Six on Saturday – September 14, 2019 – Wildlife among the Flowers

I often wonder if women gardeners have an unconscious link to paleolithic times when women were the food gatherers and constantly scanned the landscape for edibles. I always seem to be looking down when I wander my gardens. And this week I found a baby box turtle in the grass at the edge of a garden bed. I’ve seen lots of box turtles over the years but never a baby. I carefully put it back in a section of the garden with dense foliage to give it cover from birds.

We have had no rain for weeks. I am still hauling the hoses around.

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2.  I scrubbed out the Jan Kirsch avocado and emptied those two bags of soil. Actually I just dumped the soil. At least I’m not looking at the plastic bags any more. While taking photos this morning I noticed a tree limb on one of the big maples that seems to be hanging lower over our neighbors yard. It may need to be taken down before it falls down.

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3.  Geraniums on the deck seem to know cold weather is coming. They are putting on a show.

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4. Solidago (goldenrod) is just coming into bloom. I have no idea which cultivar this is. I’m sure the original plant came from a Green Thumb sale at the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels.

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5.  The neon green of Solomon Seal is vibrant against the epimedium. Transplanting the Solomon Seal is still on the to-do list.

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6.  The space where the raised beds were is now ready for seeding. I plan to water the area for several days before broadcasting seed. The soil is just too dry at this point to support grass seedlings. I have moved quite a few azaleas and divided hostas. There are still things in pots that may go in the ground or on the compost heap. My goal is to make the garden less maintenance intensive.

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That’s my Six on Saturday as we head toward fall. The meme was started by The Propagator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.  

#lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Should We Buy a Boat? – December 29, 2018

Yesterday it rained all day. It was so dark and gloomy, I had to push myself to get anything on my list accomplished (see #4). I reminded myself to be grateful that the inches of rain were not 30″ of snow.  Temperatures were in the fifties, so no chance of that, but the back of our property continues to be underwater. Getting to the shed requires tall waterproof boots.

  1. The garden is so wet and bedraggled that I wondered if there would be anything to photograph. When I stepped onto the deck and looked up at the lace of the leafless trees early this morning the moon was still visible, so that’s #1.

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2. The lake behind the house continues to grow. I have no idea what supports the shed next to this wet area. When the ground dries out I need to get down on my belly and take a look. It’s not in the water, but whatever it’s resting on has been wet for months. My gardeners’ heart hopes that any bunny litters under the shed do not survive.

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3. A tree limb, covered with lichens, came down in the storm. They are always so beautiful after a rain.

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4. I managed to accomplish one thing on my “to do” list. I planted the coleus that had rooted in a clear vase on my kitchen counter.

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5. I promised a photo of the dwarf Alberta spruce with the Christmas lights. The lights will stay on until April. Not from laziness, but because they give me pleasure in the evening.

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6. Despite the wet and dark days the wildlife in the garden is active. Out my office window this morning I saw a Northern flicker, a bluejay, a nuthatch, sparrows and two squirrels playing tag in the silver maples.  They know spring is coming as does the sedum Autumn Joy. No lenten roses blooming yet, but I’ll keep checking.

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The days are getting longer, bit by bit, and the garden (and this gardener) is resting. Just for a little while, however, as the garden catalogues are arriving.

May 2019 bring you sunshine, rain and fertile soil…all in just the right amounts.

That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Inside and Out – December 17, 2018

We’ve had hard freezes every night, but inside our little rancher it’s cozy at 68 degrees. We light a fire in the fireplace about five o’clock which keeps us toasty through the evening. Outside there are still things to be cut back. The ground is not quite frozen and more rain is expected this weekend with slightly warmer day time temperatures. The leaves that have blown around plants in the beds may just stay as a thermal blanket until spring. I don’t mind the messy look.

  1. Inside an anthurium is blooming.  The red/orange, heart-shaped flower of Anthuriums is really a spathe or a waxy, modified leaf flaring out from the base of a fleshy spike (spadix) where the tiny real flowers grow.  The spadix, a.k.a.: nose, tail or inflorescence is the actual anthurium flower; it is where the stamen (male part of the flower) and stigma (female part of the flower) are to be found. The stamen and stigma can only be seen with magnifying glasses and appear as tiny bumps on the spadix.

2. Before we had a frost, I cut some pieces of a bright neon green coleus and stuck it in a vase. It has developed excellent roots. I plan to pot them so I don’t have to repurchase in the spring.

3. Outside there is cutting back and cleaning up to be done. I’ll leave the heads of the miscanthus for later, but will cut back the soldago in the foreground.

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4. This fall I was able to get three Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ half price and planted them in the revised bed where the avocado sculpture now resides in place of the river birch. I like the pop of pale yellow/white against the green. Once they get bigger, I can use some cuttings in holiday decorations.

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5. And I planted three white groundcover roses (Blossom Blanket) in the same area. They are small but I’m going to leave the leaves as insulation over the winter.

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6. The herb window box hasn’t frozen yet. I am still cooking with fresh chives, thyme. parsley, tarragon and sage.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners and from verifying information about my photos. This week it was about the true flowers on anthuriums. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

The Garden Gets Put to Bed

Almost all the leaves are off the trees. This year I’m having a guy come who has a big mulching mower and can dump the mulched leaves where I direct him. Not all goes in the wire corrals I created, but most of it does. His machine makes finer mulch than my little self-propelled mower with a bag. Chris has been here once and I’ll have him do another pass in a few days. Then I can put those mulched leaves on the flower beds and my four raised vegetable beds at home.

I currently have three beds at the St. Michaels Community Garden. One is a bed that nobody wants. It’s under a big maple tree and requires extra attention. It’s planted in garlic at the moment, although I am thinking about planting it with some hardy flowering shrubs next spring. Another bed is covered in heavy black plastic to keep the weeds down. I’ll uncover it in the spring, add some amendments and dig it before planting seeds. The third bed, where I had my tomatoes last summer, was planted at the end of August with fall crops: radishes, turnips, collards and two kinds of kale.

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Last week I put a floating row cover on it. I’m always surprised that most people at the community garden never think about fall crops. Our temps are moderate here on the Eastern Shore. We didn’t have a hard freeze until  two weeks ago. Friday was the first day I had to scrape frost off the car to go to my early morning yoga class. The row cover will allow me to harvest greens all winter long.

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The garden across the alley from this bed is the Wilson Reading Garden at Carpenter Alley which I helped create and maintain. A vacant lot when we started, it’s outside the St. Michaels branch of the Talbot Country Free Library. A winding oyster shell path and benches offer an inviting place to sit and unwind.

The land the Community Garden is on is owned by the town. The town council just approved our second five-year lease. Another friend and I have, for the last four years, been primarily responsible for keeping the Community Garden going. Recently we sent out an email that others needed to step up as we would be stepping away from our leadership roles next year. We got two “thank-you for all you do” emails in response, but no volunteers for the behind the scenes work that keeps the garden going. I’m not sure what will happen.

One of the original goals of the community garden was to create more opportunities for the small black community which borders one side of the garden to interact with the rest of the community (or the other way around). We were more successful with that in the beginning because the pastor of Union United Methodist church was very involved in the garden. A couple of years ago he moved to another church and the new pastor isn’t interested in the community garden project. That is not a criticism. Not everyone is a gardener.

Non-profits ebb and flow. Change happens and sometimes things get better. Sometimes they don’t. We’ll see how interested the community is in continuing to have a Community Garden. In the meantime, I’m off to the garden to harvest red turnips for a dinner party tonight.