Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Peonies are Blooming! The Peonies are Blooming!

such a short time of joy for the garden. I grow many, and I can’t tell you what any of them are. I wish I could say that they were gifts from my great aunt, or divisions from my favorite neighbor, but to be truthful I planted them all and never took the time to save the tags or write down what they are. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

And now for some risky advice, follow my train of thought all the way through before you shout “idiot!” and click the x at the top of the screen. ….If your peony plants did not bloom again this year, or are blooming poorly, move them now…………

I had to stop typing there for a second to shield my head in case you threw something at me.

Peony is a full sun plant. In the sun it will bloom prolifically and happily for you many many years. As gardens grow, shade encroaches via aging trees and shrubs and that shade may now be affecting your peonies. Tough pill to swallow I know. Peony also only bloom if their eyes (the skyward protrusions on the roots) are buried less than 2 inches deep in the soil. Mulching or spreading compost over the years may have resulted in them now being lower than that. There IS an optimal time to transplant peony , and it is the fall, and this is springtime I know. But in the fall will you honestly look at what is now a bunch of foliage surrounded by rudbeckia, asters and anemone and think, “hey, I needed to move that peony”, then go get your shovel and do so? I think probably not.

So while it is on your mind, go get the shovel , dig it out and divide it if it is big enough (two eyes per division) and replant it in a NEW hole (important direction there folks..see the caps?) Add compost or manure or whatever you use to the hole, double check the planting depth before backfilling. Go write on your calendar or PDA “water peonies” in July sometime to jog your memory . Then next spring  when you see those gorgeous beautiful blooms remember to come back and thank me. And yes, newly planted divisions and transplants will almost always bloom the first year. No garauntees here, but every one of the 20 or so I put in this past fall is loaded with buds, the only time I see them off to a slow start   is with bare root divisions from the mail or store.

An added benefit.. peony in the shade is much more suseptible to botrytis, the icky gray mold like fungus that covers and disfigures the foliage.

More on peony next posting..including pics!…

Check out what is blooming here in the Burrow gardens on the page What is blooming now last week of May

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Like Alice, my fall into the rabbit hole keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. Take this article in Sunday’s paper.

Apparantly there are fewer than 100 cottontails in NH, less than 300 in Maine. Well I say  pat on the back to you my northern neighbors. Granted they are refering to the New England cottontail, not the Eastern Cottontail(  Sylvilagus floidanus, which I believe is the one plaguing us here). But who really cares. I remember when I thought bunnies were cute too, and I also appreciate the whole food chain, bio-diversity and endangered species arguments, but  BLAH BLAH BLAH!

Honestly, seeing it  I felt the same way I would have if the headline read ” Smallpox  Eradicated: Science to re-introduce to preserve viral diversity”    My hostility runs that deep.

And then there is this puzzlement:

It is yet another repellent I ordered online called Shake Away. Note the full name of the product is “Shake Away Fox Urine Granules”

Now scan your eyeballs down to the active ingredient list (get your glasses on )  It reads : active ingredient….coyote urine

I guess common sense would obviously tell you that the active ingredient in fox urine granules would  be    ….er…coyote urine? 

Lastly ..if you want to comment..you need to sometimes click on “continue reading” below to see the comment box. Why? I do not know.I will ask my IT guy. Wait I don’t have an IT guy, just click it and comment on the post not my inabilty to manage my site. And if you click on subscribe to RSS above you will get an e-mail when I post something new!

I’m off to find the Chesire Cat, not to catch the rabbits silly, Bill is highly allergic to all things feline, but to score some of the drugs he is peddling to help me cope ;)

Cheryl

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The Spring of My Discontent

Welcome to my blog!  It is springtime here in lovely Jefferson,MA and by way of introduction to me, and my garden I am posting an ABC list (an idea shamelessly stolen from facebook) entitled “The Spring of My Discontent” , sorry Mr. Steinbeck.

A   is for ants, whose multi-hill and tunnel re-creation of an aztec city almost took my kids swingset and the front rock wall to China. .

 

B   is for Borers, the nasty creatures that have infested my favorite birch tree, the one I lovingly stare at out my picture window all winter as I wait for spring to arrive. Mother Nature, you really need to cut me a break on this one, please don’t make me cry… it is not a pretty sight.

c   is for corgis, my dogs Baby Dear and Tigger, who enjoy nothing more than a morning cavorting with the bunnies who are ravaging my gardens. The “dogs” as they like to think of themselves refuse to track, bark, chase or threaten the varmints in any way. Much like the questionable friends your kids bring home from high school , you just shake your head and wonder where it all went wrong.

