MORE PLANT NOTES #2
People talk a
lot about landscaping but once in a while someone mentions “hardscaping”.
So what is “hardscaping”?
“Hardscaping” is the non-living additions to our gardens that we may
or may not have any control over such as driveways, sidewalks, a
neighbor’s wall, or a solid fence. Things like “blacktop” driveways
and walkways can absorb heat, and cement foundations can leak lime to
raise the pH of the soil near the house. When you take inventory of your
yard to plan where to put your plants, all of these things must be noted.
For example, a Rhododendron
that likes acid soil, is quite often put near the north foundation of the
house for shade and protection from the wind.
In the mean time it receives lime from the cement blocks to its
roots. If you don’t add something to the soil to lower the pH, your Rhododendron
will struggle. I use granular sulfur on my acid loving plants.
What about your
car on the driveway dripping oil and blowing out fumes. What kind of a
plant can stand that? If there is a
You want to
have a gazebo but how much land will it use? How will you get there? What
kind of walkway will look best? How will all this affect your plants? All
of these are a part of “hardscaping” and must be considered. Some
authors recommend that when you move to a new home, live in your new house
a year before you plant or build so you can note all of these things.
Gardening” is another term we often hear.
By definition it is a method you use to get the most crop possible
from a given area. Since you will be demanding a lot, you will need to
have the best soil possible such as compost for drainage, and raised beds
to warm up early. You will also want to plant a second crop as soon as the
first is harvested, which is called succession
planting. Intensive planting quite often does not use rows but
scatters seeds close together in a wide bed making your plants very close
together which will shade out weeds as well as keeping the soil shaded,
saving moisture. You will want
to plant early crops, such as spinach and radishes,
as well as having late crops, such as kale or cabbage,
that will stand a light frost. Not everything is an advantage as more
plants will need more water and are more likely to get fungous infections
as air cannot circulate as well.
Usually my very
first blooms are from
The first seed
catalog arrived just before Halloween. It seems like one or two more
arrive each day. I don’t know how many I have now. I have been
collecting all the different kinds of beans seeds for several years and
there are many of different sizes, shapes (even square ones), colors, and
patterns. Now one of the catalogs has about as many colors, sizes, and
shapes of corn. This includes the little STRAWBERRY
POPCORN (maroon), the pink, blue, and yellow of the INDIAN CORN, and the whites, yellows, and bicolors of SWEET
CORN. They even have a black corn!!! I suppose I need to find another
big jar with a lid and start collecting. There are even seeds for the
little ears that people pickle, plus the corn that is used to make brooms.
Wouldn’t it be fun to have an acreage so you could grow all those
different plants. One catalog
“STRICTLY TOMATOES” has tomatoes
of every size, shape, and color. Have
you ever eaten a black tomato?
I have been seeing more of is an island
There are some
plants that can be reproduced by root cuttings.
It isn’t hard to do but my percentage of success hasn’t been
too high. I have had the most success with ORIENTAL
POPPIES. It is usually done in fall or very early spring. It is
generally easier to take root cuttings and divide most plants when they
come up in the spring. One thing to remember is to mark your cuttings when
you get them as they won’t grow if they are upside down.
You can do this by making the top cut straight across and the lower
one slanted. Very thin roots
can be planted on their side, for example PHLOX.
It is easier for me to put them in pots of potting soil. Bury the pots and
cover with compost if you decide to leave them outside in the winter.
I do 4-6 more cuttings than I want, as success rate is not 100%.
Better yet, use a cold frame during the winter months if you have