Glory's Garden

All the world's a garden, you know, and we are mere flowers within it. Come, I'll show you!

Don't get any funny ideas!

©2018 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved

My Peeps!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The wonder that is Tommy

Lookie here! A brand-spankin' new set of gloves. Know how I got them? No, I didn't run down to the garden center, Lowes or Agway. Me at a store? Not unless I'm dragged kicking and screaming.

No, Tommy got them for me, this pair and nine others just like it. It was the oddest thing although in truth, it happens so much with us that I should be used to it by now. Yet I'm not. I'm still stunned each time it happens. What am I talking about? The wonder that is my Tommy, of course.
Here he is seemingly resting but he's actually on a business call with a most annoying customer who, according to Tommy, "Needs his frickin hand held 24/7!" But I digress...

Back at the start of the growing season, I was out in the greenhouse looking over my collection of gloves and found that each and every one of them had holes in them, the right and the left ones! This was too much. I had resolved to ask Tommy to buy me some the next time he was at his favorite tool shop, Harbor Freight. Man-o-man, he loves that place and I like it because they actually have garden stuff too.

So, that was the plan. Leave it to Tommy to...well, not exactly ruin it, but he did kinda change things. That day he came home with the ten pack of gloves before I asked him for them! That day on his way back from a job in Allentown, he stopped by Harbor Freight and lo and behold he saw the gloves, thought of me and decided I needed them.

"Tommy, how did you know I was going to ask you to buy me some?" I asked.

He shrugs and says, "I heard you thinking."

All the way from Allentown??? Indeed, he did. He does this all the time, too. Kinda freaky, don't you think?

That's my Tommy.

Ah, well, me and Tommy, guess we were meant to be...if only so I don't have to go to the store!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How did that happen?

This is a case of “you got chocolate in my daylily hill and you got peanut butter in my iris bed”. 

Huh? Okay, let’s try that again.

As you can see, there is a Japanese Iris in the daylily hill. The interloper! How in the world did it get there?

I have a theory, but then I think you knew that. I think a little bird, a wayward wind or serendipity took hold of a seed or two and dropped them willy-nilly, and of course, they landed on my fertile daylily hill. Actually, it's on the very edge of the hill and more on the cracks in the driveway on the other side of the fence, but why split hairs? 

For all intents and purposes, the Iris is residing on the daylily hill. Purple and orange clashing horribly. Don't tell the garden police, whatever you do!
Not to be outdone, the daylily had a few tricks up its...uh...leaves? They don't exactly have sleeves, do they? Well, in retaliation a piece of daylily root must have stowed away along with a transplanted Iris. Their foliage being rather similar I never knew this daylily was here growing so well and sturdy until it bloomed and look at it now!

Orange and purple clashing horribly! But what's that I see? A spot of yellow, too? What the heck is that? Closeup, please!

Now, this is odd indeed! An Asiatic lily among the Iris and daylily. Heaven help us! Another stowaway! ~sigh~ My garden does keep me on my toes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rooting hormone

I may have mentioned once upon a time that I started most of my forsythia bushes from clippings.What am I talking about? I got all of them from clippings. That's right. I don't pay for plants which I can clone for free.

How I did it is exactly how I cloned the French Pussy Willow, without rooting hormone. Of course, that needs to be clarified. Rooting hormone was indeed present for rooting to take place, but I didn't actually use it to force the clipping to root. The plant itself did that. Now, before you start thinking my plants went down to the local Agway farm store and bought some rooting hormone for themselves, I'll tell you they didn't have to. Plants have a natural rooting hormone within them. They use this for their survival.

Willows in particular have tons of it. Some plants have less, but are still able to root quite easily. In my experience, most plants from the jungles of South American rain forests tend to have a great deal of this rooting ability, vine especially. Have you ever taken a tiny bit of a houseplant--most of those are the jungle plants of which I speak, you know-- and set it in water, only to have them root within a week or two? Yes, that's all it takes sometimes, when there is a vast amount of naturally occurring rooting hormone within the plant.

