Some Garden Highlights of 2018, January to May

As I recall, winter was in no hurry to depart this year, and spring was tardy in arriving.

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Welcome to the Family, Here’s a Stocking

Since we were at home this Christmas, we also revived the family custom of Christmas stockings, which we inherited from Judy’s family. I knew I was an honorary Hertz when Judy’s mother made a stocking for me. Now that our family is expanding again, Judy set to work to make two new stockings.

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A Christmas Tree

We were home for Christmas this year for the first time in a decade. And so, for the first time in as many years, we’ve bought a Christmas tree.

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My Brush With Celebrity

Well, people seemed to like the post about the time I stole a car, so I’ll tell you another true story from my life’s misadventures. This is about the time I used a famous actor’s hotel room for a day care center.

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Ed Asner as Lou Grant

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With or Without Yew

For about 10 years, I’ve been plotting to get rid of the Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata) in a corner of the Back Garden. Clearly, the plot has been unsuccessful so far. There are 2 reasons for this. First, I suffer from GFS (Garden Fretting Syndrome), whereby the afflicted experiences intense anxiety when faced with making choices about the garden. And second, what would the replacement be (asking this question is a symptom of GFS)?

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Photo of the Japanese Yew taken this morning.

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My Life of Crime

So there was this time I stole a car. I’m not proud of it. But now that there’s not much in the garden to write about and I’ve covered our summer vacation, it may be time to come clean.

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The Ghosts of Copper Country

For a long time, copper was a big part of life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Though the mines are closed today, copper inspired a rush of white settlers starting in the 1840s. Before that, indigenous people mined copper here for hundreds of years.

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Lake of the Clouds and a Forest Hike

OK, here’s another post about our trip in July to¬† Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One day we decided to see the Lake in the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains, about a 45 minute drive from our cabin. We found parking at the trail head, and then it was a short walk to an escarpment with a view of the lake.

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Seed Starting and the Mexican Sunflower Crisis

The closing of Anton’s, a neighborhood plant nursery, threatened to plunge our garden into crisis. I loved Anton’s for a lot of reasons, but particularly because it was the only place where I could buy one of my absolute favorite plants: Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), a stately annual with dazzling orange daisies.seed book

Now, it is possible to order Mexican Sunflower seeds. However, in our climate you really cannot sow them outdoors, and I was completely unprepared to start seeds inside.

 

So it was with a sense of crisis averted that I got hold of a copy of Starting and Saving Seeds, by Julie Thompson-Adolph. Julie sells an extensive variety of organic plants (mostly vegetables) that she grows herself from seed. She also writes on gardening for her own blog, Garden Delights, and a variety of other outlets.

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The Wind Whacks The Willow

Our neighbors across the street used to have a magnificent Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) in their yard. Over the last few years, the tree has sustained storm damage several times. After our most recent storm, though, there really isn’t enough left to be worth saving.

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