Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday Workday

Everyone could use a little grass ....

The most fun projects are those that just kind of pop up unexpectedly and then work out easily, and that is the story of the new grass.  Many years ago we had lovely clumps of grass, but as the garden grew and I dug new beds the grasses got replaced and we moved on.

  But, now the hibiscus have moved on, and I had a nice empty spot to fill - and at the back of the main planting bed where I could use something tall and something to provide winter interest.  It was clearly the place for grass. 

Over the weekend I checked out what was readily available and cleared the space.  Voila! an easy  project for this week.  

Sometimes I think that my favorite part of a new planting is laying out the pots and moving them around until I am happy with the arrangement.  This one was simple, but I moved the rose planter a bit and relocated the big sprinkler, too.  The only unexpected problem was the need to relocate about 15 iris, but that didn't take too long.

A few holes and I was ready to water it in.  Mother Nature did her part and sent me a rainy day to get it all soaked.  

We're still at more than six inches of rain deficit, so I'll need to keep up the watering for a month or more until things start going dormant.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mary, Mary Awards - the Jury is Still Out ...

It's often difficult to judge how a plant, or an area, is doing for several  years.  And, that is certainly true this year.

A good illustration is the David Austin rose - 'Sister Elizabeth'.  It did so well the first year and started off so well this year, but then a mob of caterpillars moved in and completely stripped it.  By the time I realized that I had a problem ... it was too late.  Upon good advice I cut it way back and kept feeding it on a regular schedule and it did come back a lot.  Then the black spot struck.  So, it struggles on and I will try the new Bayer all-in-one product next year that feeds as well as fighting disease - and, I will spray for the caterpillars early.  I love this rose, so am willing to work hard to make it healthy again. 

Another question mark is the 'Vanilla Strawberry' hydrangea.  Am delighted at how well it has grown and how healthy it appears to be, but the flower were disappointing. 
The blooms are initially the whitest white in the garden, fading to a lovely cream and then blushing pink.

This year the pink went immediately to brown, without darkening to strawberry.  

It starts off white-white and then fades to cream and then is supposed to go strawberry.  The best I got was a pale pink that was sort of coral, but it turned brown instead of strawberry.  I hope it was just an immature plant and bad weather.  Am hopeful enough that I plan to add a 'Limelight' hydrangea to the collection this fall. 

Both of these plants are well worth another year and some TLC as they need it.