Six on Saturday – Helicopter Wars Begin – April 27, 2019

The husband and I sat on the deck the other night with glasses of wine looking at the millions of helicopter seeds on our large maple trees. The Helicopter Wars are about to begin. The seeds swirl as the float down to lodge themselves in my garden beds, tucked into places I can’t see, waiting to germinate. We had some strong winds last night and the ground is littered this morning, The worst part is that the winged warriors insert themselves into the small crevices between our deck boards. They have to be removed with a putty knife. I do go out with the blower every couple of days. That helps some. But there’s no point in doing much until they are all off the trees. Once that happens we’ll spend time on our butts  getting the deck ready to be cleaned. It’s a yearly chore that I grouse about, but I wouldn’t trade it for my old maples.

Here are my Six on Saturday.

  1. Clematis Abalene is just opening. Hosta Frances Williams is spreading its leaves among the ferns against a backdrop of azaleas.

2. This week I had our handman guy come and put up one new lattice for me. Our wonderful neighbors have parked a boat in their backyard. It will soon go into the water, but after we took down the river birch clump last fall I knew one more lattice was needed in that area. The river birch stump is where I am planning a “feature” made from metal hoops I rescued from rotten barrels. Note: the lattice is level, it’s the boat behind that’s not.

The other lattice is next to the shed. I had white plastic lattices on either side but they required cleaning with a bleach solution every spring so both have been replaced with wood. Another chore now off my list. These will weather to silver gray. I gathered up the climbing rose and tied it together with twine so it wouldn’t be damaged while the new lattice went in. It is now tied to the new lattice. (no photo)

3. This shrub is in the front of the replaced lattice by the shed. It was here when we moved and has always been an evergreen place holder. It was under water most of the winter and is looking very bad. However the limbs are still pliable which tells me it may come back. I am going to cut it back by a third and see if it comes back.

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4. This is happening in one of my raised beds. A yellow mullein I raised from seed last year is getting ready to bloom. I didn’t realize it was a biennial. It better be spectacular or it won’t have been worth the wait. The other photo is an opening allium Schubertii that makes a huge head. I used to have many more but the squirrels must have dined on them.

5. A year ago a friend and I talked about trying gardening in a straw bale. She got two bales and planted an herb garden in hers. The other bale has lived in the back of her truck – out in the weather – since then. I didn’t have any way to get it to my house and I guess she didn’t need her truck until this week. The bale is well rotted and now I have to figure out what to plant in it.

In front of the orange flowers (what are these? they come back every year) are some yellow potatoes. Clearly I never get all of them out of the ground because a few come back every spring. I was wondering if I could lift them out and plant them in the bale. Anyone have any suggestions?

Oh, and the old wheelbarrow I painted purple is no more. It was settling into the ground so I pulled it out and the husband took it apart for me. I had two knockout roses that I’d stuck in another area of the garden where they didn’t get enough sun and put them in that area.

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6. Seedlings I started on a heat mat inside have been put in larger pots and are now living outside in a sheltered area until they can be put in the raised beds. The blue bucket  is full of cuttings of red twig dogwood that I’m rooting to fill in the swampy area of the bed that was under water all winter. The red twigs that were there didn’t seem to mind the wet conditions.

That’s my Six on Saturday. The garden is looking lovely. I am astonished that a month ago I was wondering if anything had come through the winter. This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

Helicopter Wars

We have beautiful old silver maples on our property – seven of them spaced around the house. Many people consider them junk trees, but I am quite fond on them. We had an old silver maple in Harford Country. It was the tree our children’s tree swing was in and it shaded our 200 year old stone house. That tree was probably 100 years old when it was felled in a storm. We replaced it with another large caliper silver maple. We hoped the family who bought our house would install a swing for their children.

That’s the romantic side of the silver maple story. The downside is that they have a gazillion helicoptered seeds (called samaras) in the spring.

As I look out my office window, the trees look as though they are leafing out. There are tiny leaves coming, but those cursed helicopters are getting ready to be blown into the quarter inch spaces between the boards on my deck. They float down gracefully, spinning one way and then become sidewinder missiles on a mission.

It takes weeks for all the helicopters to come off the trees. Once we think they’re down, it takes us days to dig them out of the deck. Usually on our hands and knees with lots of cursing. So this year we decided to try and get ahead in the war on helicopters so we covered the deck with tarps!

Then the wind began to blow and we scurried to find more bricks. The deck always has to be cleaned with deck cleaner once the helicopters are removed, so we are hopeful that the tarp solution will work. I am a little concerned, however, that we may grow an impressive crop of mold underneath the tarps. Enough air seems to be getting under the tarps that maybe that won’t be a problem.

The helicopters are also a problem in my garden. I am amazed that the whole East Coast has not been covered in silver maples. I blow them out of the garden and into drifts on the driveway. I pull them out as they sprout. Those seeds are tenacious. I am already finding tiny maple trees in my garden beds and the helicopters have barely begun to spin. They must be from last year’s seeds.  I can’t cover my garden beds with tarps, but I’m hoping they help on the deck.

On Google I learned that you can eat maple seeds. Not the wings, but the seed is apparently quite good roasted. Who knew? Sounds like a lot of work to me (I buy my pistachio nuts and peanuts shelled), but if I’m in a survival situation I’m all set.