Category Archives: tools

TAMING THE GREEN MONSTER

Last week I tackled my grossly overgrown Euonymus on the east fence.

It was fitting to tackle my green monster

On the 100th anniversary of the original Green Monster at Fenway Park.

Fenway Park July, 1994

Fenway Park July, 1994

Now you may be saying to yourself

This is a real stretch

Fenway Park to my east fence.

But actually they are connected.

When Elliott was in elementary school 

We took a series of  “urban vacations”.

Boston on the 4th of July was one of our destinations.

Sailing in Boston Harbor July, 1994

Sailing in Boston Harbor, July, 1994

And even though we are not big baseball fans

We couldn’t go to Boston without going to Fenway Park.

We walked from our Back Bay hotel – the hotel Elliott!

To the ball park.

And along the way

We discovered The Fens

And the Fenway Victory Gardens

Fenway Victory Gardens

Fenway Victory Gardens

Started in 1941 as we entered WWII

The Fenway Victory Garden is the longest continually operating Victory Garden.

Here we are 60+ years later with community gardens returning.

I was enthralled.

Apartment dwellers standing in line to have their own little slice of gardening heaven.

Chatting over the fence

Just like home.

Later on we traveled to Martha’s Vineyard

Where I was introduced to

New Dawn Roses

Rosa New Dawn, Martha's Vineyard, July 1994

Rosa New Dawn, Martha's Vineyard, July, 1994

Which now grace my east fence.

So we’ve come full circle

Shortly after we built the fence

John decided it needed a little greenery on the inside.

His shrub of choice for fences is Euonymus

Knowing how well they grow

I was a little dubious

But decided not to die on that sword…or shrub.

After a few years the branches began to grow through to the rose side.

It was manageable.

Until this spring.

Between the extra early and warm spring.

And the fact that I have been “in my garden” very little

The Euonymus became

The Green Monster

My Green Monster

My Green Monster

It pushed through the fence.

Pushed the New Dawn roses away from the fence

They pushed Belinda’s Dream roses forward.

And when they bloomed with those glorious heavy blooms.

Rosa Belinda's Dream

Rosa Belinda's Dream

They were on the ground.

Not my best effort

Especially on the most public part of my garden.

So I’ve spent a day reigning in the Euonymus

Filling one entire poly cart with “clippings”!

The tamed monster

The tamed monster

Then tieing the New Dawn branches to the fence

With the handy stringing tool John fashioned a few years ago

Rose tying tools

Rose tying tools

It works perfectly for my fence

Once New Dawn has finished blooming.

Rosa New Dawn

Rosa New Dawn

 

I’ll cut the branches way back

Like I should have done in early March!

And if we have a decent summer

It will bloom again off and on.

So…as you travel the neighborhood

I hope you’ll think of my own Green Monster.

And the time we met the real one!

Take care,

Gail

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Filed under Dead Heading, Euonymus, roses, tools, Uncategorized

OLD SOLES

My original red garden clogs

Twenty plus years ago my friend Debra gave me a pair of garden clogs.

They have red soles.

Not the red soles that a certain designer now temps us with.

No these were red plastic from their turned up toes to their elevated heels.

Molded plastic.

Not very stylish.

But oh so practical.

They were platforms before we knew platforms.

Keeping my feet high and dry.

Transporting me through the wet grass on my early morning walks to see what’s new in the garden.

They are among the first “garden tools” I owned and have graced the back door at both homes where I have gardened.

Various dogs have chewed on them along the way.

Their cork and burlap insoles were molded to fit the shoe.

Over time they have simply disintegrated.

I’ve looked for replacement soles to no avail.

So now it is time for them to retire.

They have been replaced with a sunny pair of lime green clogs.

Old "sole" friends and new.

Softer

Not as tall

But comfy

On to the next quarter century!

This week has been hot.

Unusually so for the first week of June.

This is when a healthy perennial garden really shines.

First of all it’s June.

And like the old song says “June is bustin out all over”.

Stella d' Ora Daylillies, Larkspur and the Garden House

The larkspur is the color backdrop in my garden these days.

With its self-seeding nature it lays curtains for small vignettes of color play.

Gloriosa Daisies and Larkspur

My before mentioned friend Debra visited this week and brought along her trusty camera.

You’ll notice an improved quality to many of the pictures this week.

They are hers.

Poppy pods and Asiatic Lilies

The truth is my garden is a little out of control.

For some reason I’m behind where I usually am.

No real reason.

No excuse.

Just behind.

My normal ritual once all the planting is complete is to begin at one end of the garden and weed and thin my way to the other.

Not this year.

No focus.

I go into the garden and just flit about.

A little staking here

A little pruning there.

Then there were all those evening spent picking strawberries and snap peas.

So…I must get back to my routine.

To begin this sweep of the garden I usually take along my wheelbarrow, pruners, wicked EZ digger, and a bucket of some sort for weeds.

Pruners and EZ Digger

Then I start at the west end and

Deadhead

Pull weeds

Thin volunteer plants

Clean out around the rose bushes

And generally whack away at anything that is too big or having problems.

This week it was two Aloha rose bushes.

They have had some bug on them every year for the past several years.

This nasty little guy eats the center of each and every bud.

From my reading I think it’s thrip.

I’ve tried organic control.

And I must confess some not so organic controls

Nothing works for very long.

So I just decided I’d cut it back to a foot or two from the ground and see what happens.

I’m not getting any roses from it now so how can it hurt.

I did this earlier in the spring with the rose on the arbor to the garden house.

It’s coming back nicely.

Arbor rose revived.

So far disease free.

As long as I’m confessing to using a few chemicals I might as well come completely clean.

There are two problems that I have read simply cannot be fixed organically.

Bind weed grows roots so deep that it cannot be dug out.

Bind weed growing through the deck!!!

It comes back from the center of the earth every time.

I’ve tried spraying it with vinegar .

No luck.

Nut grass is the other.

No such thing as a pretty picture of nutgrass.

If you pull it out – even in very loose soil – there is a little bulb underground that explodes with the force of being pulled up.

When it explodes it makes babies.

More nut grass appears within what seems like seconds.

Sometimes nature really tries my patience.

So in these two instances I am now confessing to using Round Up.

I’m not proud of it.

It’s the only control I’ve found.

Even then it can take more than one round to kill it out.

And…chances are both of these little demons will appear again.

Let’s end on a positive note.

Three years ago I planted Bressingham Blue hosta in my front bed.

Bressingham Blue Hosta and Impatiens

They have loved it there.

This year they have gotten so big that they are shading out the Impatiens planted along the edge of the bed.

So…a little pruning was required.

I cut off the front leaves to let in a little sunlight.

They were simply too gorgeous to compost.

So I brought them inside and put them in a vase that had belonged to my mother in law.

We’ve been enjoying this unusual and breathtaking arrangement all week.

Hosta leaves in Geraldine's vase.

It will likely last another.

Remember to drop by your local farmers market this weekend.

Enjoy the week in your garden.

Gail

 

 

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Filed under bind weed, Gloriosa Daisy, Hosta, Larkspur, nutgrass, tools, Uncategorized