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November 17, 2005

Oh, ouch. Almost six months.

But I'm going to post, now that the garden is on its way to sleep for the season (though the delphinium is, in fact, still blooming it's supposed to hit the twenties tonight -- it'll stop). I don't have many pictures -- maybe I'll do some Friday or Saturday, no time during the week, with SICSA and work and classes.

Let's see ... both of my Cecile Brunners kicked serious ass this year. The one I planted in the old tree stump took a second wind, long about July, and shot up two big canes about as big around as my little finger, each with a dozen or so little roses on it. The second one didn't shoot canes as high, but it massed up and out more evenly. Both of them, like the delphinium, still have blooms on them.

The book from Antique Rose Emporium says the old garden roses don't really need to be pruned heavily for anything but shape, so I'll leave them alone and see what comes next spring.

New plants -- I set out a dwarf iris bed next to the tree stump rosebush. I don't know if it'll come up or not -- there's an awful lot of fungal matter where the sawdust from the old maple tree is decaying, but I did dig up and boost it with organic topsoil mix -- I don't know for sure if they'll come up or not. They were on sale, so I bought half a dozen. I know irises tend to go hog-wild and take over everything, so I cut the bottom off an old cat pan and set it down in the spot, then planted them within its confines. Hopefully, that will keep them from marching all over the yard.

Here's a shot of that rose -- the picture's almost a month old, we were still having temps in the seventies in the middle of October, this year (Ohio, can't live with it, can't wipe it off the map with a neutron bomb):


What you can't see is the 'stink horn' fungi that have popped up around the edges of the spot. They're about four inches long, the size of an adult's index finger, and they smell like rotting meat. Makes gardening in that spot immensely pleasant. On the plus side, I think it's kept any critters away who might have messed with the rosebush or the lily corms.

Here's the flowering almond that was "dead" this spring. I cut it down to a couple of knuckles no more than a foot tall, assuming the impact it had taken from the tree that was dropped on it would kill it -- all the indications I could find were that this plant is fairly fragile, doesn't live more than a decade or so most of the time, and tends to die back or die completely when broken. It must like the weather or something:


The three smaller ones I bought didn't do nearly as well, though one of the ones nearer the sidewalk actually had a blossom on it the other day. I guess that's a good sign for next spring -- hopefully, they'll grow next year. If not, I didn't pay very much for them -- I think I got all three for not much more than $15 -- so mox nix.

This one is interesting -- I planted some seeds from two years ago, that my aunt in Las Cruces had sent my mother. I think they're Hopi cotton plants -- they grow them en masse in Las Cruces, they're one of the top three crops out there (green chile peppers and pecans being the other two). They didn't so so good here, especially with the late planting -- not sure if I'll get any seeds or not. The bolls matured so late, most of them will die before reaching maturity, and I doubt the seeds will sprout if they're not mature. As a proof of concept, though, it was pretty cool -- I wasn't sure they'd get enough sunshine, but it was a very hot and dry summer:


Too bad about the picture. I planted them too close to other things, there wasn't any good angle.

We got loads of peppers from the vegetable containers -- we've smoked a couple of batches of jalapenos, and Tony did some of the poblanos last weekend, too, though those didn't really thrive. They were small and very thin-fleshed, I think they probably didn't get enough sun. We did water everything a little more conscientiously this year, so that wasn't a problem. I bet we got five or six pounds of jalapenos, and the same of cayennes -- though the cayennes, which were planted from last year's seeds, were completely different from the cayenne plants we had last year. Those were shrubby -- these were tall, like sweet pepper plants. The peppers were huge, too, probably mostly two to four inches long. Probably had something to do with a hybridization, or else peppers cross-pollinate in some strange way I don't know about, and they were affected by the jalapenos or the poblanos.

The tomatoes? Fuggedaboudit. I probably would have had twenty pounds of tomatoes, if the squirrels hadn't plucked half of them off the vines, taken a bite or two and left them. I was finding them everywhere, for a while -- the driveway out front, just under the table where the pots were, the back slope, the cat run. Yes, I actually found half-eaten tomatoes in the cat run. Turds. I give up on tomatoes -- the one year they actually do well, and the squirrels massacred half of them.

As usual, they did at least give up on the peppers.

None of the plants I was worried about qualifies as "lost" -- the little azalea even seems to have survived, though it didn't bloom this year. The weeping Atlas cedar put on a spurt halfway through the summer and now looks like some kind of crazy amusement park ride. It's not really visible in this one -- I didn't get the shot until it was too shady to really get good articulation on the stuff in that garden, but oh, well -- you go to blog with the picture you have, not the picture you want:


You can also see, below, that delphinium that seems content to keep blooming until its balls get froze off.

It's probably too low-res to see the other thing of interest in that bed. A couple of years back, we put a tarragon plant in there, thinking it probably wouldn't thrive if it perennialized at all. It's bigger than those annoying artemisias, now -- I'd give it at least two and a half feet in diameter. It's climbed over the Russain sage, the artemisia and the two little ornamental thyme plants I had already planted out there.

Next year also will be rich with four o'clocks. I didn't bother to weed them out, so I predict there will be many, many of them next spring.

Need to get some mulch and mulch everything, I suppose.

One other thing -- no picture, because it looked like it was dead when it came in the package -- I don't know how well it will do, but I planted a lilac bush in place of the weeping pussy willow that went out with a bang somewhere in late June. It upped and died like Mr. Bojangles' dog, not even so much as an 'I had bugs! I had blight!' to tell me why. After a bit of back and forth with the garden center -- where it was sworn, to my face, they never had any weeping pussy willows this year right up to the day we took the receipt in to show where we bought the weeping pussy willow from them -- they refunded my money. Shame most of their plants looked like crap this year. I may sit on it until next spring -- the refund has no expiration date, but I can't imagine a $70 credit on account at a gardening center will last long around here.

That's about all I have time for tonight. I hope over the weekend to have time to at least sit down and ponder what I may do in the spring. The irises are the only new bulb plants I put in, this year. Curious to see if the tulips that did so well last spring come up equally well this spring.

Posted by Melinda at November 17, 2005 12:14 AM


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