Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter Clean Up Around the Utility Box

I noticed that the rabbit eating all my liriope and coral bells likes to hide in the tall grass around my utility box, so I decided now was a good a time as any to cut those grasses down and clean up the brush a bit.

utility boxes


utility boxes
Winter utility box garden clean up - I like to leave it a little brushy and not strip it down to bare mulch. I've even amended the soil with dead sod and this bed already has some of the nicest soil in my yard. 

I let my iris hang around a lot longer than I usually do, and the long leaves actually were a nice glowing golden color for a while, but then they started to turn leathery and decompose so it was time to do away with them. I hacked back the Russian sage and clipped the Shasta daisies as well.

I'm not so sure about my newest additions, the Gaura lindheimeri, because it seems to be on the border of hardiness zones - some sites say 5-9, some say 7-9. I'm fine if it wants to die back to the roots as long as my precious sale table plants don't bite the dust completely!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Starbucks for My Acid Loving Plants

I've never done this before but I picked up some coffee grounds from Starbucks to amend my alkaline clay soil to try to make it more acidic for my acid loving plants (rhododendron and Japanese andromeda). Now, I know you are probably supposed to compost it first, or at least mix it into the soil, but instead I just spread it around the top everywhere... What could go wrong?

coffee on hand
It was actually a neat texture and was still slightly warm when I opened the bag. I'm not sure why my hand smelled like cigar paper the whole rest of the day, like burt pulp. 

grounds for your garden
It was one of those free "Grounds for your Garden" bags at Starbucks

coffee around rhododendron
Rhododendron 'Ramapo' with coffee around the base

coffee around japanese andromeda
Pieris japonica 'Passion' with coffee grounds

I am a little concerned the coffee will be too acidic for the stem, and in hindsight I should have made a donut around the base. Then again, I SHOULD have worked it into the soil, but the ground is already pretty frozen and it's old out, so why bother, haha! I do think I'll work it in a few inches below the surface before I add new mulch in the Spring.

So far nothing major seems to be happening. All the plants still have their leaves, which is a good sign for December!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fall '16 Garden Highlights

Fall is a weird time in the garden. A bunch of stuff turns gross and yellow (I'm looking at you hostas!) and other stuff actually looks better than before - or at least stands out more than it did before. Take this inconspicuous scotch moss for example. It was minding its own business under the hydrangea and now BAM it's stealing the show!

scotch moss in fall
Scotch moss in fall
Next, take this Little Henry sweetspire - known for it's fall color - I can see why! Also, my Japanese Andromeda is doing something. Are those red buds, or is it trying to flower? These things are supposed to be evergreen, but we'll see if it makes it through the winter. I don't think it likes my clay soil one bit.

little henry red in falljapanese andromeda in fall

Next up, a combination of blue tones with this dianthus next to my dwarf lavender. The lavender was a hit last winter and kept an interesting ghost blue color all year. I'm wondering if dianthus will do the same or if it will die back.

dianthus in fall
Dianthus Lavender Lace next to dwarf lavender (appropriate)
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