Rainy days are a great time to catch up on a few things, but not much good for garden work but as the rain didn’t really start early I was able to take a few minutes outside and ditch the trough of going-to-seed lettuce and plant the patio tomato in its own container. This was a lesson in read the label!
I purchased the little patio tomato about 2 weeks after we moved in, so that would be mid May. The label mentioned it was good for a container and had a QRC code but I didn’t bother to check that (mistake # 1).
With a new garden it is tough to figure out where the full sun areas are and with this garden, the options for places to plant anything were few, so it went into an area that I thought would be good. Seemed pretty sunny and there were two grafted peppers and a basil nearby that were doing pretty well. There was also an inherited hydrangea (that has not bloomed, so was probably pruned early in the year or something). This, it turns out is not a bad place to plant, but a little patio tomato that is only destined to be 2 ft tall was rather overwhelmed in a short time by the basil and the hydrangea. It also was near the woods and had an interesting little thing on it called a Tortoise Beetle which enjoyed the leaves.
Tortoise Beetle with immature stage seen (white)
So this morning I decided it was time to remedy that situation and gave it its very own container which will be placed in the sun with nothing else around it. Hopefully it will be happier and produce more tomatoes now. Reading the QR code tells me it should get to about 2ft tall and is determinate so should put out a bunch of tomatoes all at one time. I am not totally sure that I would want that in a patio tomato as the beauty of tomatoes is a long season of harvest. Maybe small places though are still limited in varieties.
Patio Tomato in its own container.
So we have done the good in the garden, and then the bad in the garden which just leaves the ugly part! Some of this is because of poor planning, some was from storm damage and some is from overzealous plants competing against less aggressive ones.
The burning bushes from the last post were removed and the effect that they had on the surrounding plants was very evident. The azaleas were lobsided with long bare branches that were reaching for the sun and the yukkas were crushed under the weight of the bushes above.
There is also a holly bush in the front that looks like it was quite large util it had an accident or problem. The right hand side is upright, the left hand side is missing and the whole thing is strung up to a post to stay upright!
Finally there is a poor little Japanese Red maple behind some hydrangeas. The hydrangeas (which should have been included in the positive post at the start but have only just come into bloom). You can see the maple in the first image and it is drowned out in the second one. The whole of the front is filled with foundation plantings which are quite attractive but have been pruned into cubes. I am hiding the hedge clipper as the husband wants to continue to do that!
The rhodies in the last post were the positive of the garden, the rest is less attractive! There are 5 large burning bushes (Euonymous alataus) which dominate the left side of the garden. The only thing that could be said about them is that they obscure the fence! Not only are these very invasive, they were killing other items in the garden. These went as soon as the chainsaw was unpacked!!!
The other major issue is the invasive weeds and vines. The major weed nuisance is the Japanese Knotweed which is growing a mile a minute and looks rather like bamboo. The vines, including honeysuckle, but others too, are running up and killing the trees and anything else along the way. These are a royal pain to control but hopefully I will be able to sever them all over time.
I don’t have an ‘after’ with these things but eventually I hope to look back on this blog and give a sign of relief that they have been removed!!!
The other major headache is the invasive species around the property.
We have been in the new house 3 weeks now and I have ready started the transformation of the garden. But first, a little about the garden itself. It is located in central New Jersey and there are trees surrounding the property. Most of the soil is sandy in nature and garden areas are covered with black painted hardwood mulch. I have never seen this stuff up close – it looks ok from a distance yet is like bits of plastic close up. I suspect the black paint on the outside delays or even eliminates the stuff degrading and being incorporated into the soil.
The property is 30+ years old and it seems that the landscape was installed at that time. The current landscape includes 5 mature rhododendrons, there were possibly some taller trees at the back (just stumps remain), a few azaleas, 5 burning bushes and a couple of cedars, plus a few yucca and barberry added in. The whole thing was surrounded by landscape fabric topped with gravel. Somewhere along the way maintenance stopped.
In a couple of areas the gravel was topped with some soil mix, planted in and then more landscape fabric follows by gravel.
So here is the good part of the garden – the plus point, so to speak:
Mature rhododendrons which are a little too close to the pool but will stay; and some decent azaleas.
