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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Almost Famous...

Well, my 15 minutes of fame has come and gone. Ppffffftttt...there it was and there it went. Unfortunately I don't think it even lasted 15 minutes, sigh...

Yesterday while I was busily dividing a Lysimachia infested clump of daylilies (more on that in the future), my neighbor called me. She told me that the local paper,The Long Islander, had been delivered and there was a "very nice" article about me in the paper.

Hooray! I dropped those daylily pieces right on the spot, got in the car (mud and all) and drove to the nearest Deli to buy two copies of the paper.

At first, while reading the article I had a big smile on my face. To be honest though, that smile went through a few changes and ticks. The reporter absolutely tried her best. I can't imagine how hard it is to write about a topic that you know nothing about. In fact, right at the beginning of our interview, the reporter told me that she "could kill a plastic plant". The warning bells should have gone on at that point.

Most of the article is correct and well written. Unfortunately, we seemed to have gotten our wires crossed on a few issues. I find it hard to believe that I recommended Black Iris for the shady Long Island gardens. Black Iris? I've never grown a Black Iris. I don't think that I ever even said the words "Black Iris" before I read this article.

My memory was talking about Hydrangeas for shaded gardens. To be fair, it must have been brutal to interview me. Those gardening words we are so familiar with such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Native Plants, Hydrangeas, Hosta, Daylilies, and so on just trip off our tongue but to a non gardener, they must sound like a foreign language. As a typical New Yorker, I speak fast and furious, so often I sound like somebody opened the top of my head and everything started spilling out.

All this would have been fine, the bulk of the material in the article was quite accurate and I could have simply posted a correction here since the article ended with this blog address.

Oops, just one problem, it was the wrong address. I'm going to take the blame for that one myself since it's a mistake I always make. My e-mail address ends with .net and the blog address ends with .com. I'm forever switching the two and apparently, I did that again.

Just in case you are reading here and want to know about the Iris I do grow and recommend, the first photo is of Iris cristata which is a small Iris that does grow well in the shade. The second photo is of Iris Siberica (Siberian Iris) which is one of the easiest Iris to grow and will also take some shade. Sadly, neither of them are black.

So now the poor gardener-wanna-bes of Huntington New York are wandering around, lost in cyberspace, in search of that shade loving Black Iris. And me? Well my 15 minutes of fame didn't feel quite as good as I anticipated.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Hole-y Hosta

How are your Hosta? Are they hole-y?

Although this is Easter weekend, this is not a religious post. While many people certainly feel that Hosta have been heaven sent, I'm writing about the Holes in them.

Hosta are amazing plants. If they grow in your area, you should never garden without them. There is such a huge selection of foliage patterns, colors and sizes, I don't even consider the blooms but they can be lovely too.

It's no wonder that Hosta tours are generally in early June around here. The foliage has fully flushed out by then but it's still clean and pristine.

A wonderful thing about Hosta is that they are still beautiful months later. There's only one thing, they usually have some holes in the foliage by then.

At the very right side of this photo you'll see the plain green foliage of a Hosta. I have quite a bit of this variety. It was given to me by a woman in my garden club. Stuck in the middle of the three huge clumps she gave me were tags from the nursery she had bought them from. While I could read the name of the nursery, the name of the Hosta was obliterated.

See the holes in the leaves? Most people would blame those holes on slugs. Ewwww, slugs! I hate slugs, in fact, I'm a slugaphobic. But as much as I'd like to blame those slimy creatures, I have to confess that these holes were probably not caused by them. First of all, I have few slugs here. Secondly, this location is out by the street, around my mailbox. The soil there is gritty from the sand the town spreads during winter snow. It's also very dry out there, the worst conditions for slugs. So why the holes? Well, little twigs falling from the trees above will cause those holes.

I do have some Hosta in the garden that seem to beckon and call the slugs to come and dine. Those leaves look like swiss-cheese by late summer. I couldn't find a photo of one of those today but will keep looking.