Golden pathos, Dumb Canes and Snake plants are some of the easiest to clone quickly and without much bother because of this, but even our northern grown plants have it.

Take Rhododendrons for instance. Some people like to clone these from green cuttings which they dip into store bought rooting hormone and it works fine for them. I don't bother. My Rhodos do it quite literally on their own. I'll tell you how some other time.

My point is some plants need help to get them to root. You can help them either by buying some rooting hormone or making it yourself. This is quite easy to do. No, you don't need a laboratory either. You just need willow branches.

Since willows have so much of this naturally occurring rooting hormone, you can use them to make some. All you need do is fill a jar with several pieces of willow branches. The rooting hormone exudes from the cut pieces and infuses into the water. Once you see the pieces rooting, the hormone is already going into the water. This water then can be used to root other, more difficult plants to root. You can also simply stick a willow branch in water with the other plants, so the other plants can take advantage of the willow's rooting hormones.

Experimenting is the best way to see how certain plants can be clones. I suggest you try it on your own. You learn so much that way!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The cloning of the French Pussy Willow

Julie of Wooly Acres fame asked for a few clippings from my French Pussy Willow. She wants to make a natural fence, windbreak or hedge, all of which the French Pussy Willow would be great.

These are the clippings I took from the small French Pussy Willow I cloned last year. Why didn't I take them from the original French Pussy Willow? Well, it's currently out of reach...

and the branches I can reach are too woody and no longer small, green and supple enough for the cloning or propagating process. So, I took them from the small one. It's fine to do that since I wish to keep this plant much smaller than its parent plant.
You can't even notice I clipped so many off of it. Love plants like that. They give and give without a bit of bother.

The branches soaked in the pond overnight. It wasn't my first choice but time was short. I had to go clean up to fetch Justin. The next day the leaves looked all dried up but I really didn't need them. It's the stems we want for propagation. All the foliage could easily be stripped away. I chose to leave them.

I only stripped off the bottom 6-8 inches of branches and leaves. This is to give a clean place for rooting. Once the stems were clear, I took a knife and lightly scraped the stems. This exposes the green cambian layer and fascilitates rooting. On willows of all sorts, this isn't really necessary, but for other shrubs which don't root that easily, you may want to try it this way.

Once all the stems were prepared, I filled a pot with soil and pushed each stem in. Then I set the pot in a saucer with water to keep the stems constantly moist. I expect them to be rooted within a few weeks.

They may call it cloning, because that is exactly what it is, but its so much easier to clone plants than it is to do the same with animals. No, I don't expect Julie to clone a sheep for me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Plants vs people

You may not realize it, but we're in a constant battle; the battle of plants vs people. I'll explain.

This is the French Pussy Willow I've spoken of here several times least I think I have at least once. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have heard me talking about it there, too. (You do follow me on Facebook, don't you? Well, you should!)

Why would I talk about this tree at Glory's Garden or on Facebook? Well, when I bought it I was told it would be a shrub at best twelve feet tall. The label on the plant said so too! If you can't tell from the picture, it's more than double that and I don't even fertilize it!

The folks at the nursery who grew the darn thing and/or the garden center where I bought it obviously didn't know what they were talking about. But that's to be expected. That's not because I think people at nurseries or garden centers are idiots (although I must admit to finding a few there. I'll tell you about that some times, too.)

I have a theory about why some plants do things like growing bigger than they should or flowering pink when they were supposed to be yellow or turning a solid green when you bought it variegated (All those things have happened to me, by the way, and I'll tell you about each in turn, but not now). I'll tell you my theory if you'd like to hear it.

A baby French Pussy Willow
I think people make the mistake of thinking they are smarter than plants. When that happens and they do something very stupid like speaking in front of the "dumb" plants saying with supreme authority, "I know everything about that plant and yadi-yadi-yada..."

