Sometimes not even the know-it-all internet knows all the answers. This spring I googled how to prune hydrangea bushes and found conflicting advice.
Advice 1: Cut them down to the ground because it’s the roots of the globe hydrangea that overwinter and you want strong thick stems to support the flower.
Advice#2: Do not cut them down they will still re-bloom.
So what did I do? I followed both of them. I have a section of 4 plants and I did not cut them down and will compare them at the end of the season. The hedge below I did cut them back. I wish however that I didn’t cut them down because I want the hedge to get tall. But does cutting them back make them fuller and happier in the long run? Still I do not know what I should have done. The old fashioned hydrangea in the front garden gets cut to the ground every year and it still manages to get out of control.
These are growing slowly under the walnut trees at the edge of the woods.
What is the right answer? Or What is the BEST answer?
Just after the 10th anniversary of planting the dreadful hedge and having an internal debate for a full decade — we have given up.
It’s about time I guess.
From Black Cedars to Emerald Cedars. Already I am happier. Look at how funny and sad they looked before at the beginning of the driveway!
Just before Christmas we changed the lane way to add a curve which in turn gave us the space to plant the new 10ft cedars and a few deciduous trees like maple and flowering pear.
On the end of the right side of the driveway we added in a berm and another 25+ trees. The change is dramatic and I look forward to watching everything grow.
The yard was more enjoyable and pretty this winter.
Here the black Cedars are shown beside the Emerald Cedars. The black cedars look like a joke don’t they? Black cedars are not a very good hedge choice because they stay very compact and cone shaped. We moved the ones that were in good shape to new spots around the house.
We debated the hedge and berm a few years ago, we should have just done it from the beginning. But It was a job that was and still is overwhelming. There is lot to fix up and even more to mulch. I spend most of my days keeping everything watered.
Admitting defeat is hard but change is good!
Hello I am Miss Super Kale.
I am very very late to the Kale bandwagon, the superfood that has taken the world by storm. But nonetheless my middle son sees me as a kale loving super freak. This was the mothers day card that he gave me this year. I laughed my butt off! I love it! Yes that bobble head is me wearing an I love Kale shirt.
The entire family groaned when I came home with three cookbooks this winter. Oh She Glows, 50 Shades of Kale and Kale, Glorious Kale.
I have been shoving kale into everyone as often as I can. Its easy enough to stuff into smoothies but there have been many Kale focused meals of late.
Kale chips really are as good and addictive as everyone says.
I have planted three varieties in the garden this year. A Dwarf Blue Curled, Dwarf Green Curled and something else that I cannot name at the moment- if you wait around long enough it might come to me.Did you know that Kale is the healthiest with the number one ranking out of 83 vegetables. Using a point system based on the overall percentage of vitamins, mineral, phytochemicals and fiber, kale easily has the top spot with 1381 points surpassing all other vegetables.
How many points does that broccoli have that your mother used to make you eat? Only 263 points! Even brussels sprouts came in with only 243 points.
Can you believe it?
That is why if you eat Kale you could… rule the world!
I recently read a fabulous book. A book that made me want to go out and garden like MAD!
The Self Taught Gardner by Sydney Eddison (1997) is like reading all of your grandmothers secrets to stress free gardening. Can’t make sense of what works even in your own yard? The Self Taught Gardener is like having someone very gently tell you what to do, what to notice and most of all what to give up while not giving up. It reflects on how you gradually build skills and ambitions while helping to avoid common mistakes. I found myself shaking my head YES many times! Sydney also teaches you to follow your gut and experiment while learning from others. Most of all this book gave me hope after all the screwing up I continue to do- yes… I think I have an unusually good knack for it this year!
Some of the main points from The Self Taught Gardener:
The edges of the garden when kept sharp and clean edged can have an unruly mass planting in them – it will still look purposeful and contained.
Have 10 or so favourite plants. You don’t need to grow everything. There are some plants that are just not worth it.
There is no guilt for cutting down trees. If you don’t like it get rid of it. It is your piece of land and it’s natural to want to do something with it.
Do not be put off by scale. A garden can be added to by up to 10ft a year.
You only need half a dozen of four season plants, a handsome edger and an evergreen for geometry.
Your lawn is really just a grass garden and can be just as much work as a garden especially if you are striving for perfect rich green grass.
Accept the fact that a garden is never finished.
If you find yourself thinking about next year – you’re hooked!
I am thinking about 2 years from now and more!
Any of this resonate with you? I think I have recently cut my list of favourite plants down close to 10. I realized a while ago that trying to grow everything doesn’t work in my soil type or look cohesive.
What’s your best piece of gardening advice, from yourself or that you’ve been given?
When looking for a place to live what do you consider?
What about shade? Or a decent roof, high terrain, great view, close to shops and food?
We had to laugh when a robin made a nest in the bird feeder. We tried to stop them but they just rebuilt their nest the next day. It has been fun to watch the progress of big pregnant mamma robin to baby birds leaving the nest.
And we think our kids grow up too fast!
Birds are smart aren’t they?
Who beat the sheet mulch?
The lilies beat the sheet mulch!
Of course they did, they beat everything! Come up exactly where you don’t want them and are impossible to pull out.
I don’t know how I thought that cardboard and mulch would just go right over them.
This has put a real damper on my plans and now I don’t know what to do or if I should just go with it. They are basically a ditch weed these ‘orange’ kind… *sigh*
Cats LOVE chicks! Maybe they want to eat them, but maybe -just maybe! they want to cuddle them too. It’s hard to say. Our indoor cats are two years old and this is their first experience with having chicks in the house. I keep the chicks in the bathroom under a heat lamp where the room stays warmer. EVERYTIME I open the door to check on the chicks all of the cats come running in as fast as possible trying to trip and kill me so they cat get a good seat to watch.
It’s pretty funny.
Awe… kitties and chicks!
It seems like a slow start to the gardening year. The weather has been unpredictable- nothing new I guess but certainly not the head start that my seasonal disorder personality needed. Seriously. Winter ruins me- and yet I love it and the idea of hibernating from everything and everyone- but then why does it make us/me so SAD?
Who cares now eh?! The sun is shining and I have fudgecicles in my freezer! haha
I have a few things in the veggie garden this spring. I have been following the http://www.smartgardener.com plan once again. It did want to me plant my tomatoes in early may but the greenhouse I like didn’t even have them out yet. Plus it tried to frost again this past week. I was willing to do the extra work to give them a head start but alas that never happened.
In the fall I planted late season blooming tulips in two of the beds just for the pleasure of cutting them. You know how hard it is to cut tulips sometimes, but these were exactly for that reason. Still – hard to cut of course. But they lasted such a long time inside ….AND BONUS the cats didn’t even eat them!
The garlic from last year is trying to do something (YAY- cause I mulched the dickens out of it so they would over winter) and there are some onions left from last year that I missed. In the last week of April I planted spinach, peas, turnip, kale, radishes, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, beets and shallots.
The 2015 Garden Layout!
Well, Nothing cures Seasonal Affect Disorder like watching the tulips open. Am I right?
Is the back ache worth the knowledge that you did it yourself? As I flex my wimpy little muscles, I think that YES!… Yes it is!
Do it yourself while you can and have a happy day no matter what you do!