We just cut this magnificent tree down and, worst yet, while she was blooming. It still makes me sad to look at the gaping hole that’s left behind. If you knew this tree, you’d understand why we did it.
She’s been slowly dying over the last few years. It all started when one of her three large trunks snapped and fell onto one of the others. We promptly cut that trunk down but knew it was the beginning of the end. This year her buds (1/4 as many as normal) were turning brown as they were opening. She was covered in bugs and getting eaten alive by woodpeckers. It was time.
As a word of caution….when she was originally planted they thought she was going to be a shrub. The plant tag stated she’d only get 10-15.’ She was planted in a prominent spot in front of the house where she grew and grew and grew. She grew into a stunning tree. She just got a little too big, had a few too many trunks, and was a little too close to the house.
We will find another ‘Merrill’ to plant a little further away from the house. She will also grow to be magnificent (over 20 years). And our neighbors will finally forgive us (they’re not really mad, just a little confused).
The lesson here? Plant tags often share the size a tree or shrub will get over 10 years — but in most cases the plant will continue to grow. We have unlimited resources at our fingertips that weren’t available 10-20 years ago. I double check almost every time now.
This year I decided to go with Baker Creek to order my seeds. Not for any specific reason except I did buy their catalog (on a whim) and thought I should put it to good use. It’s a beautiful catalog – not sure about the almost $10 price tag.
Some of the more interesting things I’m going to attempt to grow in my zone 7a/b garden are melons. I ordered Minnesota Midget (70 days) and Katanya Watermelon (60-70 days). I also ordered some dahlia seeds. Anyone every plant dahlia seeds? I thought it was worth a try since I do love dahlias. I’m guessing they’ll take a couple years to bloom? I look forward to finding out.
I even ordered a new grow light for the garage — so I can have two tiers of starts.
Anyway, now is a good time to start planning your 2016 garden. Do a little seed inventory and get your seeds ordered. Other seed suppliers I enjoy include Territorial and Renee’s Garden.
I was itching to get a little gardening done this weekend but we got hit by a cold snap and the ground is frozen. Let’s hope the 25° weather we’ve been getting didn’t kill my unprotected artichokes and rosemary.
It was such a nice sunny weekend that we decided to go on a little walk in the woods behind the house. I found that the walk was a great way to show Jason some of the plants I pre-ordered from the Snohomish County Conservation District plant sale.
During and after our walk we talked about the plants and the benefits of each. I like incorporating native plants into the landscape because they need little care when planted in the right place. Plus, I like feeding the wildlife. I even bought the deer a couple bushes to munch on that I’ll plant along the property line (away from our fenced yard).
The Conservation District no longer accepts pre-orders but their sale is this Saturday at the Monroe Fairgrounds if you want to check it out.
Here’s what I ordered:
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
- Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
- Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum)
- Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)
- Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)
- Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii)
- Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
- Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)
- Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant)
- Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)
- Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) – Bareroot
Snohomish County Conservation District Plant Sale at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, WA Commercial Building (#400)
Doors are open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM on Saturday February 28, 2015.
It’s been awhile. I apologize. Life got in the way. A lot has happened since February so I’ll try to sum it up for you.
- I met someone amazing who fills my heart with joy and laughter.
- Licorice (my sweet hen) was eaten by a opossum – the opossum mysteriously disappeared.
- My remaining two old biddy hens and rooster are on insect and fertilizer duty. They’re locked up in the coop more than I like but it’s better than being eaten. I don’t get any eggs.
- I broke my leg playing soccer in early August and lost half my summer. I started walking again in late October. I got very little gardening done this year between the first bullet and this one (and the sea kayaking course I took with the Mountaineers).
- I’m moving! I plan to rent out my house to someone who enjoys gardening. Yes, I realize this is wishful thinking.
That being said, I have a lot of garden chores I need to get done to prepare for the move. I need to root prune trees and bushes moving with me. I need to prepare and design my new garden space for plants being moved. And I need to decide which perennials move with me. I’m a little worried about renting out my garden so plan to take all the special plants along with me. Most are ready to be divided anyway. If you have advice on how to successfully rent out a garden, let me know.
I’m excited about the move. I get to live with the man of my dreams and I get more garden space. Someone should really pinch me. The garden already has a great foundation of mature plants, a deck, a waterfall/pond and a fenced veggie garden. Since I’m a little bit ‘anti-lawn,’ I’ll probably start by killing some of the lawn to make a little more garden space. I like to use leaves and cover with wet cardboard and fine mulch to kill grass. It works great and creates a happy winter home for the worms. I’ll get this going in the next couple weeks.
I also need to get going on building a new chicken coop. I was looking through my friend Jessi Bloom’s ‘Free-Range Chicken Gardens’ book this morning for inspiration. I haven’t quite decided where it’s going to live or the style of coop. We get a lot of rain so I’ll probably have a covered run and warm shed-like hen house. Then in spring I’ll get some chicks with the goal of getting fresh eggs again. I was thinking of getting French Marans for their dark brown eggs and Ameraucanas for their light blue eggs. Both breeds are hard to find.
I also need to get my garlic planted ASAP! I’m already a month or so late.
Lots to do! We’ll chat again soon.