Goodbye to Yew, and Other Developments

Downsizing the Yew. When I was a kid, my family sometimes took vacations at a cabins-on-a-lake-in-the-woods sort of resort. I remember that at the gift shop they sold a t-shirt that said “I Pine Fir Yew and Balsam, Too”. Anybody else remember a t-shirt like that? Anyhow, I decided to prune the big Japanese Yew …

More Spring Cleanup and Foliage Day

More good progress on garden cleanup this weekend. Mostly on Saturday, which was cool and sunny. Sunday was cold (about 32 degrees F, or 0 C), so I didn’t put in as many hours outside. My biggest single cleanup accomplishment was digging out the containers planted with tulips. They had been buried in the cutting/herb/vegetable …

Notes on Spring Clean Up

Just because there are patches of snow on the ground does not mean it is too early for spring clean up. Quite the contrary, since the ground in early spring tends to be either 1) frozen; or 2) a muddy mire. Of the two, frozen is better. Where possible I like to pull the dead …

A Sucker Born Every Minute

It occurred to me recently that the phrase “there’s a sucker born every minute” could apply to gardening. After the leaves have fallen is a good time to prune. You can see the structure of the plant and new growth won’t emerge in response to your cuts. A big part of pruning in my garden …

High Stakes Gardening

Plants with bad posture: can’t stand ’em. Which is a problem in a garden like mine, intended to have an informal, even wild feel to it. Also, I like to grow big plants generally and especially wildflowers accustomed to a lean soil. My soil is fairly rich, the topsoil deep and with lots of organic matter. …

Weekend Garden Notes, April 20, 2014

Getting the Garden in Shape It was a beautiful weekend, and I’m very pleased with myself for all the spring garden chores I accomplished. For starters, cutting back the rest of the stems and stalks, leaving behind enough dead leaves and plant litter to keep the bugs and birds happy. What’s more, I edged all …

Another Reason I Don’t Buy Plants at Home Depot

So this past Saturday I headed to my local Home Depot to buy some of those big brown paper yard waste bags. It was a cold day, about 33 degrees, and the ground was still frozen – but warm enough for some spring clean up. But Home Depot wasn’t going to be distracted by the local …

Flop! (in the name of love)

There is an article in the April issue of Fine Gardening entitled “Big Blooms That Don’t Flop”. Actually on the cover it says “36 Big Blooms That Don’t Flop”, but the article only lists eight plants. The editors at Fine Gardening shouldn’t feel bad about this mistake, I’ve done the same thing several times. You …

Weekend Garden Notes

  Snowdrops are blooming. It’s a relief to finally see the first snowdrops (Galanthus) in bloom. In 2012 they bloomed in February and were done by mid-March. This year they are just getting started. I really should have kept track of the varieties I planted, but I didn’t so I can’t know which kinds are early …

Last Plant Standing: Fall vs. Spring Garden Clean Up

One way to classify gardeners is based on whether they remove dead plant material in fall or spring. Mostly I’m a spring cleaner. Birds and bugs are my primary reason. The other day I watched goldfinches feeding on the seed heads of yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), one of the late season sights I love. These …