Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Odds N' Sods

First off let me say that it finally rained. A gardener is always hoping for rain (mostly at night) and worries and frets when it doesn't. A gardener will go out and water needy plants but prefers to use the rain barrel than the faucet and frets and worries when the rain barrel's side split and can only hold a few measly and inconsequential gallons of water ('cos if you are going to water you need a lot more than that). So happy happy rain dance.

Second, I actually purchased a few more plants last week. This is a noteworthy occasion because I am trying to buy fewer plants and grow my own instead (see early spring entries). What did I buy? Goatsbeard - a third try at this shrub. Rabbits got the previous ones so I will use the tried and true method of chicken wire and hope it will get big and strong quickly. This is a great looking plant - imagine astilbe on steroids. Next, New York Aster. A bright pink one. Still debating where to place this as sun is running out in most of the gardens. Lastly a salvia called 'Hot Lips'. An annual. Not something I usually do but just look at the pictures !!

Some of the last of the summer flowers are starting to bloom now. Like native Obedient Plant:

and Senna marilandica a.k.a. Cassia marilandica, a native plant just south of the lakes in the USA. It is a leguminous plant that flowers now and later puts out showy seed pods.

The Rose of Sharon is also in bloom and the Bugbane or Cimicifuga racemosa. Next time I will have photos of the turtlehead (just starting) and I hope the autumn flowering clematis.
Happy weeding.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tree Removal

Last week we had a tree removed from the back yard. It was an old dead poplar. In fact it was already dead when we first moved into the house. I guess it must have been forty feet tall and the uppermost branches were bleached white from the sun as the bark had fallen away from them some time ago. We have been keeping an eye on that tree for years, knowing that one day it would have to come down. Somehow we missed the best before date. Hubby found it a couple of weekends ago, a large branch (about the size of a mid sized tree) broke away from the bottom of the trunk and fell off to the side and hung over the creek behind us. Neither of us had noticed that the tree had been rotting near the ground. 

Next, a phone call or three for some quotes to remove the tree and then last week they came and took it all away. It took 2 days. And 4 very nice guys. In the end there is quite a sizable stump left. The trunk is divided in two parts. One side turned out to have a rod of metal in it, and was discovered when they tried to cut another layer off the trunk. K-zing. We decided that it must have been a tree stake, placed when they planted the tree...at least 30 years ago....The other side seems to have a large and thriving wasps nest inside. The trunk is pierced by many holes and we watched as these very beautiful black and yellow wasps flew in and out of the tree. Best to leave them alone. I figure they will leave when the tree no longer offers any protection for them. 

Unfortunately I did not take any photos.  While the threat of a great big tree falling is no longer I know it will be missed by the crows and the jays who loved the great view from above.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I confess. I have not done much gardening lately. Some weeding, yeah, but let's face it it is too hot and humid for me out there. Instead I have kept indoors most of the time and have been reading a lot instead. 

I have read or reread about 5 books in the past few weeks. Presently, for those who may be interested, I am rereading 'Divisadero' by Michael Ondaatje. I enjoy rereading books because I am a fast and impatient reader- need to know what happens- and miss out on stuff or just miss some lovely passages with thought provoking ideas. Some books are worth keeping, hence our large library. 

The pictures today are of a magnificently huge dragonfly that settled on a wire outside our house. The wire itself is about an inch thick. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Some posts ago I mentioned that I was going to change a small bed by the patio. The plant in question, a sedge, was not up to my expectations and did not look pleasing in that bed. While I still haven't finished what I am planning to do (these things take time, y'know) I thought I would mention something about sedges as they are certainly under used these days.
First, a ditty:

Sedges have edges,
Rushes are round,
Grasses are hollow,
What have YOU found?

Sedges do have edges on the stems, in fact they are three sided like a triangle. This helps to differentiate them from grasses, which have a flat and hollow stem but tends to be round at the base from the leaves growing around the stem. The stems of rushes are round. Grasses and rushes can be annual or perennial and die back in winter. Sedges are perennials and are evergreen. Grasses and sedges like a variety of soil conditions while rushes prefer wet situations. Horticulture lesson over.

I am currently growing 5 sedges:
Stellate sedge (Carex rosea)
Common Wood sedge (Carex blanda)
Early-fruiting sedge (Carex pendunculata)
Plantain-leaved sedge (Carex plantaginea)
Gray's Sedge (Carex grayi)

It is the Common wood sedge I am not happy with and will move them, eventually, elsewhere. 

Common wood sedge

Stellate sedge (L) and Early fruiting sedge (R)

Plantain sedge