Friday, July 25, 2008

Garden Layout

This week I reviewed the layout of the back garden. It has been in a continuous state of rework every year. The Japanese honeysuckle have continued to move inward year by year, and I have not been vigilant enough to keep them at bay. The eponymous is now also a near weed, and needs to be cu back. When we re did the back platform it changed the overall look, and that also needs to be reconsidered. The 'Irish' garden shed, now twelve years old, also needs to be re-windowed and re-shingled. Just a few days ago I finally addressed a foot thick tree that fell across the stream stairs. I cut it through by hand, and re-nailed some of the stair treads. I will provide a picture of that later, was quite an ordeal.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Appalachian Treks

A blog of Appalachian Treks. Some nice views in the shade. Makes me want to look for my boots.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Where Am I? More Sun.

A few days ago we had a micro burst come through, and after the tree people left, the formerly very shady front yard now has maybe 25% more sun. A start for re strategizing the overall plan. Do not mind it, still have lots of shade.

A few people have asked. I have lived and gardened twenty miles north of Cincinnati Ohio, USA for thirty years. My garden experiment is in hardiness zone 6a, minimum temperatures for this zone are predicted to be from -5 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Root Bound Solutions

When I worked in a Florida Nursery we were often confronted with the problem above. A plant had been propagated and left in its container too long. It had become root-bound and needed some help in spreading its roots when planted. Many were much worse than the picture of above; trees, other woody plants or spreading plants that would drive their roots to the side of the container and swirl around looking for some outlet.

So what do you do? Most workers at the nursery opted for speed, since they might have to repeat the action hundreds of times in a day. Take a sharp knife or ideally a case cutter and slide it down the outside roots vertically. Cutting the roots made them branch and venture outside the now virtual boundary when removed from the pot.

I did this too. But sought my own theory of root boundedness. Since the soil is usually damper below, why not try to get the roots to grow downward first. So I would cut, or for small plants just peel way the bottom of the root ball with fingers or trowel before planting. It also helps to wet down the hole first. Have done this for years and it has worked well. Would be interesting to see the method studied with alternate plantings. Maybe a University has done that.

Here I am, now bound in my own ways, also seeking the best way out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blue Hostas in Shade

I have been collecting Hostas for years. A particular nice color are the true blue Hostas. Although many hostas are called blue, few have the color of those shown here, Blue Cadet in a mature form. They contrast well with other typical ground cover plants, and seem to glow in deep shade. Here they contrast with unusual shiny-leafed Invincible Hostas and Epimedium. Some overshadowed red Coleus poke through. In a rock lined raised bed in the front garden.

Now that I have grown Hostas for twenty five years, I see they are susceptible to drought conditions. Also eventually get center die-back, not a disease but a growth condition, which can be controlled by digging them out and replanting in improved soil. When people see the garden one reaction is that there is little grass to mow. True, but the net work required is much more than mowing. Also rewarding.