From the Freezer to the Frying Pan and Other Weekend Notes

  • This weekend it was 90 degrees, 2o above normal. A few weeks ago in April it was 20 degrees below normal. Plants were enticed to leap ahead in March, then flash frozen in April – now they are wilting under a hot sun.
  • The heat brought on a need for mulching. First I used the leaves from last fall. It amazes me that you can accumulate what seems to be a huge pile of leaves, but when you use them for mulch the following spring they don’t seem to go very far, even if you’ve begged or stolen many bags from the neighbors. So I had to supplement my leaves with bagged mulch. For the first time, I tried cocoa shells. I like the look, and they are supposed to be ecologically correct. The smell of chocolate is a little disconcerting,  but it’s supposed to fade with time.
  • I spent some time today trying to get ahead of the staking curve. I staked the blue false indigo, a bunch of smooth penstemon, and a couple other things. I’m trying what is supposed to be the technique used at Monet’s garden at Giverney. Basically, you stake roughly every third stem with a thin bamboo pole, and the stems are supposed to hold each other up.  This is supposed to give you a more natural look. Not sure how this applies to taller grasses that tend to flop, like silky wild rye.
Blue false indigo just starting to bloom.
The grass path between the flower beds in the front yard.
  • The flowering dogwood is definitely dead, but I won’t give up. I’m ordering another.
  • I like common bluestar. It has unusual star-shaped flowers in spring that are, well, blue. However, this is one of those plants where you have to be careful about placement. Once it matures, it shall not, it shall not be moved. It doesn’t grow fast, but it grows big. I planted one of mine too close to the sidewalk and now I must struggle every year to keep it from getting in the way of the neighborood pedestrians.
Common bluestar

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