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June 18, 2005

The Dirt Farm 6/18/05

Posting some pics and a progress report, just to keep things up. It's actually worth making an update -- things have grown and bloomed and made it worthwhile.

Now, to the real stuff.


Here's the first Cecile Brunner, in the side flowerbed. It has bloomed, and it's looking like serious additional blooming. It's quite healthy, at least by appearances. I'm spraying with Diazinon every couple of weeks, right now, because I've seen more aphids on everything this year than usual. Though I hate using the stuff, I didn't get going on the neem oil thing early enough to do much good. I'll probably get on it early next year, but if it doesn't cut the mustard, I'll use something else -- at least until the plants are established, and I can take 'acceptable losses' on them. I've seen what the nastly little shits do to the big rosebush, which is pretty much a one-bloom pony; once the thing blooms out, the aphids and the Japanese beetles pretty much defoliate it, if I don't spray it with anything.

Anyhow, the Brunner has bloomed and ... it ain't the same as the one my granny had. But I like it, and I guess that's the biggest concern. It smells better than the one Mom has, too, so there are benefits to attempting to find those things you remember from childhood, even if you don't actually find the ones you were looking for, I guess.


Here's the volunteer viola. I now have seven or eight different ones besides this one -- they reseeded last year, apparently. There's at least one that looks different to these -- it may be a different kind of viola that the rabbits didn't eat all the blooms from, or it may be a lobelia or something else, but it doesn't look like a weed, so we'll see, I guess.


These pinks bloomed like mad after the last time I posted. There are some like this -- two or three I planted last year -- and some I seem to recall they called 'boutonniere' pinks, which are big and splashy looking. Every one of my pinks bloomed like mad this year, most likely due to the damp and sultry weather we had for a while in late May and early June. It's cooled off for the past week now, and been dry and sunny -- which, I'd have to venture, holds the blooms on for a while, as long as they're adequately watered.


I trimmed the boxwoods last weekend. Can you tell? They look like most of the boys I went to school with used to look at the beginning of summer, back in Hickville, when their dads would take the shears to their heads as soon as school was out.


I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that I hadn't ever taken a decent picture of the back rosebush when it was in full bloom. This isn't full bloom, but it shows some of the blossoms on the rose out back. I actually found the pot from it when we were cleaning out the gardening shelves last weekend -- the tag said 'ivory blanket,' though I couldn't find anything online that was called that. I did find one called 'baby's blanket' that looked quite similar. It's supposed to be a ground cover rose, but I really think it's too sparse for that -- it makes a nice climbing rose, though, and I think I may look into adding some trellises and just letting it ramble. It's quite pretty, and when I trim it properly it blooms like crazy.


I don't particularly care for hostas of any kind, and wouldn't have planted these myself, but they were here and well established when we bought the house, and since they're healthy, I can't bring myself to just haul them out. I did yank one when I put the blanket rosebush in, but the others will probably remain -- though I'm cooking an idea about going 'scorched earth' on the back slope, sometime in the next couple of years, and dividing all my hostas and plantains out to plant back there. It's shady much of the day, and gets plenty of rain -- it would be a good thing to terrace it, plant hostas on the top half and just seed the lower half for grass. Of course, that's going to involve digging up and removing about five forsythia plants that have been back there for what looks like time eternal. I freakin' hate to kill anything off, I really do. I know how hard it is for plants to establish ... but I really don't like forsythia -- even more than I dont like hostas, about which I'm more ambivalent. They don't take over everything like forsythias do. They just don't catch my eye, for some reason.



Here's the 'I don't know what it is, some kind of double-blooming reddish American rose variety' one from out front that was here when we moved in. Interestingly, I had some kind of tiny burrowing wasp that I'd never seen before take out one of the canes on my new Cecile that I planted in the middle of the front yard, where the maple tree came out last winter ... now, I'm seeing holes in the canes on this one, that I pruned back in the spring, before last frost. There are several varieties of tiny wasps and bees who do this -- the best advice I found online to prevent this says you should seal over the ends of bare canes, when you prune, with Elmer's glue or wood glue. I had to cut back a cane on the Cecile v.2 and I put Elmer's on all the open canes I could see that were big enough for critters to burrow into. In the future, I'll be sure to seal the canes on all the ones that have enough diameter the little turds can get in. I wondered about some of the new growth on old canes on the older rosebush, out front -- I suspect it was the same little bugs. I'd never heard of burrowing wasps getting into rosebushes, but there are borers for everything woody -- it shouldn't have surprised me, I guess.