As you know, I have been participating in the Authors in Bloom blog hop which includes giving a prize to someone who posted a comment. The prize is Joel Karsten’s book on Straw Bale Gardens and it goes to Lysette in California!!
I hope everyone had fun in the bloghop and that my readers went to some of the other blogs on the hop.
I have not blogged everyday for the bloghop but I have been introduced to some great blogs along the way! I hope the other readers did the same!
So a recap on my petite garden: Over the last 10days, the majority of the perennials have shown signs of coming back for me. A few that didn’t have little seedlings that might be cosmos or some other self seeding annual that was in the vicinity of the perennial. They could also be weeds! Outside on the apartment grounds the trees have come into bloom and the bloom is fading to a snow of white leaves drifting in the breeze. The new bright green leaves are showing too.
I hope you have found time to visit this blog on the bloghop and others and please drop by to see the blog again!
Click for the other blogs !
The deck this morning:
Last fall I potted up lots of perennials so that I could bring them with me to New Jersey. They all went dormant in Ohio, were put into boxes and transported here then put back outside to keep cold until nature woke them up. Over the past few weeks that has happened to all be about 6 of the plant pots. One that didn’t come back is a knopfolia but there were a few little seedlings in there which I didn’t pull out yet. Today I noticed that one had true leaves on indicating that it was a tomato! I have spent the rest of the day trying to remember which tomato was near the plant but I think I will just have to wait it out until the fruit arrives!
Tip of the day!! Let guests, that is the plant variety, stay in your garden until they prove to be unworthy – you might just find a lovely surprise!
And don’t forget to comment often to get great prizes including a Kindle as the grand prize! From this blog someone will get Joel Karsten’s book: Straw Bale Gardens
Don’t forget to check the rest of the blogs on the bloghop!
Today I visited a local garden to see what was going on in the community gardens there. Boy was I surprised! This is an amazing place and free both to park and walk around as well as a free trolley to take you to designated spots. I took lots of images but my favorite two places were the community garden and the 1920′s orchid hot house that is modeled on the European hot houses of the Victorian era.
The community gardens number over 50 plots each with its own water supply – something every gardener would envy.
The hot house was were the orchid display was – decadent and Victorian in style.
Tip of the day: Pick the right plant for you needs – a naturally large shrub will cause nothing but problems if you want to make it a hedge!
Authors in Bloom Day 3 – late
Ok so I was busy yesterday and missed posting, so today you do get 2 posts – first the things on the balcony are coming back this week. The winner was a coreopsis that broke dormancy a few weeks ago but most are showing signs of coming back to life this week. I love spring when things start to show that they have survived winter and have the will to grace my garden for another year. So far the majority like the rhubarb, and hydrangea are both getting leaves on them and the little seedlings that I sowed a week or two ago have been transplanted into this green metal trough. There is kale and lettuce and they really needed some extra room. I still need one more container for the remnant lettuce seedlings.
So don’t forget that Joel’s book on Straw Bale Gardens is the book to win in Authors in Bloom – winners are taken from the comments – so comment often!
Tip of the day: Don’t rush to prune lavender and hydrangeas – they both take a week or longer than other plants when it comes to breaking dormancy and hydrangeas can indeed play ‘dead’ until spring has really arrived! Wait until you see buds on both these plants before you trim them (and many hydrangeas bloom on last year’s wood so wait until they have bloomed before you trim them).
Aren’t they all lovely!!
Day 3 of Authors in Bloom
To see who else is on the bloghop and the great prizes http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=230445
My garden right now is very small but does has a pretty view today. The warm temperatures that I have mentioned in the past two blogs brought out the blossom in the trees below and I was motivated to transplant the little kale and some of the lettuce into the bright green trough that I brought the other day in TJ Maxx. I hammered holes into the bottom and planted today. And because I had freed up a butter container and we had Chinese soup last week, I was able to get my peppers and tomato seeds in.
Tip of the day: You don’t need fancy trays to start seeds – butter tubs, salad clam trays etc all work well for germinating seeds. You just have to remember that you need to punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
The balcony/garden and view:
Remember that we are giving away lots of prizes to people who comment and my contribution is Joel Karsten book on Straw Bales Gardens – great book.