
It got worse. We started the year with precipitation well below normal—we had relatively little snow last winter—and then we had periods of entrained rainstorms followed by several sunny, breezy days this spring. It was relentlessly breezy, and sometimes hot as well. Continue reading “Is the Dwarf Japanese Solomon’s Seal Dead?”
Why on earth would I be writing about transplanting in the middle of the dog days of summer? This is not the ideal time to move plants, unless they are irises, but it is the time to note what needs adjusting in the fall. I moved these plants in mid-June. It couldn’t wait any longer, but ideally you want to move plants while they are dormant, preferably in the spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate, and especially when there is a promise of rain—my favorite time to rearrange plants is the day (or morning) before rain is expected. Continue reading “Three Quick Transplant Stories”
I’ve been eying my bigger pawpaw nervously since last August.
By the end of March, I was sure it was leaning more, and it was leaning too much. It had to go. I’ll figure out what to do with the space later. The best time of year to remove a deciduous plant that you want permanently gone is right when the buds are starting to swell—all that new growth uses up the plant’s reserves—and the buds were starting to swell.
On April 4, I took out my limb saw and cut off all the limbs as well as the main trunk, as high as I could reach on a ladder.
Now I had that trunk glaring balefully through my kitchen window. My bow saw seems to have disappeared. I suspect it got mixed in with some stuff I had hauled out of my basement. I really didn’t want to tackle it with my limb saw. The teeth are way too fine for this job, and the blade is rather short.
On the other hand, I had that dying trunk glaring at me, and a very sharp saw that cuts on both the push and the pull stroke, with a comfortable handle, and the tree was leaning quite a bit. There was no question of where it would land.
It took two weeks to talk myself into using the limb saw. I took the trunk out very carefully, because it turned out that the trillium are multiplying under cover of the Dutchman’s breeches, right in range of the saw tip. I tried not to wreck them. I mostly succeeded—you can see a couple to the right of the stump and just below its near edge.
In the end, I pushed the trunk over and walked and rolled it out of the way.
None of the remaining plants get any shade at this time of year because pawpaws don’t leaf out until May, and the silver maple above everything is just leafing out now. My current plan is to go through this calendar year and see what changes need to be made. Trillium really like shade, so I will watch them closely.
The other pawpaw seems to be fine, so I will leave it alone. They are neat trees. Unfortunately, there will be no pawpaws without a second tree.
A relaxing garden has both restful places for your eyes and focal points to enjoy. Green is restful, but it can get monotonous if it’s all identical, as in a yard with a well-kept lawn, but nothing else. Texture is a good way to add interest without losing the restfulness of green. Massing, an application of the design principles of repetition and proximity, is a great way to develop texture that is sufficiently interesting to lead your eyes to an interesting larger plant or something in bloom. Continue reading “Texture in the Summer Garden”
November 12. Answering the question of which iris is my favorite would be almost as difficult as answering the question of who is my favorite child, but right now I am casting a very fond eye at my Iris cristata.
This is one of the edging plants I wrote about at the beginning of October. By the end of October, the overall color is yellow-green, which looks terrific next to the well-hydrated lawn.
Daffodils are forgiving of many things, but too much shade is not one of them. Last year, I realized that the bed of daffodils that were under the witch hazel were getting shaded out. They were lanky and few bloomed, so I needed a plan. Continue reading “How to Move Daffodils”
The space under the witch hazel was rendered very sparse by the Scilla bifolia purge last year. The Diamond Tiara hostas survived being lifted, put aside, and put back. The hyacinths that have been there for decades survived being rearranged. The Scilla bifolia seedlings that had the temerity to sprout have been removed.
Time to look at the rest of this rather bare flowerbed and scout for new residents.