Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Death, ReBirth and That Equally Mysterious State in Between

I have a confession to make, and it's one that makes me feel guilty. We have a lawn service. Hey, I have more than enough to do just planting and caring for this garden. Cutting the grass and blowing leaves out of the beds is just not my idea of fun. You need to know this in order to understand the Death part of this post.

I've posted recently complaining about the ravages of animals in my garden -- cats eating the Nepeta, raccoons tearing apart the plantings along stream. I forgot about the most dangerous critter of all -- the two-legged one.

I have this shady area at the back of the garden, near the shed. It's planted with native bleeding hearts, Tiarella, Pulmonaria, various ferns, Jack in the Pulpit, and several clumps of Columbine that I winter sowed.

Well, I had this brilliant idea a couple of months ago to direct sow all the remaining Columbine seeds that I had into the open spaces. I had a lot, and my stash was getting old, so I didn't want to try winter sowing them this coming winter, figuring I might not have the greatest success rate. Well, lo and behold, quite a few of them sprouted! I was thrilled,  I could see this area just swimming with Columbine next year.

I didn't realize the lawn service guys would think they were weeds. See, occasionally, the lawn service guys haul out grub hoes, and do a cursory once-round patrol of the beds. I weed pretty faithfully, because I just hate that overwhelming feeling that the weeds are getting away form you. They've never grubbed out anything except grass. Until last week. I was away when they came, and when I did my round of the garden when I got back, I was dismayed to discover that they had grubbed out my little sprouts!

You can see them all dried up in the upper left area of the picture. A couple that escaped the hoe are in the upper right.

I was bummed! I thought about writing a note to the lawn service asking them not to weed the beds any more. But I wasn't sure I could keep the right tone of voice. I racked my brains for a couple of days trying to come up with a solution to prevent them from grubbing out any more sprouts, because I am going to try again with seeds there.

My solution is to sprinkle the seeds, and then cover them with a tent of hardware cloth, held to the soil with ground staples.  That should be enough of an obstacle.

ReBirth -- One of the first shrubs I planted in my new garden was a tiny little Annabella hydrangea that I bought from Bluestone Perennials.

If you've ever ordered from them, you probably know how small most of their plants are. Small but healthy. Well, the Annabelle hydrangea got trampled soon after planting when we had our Douglas firs windsailed. I didn't hold out much hope for it, the branches all got torn off right at the base. However, I dug it up anyway, and potted the roots, and stuck it away in a corner of the patio, with some empty pots and a couple of other plants that I haven't planted out yet. The other day I noticed growth! Despite being neglected and ignored, it had resprouted! Sweet!

I'm going to give it the rest of the summer in the pot, and then replant it, maybe in September.

It gave me hope that I might be able to save my Corylopsis. It was the very first shrub I planted here back in March. I didn't site it correctly, because it has declined steadily ever since. I put it in a spot that seldom dries out. The leaves have been drying up and falling off,  but the branches are still green, and it does still have a few green leaves holding on.

This past weekend I dug it up, severely pruned the roots and branches, and put it in a spot that is well-drained. Keep your fingers crossed that it lives!