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Thread: The 2011 Garden Thread

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I found out you can cut hydrangeas down to the nub in the fall and they'll spring right back the next year.
    Actually, it depends on your variety of hydrangea whether you can cut it back or not and still get blooms. Some bloom on old wood (from the previous season), some on new wood (from this season), and some on both. The common white snowball-type hydrangea in the north, Annabelle, blooms on new wood. Many of the larger and more decorative hydrangeas bloom on old wood so cutting those back means they won't bloom the next season. Newer varieties of hydrangeas bloom on both old and new wood.

    I love hydrangeas, but have a difficult time getting them to bloom because I live in a cold, windy location. I keep trying different varieties/methods/locations to get success.

  2. #27
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I love hydrangeas, but have a difficult time getting them to bloom because I live in a cold, windy location. I keep trying different varieties/methods/locations to get success.
    I guess I'm not a huge hydrangea fan (no disrepect to hydrangeas intended). The previous owner planted them next to our three season porch and they get quite large (who was that, Luckless Pedestrian or dandy maybe, that had the huge hydrangeas blocking the view of the home?). The hydrangeas get big enough that it's difficult to put up the plexiglass windows over the screeens each fall when we close the porch for the season. Tough to get around and work around them - so cutting them back is essential to me. I wish the previous owners had planted them in the side yard instead where they could get as big and ungainly as they like.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I guess I'm not a huge hydrangea fan (no disrepect to hydrangeas intended). The previous owner planted them next to our three season porch and they get quite large (who was that, Luckless Pedestrian or dandy maybe, that had the huge hydrangeas blocking the view of the home?). The hydrangeas get big enough that it's difficult to put up the plexiglass windows over the screeens each fall when we close the porch for the season. Tough to get around and work around them - so cutting them back is essential to me. I wish the previous owners had planted them in the side yard instead where they could get as big and ungainly as they like.

    Those were my rhodies. We've cut back hard the one in front. The one on the side is still there in all its glory. Though it has grown through the fence so I'm debating cutting the fence so it doesn't choke the rhodie. We actually took out the evergreen between the two rhodies and I planted a dogwood and two hydrangeas.


  4. #29
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Maister, you may have to rip up your strawberries but they re-establish themselves with almost no effort. You should still get a crop this year.

    We had 60-degree weather yesterday, and I saw the robins return to our yard. I want to begin working in the gardens, but the closest I came to it was raking the dog "fertilizer" out of the grass.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #30
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    We had 60-degree weather yesterday, and I saw the robins return to our yard. I want to begin working in the gardens, but the closest I came to it was raking the dog "fertilizer" out of the grass.
    Aren't you in the same frost zone as we are? You could start your peas this weekend if you wanted, or even your onions (if you plant sets instead of seed).

  6. #31
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Maister, you may have to rip up your strawberries but they re-establish themselves with almost no effort. You should still get a crop this year.

    We had 60-degree weather yesterday, and I saw the robins return to our yard. I want to begin working in the gardens, but the closest I came to it was raking the dog "fertilizer" out of the grass.
    I too need to get to work on removing the "fertilizer".

    I prefered when it was hidden by the snow.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #32
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    After work this evening I was walking around the yard and discovered that it looks like animals ate a bunch of the hostas I had in one of my gardens over the winter. I'm new to this gardening thing... what are the odds of those coming back on their own? Or should I just look at them as lost forever?
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  8. #33
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I'm having a mealy bug problem. They are choking out my precious micronesian hot peppers! I have tried a natural solution consisting of a blend of essential oils (orange, eucalyptus, rosemary, mint, a touch of lavender) diluted in water and it seems to work relatively well at stripping off their waxy coats, but they just keep coming back with a vengeance. I spray. They die. They turn into zombies and return or their long lost cousins occupy their former territory.

    Any suggestions?

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    After work this evening I was walking around the yard and discovered that it looks like animals ate a bunch of the hostas I had in one of my gardens over the winter. I'm new to this gardening thing... what are the odds of those coming back on their own? Or should I just look at them as lost forever?
    I occassionally had this problem. They always seemed to come back.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #35
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    Those were my rhodies. We've cut back hard the one in front. The one on the side is still there in all its glory. Though it has grown through the fence so I'm debating cutting the fence so it doesn't choke the rhodie. We actually took out the evergreen between the two rhodies and I planted a dogwood and two hydrangeas.

