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Fall Planting

September 19th, 2018

I was at Sam’s Club last week and spotted some bulbs and peonies for $16. I’ve purchased bulbs and bare rooted plants at Sam’s before, they’ve always grown well. Since they were such a great price, I decided to get them. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to purchase smaller amounts of things to give them a try. Typically, I order my bulbs wholesale from Van Engelen because it’s so much cheaper, but you get a lot of each variety.

I’ll be interested to see what some of these unusual bulbs look like, particularly the nectaroscordum, stay tuned, I’ll definitely be sharing photos.

What new plants are you trying out this fall?

Friday Favorite: Plume Poppy

May 25th, 2018

Two years ago I spotted a plume poppy (MACLEAYA) in the gardens at Shelburne Farms in Vermont. I didn’t know what it was at the time and spent a bit of time searching to no avail. I was struck by the size of the plant and how delicate it was despite its towering nature.

Fast forward to last summer, I spotted this plant in the gardens at Fieldstone Gardens when we were there visiting. Naturally, I purchased one and planted it in the nursery area of the back garden. Since I now knew the name, I did some research on favorable conditions and the nature of the plant (is it thuggish or invasive, etc). One of the great features of this plant is that it’s a perennial so it dies back to the ground during the winter. Than can make it a valuable plant in areas with lots of snow.

While it does spread by runner, I’ve both read and heard that it’s easy to pull up the side shoots to limit spread (once a season suffices according to most sources). Mine has tripled in size in a year, which is actually great because I want it to be a large plant and take up a large space. With the vast nature of the gardens here at Chiot’s Run, we welcome plants that can spread, grow large, and take up a decent amount of garden real estate. I’m also always looking for giant wonders to add height to the garden.

Have you ever spotted a plant in a garden and spent a year or two trying to find out what it was?

New Plant: Sweet Woodruff

May 23rd, 2018

I’ve been looking for a few small groundcover type plants to add under the big apple tree. Years ago, I spotted sweet woodruff growing as a groundcover under large trees and filed it away in the back of my brain. When I was at a greenhouse recently, I spotted one for a few dollars.

Often, when I’m thinking of adding plants to the garden, I purchase one and watch it for a year. Plants can be pretty specific about their likes and it’s always good to watch one plant for a year before investing lots of money in a lot of one thing.

So far this plant is thriving under the old apple tree. I’ll be particularly interested in watching it next spring to see how it survives the winter and how quickly it gets going in the spring. For a ground cover to be effective as a weed suppressant, early emergence is an important factor.

Do you have any favorite ground covers?

New to Me Nasturtiums

July 31st, 2017

In Ohio I tried growing nasturtiums many times, they never did well at all. Everyone always said they were so “easy” and did well in poor soil, yet I could never get them to do anything at all in my garden. I finally gave up trying to grow them and moved on to other annuals. When we moved to Maine and I was growing in a different area, growing them never crossed my mind until this spring. A pack of ‘Night & Day’ nasturtiums were ordered from Johnny’s, started in soil blocks, and planted throughout the garden.

I was not prepared for the exuberance of these plants. Here by the front door they’re taking over their pots, growing up the side of the house, and being fantastic. I planted one between each tomato plant in the main garden, they are growing up way too big. Last week I cut them back hoping they would regrow but be a little less crazy. I’m undecided on whether I like these plants and will grow them again next year. This pale yellow is nice, especially by the front door. I’m not a big fan of bright, brash colors in the garden, which nasturtiums tend to be. I guess I’ll watch these the rest of the summer and see what I think in another month or so.

What annual that everyone says is “easy” have you struggled to grow?

New Vines

April 19th, 2017

One thing I need to work on in this garden is vertical height. I need more climbing vines, more tall shrubs, more small trees, and a few specimen trees. Starting with climbing vines seemed like the easiest way to work on this. Lucky me two weeks ago when I went to a local store and they had clematis for $6.99 each.

I bought one of each variety and potted them up when I got home.

They’re currently growing very nicely on the back porch (didn’t think about getting photos until it was dark). One of them has shoots that are 6 inches tall already. I’m looking forward to adding these lovelies to a few areas to add a bit of beauty and height.

What’s your favorite climber?

Reading & Watching

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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.