D   is for digging, when someone asks me “Hey, what have you been up to?  this should be my only answer

E   is for edging, the most dreaded chore of the season. I have a friend who walks her borders with round-up in the fall “edging”. Now that is either very brave or very stupid depending on your attention span and the wind. I resort to manual labor , spade and wheel barrow. It is my gardening purgatory

F   is for frost. Thank you  Mother Nature for the beautiful warm weather you gave us in April. Did it maybe occur to you that the heat  would cause everything to bud and leaf out early so when late frosts hit three nights in a row this week we would be left with blackened leaf tips, transluscent hostas and crispy clematis? Dear lady, think about the repercussions to your actions a little harder next time.

G   is for green. Not the trees,the lawn, or perrenials where it would be welcome, but the pool water. The warm weather we had early on caused an algae bloom leaving us with a lake of startling green ectoplasm. Our chore list is so long in the spring we needed this like a sharp kick to the head.

H   is for Happy Birthday! (anniversary ,Mother’s Day or other important event I missed). In the spring, garden trumps all. Sorry, I will make it up to you.

I   is for the ice that hung heavily on my trees again this year providing me with many meditatitive hours pruning and chipping  to wonder why I bother at all

J   is for junkie..that would be me (at least it is plants, Ma). Apparantly I was suffering some sort of depression or an advanced state  of my OCD over the winter and was plant shopping online. Much of this I do not recall, but as the boxes have started arriving daily all screeching in bold lettering ”LIVE PLANTS  OPEN IMMEDIATLY!”  I am now suffering from a kind of panic disorder trying to remember what they are, why I bought them, and where in heavens name they are going to possibly fit in my overstuffed gardens.

K   is for kill trap, see L  …..and don’t judge me

L is for lagomorph, aka rabbits, the latest bane of my gardening existence. They are destroying everything! If you have a pet bunny whose picture your lovingly carry around in your wallet, do yourself a favor and do not show it to me. I will not be gracious.

M  is for money. DO NOT tell Bill, my hubby who finances this operation, but this has been a record year. See J, W, then add in what L is costing me in traps, repellents and lost plants, and I need to go my happy place and try not to think about which of the 4 children’s college fund I am depleteing

N   is for nesting. well at least someone in my yard is havin a good time ;) The birds are staking claim to every tree, shrub, hanging wreath, basket etc they can to nest in. I leaned a trellis against the house briefly to move a plant and turned around to find a not-so -bright robin had already built  his nest on it. Mister Robin, even though you were quite mad at me for moving your nest, try to focus on the fact that I saved you a lot of heartache. A leaning trellis does not a good home make and your potential mate would have been quick to realize this and leave your dumb a** for a smarter bird. You owe me

O   is for “open goddammit”..the cute little phrase of encouragement I offer to the peony buds daily. How long must this dumb plant stay in bud before blooming?  I don’t like to be teased….keep that in mind

P    is for psychotic, which is the state I am dangerously approaching every time a see a 50lb rabbit gleefully munching my plants, full belly and ready to make more bunnies in the” den of sin” under my deck (I know what is going on under there!)

Q   is for my quest to find a suitable mulch to replace last year’s fiasco of a choice. I think the salesperson at the last nursery was ready to call 911 and have me escorted off the property when my badgering and mulch pile inspecting carried on for 45 minutes.

R is for rain,coming consistently every day I have a chance to work in the garden. I am tired of being wet and cold, and spreading wet mulch is no joy either.

S   is for the first snake of the season to catch me off guard, RIP my friend. Warning to others, do NOT do this..it will result in you being pummeled, spaded, clipeed or otherwise maimed and killed with whatever tool I happen to have in my hand.I know you are good for the garden, I am working on my phobia, honestly. But now for your own safety, please  keep to yourself

T    is for tornado. Okay, they weren’t tornados, but the windstorms that have accompanied every front moving in and out of our area have made me wonder, “when did we move to Kansas?’ as I scrape the sand off my teeth and try to catch my breath (and the empty plant pots that just went  flying down the road) . Combined with the heavy rains, these evil winds have forced me to stake every small tree on the south side of the house. It is a lovely look  for the garden

U    is for unholy, accurately describing my feelings for all things nature that I did not invite here. Excuse me, but get out of my sandbox

V    is for voles, icky disgusting little creatures who spent all winter tunneling through my lawn making it look like a labyrinth in miniature and eating all the roots to several evergreens whose survival is now questionable

W     is for wet heavy snow , of which we had 20+ inches dumped on us in late winter causing me to have to call an arborist in to cable some tree$$$$

X  is for xeriascaping which I now have to practice in earnest….not so much to conserve water (although that is a very admirable reason for doing so) but so I won’t continually wash off all the concoctions I am spraying on my plants to repel rabbits and deer

Y   is for yarrow, the newest in the great cascade of weeds taking over the back 40. Pulling it and it’s runners out disturbs all the mulch and soil and promotes guess what?….more weeds!

Z   is for  ZERO TOLERANCE…my new bunny policy…you will be destroyed or driven off my land!  Yes, I have seen caddyshack, no I am not in fear of my sanity……yet

Here’s to a happier summer!

Cheryl

 

 

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