    Your rhodies are lovely! I have a red one, a purple one, and three pink azalea-like ones out front.

    For all their delicate looks, you can really abuse rhodies, and they keep coming back. If you have one that needs reshaping (like if the deer got at it), you can prune it pretty hard, as long as you do it shortly after they bloom so that you don't cut off next year's buds. You can even rejuvenate one by cutting it back to the ground and leaving just one or two leaves (I did that with the purple one because it looked just awful). You can transplant them successfully if you do it in the fall. I speak from personal experience in all these instances.

    What I haven't been able to do is convince my red rhodie to grow tall not wide. I've tried pruning side branches, but I cannot seem to make it want to go up and not out. It seems to only grow as tall as the porch railing. Here's a pre-pruning pick from a couple of years ago.


  11. #36
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    After work this evening I was walking around the yard and discovered that it looks like animals ate a bunch of the hostas I had in one of my gardens over the winter. I'm new to this gardening thing... what are the odds of those coming back on their own? Or should I just look at them as lost forever?
    Hostas die back to nothing but dead leaves in cold weather, and wait for warmer weather to sprout from the ground, so unless animals dug them up, they should sprout a little later.

    I have crocuses already! Given that most of my flower beds were under three-six inches of snow last weekend, I find that amazing. As soon as the snow came off, the yellow ones started blooming (my yellows are earlier than my purples and whites), and I noticed a couple of purples today.

  12. #37
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Our dwarf pomegranate is putting out small fruits but probably none will come to "fruition" this year, I think it's supposed to take 3 yrs to produce and it's only 2; the bush tomato is flowering; the strawberry left a few offspring in the rocks around the pool and they are starting to produce berries. Blueberries are coming out but they'll be stripped by the birds but that's OK.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    Our dwarf pomegranate is putting out small fruits but probably none will come to "fruition" this year, I think it's supposed to take 3 yrs to produce and it's only 2; the bush tomato is flowering; the strawberry left a few offspring in the rocks around the pool and they are starting to produce berries. Blueberries are coming out but they'll be stripped by the birds but that's OK.
    Oh, just stop rubbing it in!!! We got an inch of snow yesterday and have snow flurries today!!! I am so sick of winter, I'm ready to scream!!!

  14. #39
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Oh, just stop rubbing it in!!! We got an inch of snow yesterday and have snow flurries today!!! I am so sick of winter, I'm ready to scream!!!
    We're supposed to get sleet today too. I'm glad I didn't get around to planting peas last weekend like I intended.

  15. #40
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    We're supposed to get sleet today too. I'm glad I didn't get around to planting peas last weekend like I intended.
    Further east, places like western Massachusetts are prepping for possibly a foot of snow! I keep telling myself I should be glad we're not getting that but it just doesn't work.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Oh, just stop rubbing it in!!! We got an inch of snow yesterday and have snow flurries today!!! I am so sick of winter, I'm ready to scream!!!
    lmao. Hey, it's not like I'm some transplant from "up north" saying I get to plant stuff before you do. I'm from here! This is normal for me! Well, actually, I'm originally from a couple hours south where I would get to plant stuff even earlier!

    I'm sure you will have a wonderful planting season. When the snow stops.

    I need to have RJ post his pics of our plants. Please forgive me.

  17. #42
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    ......I need to have RJ post his pics of our plants......
    These were taken last weekend.

    Bush tomato


    Salad spring mix (one of three)


    Oregano


    Pomegranate


    Bell pepper


    And because we're thinking about getting into publishing as a side career, we're growing papyrus

  18. #43
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    With temperatures in the 60's yesterday, and in the 80's today, I have spent a bit of time out in the yard. I finished edging a bed in front of the house with stone collected from our fence line. I cleaned out three of the beds in back of the house, relocated a few daylillies, and continued work burying a drain tile inside another stone wall. I relocated a couple rose bushes and began prepping that bed for some mulch. Lastly, I worked peat into four of the vegetable garden beds. It feels good, but this old body is not used to hard work anymore. I think I am heading out for ice cream now.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  19. #44
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Same here. Beautiful weather this weekend. Got all the vegetable garden beds shaped up, and planted all our peas, lots of spinach, and a few radishes. I was gonna shoot for getting the lettuce started this weekend as well, but taking Junior out to the playground and root beer stand afterwards took precedence.

