Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Goalroll, 2010

Running a garden goalroll was tremendously helpful over the past season: it reminded me when and where to transplant summersweet Clethra ainfolia, jogged my memory about adding a few Astilbe x rosea "Peach Blossom," and let me know that I never did get around to organizing the bearded irises. Next year, I promise, next year! Roll on, 2010.

When the forsythia blooms

Continue to prune front foundation plantings, especially rhododendron and little-leaf hollies.

Prune clethra to remove deadwood and shape.

Rejuvenate privet hedge by cutting to < 1 foot high and topdressing. On-going Edge garden beds.

After the forsythia blooms

Expand the new side bed to join more fluidly with the raingarden.

May or June

√ June 15: after flowering, shear Amsonia hubrichtii by 1/3 of its height to promote better form

√ When it is 3 feet tall, cut the joe pye weed "Gateway" back to half its height to encourage dense growth. May 30: cut down when 4 feet high to 2-2.5 feet.

Pinch sedum "Autumn Joy" when it reaches 8 inches; stake with ring.

Organize the bearded irises, so that visually compatible cultivars are grouped together. Tag individual plants so that they can be moved later in the season.

√ Add a pink coneflower to complement annuals Ageratum houstonianum "Hawaii Blue" and Salvia farinacea "Victoria Blue." Ended up with three "Green Jewel" coneflowers, instead.  And only one at end of fall.

√ Stake dahlias when the tubers are planted and again and again as they grow. Old side bed: "Karras 150" (white); new side bed: "Normandy Painted Pearl"; house back: "Rose Toscano" (peach) and "Park Princess" (pink). Planted around May 22.

√ Pinch back shasta daisies to 6" in late May. May 30: Cut back shasta daisies in new side bed to about 6 inches.  June 10: Cut back shasta daisies in old side bed to about 12 inches Will they set flowers?  Yes, and cutting back had minimal effect on floppiness.

And stake, stake, stake!


While daytime temperatures are still above 40 degrees, spray an anti-transpirant, like Wilt-Pruf or Wilt Stop, on "Sky Needle" hollies to prevent winter kill.  Done November 28.

Winter-sow larkspur seeds.

Top-dress beds with composted cow manure.

Lightly feed evergreens along front of house with Holly-Tone.

Dig in bone meal around peonies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Flower in the crannied wall

Unlike Alfred Lord Tennyson, I will not be pulling out this little flower in the crannied wall.

With perseverance, this "Dakota Gold" helenium self-sowed from last year's big pot of coleus and red fountain grass. It is flourishing, even at the end of November, in its little cranny between the bricks and mortar of the front steps. I just hope it seeds again! Now, how to get that re-pointing done?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Balancing act

I really enjoy fall clean-up. Why else would I spend six hours in the garden, pulling out spent dahlias, cutting back perennials, shredding leaves for the compost pile, mowing the lawn, planting tulip bulbs, preparing leaf mold, and edging flower beds?

Maybe to attain the perfect balance of exhaustion and satisfaction? Yeah, I think that's it.