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Archive for August, 2009

My sister-in-law asked for a “before” picture of the daylily bed, so here is a before picture of the back yard daylily bed.

The old daylily bed in the back yard

The old daylily bed in the back yard

This time of summer, after daylilies have bloomed, the leaves begin to die back and the flower stalks are dead sticks that need to be pulled up.  Normally, one deals with the unsightly mess by pulling the leaves and stalks.  The leaves start growing back in a couple of weeks.  Saturday, I worked for over 6 hours on the back yard bed, and dug out all the roots.  Since I was already digging quite far down, I also dug up an ancient irrigation system.   Here is the post-dig photo:

The backyard bed, cleaned of roots and hoses

The backyard bed, cleaned of roots and hoses

This bed is about 5 feet in diameter, excluding the area containing the hostas and coleus plants.  Quite a lot of roots came out of this bed — many more than you would expect.  It is an old bed that once grew tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc.  (Now the tree canopy has closed, and hostas are happy here.)

What came out of the daylily bed

What came out of the daylily bed

This was very exhausting work.  Also on Saturday, I mowed the lawn, and installed some twinkle garden lights my friend Jane gave me for my birthday.

Blue light in a flowerpot

Blue light in a flowerpot

This is one of the blue globe lights (in a moon frame)  in a flower pot.  The lights are solar powered and start to twinkle different colors at night.    They look like multi-colored fireflies in the garden at night.  There are two moons and two suns.  What  a blast!

Sun globe solar light

Sun globe solar light

 

Afterwards I wasn’t good from much but quilting.  After a while, Odin came to help out.

I am a cute quilting kittie, but why are you upside down?

I am a cute quilting kittie, but why are you upside down?

Odin says Hi!

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Invasive Species

Since my last post, I have been to Germany, to Colorado, to the fireworks at the federal Mall, choir boot camp, to the bead store too many times (bless me, for I have sinned) and more.  But today, let us discuss invasive species, particularly those in gardens.  Be warned, this entry is heavy on gardening.   

I have been the victim of invasive species accidentally — thistles came in a perennial  I bought at a nursery;  some fool planted vinca in the back yard before John and I moved here;  down the block someone didn’t pull up the pokeweed before it went to seed;  the neighbor children (who are now nearly 30) seeded my front lawn with wild plantain seed because it was fun to pull the seeds off the stalks. 

Then there were the invasive species I planted unawares:  How was I to know that mint respects no boundaries?  Or that Jerusalem artichokes are close to impossible to get rid of.  Blackberries spread without mercy.   Lemon verbena, it sounds so swell, but grows in every cranny.  What can I say.  Why didn’t anyone tell me?  (Someone did tell me about bamboo — and I did not plant it.  Thank you, John, for telling me about bamboo!)  Here is another sweetie with world-domination plans:

The Common Daylily

The Common Daylily

Earlier this Spring, Nina and I visited the National Botanic Gardens, and I picked up literature on invasive  plants. Guess who is on the list?  Guess who has been stealthily overwhelming my one of my front flower beds — and a back yard bed, too?  Daylily roots comprise little tubers plus runners.  the little tubers are the size of very large peanuts, and each plant has between 10 and 20, with the older plants having tubers at two levels.  The longer a patch of daylilies has been growing in a spot, the denser the plants, and the more interlocked the little tubers.  And every plant sends runners in all directions. 

Daylily tubers and runner roots

Daylily tubers and runner roots

Pictured are some specimens – small ones actually.  A shovel, spade or fork does not penetrate an infestation of these, nor does anything as dainty as a trowel.  You need a pick.  I can’t manage a big old gold-miner size pick, so my weapon of choice is a hand mattock.  It’s handle is about 18 inches long and the head is about 2, maybe 3 pounds.  I spent 2 hours Saturday on the oldest part of the bed, where the little interlocked roots were the densest.  This evening I finished the other 2/3 of the bed where the plants had spread more recently.  Pretty tiring. Like working with free-weights only more agressive.  I wonder how many years it will take to complete get rid of this plant?  (Oh, yes, there’s still the back-yard bed to do, too.)

Mattock & the dig site

Mattock & the dig site

On a better gardening note (or 2), Grandma Emily’s cactus is going to bloom soon, and the tomatoes are coming ripe.  I planted a grape tomato, a Celebrity (round slicing type), and a plum tomato.  I harvested several handfuls of grape tomatoes, nice and sweet and cute.  The round tomatoes are still quite green.  Several of the plums are ripe.  Isn’t that little “nose” at the bottom cute? 

Nearly ripe plum tomatoes

Nearly ripe plum tomatoes

 I had a few plum tomatoes toward the top of the vine come down with blossom end rot, so picked them, sliced the green parts and made fried green tomatoes, which are really delish using just egg and cornstarch for coating.

Tomatoes in one of Daddy's footed bowls

Tomatoes in one of Daddy's footed bowls

Besides finishing the Catherine the Great shawl (slowly),  I am working on baby quilts.  There are at least 6 babies in line for quilts or knit blankets, and the first one’s been already born — and the binding is not on his quilt yet.  Odin has helped as best he could, by sitting on things (below, sitting on some backing fabric), and stalking the safety pins I use for pinning the quilts.  So silly to watch!

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