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Friday Favorite: Kenilworth Ivy

November 18th, 2016

Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis) is one of my favorite little creeping plants. The first time I saw it was years ago on my first visit to Longwood Gardens. I didn’t know the name of it at the time, but discovered it a few years later. In my Ohio garden, it was growing in the rock walls and I loved it.
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I purchased a plant a few years ago, but it didn’t survive that winter, most likely because I planted it in the garden. When Mr Chiots and I visited the Hagley Museum last fall, I collected a few seeds from one the plants growing on an old stone building. I started them in a pot when I got home and this spring I had a few nice plants to add to the rock walls in front of the house.
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They grew beautifully this summer and creeped through the rocks. I’m hoping they help stabilize the soil in the beds behind the rock walls, the soil has a tendency to get washed out leaving the walls less than secure and full of holes.
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kennilworth-ivy-1Now that these little plants are thriving in a rock well, they should survive the winter because of the extra heat from the rocks. Just in case they don’t, I have two small pots of ivy in my indoor garden. If the plants in the rock walls don’t survive this winter, I’ll simply grow a flat or two of plugs every year to plant in spring.

Do you have a favorite creeping plant?

Propagating Hydrangeas Easily

November 16th, 2016

One of my fall chores is to lay down a few branches on various hydrangeas to get them ready for propagation next year. This chore can be done most of the year, but I never seem to remember to do it until fall. It’s super easy, choose a long, flexible branch, strip off a few sets of leaves in the middle of the branch, bend the branch to the ground and bury those stripped leaf nodes an inch or so below the soil surface, put a rock or brick over the branch to keep it from popping out of the soil.
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I like using bricks for this because it’s a good visual reminder of what I’m doing.
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In mid-summer next year, dig up your new hydrangea and move to a new location, or let it grow in place to expand your current hydrangea to a larger size. This is pretty much a foolproof way of propagating hydrangeas. The nice thing is that you never have starts to look after or monitor, the plant does its thing while you go about your gardening chores.

What plants are you propagating this season?

AH…..

November 15th, 2016

Fall cleanup is always one of my favorite chores, especially the final mowing of the lawn and fallen leaves. Not only does it create a tidy lawn/landscape, it provides loads of valuable mulch to make spring weeding much less of a chore. Ever since I first started gardening I’ve been mixing grass clippings and chopped leaves and applying them to my compost piles and using it as mulch in my flowerbeds.
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I have a much larger lawn (about an acre and a half) and loads more trees (150 acres of them), so it takes me days upon days to finish up this chore in the fall. The areas under the old apple trees got most of the mulch this year, hopefully next year they will be mostly weed free and then they can receive a dressing of compost from here on out. This is my favorite fall cleanup chore, but it’s also the most relieving to have finished as well. I finished just in time yesterday, today we’re supposed to get an inch of rain.

What’s your favorite fall cleanup chore in the garden?

A Beautiful Day, Week, Month, Season

November 14th, 2016

This fall has been perfect, the days are in the 40’s or 50’s and the nights are in the 20’s or 30’s. The sun is shining most days, which is nice since it’s only out for around 10 hours a day now. With all the beautiful weather I’ve been able to get a ton of garden chores finished up.
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Usually, this time of year, I’m trying to prioritize the garden chores that need done vs. the ones that can wait for spring. This year I’m going to be able to get them all finished and extra things that weren’t even on my list. I’m enjoying every last bit of nice weather in the garden, it won’t be long until the snow flies. I am looking forward to swapping my garden boots for snow shoes when that comes!

How has this season been in your garden this year?

Fairy Flies at Sunset

November 10th, 2016

The fairy flies have been out in force for the past few weeks. They’re such interesting creatures, they almost look like tiny fuzz balls floating through the air. I love seeing them floating around as the sun sets low in the sky.
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I can see why the call them fairy flies both up close and from afar they look otherworldly. I didn’t get a close-up of them, google them and look at all the photos. The ones we have here and fuzzy and lavender in color. This time of year, they make a lovely evening even more magical.

Have you ever seen fairy flies?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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