2017.05.28 Sunday.

Continuing with bed maintenance and shrub planting…

Here’s the side asparagus bed, with only two asparagus surviving. But it’s where I want to put the highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulus var. americanum (trilobum) ‘Wentworth’) I bought at the DNS native plant sale, and so I must move or just discard the asparagus. When I start these kinds of projects, I never really know how they are going to end.

This project ended with a new asparagus planting against the wall of the house (and as you can see, I left the tomato volunteer back there as well) and the highbush cranberry about five feet from the house and from the downhill edge of the bed. The information card says it can grow up to ten feet tall and ten feet in diameter, so I wanted to give it room.

I have a few more asparagus crowns left, and I’m thinking of planting them along the driveway with the others.

After all this, I worked on the raised beds — a story for another post.

Bye, bunny.


2017.05.23. Tuesday.

Thank goodness for volunteers.


2017.05.22 Monday.

A few notes and a few pix.

Mowed the lawn this weekend and spent most of Sunday afternoon on the bulge — planting and transplanting blueberry bushes. Also planted carrots (first time ever) in my new “chimney bed #1” (see below). These are Ferry-Morse Rainbow Mix carrots (10-15 days to germination, 67 days to harvest).

This bulge has been through many phases, starting when it was just part of the lawn. I grew corn here one season, tomatoes another, late-season greens another. But lately it’s been a dumping area for brush. As I get busier with work and family, I have less time to maintain all the planting areas I’ve created, so I decided to plant some shrubs here. I bought two ‘Chippewa’ hybrid blueberries, and I already had two lowbush blueberries there, and I had three older plants not doing all that well in the front yard, which I also moved there, for a total of 7 plants (but I think at least one is actually dead). I planted creeping phlox in between, and there’s the volunteer supposed eastern red cedar (actually a juniper), thematically related, because it also produces blue berries.

The chiney bed is pictured lower right.  It’s actually a bottomless cardboard box (half the box my new chipper came in) surrounded by bricks. I figure it will last the season before the cardboard disintegrates.

And now, May flowers.


2017.05.07 Sunday.

Only now getting around to sowing seeds. Despite a few days in the 80s earlier this season, the temperatures are still cool enough for early spring plantings.


West side bulge bed

I was inspired by a rerun of the public radio show You Bet Your Garden that I heard yesterday. It was about Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening philosophy, and it got me thinking about how I do hate planting in long rows. The principle is to grid out your raised beds (always raised beds) in one-foot squares and plant 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants per square. There are a number of other rules, and I’m following many of them already, but until today I hadn’t tried creating a grid and planting something different in each square.

Instead of string or sticks, I cleared the leaf mulch into a grid pattern. Not really one-foot squares, but squares nonetheless.

  • Burpee beet: Detroit Dark Red, medium top (14-21 days, 59 days) (2014)
  • Burpee radish: Crimson Giant (406 days, 29 days) (2008)
  • Burpee spinach: Bloomsdale Long-Standing (7-17 days, 48 days) (2013)
  • Livingston Seed: Mesclun (10-15 days, 40-50 days) – Arugula, Red Russian, Endive, Chervil, Raddichio, Red Romaine, Bibb, Salad Bowl Green (2012)
  • Burpee lettuce: Gourmet Blend (7-10 days, 45 days) – Prizeleaf, Royal Oak Leaf, Salad Bowl, Red Salad Bowl, Ashley (2013)

You’ll notice some of this is very old seed. I thought I’d make a note of it so that if the seed doesn’t germinate, I can toss it.

This year I didn’t start any seeds indoors. I didn’t even plan what to plant where, not knowing how much time I’d have (today was a whim). But ideas are popping into mind, and with the weather still so cool, I might manage to get a few more plants in before it gets too hot.

For now I’m enjoying the flowers.


2017.05.04 Friday.

Continued from yesterday, here are the new kids from the native plant sale.


2017.05.04 Thursday.

Delaware Nature Society Native Plant Sale. Members-only first crack at the goods. I had a list and I still spent $132. Here’s what I bought:

A redbud (Cercis canadensis) for the backyard as a specimen tree and to mask the woodpile.


A highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulus var. americanum (trilobum) ‘Wentworth’) for the underused asparagus bed at the southwest corner of the house, now mostly weeds.


Two half-high blueberry bushes (Vaccinum ‘Chippewa’) for the side bulge. I put two low-bush blueberries there last spring, and will move three more from the front bed there because they are being crowded out there by the yellow-twig dogwood that ate my yard.

Also, I picked up three containers of moss phlox (Phlox sublata ‘Red Wing’) as ground cover for the bulge until the blueberries fill in.


I had the idea to plant a tree in the peak of that bulge, and hit on an eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and then I went out to measure and looked a little closer at the volunteer sapling growing in just that spot…


In all likelihood, it’s an eastern red cedar. I showed a photo to a guy at the plant sale and he told me that these were called pioneer trees because they tend to show up in places that have been recently disturbed or cleared. So, cool!

Eventually, this tree will shade out the blueberries, it we live that long.

And the last, impulse purchase, is one more winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Berry Heavy’) for the swale along the east property line (this picture from last summer).


Now I I have to do is clear the areas and plant these babies.


2017.03.29. Wednesday.

Feeling chipper about my chipper.

Aavox 1.6 in. 15 Amp. Electric Chipper and Shredder, Home Depot Model # 207053202

So far, so good. Three branches down, 1,422 to go!


2017.03.14. Tuesday.

Ice is nice.


Except when it isn’t.


2017.01.07 – Four-legged fox

This guy has been turning up on and off all day.

First real snow, btw.

Also, btw, the reason I specify four-legged in the title is because not long ago there was a three-legged fox making herself comfortable in my garden.

2017.01.04 Last call

2017.01.04. Wednesday.

Happy New Year! I took advantage of a warm sunny day in January (warmth relative, of course — in the 50s, sweatshirt weather) to tidy up a little, a very little. Coil up the hose, turn the compost, and that’s about it.

The garden is a dry weedy mess, and I don’t intend to do much, if anything about it. So there. Just one bit of good news, a rhododendron ripping (that’s like a cutting, but instead of cutting it, I accidentally ripped out of the ground) has survived where I transplanted it along the swale in back.

It was a branch that had been lying on the ground and so it had roots already. I marked it with debris and forgot about it. That is often the best method. On the other hand, it didn’t work very well with the red twig dogwood cuttings. 😀

I’ll try again in the spring.

Other than that, just pictures of empty seed pods — it’s going to be quite a wildflower garden next year…

And with that, the garden is closed.



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