Tuesday, November 11, 2014
In The Shade By 4 PM
A mid November day with temperatures in the 60's is an unexpected treat. We were able to work with our hands in the dirt without the aching fingers that follow contact with cold soil so common at this time of year. It is only mid afternoon but the length of the shadows show that sun is soon to set. Temperatures will drop like a rock and darkness will quickly cloak everything.
Chrysanthemums near the wall have been cut back. Next year's growth is already well underway. Cut stems are piled nearby. They will used as loose mulch once the frost has entered the ground. Next Spring we should dig up this clump and replant perhaps just three prime plants. This section of garden is intended to be orderly and we must work to keep all of the plants within their small space.
Foxgloves, growing wildly in the distance, are all plants from seed this year. We have never had large plants like these and all of them need to be dug come Spring. We wanted them to grow only right next to the stone wall. How can we leave tall plants at the front edge of the bed?
Gray green foliage and magenta colored flowers make Rose Campion a winner anywhere. It freely reseeds and there are always more of these than needed. We will wait until Winter's end to decide which of these stays.
Most of the recently cleared ground in the photo was completely covered by Oenothera siskiyou. Its pale pink flowers nestled above dark green serrated leaves made a striking appearance. Planted in the harsh dry soil in front of the house, this plant barely clings to life. In the deeply rich and moist soil near the road, this plant became wildly invasive. We intend to keep it but it cannot grow in the cramped bed by the stone wall. It will be interesting to see the degree to which we were able to remove this plant from here.
Creeping lemon thyme is one of the plants that is behaving as expected. We wanted it to edge the planting bed and grow over the row of stones. Despite the richness of the soil here, this plant has stayed in bounds. The late winter flood did no damage to this still frozen plant. Neighbors have grown over other thymes and we work to trim them back since this is the desired plant.
Planting next to a former pasture comes with guaranteed problems. Coarse grasses will try to take back their ground with a persistence that is frightening. We fully expect that our chosen plants will be displaced by the natives shortly after we stop working here. Our line of defense is a trench filled with bark mulch. The picture clearly shows that the weeds grow freely in the mulch. What is not shown is the relative ease in removing entire plants including an intact root system. We worked this strip in the Spring and have done nothing here since then. If the weather holds, a line will be stretched defining the edge tomorrow and this area will become neatly weed free.