Garden Report — October 10

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.

rusty felcos
rusty fel­cos

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
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 int he center of the lavender
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
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
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.

Iris siberica 'Sparkling Rose' and Hakonechloa macra 'Albo-Striata'
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
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.

Syringa x 'Penda' Bloomerang Purple
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.

ta da
ta da

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
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
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.

infill lavender
infill laven­der

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
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
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
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
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
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
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 irrigationsystem ran this morning
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
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.

About the Author

Lara Harriger