In this photo though you see one or two larger holes. Again, this type of hole is more likely caused by twigs falling from the trees above. If your Hosta are planted under trees as so many of them are, then you will just have to live with those holes.

Of course there are also the holes caused by Calie-the-wonder-doodle chasing chipmunks through the Hosta bed. I decided to spare you from those photos as there's very little Hosta left to see.

Still, aren't they beautiful?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Iberis sempervirens - Candytuft

Well, today I planned on writing about seating areas in the garden but all that went out of my head. It's all because of those darn weather forecasters. Being a gardener, the only person I can blame for this crazy weather is a weather forecaster.

Today's feature is a perennial named Iberis sempervirens, it's nickname is Candytuft. Why am I writing about it? Because it's white and looks like snow. Snow? Did you say snow? It's snowing outside!!! What's going on here? The first time it started snowing this morning I called my husband who is in an office only 4 miles from here. It was not snowing outside his office. Are the weather gods only mad at me?

Now it's started snowing again. I came inside, checked the local forecast for our exact zipcode. According to the national weather channel website it's 42 degrees and cloudy outside. There's a 20% chance of precipitation. Don't they look out the window? Don't they even scroll down and look at the rader just inches below which show almost all of Long Island under a green band of precipiation? Duh?

So, back to Iberis. I have Iberis in my garden. I know it's easy to propigate but I just haven't had the right luck with it yet. I haven't figured out if I should take cuttings before it blooms, after it blooms, layer the long pieces on the ground or if there's something better.

One thing I can say about Iberis is that it's beautiful when it blooms here in late April. I'm lucky that it's in a spot where the biennial Lunaria has selfsown. Don't they make a wonderful combination!

Ok, the snow has stopped for now. Back out to attack the garden, brrrrr

If you have any tips on dividing Iberis, please leave me a comment!

Monday, April 06, 2009

The "To-Do" list

Do you keep "To-Do" lists? Sometimes I need to write list after list and other times I just don't bother. Right now I've got a list of things "to-do" that's a mile long.

Much as I'd like to accompany this post with some inspirational new photos, I'm stuck with the old photos. Once again it's raining cats and dogs out there. At this rate I'd better learn how to build an ark.

Yesterday we worked from sun up to sun down out in the garden. We made great strides in cleaning out the shade beds, setting up the potting area, putting out the birdhouses and so much more. Unfortunately, today all I can do is dream up more things to add to my to-do list.

While not on this weeks list, the stairs shown above have been decimated by chipmunks. Right now there's no plants charmingly spilling out, just lots of displaced dirt. It's something that will have to be addressed later this month for sure.

This weeks' to-do list has:
Divide, divide, divide
Finish setting up potting area
Start shredding last years leaves for mulch
Sift compost
Finish cleaning out the shade beds
Attack the early spring weeds that are just beginning to pop
Buy some pansies and get them planted
Create vignette in the garden that makes me smile! (more on this in a future post)

Well, ok, I'll leave it at this as there's only so many hours in a day.

What's on your to-do list?

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Yesterday I spent all day outside but just felt like I didn't accomplish very much. The weather hasn't been very cooperative and all too often my fingers were so chilled that I had to come in and run them under warm water.

Today we are expecting perfect gardening weather, sunny with a high temperature of 61 (16 celsius). My first chore of the day will be to perform surgery on my radio flyer wagon. It's been filled with Sedum since the spring of 2005 and last year I noticed that they were a bit cramped.

When I first planted this wagon it also had several types of Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks) in it but they were quickly overrun by the two varieties of Sedum (Sedum 'Angelina' and Sedum
John Creech').
Here you can see what it looked like when it was first planted. Obviously the two Sedums listed above were the big winners in the "crowd-em-out" contest.

I look forward to starting all over again and will take a photo when I'm finished.

Then it's off to divide the hardy Geraniums and spend an hour in the compost area. For some reason, I just can't make myself spend more than an hour working on compost.

Hopefully I'll get to take some new photos also.