Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garden Bullies

A garden is like a playground; it's a beautiful sight when everyone is getting along.  But every once in awhile, someone gets a little out of hand, and then the adult needs to step in.  You know what I'm talking about:  plants that don't stay where they're planted, that push their way into others' space, that knock others down, hog all of the resources (SUN), and overpower their playmates. 

Today's biggest offender:  Filipendula, a.k.a. Queen of the Prairie.
Alone, it's a beautiful plant.  This picture, and the plants in my garden, are from Glorified Weeds.  I had some planted in the back of the sunny driveway border.  Had I looked more closely at the details of this plant before I set it in the soil, I would have discovered that it spreads by stolon and should be given either a large space, or should somehow be contained.  So I guess I got what I deserved, a beautiful plant that overshadowed everything around it and almost took over my border. 

What are stolons?  They are horizontal shoots from plants that grow just beneath the surface and produce clones of the same plant at the buds on the tip.  Strawberries and spider plants are other plants that spread from stolons.

But back to the filipendula.  I did decide to rip this out of my driveway border.  I tried to salvage some of them and planted a few in Emma's new bed behind the large boulder.  On one side of the plant is the boulder so it won't plop over on other plants, and behind it are trees, so these two "enforcers" on both sides should keep this unruly plant in line. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Warrior - Blue & White Garden Installed

Whew!  I'm exhausted.  This weekend, I put in a new "blue and white" bed in front of the addition. 

Here's the before shot:

The bench was actually not a part of the "before."  My husband's need to move it from its prior location so he could take down some dead trees prompted the whole project.  Behind the bench is some goatsbeard, to the left is a Quickfire hydrangea, and to the right is a variegated dogwood of some sort. 

Needless to say, the sod removal was the most labor intensive part of the project.

 The stepping stones are heavy slate rocks that someone had dumped off at my husband's shops because they didn't want or need them anymore.  Again... notice how I'm blaming this project on my husband. :)

And here's the finished project.  At the sides of the bench are two Sum and Substance hostas (one which looked much better before I moved it).  I planted some Walkers Low nepeta along the sidewalk, some Glory Bee Geraniums and some balloon flowers along the front of the curve, with little white clips campanulas for edging.  Closer to the stairs (back left corner) I planted several herbs to have right outside of the kitchen window.  But I'm most excited for the irises that I planted in this garden.  I've had irises here for several years in a variety of locations and they just don't enough sun to produce blooms, so I'm hoping now that they're here, they'll bloom next year.

I'd like to say that this is my last new garden of the year, but I still have several wheelbarrows full of black dirt in a pile behind the garage just begging to be part of a new little garden soon!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rabbits... Stinkin' Rabbits!

One of my favorite plants for shade is tiarella, also known as foam flower.  Above is a picture of what it should look like.  This picture is from Kathy Wieditz of Glorified Weeds Perennials.  

Here's what MY tiarella looks like in my shade garden

Again, the picture is taken with my iPhone so I apologize for the blurriness - but you'll notice something missing.  Each of the foamy flowers have been chewed off!  I've had these in another part of my yard for four years and I've never had any rabbit damage to them, but apparently these must be pretty tasty. 

So... do I move them?  Leave them and appreciate the foliage?  Or put out rabbit traps? 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Random Shade Garden Photos

Lily of the Valley

Shade garden - Pulmonaria, lamium, and bleeding heart in bloom

Shade garden - tiarella and forget-me-nots in bloom

Another area of the shade garden - muscari and bleeding hearts in bloom
When we moved to our house four years ago, I lamented the fact that it was a heavily wooded lot and I wouldn't have as much room for sun-loving perennials as I did at our previous house.  But I'm starting to change my tune.  Here are some random shots of my shade garden from my iPhone, so the quality is not the best.  Most of these plantings were new last year so it's fun to see that most survived the winter and are thriving.  I can't wait to see it in three years when everything has filled out a little more! 

The lily of the valley was transplanted from another area in our yard where it was growing for three years but never bloomed.  How fun to finally see flowers!  I'm not sure why it bloomed in this area and not the other, except that this area is much more shaded than where it was previously planted, so that could be part of it.

The debris in all of the photos is a result of a hailstorm here on Saturday.  Out of nowhere it started hailing golf-ball sized hail!  My rhubarb took a beating, as did some of the hostas that have leafed out, but otherwise, the flowers were pretty much left undisturbed.

On the vegetable garden front, this week we've planted broccoli, beans, carrots, beets, cucumbers, and tomatoes (added to our already planted potatoes, onions, and peas) at our community garden.  Squash will go in this weekend.  I haven't planted ANYTHING in my little salad garden at our house - not even salad greens which could have gone in several weeks ago.  Maybe the weather will cooperate this weekend so I can get that taken care of and checked off of the infamous "list" that all of us gardeners have... the list that is never ending.  But that's a good thing!