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Three garden photos

Two years ago, when we were new to this house and garden, I looked out of a window and thought, "Oh, dear, a piece of plastic has blown into the garden," because there was something bright pink where I wasn't expecting it. But no. There, hidden behind an enormous clump of pampas grass, was a camellia!

My trusty spade and I got rid of the pampas grass right away. We only had the one flower that year, and a couple last year, but this year:

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My predecessor in this house had a bizarre approach to gardening that I can only describe as "See-it-want-it-stick-it-in." The first year, 2012, was miserable all year and I think I spent about five minutes outside. Last year, I did some clearing (got rid of about 20 struggling roses - still have around 20) but otherwise decided to see what was there, what I liked, what was dead/struggling. As you can see from the first photo, there is a little acer growing in front of the camellia (it had also been behind the pampas grass), very close, but it seems happy enough, so I'm not going to move it.

This year, though I have in fact done some more clearing and trimming, I am STILL finding stuff I had no idea was there. There are SO MANY shrubs crammed into such a small space, with a couple of mature trees as well... The woman was barking mad. Oh well. I am doing my best to nurture the ones I want to keep. Fortunately, given my lack of experience, the ones that are there have a proven will to survive.

And here, finally, because I am very excited about it, is a potato sprout! I'm growing potatoes for the first time, and doing it in a tower: http://www.howtoinstructions.org/how-to-grow-100-pounds-of-potatoes-in-4-square-feet-step-by-step-diy-tutorial-instructions/

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2014 08:33 am (UTC)
What a pretty flower!

Congrats on your potato sprout :) I have yet to plant mine... Hope your produces loads!
Apr. 10th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I hope you have a good harvest too.
Apr. 10th, 2014 08:35 am (UTC)
I am literally GREEN with envy--I so wish we could grow camillas but we are way too far north for them to even survive here.
There was a horticulture experimental station not far from where we used to live in Louisiana. They had about an acre of seedling camilla's that someone had bred back in the 1950's which the station happily ignored and neglected for going on 40 years.
A local gardening group rescued the camilla's (no small task beating back Louisiana jungle!) and they bloomed beautifully the spring we moved away. I imagine they have once again been neglected since Katrina hit that area so hard.

Pampas grass is okay as a holder of banks and maybe as a living screen in a large scale garden but it's too big for most homeowners to use well.
Everyone here burns theirs down to the ground each spring which aggravates the local volunteer fire department no end.
Apr. 10th, 2014 05:30 pm (UTC)
Eeep! I imagine it burns just a bit too well...
Apr. 10th, 2014 02:46 pm (UTC)
Nice job reviving the camellia!
Apr. 10th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Though I think the credit really goes to the camellia itself. All I did was dig up the pampas grass.
Apr. 10th, 2014 11:21 pm (UTC)
No, you get credit; the camellia can have a bit, too.

There's something about light levels and not having to compete so hard for nutrients, you know, which can make a difference to a flowering shrub, so "all" you did might have been just what the camellia needed..
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:49 am (UTC)

Honestly, the planting in these beds is completely bonkers. There are at least two shrubs I've discovered at the back which are on the potential disappearance list, but I have to wait to find out a) what they are, b) whether I like them, c) whether they're struggling. If I like them and they're doing okay, they might as well stay, since I really don't like killing healthy plants.
Apr. 11th, 2014 08:27 am (UTC)
You might move them, if you like them and if they're healthy. (You might also want to prune them back quite hard before you do, though.)
Apr. 11th, 2014 09:39 am (UTC)
In which case, I should probably wait until they're dormant again, next winter?
Apr. 11th, 2014 12:04 pm (UTC)
Well....maybe. (Short answer is yes, wait until the plant goes dormant.)
It depends on what they are.

I have some old (old enough, anyway, to have developed some interesting twists and bends in the main trunks but I have no idea how old they actually, literally are except not older than the house itself) lilac shrubs which tend to want to go out of control and every summer I'm cutting the "forewardmost" one back so it doesn't obstruct the public sidewalk. Some years, I do this twice on an as-needed basis.
I've thought it would be lovely to move them to behind the house to beef up the line of lilacs between my neighbor's property and mine: those get pruned until they're skimpy (and they look odd) so they don't touch structures and don't scratch up vehicles.
Old lilacs are tougher than old boots.
Assuming I summon the ambition, I'll just cut that lilac at the front of the line (on the opposite property boundary) down to the ground, and then dig out the stump and part of the roots and relocate it. If I'm being careful and particular, I'll also ball-and-burlap it just in case this takes longer than a day. (Tip: have the new location/s prepared before you start digging up plants.)

If I actually do do this, the lilac will settle in with a minimum of fuss and once it recovers from its transplant shock will get back to making a lot of wild and undisciplined growth. Just to thumb its botanical nose at me.

Some other plants might not be so tolerant although there is a privet hedge any privet component of which can't be killed, I bet, unless it's completely dug out and then burned to nothingness.

Or, I might just dig the one lilac out to be rid of it, since no one taught ever it better manners (or any manners) and it's old enough and contrary enough, and I'm not that much on landscape gardening, that it isn't likely to learn to behave itself in an orderly fashion these days!

Edited at 2014-04-11 12:10 pm (UTC)
Apr. 11th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
Your lilacs sound like my buddleias. And the wisteria has been renamed the Venomous Tentacula, because it is definitely coming to get us. (I'm going to cut back the most grabby bits, but otherwise wait until the whole thing has flowered to do more.)

Apr. 11th, 2014 03:44 pm (UTC)
I have a buddleia, too. When I bought and planted this thing, I hadn't realized just how much space it would want when it got to be all grown up, nor how much shade it would cast over my vegetable garden, and most and worst of all is just how freely buddleias self-seed, and it's just about impossible to keep up with their flowering and seed-setting production.

It's going to the home of a friend where there is enough space for it and where its tendency to make a lot of younger plants will be appreciated: the friend whose property it is wants to make a buddleia hedge. I doubt they'll be pleased, but they're willing to take the shrub once it is dug up and B&B'd.

The same friend is begging me for a young sapling rose-of-sharon which has planted itself directly under the ktichen garden enclosure. That also is going to their home, since it can't remain under the livestock mesh of the enclosure.

You're brave to keep wisteria. It's so lovely and even rather romantic, but I wouldn't have one. *shakes head*
Apr. 11th, 2014 03:53 pm (UTC)
Like so much else, the wisteria and buddleias came with the house...

I have three very mature buddleias IN the garden which I cut back to stumps in January, since my sister said I could - and they seem fine, sprouting anew. There are at least two which have self-seeded in the space between our fence and the school playground next door. Technically, they're on our land but I can't get at them. There's another growing out of an inaccessibly high bit of wall between us and another next-door garden... With branch loppers, I got most of that, and it is going to please the butterflies again this year. No shortage of butterflies in my garden.
Apr. 11th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yes; I wanted buddleia for the butterflies, too. My mum had had buddleia bushes on her property, and they remained quite compact and tidy. See, above, what I said about light levels and competition for nutrients. (And the resident deer, who munched everything they found.

I'll have to think of something else to entice and feed the butterflies. Something not a shrub, that is.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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