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View Diary: Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.5 (277 comments)

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  •  Things happen so fast this time of year ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kishik, blueoasis, Frankenoid, jayden

    After months of winter monotony, these weeks of Spring are so pregnant with change - it's hard to keep up!  Just a few days ago, i stuck a cluster of pruned branches from one of the plum trees into a vase.  This is what they looked like this morning:


    The photo is drab, but the branches are festooned with white flowers.


    Welso was right by the way - those forsythia branches i got from the grocery store didn't root in the vase.  :(  I'm going to give them a little more time.  Hope Springs eternal ...

    •  You know.... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      estreya, blueoasis, Frankenoid, jayden

      I think some sort of coating or chemical may be applied to these... I bet if you picked them up in a farmer's market they would root readily.

      My grandmother rooted and planted all of the bushes in the yard! Do you have neighbors willing to share a few branches?

      All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

      by kishik on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:51:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, there's still one branch that has ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kishik, blueoasis, Frankenoid, jayden

        ... a supple top.  I may snip that, stick it in rooting hormone, plug in into dirt and see what happens.  If i have to break down and buy one, so be it, but i'd like to try to propagate if i can.

        •  I can send you branches... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, Frankenoid, estreya, jayden

          You want me to send some??  The bush itself is created to spread easily!!  All those little rough spots on the stems are potential roots!!!  One long branch bends over and poof!  New plant!

          I didn't go that far down to examine the forsythias (to see what those lawn guys may have done), but I may even have some that are rooted already.

          Mine is totally the old fashioned type.

          Oh ... and please tell me I absolutely need this... I found a double petaled mock orange!!  I need it in the back garden, right??  right???

          :D

          All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

          by kishik on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 02:48:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know what? You don't NEED it ... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kishik, jayden, blueoasis

            ... but i think you deserve to treat yourself.  Go for it! :)

            Thanks for the forsythia offer, truly, but i'll try to scare up a start from someone here.  They're all in bloom now all over the place, so maybe i can even knock on a door and ask politely if i can cut a shoot out of the base.

            It's a lovely, generous offer though.

            •  Yah... I think (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              estreya, jayden, blueoasis

              The branches sold for flowers are treated somehow.  My grandmother literally would cut branches, bring them in to flower and all of them would be rooted and growing leaves in a couple of weeks! This is how I learned certain things were so easy to root.  She would do the same with pussywillow branches.

              All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

              by kishik on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:46:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I didn't want to say it (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            estreya, kishik, blueoasis

            but your garden could really use a double-petaled mock orange. I mean, really; I can't believe you let it go this long without one...


            Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

            by jayden on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:27:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wahhhh... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              estreya, blueoasis, jayden

              I know I know! I so love the scent of Mock Orange in the spring.

              I'm thinking if I order it now I might get something that may bloom?

              ;-)

              Temptation is soooooooo great at the mo!

              All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

              by kishik on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:54:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have a mock orange (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jayden, kishik, estreya

                that was a late season rescue I bought about 5 years ago, because it was really cheap.  It looked pretty bad but managed to survive.  Its placement is sort of awkward because I really didn't have anywhere to put it but because of everything I'd heard about the scent, I thought wth.

                I'm very sympathetic and empathetic to the carnage caused by the lawn service.  Some years ago I had a broken leg from a car accident which made me realize how vulnerable my plantings were to care if I couldn't do it.

                We don't have a real lawn service here, though the town is big enough to support one.  Because the bone was difficult in healing, which none of the specialists knew why, I began to think of all the small, detailed instructions I would have to give anybody to keep things maintained without lots of mayhem.  Pretty overwhelming.

                I hope that the service at least makes good on your losses.