Plants hear this and say, "Oh, yeah? I'll show them!" and then they do! That's when a plant such as the poor little French Pussy Willow which "normally" only gets 12-15 feet high, will surprise everyone by going 30-35 feet tall instead. It just wants to show us, silly, arrogant humans who's boss.

So, give your plants the proper respect, will ya? Or you may end up with vines crawling inside your bedroom window and tickling you under the chin! No, that hasn't happened to me ....YET!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweet Williams

I do love my Sweet Williams! They have a nice clove-like scent, just like carnations. Well, they would being from the same Dianthus family. Sweet Williams are botanically Dianthus babatus to be exact. They are a super easy to grow biennial, but they act more like a self seeding annual or a prolific, short lived perennial.

They make about a zillion seeds and drop them all over the place, which is fine with me. I never can tell where I'll find them from year to year, but they are always welcome, unless it's in a walkway. Then it's out they go!

It is clear to see  butterflies like them, too. This butterfly hovered about them for a long time going from one flower to another. It didn't seem to get enough of them. Well, neither can I.

I'll have to collect the seeds this year and place them somewhere that is not overtaken by weeds!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rock Wars or how I made my first dry river bed

How big does a stone have to be before it's a boulder?
While weeding the Abby/Julie Friendship rose garden, I came across the usual. I found weeds, sticks, twigs, spent flower stalks, yes, but I also found rocks, loads of them! I filled about 4-5 buckets full of rocks and that was just from one bed which had been dug up, weeded and replanted several times. Each time I rework a bed I get the same amount of rocks out of it again. This is a normal occurrence in my yard.
Buckets can get heavy full of rocks. They don't do my back any favors

I have to admit, this used to baffle me to no end. How can I keep getting the same amount of rocks out of a bed over and over again. I really do try to get as many out as I can each time and each time I do believe I got all of them out. I'm obviously wrong.

How this can be explained is easy enough. They must multiply in the rich soil just like my perennials do. Don't laugh. It's the only explanation and it's been...well, maybe not exactly scientifically proven, but it's on high authority. I heard Martha Stewart during one of her garden shows complain about the rocks and stones she always finds in her flower beds in her rocky New England home. She advised all gardeners to make quite certain to remove every single stone they see, even the tiniest ones, because (and I quote!) "Any stone left behind is likely to multiply and give you ten next year."

I'm not one to contradict a person which made millions upon millions of dollars telling women how to be homemakers (a job I contend mothers should have been doing for free as they always had in the past, had it not been for certain people's ideas that being "just" a homemaker was not good enough). I had thought Martha was simply trying to be funny, but lo and behold, her words turned out to be prophetic and true, at least for me.
Dry river bed smack dab in the center of a shrub border
So, I fight the Rock Wars just like Martha Stewart and all other gardeners in "rocky" New England and the even stonier Pocono mountains of PA. You may be wondering what I do with all these rocks. Pretty much what all us gardeners do. If you've ever been to New England you'll spot evidence of this strange phenomenon all around farmhouses and homes. They're called rock walls, stone pillars and dry river beds. I'd like to think of it as making lemonade out of lemons. Rocks actually come in handy at our house. I'll tell you about that some other time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where did all the birch trees go?

Back in the day--when we bought our piece of heaven, that is-- we had a section of land far removed from the house and toward the property line on one side where a stand of white birch trees stood. There were at least sixty trees there. I just loved them. The sight of the foliage fluttering in the high wind was so pretty and you could hear the breeze through the leaves. It sounded rather a bit like a whisper. That was why I wanted our place called Whispering Birches.

But that was before we had found tons of rocks and boulders just barely covered by soil. Every time we tried digging a whole for a tree we found rocks...tons of them! Tom then decided Hidden Rock was more accurate a name. As we couldn't agree--a very rare thing for us-- we never really did name our spot on earth. It's just plain old home.
Anyway, over the years, the birch trees died, one by one, a few every year. Birch trees, you see, are not a long lived tree. They are fast growers which makes their wood weak and therefore, they just don't live as long as other, harder wooded trees. On average Birch trees live 30-40 years and apparently we bought our property in the autumn of their lives.

