Saturday, November 22, 2014

Is It Interesting Yet

The slow growth rate of the under garden which is my main source of winter interest is testing my patience. I know what the mature sizes of most plants look like. Far too many of the things I have planted are multiple years away from those sizes at the pace things are moving.

There is more visible progress when I plant in multiples and in dozens.

No doubt there are many reasons for the slow growth rate. I garden at the extreme edge of many conditions favorable to plant growth and vigor.

Buying dwarf plants promises slow from the get go. This Taxus cuspidata 'Emerald Spreader' is looking alright. It is alive. But this zone 4 rated plant was zapped by a late freeze and suffered some die back.

How do zone 4 plants suffer freeze damage in an alleged zone 6? Live on top of a mountain with weather extremes. That will do it.

The Red Twig Dogwoods did grow some this year. They had full sun, very moist soil and did not have to compete with the Lush and this pitiful bit of growth is all I got. The deer did nibble on them a little. Not enough to matter. At least they are red for the winter as advertised.

I'm sure it doesn't help the speed of things when I let the Lush cut off a good deal of the sun supply of the baby trees and shrubberies during the growing season. That is no excuse for the number of plants rated at or below my zone that have been damaged by freezes. That just seems cruel and unfair.

The evergreen clumping bamboo that was defoliated by last winter's -8 has filled back in pretty well. This year's growth was majorly stunted though. Will it ever get eight feet tall, much less a robust ten feet?

My baby pine trees are growing six inches a year at best. It's a long, long way to being a winter screening to the scenic byway.

I don't have properly mulched beds. I don't fertilize. I don't water more than once or twice after something gets planted. The wild runs rampant and I let a good deal of it be. My plants are tested from the beginning.

Gardening on the edge with every possible challenge is not for the faint hearted gardener. It's just every once in a while I feel like fainting.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Don't faint Christopher. ha... Just that image makes me grin. Your garden will grow up on you and you will wonder where the years went.

Sallysmom said...

My bamboo died part of the way down. We went to the bamboo plantation and talked to the guy there. He said water it slightly if it was dry but to put lots of mulch around it. We did and it recovered and actually grew this summer --- something that it had not done in quite a while. My husband just put more in case we have a colder than usual winter this year.

Christopher C. NC said...

Lisa it would be dangerous for me to faint. I could roll down hill. I think what annoys me the most is the constant freeze damage to so many different kinds of plants which are supposed to be hardy in my zone.

Sallysmom a thicker mulch around the bamboo other than the natural leaf litter might have helped save the embryonic new shoots. They came up last spring when they were supposed to, but only grew a foot tall. The old canes got about 70% new leaves with some tip die back.

beverly said...

I think it takes longer than one might think for new shrubberies to establish good root systems, especially in a difficult environment like your weather zone. I bet they take off in another year or three. I have had shrubs that I bought on sale (root bound or otherwise hampered) just sit there for years and suddenly start to grow. Who knows what was in their 'minds.'