                More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

                by blueoasis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:29:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have a huge.... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blueoasis, estreya, jayden

                  mock orange that sits outside the back stoop.  I can never get enough of its scent in the spring!  :D

                  :(  I just took a look at the crocus again.... so ripped to shreds.  :(

                  All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

                  by kishik on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:45:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  What I had wanted to do... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  estreya, blueoasis, jayden

                  is to resume the service I have which treats the lawn and also reseeds.  They try to not use all chemicals, but are not totally chemical free.  I can do the manual work (although estreya may not agree with me at the mo') but really don't know what the heck to do for lawn care.  My lawn has been shrinking steadily, which is why I gave this service up for a while - simply for me to get my act together on real planning since I pay by square lawn footage!

                  gah... I can't even put out bird seed in the area where those guys through down some stuff yesterday... which i think is just lime.... but don't know if they mix it with weed killer.

                  Thankfully in the immediate back area I have no grass since it's paved in slate... so no unknown applications put down in that area and I filled the feeders up with seed for the birds there.

                  All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

                  by kishik on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 02:12:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's a complex problem trying to sort out (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    estreya, jayden

                    exactly what is being done and how and why.  Especially with the degree of chemicals and where and why they're being applied.  It sounds like you really need the service for another year, so I hope that you can work things out with them.

                    A dilemma that we're facing everywhere in the society, with both services and goods is knowing beforehand the quality of either before we invest and then whether or not there are any better options.  And cost isn't always, or maybe even most always an indicator.  I could go into a long tirade about sprinklers, tools, and things that I can no longer find decent replacements for.  Sprinklers especially, since the good old reliable heavy metal ones finally wore out.  They're critical to me today and I've researched my ass off looking for something reliable.

                    Like you I've gradually converted what was pretty much total lawn into plants, shrubs, and vegetables in as attractive a manner as possible.  The only desirable feature here was an old private hedge around most of the area, but it's a major headache to keep up.

                    I have lots of paving stones in pathways and small areas and I love the look. When I was digging up the back area
                    beyond what is now a deck, I discovered about a half a foot down a lot of great sandstone pavers for what had once been a patio.  I've also uncovered others used in different areas, close to outside outlets, faucets, etc.  I've supplented with very natural looking preformed ones I found at Lowes.  The difficulty with mine is that every few years they've sunk enough that I have to flip them out with a crowbar and fill in and over the areas with mulch to keep them from disappearing.  That's another problem with heavy clay soil when it's wet, just like a very slow quicksand.

                    My lawn's about 3500 sq ft left with one inside area for the dog and the rest is two smaller areas in front on each side and a considerable expanse on the north side between the sidewalk and street.  I won't even get into what climate is doing to my lawn with the spread of new and almost indestructible grasses like nut grass or yellow sedge.

                    More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

                    by blueoasis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:23:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  A constant complaint of mine (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      estreya, blueoasis

                      is how every few years Home Depot and Lowe's will get rid of a brand I've come to rely on and replace it with something crappy and cheap. Currently Lowe's is phasing out Gilmour hose products with something else. I just ordered a half dozen hoze nozzles on-line so I could have a supply of nozzles that function well.

                      I've had to return a few hoses over the past couple of years because the end piece wasn't attached very well and leaked. And don't get me started on the loosening of tolerances in manufacturing standards so that more often than not anymore the nozzle doesn't fit tight on the end of the hose. Argh!

                      Small garden shovels? Forget about it; they're built to last a season before falling apart. I've had them bend and break with normal usage.

                      Pruning scissors? The latest version by Friskars cracks at the handle after a few weeks; the finger holes aren't designed to withstand the pressure from cutting. Thankfully I can return them and get a replacement pair but it's just stupid that they're so poorly designed and manufactured.

                      It's absolutely disgusting how products are made to wear out quickly so they have to be replaced. I would willingly pay a few cents more for a better product. It's the "Walmartization" of retail business and it's pathetic.


                      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

                      by jayden on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:28:42 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Exactly with most of those I've had to buy. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        estreya, jayden

                        We had a mysterious power outtage today and just got back on line so didn't mean to ignore your comment.

