Friday, January 13, 2017

Nothing But Good News

With nearly all of the snow melted, a garden walkabout was necessary.  We focused on plants that had done well under the snow.  It never fails to amaze us that plant life goes on under the snow in the dead of winter.  I'm dressed in snow pants, a head hood, an insulated hoodie and gloves and it was necessary for me to go inside after a very short time outside.  That makes me feel weak by comparison.

My Great Grandfather gave me a clump from one of his chrysanthemums when I was about 13 years old.  His garden was located in southwestern Pennsylvania while I lived in upstate  New York.  The difference in climate zones and the inattention typical of young boys combined to end the special gift.  Now that I am older and slower, chrysanthemums continue to present problems.  They simply prefer warmer conditions.  Mammoth pink is the name of this plant.  We nearly lost it last year but it is still here.  A loose mulch applied now would vastly improve the likely hood of survival.   After my hands warm up I should go and do that today.

Pinxter is a native shrub whose scientific classification remains muddled.  This plant was taken from the wild here while most plants that are written about were found well south of the Mason Dixon Line.  Its Latin name may be in doubt but as a garden specimen it is wonderful.  The open and empty seed clusters point to seed production and natural dispersion this year.  Come spring we will be cautious when weeding in this area.  New plants from seed would please us no end.  We believe that the buds contain next year's flowers.  We eagerly await the chance to wrap ourselves in their sweet scent.

Blue Lobelia exists in our garden because it is a close relative of Cardinal Flower.  Blue Lobelia grows like a weed here while Cardinal Flower needs our help to just hold on.  This clump of the blue was levered out and thrown to the side awaiting removal.  I did not get back to finish the job and this clump just continued to grow and flower totally on its own.  It needs to be moved to a larger and wilder location.

This clump of Cardinal Flower grows inside of the stone square.  Early this spring this clump will be dug and divided.  Each plant will get its own pot which will be moved into the basement when frost threatens.  The difficulty associated with keeping this plant alive is part of its appeal.

The red hips mark the location of our Carolina Rose.  This is a native wildflower and is the New York State flower in spite of its southern name.  We found it growing along the fence line and moved it into the garden.  It spreads freely by long underground runners.  This plant also needs more room to grow.  We are preparing a place down by the road where our New England Asters, Black-eyed Susans and this rose can freely grow.  But now I need to place mulch over the chrysanthemums.

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