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Tuesday, March 31, 2020


With all the planters bunched together in the greenhouse, we have some colour combinations worthy of the late Christopher Lloyd.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pottering, Propagation and Pronunciation.

The plants that I know that most readily propagate by layering are grape and wisteria. When scrambling along the ground, both tend to grow roots at every leaf node, followed closely by the multiflora rose and this vagabond.

Forsythia (named after William Forsyth and pronounced scythe as in "The Forsythe Saga" and not sith as in the Star wars title "Return of the Sith") as you can see from the photo below, roots and puts up new shoots where branches droop to the ground.

Considered by some to be invasive, from a distance, I do enjoy the mass of yellow spring flowers. This newly planted layer is bordered by the pond and a road to keep it confined.

Hydrangeas readily layer, if not naturally, then with the help of something heavy placed on top of a stem bent to the ground.

This new planting layered naturally from the mother plant above

Our oakleaf  hydrangea has provided a couple of new plants from layers taken over the last couple of years.

I was going to cut off this straggly growth that has grown through the fence into an adjacent border, but I decided to cover the lower branch with soil. I'll check for roots this time next year.

Our new oakleaf hydrangea, shown below, layered last spring and was replanted a couple of days ago.

This year I'm layering my favourite hydrangea, a blue lacecap, fingers crossed.

This Excelsa rambling rose has attempted to layer in a crevice of this dry stone wall, unsuccessfully I might add. If you want to check the quality of your wall, plant an Excelsa rose next to it. If it finds purchase, your joints aren't tight enough. Rambling roses, like the multiflora rose are notorious for layering.

Most roses are not so obliging, but I laid down a cane of the rose Therese Bugnet and lightly covered it with soil

Two years later and I have 7 new roses.

More Pottering

Pottering is all about what catches the eye, or what dwells in the mind, or as I like to say "Attract the eye and the mind will follow"

In a sheltered, sunny corner, this Chaenomeles is already blooming.

Walking by the pond border watching Bianca interact with the fish.

 The colour of the Red Buckeye (Aesculus parvia) buds vary from salmon to red, here surrounded by last years Clethra alnifolia seedheads.

I wandered lonely as a cloud 
That floats on high o'er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd (well, two. In the current crisis, this is considered a crowd)
A host, of golden daffodils. 

At anytime of year, colour, whether harmonious, contrasting, or downright shocking, is a must in our gardens.

 The white flowers of this Pieris, while spectacular in their own right, will soon be complemented by the red new leaves and the red flowers of the Red Buckeye seen behind.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 From L to R Abeliophylum, still dormant Spirea, Abeliophylum, Forsythia, more Abeliophulum,  bottom L the wonderfully coloured Salix 'Hakuro nishiki starting to leaf out.

The blooms still to fully open, our Magnolia is worthy of addition.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Pottering in Splendid Isolation

In school I remember learning about 'Splendid Isolation" The British international policy during the second half of the nineteenth century.
During our present international crisis, this is how I isolate splendidly.

Things done.

All the garden borders have been mulched with horse manure.
Here is my theory.
In general, I find that the annual and ephemeral (plants that have more than one life cycle in a year) weeds germinate before the garden annuals and perennials.

The mulch smothers or burns these tender seedlings, while the more robust established garden plants will grow through the covering.

Before mulching I apply an all purpose fertilizer to replenish any soil nutrient loss due to organic breakdown.

I moved a Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Fat Albert') from this site as it was being shaded by the two trees either side.

To this more open site.

Clipping the boxwood removed most of the leaves affected by the leaf miner.

Our asparagus production has diminished over the last couple of years. I think due to the annual mulch I apply every fall. They were simply too deep.
We started with 24, I dug up and divided 16, We replanted 38 a couple of inches below the surface.

I cut out the dead and old blackberry canes and tied in what will be this year's fruiting canes.

Likewise with the raspberry canes.

Three Asian pears that were temporarily transplanted along the edge of the currant section of the fruit garden (Redcurrant Blackcurrant and Gooseberry which is in the Ribes, currant Genus) but destined for the orchard, have been left in place and espaliered.

Joining the pruned espaliered apples that form the boundary
of the fruit garden.

 The small border to the north side of the pizza oven has been slightly expanded and Hellebores, Astilbe and Geranium machrorrhizum added to the Aquilegia.

 More things done, still to do and other potterings. Next time, the sun is shining.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Multi-Coloured Greenhouse

With the mild daytime temperatures we are currently enjoying here in southern CT, it is tempting to consider garden planting. Here at Stonewell Farm our seed potatoes are in their trench and lightly covered,

 as are the peas

but while there are still frosts forecast this coming weekend. The real activity is in the greenhouse.
 One of our Clivia is in full bloom.

 The purple Petunia is the only one that I know of that is fragrant.

Our Lavandula Stoechas is full of buds.

Three Clematis that I rescued from one of the big box stores for a couple of dollars last fall and nursed back to health over the winter are going gangbusters.

Our second established Meyer lemon has mature fruit. immature fruit (green top left) and white buds which will soon open and fill the greenhouse with their intoxicating scent. 

We also have several seven yr old cuttings that are growing buds for the first time this year.

Our little fig tree is already producing young figs.

 and our hanging baskets are ready for the outdoors.

Because of the mild, almost snow free winter, we've had little to complain about. don't worry, in a few weeks we'll have grubs, bugs, drought, heatwaves and those dreaded weeds to occupy our idle hands.