During the vicious storm that rained huge hail down on us and did enough damage to be going on with--including my poor greenhouse--this birch tree went down, popping the roots right out of the super-soaked and soft ground. It was the second to last white birch tree we have left.
This is the last one and as you can clearly see, it's already leaning. It can go at any time and then Whispering Birches will be no more. Well, I guess it was a good thing we didn't settle for that name.

This is what is left of that downed tree. Tom chopped it up--is it chopped when you use a chainsaw? I don't think so-- before I got the chance to take a photo of it whole and down where it landed. That's what you get when a procrastinator lives with a...what's the total opposite of a procrastinator? Well, whatever it is, that would be Tommy. If I don't do things right then and there, the moment's gone. Tom will make sure of that!
So, the place where the birch trees were we naturally called the under the birches place. What in the world are we going to call it now? Well, as there are a few white and scotch pines, several forsythia bushes, a couple of honeysuckle shrubs and a viburnum or two, there is no clear cut name. Maybe I should take votes.

There are several stumps of what were birch trees, the last remnants of our trees.

It took us several trips of dragging these huge branches to the back 40. perhaps I'll shred them and make wood chips from them. More likely Tom will burn them on a rainy day. He's very cautious about fire, you see. For now this is all that remains of a once majestic tree. Poor thing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The hiding of my Lysmachia Alexander

Once again the bane of my existence, the tree wisteria, is causing me trouble. How? Well, it's growing so much it's obscuring the Lysmachia Alexander! It also knocked over my blue pacific Iris and is nudging out the wolfsbane. The Lysmachia Alexander is the plant with the yellow flowers peeking out from under those wild branches and tendrils. The poor little thing! I'll have to do some major trimming on that thing...yet again! I'm starting to wonder if that it why I don't get any flowers, I trim it too much. But if I didn't...well, it would just take over the world. Yes, the world, not just my yard! I'm telling you, the tree wisteria is evil! But it is pretty and Tommy won't let me even try to move it. Maybe I should try to kill it? No, I just don't have it in me to do that. Woe is me and my flower-less tree wisteria.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Roses in bloom

I've told you before about the Abby/Julie friendship rose garden, but last year it simply didn't do much to brag about. This year however, it is stunning! Well, for me it is. I never got roses to do this well, except for the Rosa Rogosas which can barely be contained let alone killed.
 I think what did it was the copious amounts of compost I used for filling in the missing soil in this flower bed. You see, it wasn't always a rose garden. It was only after receiving the gift of several roses from Wooly Acres that I started this one. Actually I converted it from a shrubby sort of bed. The main thing in it was an over-large and constantly increasing in size yellow-twig dogwood. The dodwwod had to go and with it went most of the soil. Hence why I needed the compost as filler. That plant was surrounded by several perennials, but the bed lacked direction. Now it has direction, but it has a very poor leader. That leader would be me.

Now that the roses have really come into their own, and Tommy bought me a few more to round out the collection, I can start removing the extra stuff I had in there and then I will truly have a rose garden. What stuff? There are two tree peonies, one yellow and one magenta and several of the herbaceous kind, a hybrid daylily, an iris a tiny burning bush which always gets abused by our local rabbit so it never gets anywhere, a patch of Rudbeckias, several Scabiosa Butterfly blue and yellow, a wild flower whose name I never knew, but I liked it so much I kept it there and a few dozen daffodils so there will be some color in early spring.

The daffodils would be the only things I'm willing to leave with the roses if I truly want to make it just a rose garden. Not sure it will happen though. I would have to find new homes for the peonies. OY!

