Saturday, May 31, 2014

The end of spring song

Have not been updating because oh so busy, but I've now given my Purple Carrot People talk at the MG state annual training day, and spent all of last weekend outside doing garden and yard care, and today I have hit the wall several times (it's not even hot; I'm just bushed. Or maybe shrubbed). So have some photos.

Front corner with ninebark, magnolia, rose and juniper.
Closeup of one of the last ninebark blooms.
Closeup of the Bonica rose.
Blueberries - ripe in a couple of weeks!
The Japanese painted fern, again.
Siberian iris.
Some of the many tasks that need accomplishing right now (just the outdoor ones):

  • Dismantle the three raised beds I've been using for herbs in the front yard for the last ten years or so. They are too close to the blueberries, and the plants are all pretty antiquated anyway. I'm done moving two of them; viable herbs have been replanted in the fruit garden. Still have to get the last one out (I think the huge sage growing there stays), move the soil, and decide how to arrange the space - maybe widen the flagstone path and plant something on the other side of it.
  • Finish cleaning up and mulching the fruit garden (the former vegetable garden that now has afternoon shade in half of it - which is where the currants go). I'm about two-thirds done with the front half, the part before the black raspberries. After giving away oodles of black raspberry plants, I think I'm at the point where I'll just mow down the rest of the shady side ones. The sunny side ones, which I'm keeping, have been neatened up and are close to fruiting, but still need more mulching. Everything in back of them is a jungle. The relatively tidy section has raspberries, blueberries, currants, a Nanking cherry, strawberries, a gooseberry, and a goji berry.
  • Try not to think about how awful the rest of the "way back" area is. Someday I will get it under control and stop the constant seeding of invasive weeds everywhere.
  • Tidy up the various planted beds everywhere else - actually going pretty well, though I still have to throw mulch around to keep the weeds (and excessively enthusiastic other plants) I've pulled from coming back immediately. If I can get everything to the point where I can stand to look at it, then I might be able to get somewhere with actual design, instead of just stuffing plants where there's room.
  • Get some control over the more wild areas that are not in the way back, like the gravel driveway full of weeds, the slope down to the fenced fruit garden, the area around the fence, the perimeter of the driveway, etc.
You may hear a theme here, the same one I sing out every year - gain control before it's too late! And with the amount of rain we've had lately, and the temperatures settling into something like summer range, there isn't much time to get ahead of the weeds anywhere. I'll fail to do so in most places, but maybe succeed in a few. A lot's been done so far, and it's only… oh damn, it's almost June...


  1. You have a lot of landscape to manage! Lovely flowers! We are coming into the peonies and beauty bush season, my favorite time in my garden, I think. The irises are starting, and the little miniature lilac in honor of Morgan is blooming nicely.

    1. Yes, it is a beautiful time! Our peonies are blooming too, though looking a little ragged, probably from all the rain.

  2. What the origin of the name "ninebark?" I have never heard of it.

    1. Apparently when the bark peels off it looks like the number nine? Latin name is Physocarpus opulifolius, it's native to the Eastern US, and should grow fine in your region. Mine is a purple-leaved variety called Diablo, but it also comes in green and yellow-leafed varieties. Gorgeous shrub.

    2. The flowers are spectacular! Will keep that in mind.