Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Naturalizing Daffodils

I have 800 daffodil bulbs to plant this week or next.  It seems that I do it differently each and every time I plant bulbs.  This year I have 3 swaths envisioned.  I've hired someone to brush hog at the far side of our big hay field.  Now that the raspberries are cut down, it is going to be roto-tilled and then I'm going to plant in 3 long drifts.  I plant by digging down as far as I can go with a conventional shovel and turning one big shovel-ful of earth out of the hole.   Then I put in 5 to 7 bulbs and backfill.  I've found that if I fertilize at the time I plant, skunks, especially, will dig up the bulbs trying to get at the organic fertilizer.   Instead, I fertilize in the spring by broadcasting.  I've found that if I don't rototill first and I'm planting in established sod, it's very hard digging.

Most of mine are in areas where there is lawn of sod or even hay.  I would say they do better without the competition from the grass roots but in a deciduous woods there are all the tree roots.  I just have to delay mowing until the foliage turns yellow.   In the hay field, usually they don't get mowed until all the other hayfields are done so it seems to work out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm getting to like Hydrangea paniculata more and more--almost as much as lilacs and forsythia.   Over the years, I've been slowly collecting the large late panicle hydrangeas, especially the ones with the wild form of inflorecence which is pointed with lots of fertile florets intersperse with the larger, showy sterile florets which are there to attract insects. My favorite to date is 'Floribunda', I also like 'Big Ben'-- well perhaps my all time favorite is 'White Moth'.  Some of them turn green after flowering and never are pink: 'Tardiva', 'White Moth' and 'Kyushu' are like that.  Others turn a nice pink.  I use all of them for flower arrangements- they stay beautiful for almost 2 months.  I just got a new one called 'Great Star' this year- the sterile florets are huge.  I like 'Pinky-Winky' alot and 'Quick Fire'.  'Mega Pearl' , 'Passionate', and 'Summer Princess'[sic] are ones that I just got to try out and like them so far.  I'm dissapointed by a new one 'Skylight' as it looks like the big puffy PG type which I don't care for as much.  'White Lady' isn't too happy where I planted her so I can't tell if I like it or not and the new 'Mystical Flame' hasn't bloomed yet for me to decide if I like it or not.  'I just got a 'Brussels Lace' last year which I like and I also have 'Unique'

Saturday, September 15, 2012


My only real fruit crop left is grapes- the apples failed this year.  I've harvested probably half my grapes and they haven't all been dead ripe when I picked them.  I didn't want a repeat of my elderberry harvest where I was waiting and waiting for them to get perfectly ripe and then birds got inside my poorly secured bird netting and it got too dry and all the elderberries were either eaten or fell off on the ground.  With my grapes, I decided to pick a charge of them before birds and squirrels got to them  I made enough grape juice for the Thetford Hill Church thursday evening meditation group's communion.

My favorite grape is 'King of the North'.  I also have 'Valiant', 'Beta','Worden' and 'St. Croix'.  I still have plenty of 'St. Croix' to pick (unless I have mixed up 'St.Croix and 'Worden').

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chanticleer Gardens

I just returned from my summer vacation--it was really taking my daughters to and back to college.  While in the Philadelphia vicinity (we stayed in Glenmoore at "The Rutherford", we visited Chanticleer, a most beautiful public garden, in St. Davids, PA.  They had a wonderful Asian woods section, and a pond with the largest flowered lotus I have ever seen.  I was let in for free as I am a "Gardening professional" and I was given some baby sycamores which were coming up as weeds in the bog garden.  They had a mass planting of sorgham which was quite ornamental.   They used yellow foliage plants very well there- some people, in my opinion, over use plants with interesting colored foliage.