    Seems strawberries are a good deal more resilient than I credited. They must have spawned more than a few runners under the leaves last fall because as I cleared the beds - low and behold - there were strawberry plants in spots where I believe the originals croaked. They even managed to get into one of my asparagus beds

  20. #45
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    They even managed to get into one of my asparagus beds
    Yes, I planted my asparagus next to the strawberries, too. It will require some extra work.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  21. #46
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Yes, I planted my asparagus next to the strawberries, too. It will require some extra work.
    Speaking of asparagus, do you give 'em any supplemental water or feeding? Or do you just let nature run its course? (I understand they are quite drought resistant and thrive in relatively poor soils)

  22. #47
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Speaking of asparagus, do you give 'em any supplemental water or feeding? Or do you just let nature run its course? (I understand they are quite drought resistant and thrive in relatively poor soils)
    I don't give them any special treatment. They get whatever water the rest of the garden gets. No fertilizer. In fact, they don't even get the peat I work into the other beds. The same is true for the strawberries and Rhubarb, all of which are planted in one 5' x 30' bed.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  23. #48
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Once established, asparagus will grow for decades in the right spot. Just make sure that you keep weeds at bay and leave the later stalks to develop. Those stalks, BTW, are very ornamental, being tall and feathery. Very pretty.


    Part of my garden is going to undergo a major change this year. My new neighbor is taking down most of the spruce trees that ring his lot, especially the ones that shade his backyard and part of mine. There are a lot of them, easily 20, and they're each probably 60-70 feet tall if they're an inch (they're more than twice as tall as his 2 and 1/2 story house). Everything's kind of a mess right now because the neighbor is doing it himself, mostly on the weekends with the help of his brother and another neighbor who's the "supervisor in residence", but it's no big deal. Once they get the trees down, I'll clean up my side of the fence. I never ever thought I'd see the end of all those trees!

    I think that my shade garden will get more sun, but perhaps not too much more, especially in the hottest part of the day since it will be partly shaded by the remaining trees on the south side of my neighbor's lot as well as by his house. I will probably have to move the blue hostas to a shadier spot but most of the rest will enjoy a little sun -- and NOT competing with those nasty tree roots for every bit of moisture.

  24. #49
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    My first round of indoor peppers have stared to sprout so have a bunch of impatients that I planted in a collection of old yogurt containers. I hope that's not too early for the impatients since I will not be able to get them outside and in the ground for quite a while still. Maybe I'll have to transfer them to some bigger pots?

    A couple weekends ago I was prepping my raised vegetable beds and I planted some kale, peas, and radishes, and noticed that in one of my plots, my oregano not only survived outside through the winter but grew quite a bit and somehow managed to spread to the other raised bed a few feet away! I also was pleased to discover I must have missed a bunch of onions last year because there are quite a few growing in one corner of one of the beds (and they look to be doing better than they did all of last year).

    My tulips, daffodils are coming along nicely (last fall was my first time planting any) and look to be taller and heartier than anybody else's in the neighborhood. My daffodils seem to be ready to bloom any day now.

    I also already have a bunch of croci already blooming but it seems that there is no rhyme or reason as to where they have bloomed and where they haven't because there are patches with a bunch coming up but only one bloom or spots where there the blooms are nice and thick. Of course, I planted them pretty haphazardly and just basically dug a few trenches and walked around throwing random bulbs into them...
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  25. #50
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Oregano may be a perennial even in Zones 4 and 5. It will definitely self-seed! My dad grew it, and after he died, it was just left to multiply -- and it did. It basically became an entire field of oregano. When I mowed that area of the yard for my stepmother, it smelled like spaghetti sauce!!!

    I also have it growing willy nilly in my back flower bed, courtesy of the previous owners who had a little herb garden back there. Oregano puts on pinkish/purplish flowers, not spectacular, but nice filler in a summer garden.

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