The hazelnut clearly is doing quite well this year. One thing that benefits it is the new garden hose we bought -- it's a vacuum-based hose reel system that uses back-pressure from the water feed to reel the hose back in. The backflow pumps out wherever you put the hose. We put it near the hazelnut. It seems quite happy about it.


Here's my 'dead' azalea. It looked like croakersville until after everybody else's azaleas bloomed this year, and then all of a sudden it snapped back and got leaves on it. Tony may be right -- it may simply have been suffering adjustment problems from the additional sun. The weeping cherry, likewise, doesn't look too happy yet. I'm hoping it's just adapting and will do better next year, though they're predictably hincty plants, and the silly thing may just croak and give me room to sock something else in there.

All these shots are from last weekend -- if I get motivated to take more pictures this weekend, I'll post them in the next few days. I'm sure it's going to prove useful for comparisons, from year to year, if I can manage to keep my ass on this, and do entries every week or so.

Just a few notes -- no pics yet -- we have a tomato the size of a golf ball on one of the tomato plants, and there's a jalapeno the size of a lima bean on one of the pepper plants. Almost all the jalapeno plants have blossoms now, and some of the cayennes. The poblanos look healthy enough, and I'm starting to see what look like blooms developing on them -- we'll see how they turn out. I know from experience what to expect from the cayennes and jalapenos, they look like they're on course to do quite well this year (as long as we don't get tangled up in other things and forget to water them come July, of course). Pretty good for stuff started in the basement, everything but the jalapenos. The others look as good as those. Maybe we'll just have to save seeds again this year, and try doing all the peppers as sprouts in the basement next spring -- the most successful starts I had were peppers.

Hasta ...

Posted by Melinda at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005


Because today has been too busy to actually take any pictures of the stuff.

The Molly Sanderson violas and so-called 'hardy' carnations (yeah, right) are now on order. I don't know how long they'll take -- they probably won't even ship them until my personal check clears, so I'm guessing maybe two weekends from now. Yet another summer spent rooting around up to my elbows in the dirt. Big shock there, huh?

I planted a dozen lobelias and a delphinium -- none of the ones I started are really doing all that well -- split between the flowerbed by the driveway and the one next to the house. I may take some pictures tomorrow, if we don't get the deluge they were predicting for the weekend that hasn't even come close to happening yet (we put off early morning watering two days in a row because it was supposed to rain, but it cleared up yesterday and never really rained again, and it's been clear as a bell all day today).

Yesterday, I put in a good five hours cleaning up schmutz (sticks, dead leaves, maple propellers) and pulling weeds, then dropped a 1/2" to 1" layer of organic topsoil down in the bed next to the house, and finished doing the one by the driveway that I'd started last weekend.

Spent the morning at the animal shelter's annual dog walk. Got up real early, went and took lots of pictures of dogs with the digital camera, stood around a lot. Eh -- most of the pictures were for the couple who are doing an annual calendar for SICSA, they have an advertising company and are donating the work on the calendar. Some of the shots may go on the critter blog, in which case I'll put a link here.

Anyway, got home and collapsed for all of about half an hour, then went back out and bought the flowers mentioned above, planted them, and ate dinner. Likely, we'll go play trivia tonight, so there's really just not enough time and energy here to get pictures today.

Notes -- in the fall, I really need to separate out and divide a few of the bulb plants. The big peony bed needs to be reduced a little, again. I have been thinking about putting some along the side of the animal run, just down the side from the tulips. Also need to divide and/or relocate the hostas in the front flowerbed, next to the big red rosebush -- have thought about sticking some on the back slope, since there are plenty of shady spots, and I don't care if they divide and spread like mad, back there. Anything that keeps the bank of soil out of the yard can't be a bad thing, I guess. I could move all the ones along the back of the house, too, I suppose. I don't know -- that seems like a lot of work for plants I don't even really like all that much.

Both of my new rosebushes have blooms starting on them, now. The one in the front yard is a little slower to go than the other one, but then it gets somewhat less sun.

We've talked about doing a complete scorched earth on the slope back there -- either tearing everything out and terracing it for hostas and stuff, or just taking out all the forsythias and unidentifiable shrubbery and planting grass where there's nothing else growing. Either way, it'll be a big job -- it ain't going to get done this summer, that's for sure.

Having plans -- even big, easily procrastinated plans -- is considerably less depressing than not having any, of course. Why else would you garden at all in a place like this, otherwise?

Posted by Melinda at 06:39 PM | Comments (2)