You know what? I do believe I'm running out of room. Can I start planting in your yard?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garden gloves

I'd say I'm due for a new pair of garden gloves. What do you think? The thing is, these were new only a couple of weeks ago. That, however, was before I started the mad two weeks of weeding. Yes, I'm a bit rough on my gloves. If you thought I had dainty, flowery lady's gloves to protect my perfect manicure, think again.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's a bit deceiving

I don't mean to be so, but I do believe I am a bit deceiving in my use of the word "weeding".
Could I have more weeds? Oh, yes!
You see, when I say I'm weeding, it truly incorporates a heck of a lot more than just yanking out a dandelion or two. It could also mean ridding the yard or the particular flower bed or in the case of the Juniper hill, the invading rosa rugosas. They were creeping into the Junipers and had to be snipped out of there or else they would take over. What a mess that would be!

Also, I have to give it to this Yoshino cherry tree. It is nothing if not the most prolific growing tree I have. The branches weep and sprawl all over the junipers so you can't even see the ones which are planted just beneath the tree. The junipers themselves have a tendency to grow long over the barrier instead of growing wide, to spread outward. That doesn't help me either. I need to trim those too, you see. Which makes more work and more "weeding" of sorts.

See where I get a bit...shall we say...confused about the weeding thing? It involves pruning and trimming and weeding too. So, do you see why it takes me so long to do the weeding in one place? It's just a whole lot more than just dandelions. And it also explains why my compost pile it piled way up high again!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The step garden

Really, the step garden is in there somewhere. You'll see after I get the weeds out.

See? Much better. I just don't know what to do with it now that it's cleared out.

I think I'll just toss down some annual seeds and see what happens.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Garden dreams blown to pieces

The back 40
Okay, so I exaggerate. My garden dreams didn't exactly blow up. They just kind of turned to mist and flew off on the breeze. I don't even miss it, really I don't. What am I talking about? Let me tell you the tale of what Glory's Garden was supposed to be.

 Once upon a time-- this was back when the house was finally built and we had done a nice job of landscaping the property-- I had come to realize I had a greenish thumb. It seemed everything I touched spread like wildfire--or perhaps like wildflowers?--yes, that's more like it. Tom came up with the pleasant idea of Glory's Garden, the plant nursery. I thought about it and liked it plenty.

So, what did I do to prepare for the grand opening of Glory's Garden Center? I planted a variety of plants in the back 40 in three large --we're talking HUGE-- perennial beds. There were daylilies, Iris, Wegielia and Spirea shrubs, PeeGee hydrangea, rosa rugosa, Miscanthus ornamental grass, hibiscus, columbines, daisies, honeysuckle, peonies, lilacs, fountain grass, clematis, viburnums, azaleas, sundrops, hops vine, black raspberries and a few rambunctious perennials whose names escape me at the moment, but whose presence is probably permanent, never to be eradicated. I also had quite an assortment of baby trees. In essence it was a pretty good start to a garden center.

The thing was, we soon discovered there were four other garden centers in town plus the supermarket and Agway--a farm supply shop for those of you who may not know what an Agway is-- had plants for sale, too. So, I asked myself: Did a tiny town like ours really need yet another garden center? I decided not.

Pretty Iris among the weeds
So, now the back 40 is just my personal nursery from which I dig out plants either to give to friends or to place in a location of honor within my rapidly decreasing room in the formal garden beds near the house.
This is where I got the daylilies that went on the Juniper hill
 Still serves me well, my defunct Glory's Garden Center. I gave a lilac to the neighbor next door just cuz I had it to give. I hand out plants to whomever wants one. I always seem to have too many of something.

So, really, I think my garden center is a good thing and I'm glad I have it.

This hops vine is tangled up in who-knows-what-plants, but soon, I want to move it closer to the house. Somewhere it can climb onto a fence and be the wild thing it was meant to be.

Glory's Garden now has a different focus. Now it's a cyber place for folks to come to and ask me a question or wander about the flowers. I can even give you a plant if you come around. I won't mind!