I took advantage of one last day of fine weather to do a bunch of clean up and some late season planting.
This is what happens if you forget and leave the felcos on the wall of the garden bed. Damn. That’ll take a couple of hours to put right.
We had a lot of damage from last winters hard, long freezes. I’d left a bunch of almost certainly dead things in the garden in the hope that a few of them might recover or re-sprout from the roots. No joy. So the first order of business was to take out the dead things. Four “Dark Knight” butterfly bushes and a Korean Dogwood are now on the brush pile. I also lost the Rosemarys that were climbing down the rock wall behind the herb bed.
There were some successes though. The variegated sage in this picture was a mushy disaster in mid-February. It did quite nicely. I cut it back twice this summer.
corner of the herb garden
On the other hand the center of the lavenders which had gotten rank and spindly last summer died out completely. Leaving a nasty hole in my favorite bed.
big hole in the center of the lavender
Not related to last winter’s deep freeze, these slender deutzias have never been happy in the harsh glare that comes off the barn and shop, as well as the graveled work yard. Prefers Full Sun on the nursery tag doesn’t always mean prefers to be baked daily.
slender deutzia have not been happy in the harsh sun
They now have a new home next to one of the Snake Bark Maples in the front yard. There’s still a fair amount of sun there but not the intense heat. I’ll see how they do next summer.
hopefully the new location will be better
The bed beside the garage on the front of the house has most of my damp loving shade plants in it. (And most of my deer food — Hostas, eaten to the ground again, sigh.) The grass and a stand of Siberian Irises have become seriously overgrown. Both should have been divided last year. This spring at the latest. It took both Jim and I and a lot of shoveling and levering to get these out.
seriously overgrown grass and irises
We found this little surprise in among the iris foliage. I think they’re puff ball mushrooms. I remember eating puff balls as a kid and being told that it was very hard to make a mistake about what kind of mushroom you were picking. I’m too chicken to try it out without an expert along.
a little surprise in with the iris foliage
We also pulled out the kerria. It’s too rangy, and rank, and all sorts of nasty. There’s now a nice little reblooming lilac in it’s spot. The tag says to 5′. Which would be about perfect.
a new lilac
We put one chunk of the grass back in where it had come out of, and put three clumps of iris across the back of the bed.
Here’s the bed all finished. Too bad about the stumps of hostas lining the front edge. Next weekend I’ll trim up the left over foliage on the irises. The grass I’ll leave — the leaves dry out and rattle nicely in the wind.
We took four more clumps of the iris and one of the grass and added them to the bed in front of the library. Next year I’ll try to get the perennials into this bed. It gets a nice 8 early hours of sun a day.
iris and grass in the library bed, bonus ladder and bouvier
I can’t find the tag to identify this little fellow. He’s lived in a couple of spots in the gardens. Hopefully he’ll be happy here across the walk way from the Cypress
not sure what exactly
I picked up a couple of new lavenders to fill in the hole. An English type for a change. They seem so small and helpless in there.
We dropped the last chunk of the divided grass onto the point of the bed that faces the barn. Behind it you can see the smoke tree that we put in a couple of weeks ago.
another piece of the grass
In the same bed I added a black mondo grass in the place of a long dead azalea. Right now it looks like black grass on black dirt but once it and the nandinas next to it fill in a bit, the contrast between the long black blades of the grass and small red gold leaves of the nandina should be nice.
black mondo grass
Jim loves Japanese maples so we added one to our collection. This mounding red cut-leaf should make a nice focal point out on the point of one of the beds by the porch.
mounding Japanese maple
The bird bath bed is still showing some evidence of summer. The dutsy miller still looks good and there are some purple flowers on the nicotinia.
still showing some summer color
I am a total sucker for the brightly packaged bulbs that begin to appear next to the checkout in the nursery this time of year. The blank spot in this bed got a bag of mixed species tulips (30 bulbs) and a bag of dwarf iris (10 bulbs). No clue at to which species the tulips are — only that they are a “Naturalizing Blend” hopefully that means that they’ll come up more than a couple of times.
there will be species tulips and dwarf iris here in the spring
Robbyn gave me a bunch of bearded iris rhizomes a couple of weeks ago. I put them in this sunny well drained spot near the pasture. Close enough to the electric fences that the deer might leave them alone long enough to bloom. Yup we have plenty of rocks.
misc bearded iris for the hill side
It’s a good thing I finished up yesterday. This morning it was below freezing. The irrigation system ran, this morning. The leaves on the smoke tree have a nice sparkle to them, oops. No harm, no foul. The system is installed deeply enough that the occasional frosty morning isn’t a problem. We’ll empty it next weekend. I just wanted to be sure that the new plants got a little extra water for the a couple of days.
the irrigation system ran this morning
I also clipped off the last of the lavender blooms yesterday. I brought them inside to dry out. They’ll sit on the hearth and slowly get used as tinder for the fires. The smell is wonderful.
ready for winter
Starting with this post you can see the botanical names and variety names of the plants in the pictures by mousing over.
I keep the tags from the plants that I buy in ziplock bags by year so that I can go back and look up exactly what’s what. It was quite depressing to look through the tags while I was trying to confirm the variety name on the grass I divided. I’ve put in tons of perennials, and they’ve almost all disappeared. Freezes, drought, deer and chickens all take a toll. No wonder I don’t enjoy gardening as much as I used to.