Garden updates + monsters thwarted (maybe)

Warning: embarrassing photos ahead. IMG_8604Still fighting the good fight as weather and time allows, but as is evident, there’s a lot to go. I cleared out some in the very back – what a shameful mess – and am working my way to the south. It does look so much better, and some things that look bedraggled are actually supposed to be there – on the right in the photo. There’s a peony and some Virginia waterleaf, and Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Nugget’ (Nugget Ninebark) that was buried. A bitten up Corylus ‘Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick’ is crying for attention, but at least I removed the suckers. Took out what I could of that native brome or whatever (I’ve forgotten) by the back fence. It’s actually kind of a monster and looks so messy. I don’t mind the “full” look but that is just Messy. It’s still there, but I can keep it from encroaching.

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Speaking of which, that barren strawberry and creeping Charlie are trying to take over. (I can hardly bear to look at these photos.) I just pull, pull, pull and count on diminished chlorophyll to eventually win out. They both tend to crawl on top of the ground cover, so just pulling up handfuls actually works fairly well. For now. If only wishful thinking was effective.

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I think I want my front garden to look a lot more manicured. That Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Plumbago) is so beautiful but it’s about a foot tall. Starting to bloom. There’s no real way to contain it, and it’s difficult to plant into, so I may start digging it out and putting some elsewhere, like in the far back. I’d like to be able to see the other nice plants buried in there!

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The Lamium here in the back garden does VERY well but it also kind of takes over. So I think it could compete with the Ceratostigma. I don’t want either by the native area – and really, there’s no deterrent there except pulling. The gingers do help as a barrier there.

At the Synagogue garden we had to do surgery on all the squash plants because of my procrastination regarding the squash vine borer. I didn’t want to repeat that mistake on my own couple of plants, so I went out with the foil a couple of days ago, and THERE SHE WAS, scouting. I wrapped foil around the stems at the soil line and she didn’t seem to land anywhere. But I forgot about my 2 Boston Marrow squashes in the other garden! I saw the borer today and she was definitely starting to lay eggs. I shooed her away and wrapped the stems. *I haven’t seen any eggs on any of the plants, but I rubbed the stems just in case. I also wrapped the cuke stems in case.

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*Well I was wrong again. See the 2 little dots? They look similar to squash bug eggs in color, though a bit duller. And they are spread apart on the stem, not clustered together beautifully (or terrifyingly) under a leaf. I rubbed these out of existence. Take that, Borer! I’ll have to check every day. Easy enough because I only have a few plants.

Also planted Sunflower ‘Velvet Queen’ in the front veg garden because I’m not going to plant that very intensively as other crops come out. I’m leaving room for the Boston Marrows.

Sprayed the peppers and potted chard and Edamame with Liquid Fence and I see new growth, so perhaps the rabbit was just conducting a taste test.

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My Cephalanthus occidentalis ‘Sugar Shack’ (Button Bush) is my new fave. I don’t believe it has flowered before – too dry? Not an issue this year. I adore the flowers, and so do the butterflies. Many more butterflies this year, including Monarchs.

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