Monday, August 17, 2009

Madame Stappers Blooms Again

I live in a climate zone where conventional wisdom says I am supposed to dig dahlia tubers and store them for the winter. In a garden that will one day take up an acre or more of ground, Gardy don't play that game. You will survive the winter on your own or you will be gone.

Most of my farming neighbors have long rows of dahlias. I kept watching and I did not see any sign at all that they dug the dahlias for the winter. That was good since I had no intention of starting such a routine. Besides, the gladiola that are not supposed to survive the winter in the ground here have not only survived, but multiplied like crazy.

My laziness paid off and the dahlia Madame Stappers an immigrant from San Francisco returned after one really cold snowy winter. She isn't much bigger this year. There is a lot of competition yet in the garden that is still mostly wild. She has bloomed twice now though and is enjoying this wet year it seems much better than the dry of last year that affected her blooming performance negatively. Gardy don't water much either.

Hopefully Madame Stappers will grow big and bushy like she is supposed to. Perhaps a little mulch is in order to keep the competition at bay. Then I will be able to look out the windows at her shocking red flowers screaming for attention while Madame Stappers looks up to the Molera Vaquero Red columns supporting the cozy cabin and feeling right at home. So far she is a survivor.

And the second go round on the main sewer line of plumbing is complete and leak free. Can you tell the difference? What a major production for such a minuscule amount of plumbing, Lord help me. It is time to call the inspector man again. If it don't pass this time you may hear the scream all the way in Maui.

I guess everything can't go smoothly. There are bound to be obstacles in the local terrain. There is a bumper crop of Spotted Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis on a huge swath of my future gardens. Six foot tall impatiens that seed like crazy and blot out the sun to anything beneath them. Just because it is a native doesn't mean I have to like it or that it is not invasive. It will take years of weeding to exhaust the seed supply that exists in the soil.

A new aster blooms, the White Wood Aster, Eurybia divaricata. They prefer the margin of the forest between sun and shade and are starting to put on a nice show. Plants like these that manage to mingle freely without hogging all the space are much more welcome.

I will put up with the Jewelweed for now and I will smile politely when the inspector man comes again. But the truth is there are some things I will be happy to see return and some things I won't.

I just try my best to steer things in the right direction.


Carol said...

Gardy has his work cut out for him with that jewelweed. But since Gardy doesn't water or dig dahlias in the fall, he should have plenty of time to chop those down.

So once all your plumbing passes inspection, and I think it will, will you do anything to cover it up under the cozy cabin? I assume it needs to be insulated somehow?

Christopher C. NC said...

If Gardy waits a few weeks the Jewelweed will freeze to mush. Then he can weed them in the spring before they get six feet tall.

Once it passes inspection the insulation is the next big step. The floor beneath the cabin will be insulated to R-38 and where the plumbing is below the floor joists it will be framed and boxed in and packed with insulation. I've had pipes freeze in the resident gardeners house. Caby don't play that game.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Gardy and Caby are sure busy fellas. One of them needs to make a pot of coffee for the inspector. Get those old wheels jazzed up with some caffiene so he can get up enough nerve to pass these pipes during the inspection. Best of luck. I love to watch the hummers feed at jewelweed. Too bad it is so invasive.

Carol said...

I hope it is more than "a few weeks" before that Jewelweed freezes to mush!!

Siria said...

Hi Christopher! It looks to me that you have been steering things pretty well so far. Your Madame Stappers is beautiful and you are lucky you didn't have to dig her up. I have tried dahlias several times and they never come back the next year. It won't stop me from trying again though. :)

I'm with Lisa...a nice cup of hot coffee will do wonders to sweeten up the inspector man. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My fingers are crossed for you! (:
I always liked jewelweed despite its invasive properties. It reminds me of the unimproved version of that yellow impatiens they call "Fusion" or something?
I like the asters too. I confess to digging some up in the woods (a Great Sin, I do know) and transplanting them to my garden.


Frances said...

May the inspector man smile kindly upon Gardy, and then never have to return again. Hooray for The Madame, she is a real presence in any garden. We don't dig our dahlias either, some make it, some don't. The ones started in the greenhouse bloom so much sooner though. A lesson learned about the dahlias is that an early spring and then another mid season heavy dose of fertilizer, your choice produces more blooms. I am not one to play the fertilizer game, but in the case of the dahlias will make an exception.

Nalani said...

I haven't heard any screaming....hoping that all will be just right. Loved that gorgeous Hibiscus!!! WOW