Monday, May 31, 2010

Experimental Wacking

I roam this mountain.

The steady travel of feet wears an indentation into the earth.

The Lush tries to hide it and works to make the indentation disappear.

I want to see what is out there and keep roaming.

The Lush got wacked to free the indentation and made roaming much more comfortable.

I think I will try that next door in the garden to be. I wacked a bunch of experimental paths, the paths in my designer's mind. Will this be the flow I have been seeing and feeling?

There are already some things to see out there.

But the garden to be is roamed less. The indentation is not set.

I must roam the garden to be more. It will now be easier with the experimental wack.

I roam along the driveway often to see what I have planted and what I have let be.

I putter constantly in the roadside vegetable garden. It's order gives me joy.

The Lush laps at the edges, plotting.

Raindrops on roses are the things I roam to see.

In warmth now I am often followed by two rambunctious kitties.

Around the newly wacked experimental paths and back.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


The first astilbe

Mountain Laurel

Back to the campanula

If you are going to have campanula it might be easier to have a perennial one. The biennial ones I grew from seed were nice, but it was a long wait that half flopped, and then it was over.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Instead Of Roundup

On my day off I was put to work. Now mind you work of some sort would have occurred on my day off no matter what. My assistant gardener duties have not slacked off since the return of the resident gardeners. There actually seems to be a growing list that appears more important than my exit from the luxury basement accommodations.

So vibrating weedwacker in hand, all the paths through the ridge top garden and the sunny utility meadow were mowed. An instant defining passage through the Lush was made. It had been the habit before my arrival to spray all the paths with Roundup. You have to cut 80 plus year old gardeners some slack. You don't fuss at them about some things. Still there was the ongoing debate between them about the collateral damage from spraying with Roundup.

This year with an assistant gardener on hand, the mowing method was used. The mowing method looks so much better than a brown stripe that takes weeks to appear and lasts way to long. And after years of experience, I qualify as a precision weedwacker. There was no unintended tattering of nearby innocents.

I pretty much know what is in the sunny utility meadow now. I know what thrives in abundance and can be sacrificed and what I need to whack around.

The paths are a long time well traveled and I know where they are too. A certain someone just has a tendency to plant things a foot off the path on both sides of a foot path. Coreopsis are good. I veer around those.

Last fall one of my assistant gardener duties was to dig and transplant several peonies down to the sunny utility meadow that had been over shadowed by large shrubs and would never get enough sunlight again. It is said peonies resent being transplanted. They all came back and actually bloomed. They had not done that in years.

The Lush was removed before hand with Roundup. When all hope of weeding is lost, the kill it all and start over approach is used. Now if I can just get some of that mulch down there to cover the bare ground before the Lush returns.

Digging peonies means there are likely to be divisions. While there are different colors in the new peony area, shock of shocks, Bulbarella is going to have a drift of a single color of peony. Now if I can just get some of that mulch down there to cover the bare ground before the Lush returns.

Now what started this whole move the peonies business was that more had been ordered with no real home for them in mind. There really was no place to put them in the ridge top garden. They had to go where the sun was, down in the meadow. Some of the new ones bloomed too.

It has been such a good year for peonies. More will be ordered. Maybe I can landscape the old chimney with some old fashioned peonies.

The sunny utility meadow really comes to life in the summer. It is chock full of Beebalm, Rudbeckia, Ox-Eye Daisy, goldenrod and asters to name just a few of the inhabitants. Goat's Beard, Aruncus dioicus is one of the earlier bloomers.

I had time to water the roadside vegetable garden. The thunderstorms have been missing us and my germinating seeds need water. Just look at those sunflowers I did not plant. They are growing huge like the rest of the Lush and my sugar snap peas in the row behind the lettuce and blooming chard are just sitting there. I seeded them in mid-March. Tomorrow they get fertilizer when I do my second potato planting.

My front flower bed is a child of the lush, filled with Ox-Eye Daisy, chicory, hollyhocks, Verbena bonariensis, echinops, eremurus and Miscanthus. It will be blooming shortly and will blend right in with the Lush. Only a trained eye could tell it is organized wildness.

This was a surprise. All of the Verbena bonariensis actually came back. I expected it to be an annual and hoped it would reseed itself. I think I have spotted one seedling. This is so not this verbena's zone. Now all but one did come from Fairegarden Tennessee as babies. Perhaps they are rezoning themselves. They are in front of and on the left of the rush.

It might be my tired eyes, but many of these pictures look to have a soft focus about them.

It might also be the extra vibration in my normally unsteady hands from whacking clear trails through the Lush for half the day.

I need to do some ciphering or get one of those odometer wheely things and measure just how much trail there is through these gardens.

I would not be the least bit surprised to learn I had whacked a full mile of paths today.