                        Especially about the brands, but the old better quality Gilmour sprinklers aren't any more and they don't make the good quality old metal ones, only a lighter cheaper one.

                        And ditto about the switching brands.  For instance with the sprinklers, the only ones I can find that look like they might be good are new on the market and priced from around 60 to 100 dollars which I'm not about to pay for an unknown.

                        Lowe's has quickly been going down hill.  Walmartization is a very good term for it.

                        More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

                        by blueoasis on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:37:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

    •  If I had your house I would make that room (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      estreya, blueoasis, kishik

      my home office so I could spend all day staring out those wonderful windows at the beautiful scenery beyond! Who needs to get work done when you can ogle nature's display?


      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:22:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OMG! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      estreya, blueoasis, kishik

      Your grass is so green! I love all the colors and textures in your landscape.

      Is that a rock outcropping to the left of the burial plots? It would be a perfect spot to do a bit of color-intensive landscaping.


      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:33:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those are big retaining boulders ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, jayden, kishik

        When we moved in, there were just two squares of grass flanking the front driveway - the bare minimum needed to meet the C&R requirements.  Though i know expanding a lawn is controversial, i couldn't stand the giant green postage stamps surrounded by torn up earth.  Pretty much right away, we brought a landscaper in to make a more graceful shape around the house, and to put in retaining boulders to keep the "house" lawn from slipping into the field (the latter of which at the time was just an uneven, crusty, empty, ruddy slope).

        What you see in that shot is a short portion of the retaining wall, and one of the gaps that allows me to walk down into the field before it starts up again around the back of the house.  The burial plots are are where veggies go to die.

        Though the boulders are huge, i have to admit, that wall has always worried me.  Subsequent to its completion, i read up a bit and realized they didn't do quite as thorough a job as they might have.  They had a huge claw contraption, the jaws of which grabbed the boulders and basically propped them up in a line against one another.  They didn't put any kind of backfill or erosion control in, and wouldn't you know, one of the huge boulders tumbled out of its "slot" a few years back.  I decided i liked it better that way (what was i gonna do, summon my bionic biceps and move it?), and just plugged the "hole" behind it.  Eventually, i'll put a flowering bush of some kind in that spot and turn the "oopsie" into a feature.  Meanwhile, i'm piling garden debris and dirt in front of the wall in the hopes that over time, it will be cushioned a little bit and therefore more secure.  Most of the rocks do at least "lean" backwards, but one or two seem to be cocked in a way that makes them vulnerable to gravity.

        •  The Claw (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, jayden, kishik

          A human claw fixing a mechanical one:

          •  Great description. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            estreya, jayden, kishik

            You mean you can't just pop one of those suckers back in line.  Lol.

            About the need to research..............yes.  I've never had anything remotely comparable to a project like that done, but with house additions, rennovations, and some repairs I've learned the hard way not to trust the expertise of professionals alone no matter how experienced they are or well recommended.  Unfortunately you can't do that with everything though.

            You pictures are really enjoyable.  I loved the description about the postage stamp lawn areas and the impetus to do something.  Sounds like good plans so far with some impressive improvements.

            More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

            by blueoasis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:57:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jayden, blueoasis

              "Not to trust the expertise of professionals alone ..." is a lesson i keep learning over and over again.  I must have a "GULLIBLE" tattoo on my forehead that everyone but me can see.

            •  Hey! Hey! Hey! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              estreya, blueoasis, kishik

              Some of us professionals are well worth listening to.

              Now get busy and rip out those perfectly good plumbing fixtures, knock down that ( load bearing? ) wall and plant that soon-to-be-ginormous shrub one foot away from the foundation...

              btw, I come highly recommended.


              Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

              by jayden on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 03:53:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You know, it was on the tip of my keyboard ... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis, jayden, kishik

                ... to use you as a "present company excluded" example, but i decided to be stingy with my praises (that, and i was short on time).  I was gonna go into a whole Don't Even Get Me Started On My Hardwood Floor Installation rant, so be grateful time was agin me. :)

                •  Installers are a whole 'nother ballgame... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  estreya, kishik, blueoasis

                  I've insisted lots of stuff to be ripped out and redone over the years because I wasn't satisfied with the installation. It's not unusual for me to get a phone call along the lines of "Will you please come to the jobsite? The fireplace doesn't look at all like the drawing you provided. Can you help us figure out what the masons did wrong?"

                  And one of the biggest caveats I say to clients is "It will look great. IF it's installed correctly..."


                  Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

                  by jayden on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:02:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I'm afraid your calibre is becoming (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                estreya, jayden, kishik

                fewer and further between.  People who are both knowledge and really care about the quality and client.

                From what I hear not only from people I know in the area but friends from all over the country, the problems are becoming epidemic.  There are people who can't be satisfied no matter what one does, but the complaints I hear are about pretty basic stuff.

                I won't go into detail, but we've had 3 different major construction projects, a small guest house completely remodeled, a sizable addition, and the original house with restoration, redecorating, and some remodeling, all with different contractors and all with serious difficulties of varying types.

                I'm curious what your impression is generally about professional work today.  Do you notice differences in your area about the commitment and quality?

                More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

                by blueoasis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:20:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Dead forsythia........ (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, estreya, kishik

      There is (probably was) a gorgeous large old forsythia directly across from my home office.  That was one of the main reasons that I never worked one in over here.

      Early summer last year one of the current occupants decided to trim it, into a sharp pyramid shape, which looks godawful, but moreso, you don't severely prune growing shrubs in the midst of hundred degree weather in the middle of a drought.

      I thought, Oh, sweet baybee Jaysus!, the language of about half the neighborhood, and wanted to intervene when I first saw him start with the hedge trimmers, but they're exceptionally strange people, not unfriendly, but not approachable with advice.

      No blooms which should have appeared two or three weeks
      ago but no greening either.  I suspect the multiple stresses have done it it.

      I love arrangements with cut branches like the forsysthia, plum, cherry, red bud, and pear.  Simple and elegant.

      More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

      by blueoasis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 02:56:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Neighbor next door... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jayden, estreya, blueoasis

        When they first moved in... Omy....hacked to death soooo many bushes.  The weglia, the forsythia... Lilacs....rhodies....

        I really began to DETEST them for the horrible things they were doing to the previous owners garden... She was somewhat of a bigot (have to say it simply was her generation, she was born probably at the turn of the last century) but was an avid birder and gardener, and her plantings reflected this! So the new neighbors come in, rip things out, hack away at bushes, chop down trees, tear out roses....

        BUT.... Over the years they've been living there, they've learned.  Learned to not over trim the bushes that flower in the spring, learned to appreciate the scent of the lilacs (which are now sprawling a bit)... And they always ask for my advice on garden tips! So as years passed, they've become pretty good neighbors.

        I guess it helps that the new neighbors that are on their other side of them are so bad that I could never be worst in comparison! Lol

        ;-)

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 04:57:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Neighbors can be quite interesting. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          estreya, jayden

          It's a great success that you were able to help rehabilitate one.  Lol.

          About half of mine do a little more than the basic with landscaping.  I do think my work here has inspired others to do more and I get lots of nice comments, which we all love.

          My only somewhat irritable neighbor is the one nextdoor to the south.  She put some work into her yard and had magnificent plans which never came through and it's been regressing a lot because she doesn't want to put the work into it.  So she often makes somewhat snide remarks and underhanded compliments about mine.  You probably know the type.  But it could be a lot worse.

          I'm very careful with advice when people ask, although they often have no intention of doing much anyway, because in a smaller town I don't want to be blamed for their failures if they don't follow through and they end up with dead or unsuccessful plantings. :)

          More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

          by blueoasis on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:57:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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