Friday, May 28, 2010

They Follow Me Home

Get rid of it she said. It's crowding my iris. One large clump of a white striped Miscanthus cultivar has turned into four starts (so far) and followed me home. That was yesterday. Today three rooted stem cuttings followed me home. Two rhododendrons and Doublefile Viburnum. The rhododendrons had fallen over in the Big Dump of '09' and I tried , but they were not going to be staked back up. They got hacked back to the main trunks to regrow a new center of gravity. The tiny baby viburnum was just there looking fetching right on the edge of the path next to the ten foot tall and eight foot around mother shrub.

Getting plants up here and planting them is no problem at all. I have not even mentioned all the plants accidentally purchased for personal use on my frequent visits to nurseries for clients. Protecting them from the Lush is another matter. That requires regular patrols. More so now when the Lush is growing at an alarming rate.

Little dwarf azaleas that I have been cleaning around for the last several years are actually blooming and looking good. Their poor performance had previously been blamed on not liking the climatic conditions. I think more light and fresh air generated by some elbow room has done them a world of good.

This is worth sacrificing a few of the millions of Blue Wood asters.

Some elbow room gives other plants a chance to shine as well.

If the wild in the wild cultivated garden had its way completely the forest floor might comprise a dozen main species of plants.

Most gardeners are not noted for their restraint when it comes to plants. More is always good. The result is a species diversity magnified ten fold from native, naturalized and plants in the horticultural trade.

Plants follow me home to find a place in the ground and I still wonder if a civilized garden up here is ever a real possibility.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Deutzias And A Spirea

A little know, at least to me and little used flowering shrub is the deutzia. There are two Deutzia × elegantissima 'Pink PomPom' shrubs blooming with the two white spirea right now. They are all putting on a good show this year.

This is 'Pink PomPom' up close.

Last fall a new Deutzia 'Magicien' was bought and planted. It survived being deer nibbled and stomped and a winter of heavy snowpack to enter its first spring with a heavy flush of growth and a fair amount of bloom on the older wood. I like this one better.

The deer stomping also seems to have planted a lower branch that has rooted to form a new plant. I think its mine now.

I have not looked yet to see if there are any keiki around the Spiraea nipponica 'Snowmound' (best guess), but simple layering looks to be an excellent way for me to propagate shrubberies in the absence of a greenhouse or coldframe that can provide the warmer temperatures needed for rooting cuttings.

I will be needing shrubs to help define the space in the garden to be. In the wild cultivated garden there are not garden rooms or spaces so much as there are environments where certain plants will grow.

Sun is the main determinant factor and this garden's sun is in short supply.

There is no shortage of shade in the garden to be either. Good thing many of the plants here are easily and often divided, leaving me with the left overs on numerous occasions.

My garden to be could actually be pretty full of plants by the time I can actually devote some real time to it.

I have a general plan of movement or paths through the garden to be and know where the sun and shade is. When a plant attaches itself to me it gets planted in hopefully as permanent a place as seems best at the time. What scares me now are all the trees marked for removal and the growing number of plants beneath them.

If I can build a house I should be able to learn how to drop trees with some precision. I want more sun and some new kind trees.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lush

Is here.

We have passed through 10,000 daffodils and countless minor bulbs. Cherries and dogwood trees bloomed. The deep forest floor sparkled with trilliums, violets and a host of other inhabitants. The rhododendrons are now fading, while native azaleas and kalmias continue on. Iris still keep popping up. Peonies and philadelphus are having their best year ever. The first wave of wildflowers in a carpet of phacelia is getting tattered. This is just the beginning.

The Ox-Eye Daisies herald a new season of lush.

An entire world of herbaceous perennials is about to take the stage for summer.

The Salvia nemorosa is hanging in there, returning each year, not growing larger, maybe even shrinking a bit. I need to move them. They want parking lot sun and are not getting that in their current location. I need to have my electric line dug and buried ASAP.

If I could just get this delosperma in a massive drift. Right now it is scattered in bits here and there, searching for the perfect spot.

My baby rhododendrons and hosta in the garden to be are looking good, but oh it is major shady in there. A little tree thinning would make for better dappled shade.

The black Game Cock Louisiana iris is fixing to bloom its first year here. And when it is done, off to to new home with more elbow room.

Just maybe this cabin will get done this summer. I might need to have a talk with myself and start working nights. Lay off the blogging and strolls for a while. The tile backer board is in the shower. I read two places online to use silicon caulk for a truly waterproof seal in the backer board seams. Made sense, so I did it. The seams will still be taped and mudded to create a smoother surface for the tile. Must measure and go buy shower tiles.

The perfect white peony. Maybe there is a place for a few of them in the gardens to be.

And shrubs. I will be needing shrubberies. I have spotted baby viburnums and rooted rhododendron and deutzia stems. They can all be dug and moved to new homes. I need to make a close inspection around the bases of these spireas.

The lush is easily spread.