Showing posts with label weeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weeds. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The more you know

Every once in a blue moon I feel like my brain is firing on all cylinders  But most days I feel like, if my brain is a car, I left the parking brake on and I'm trying to drive down the street, wondering why I can't go very fast and what that whining noise is. And do I smell something burning? I came to gardening late and I feel like I've managed to amass a fair amount of plant information in my brain but there's just so much to learn

Scott and I went to the Clackamas Master Gardener fair with six billion of our friends and neighbors (so crowded! so hot!) and he'd say, "Ooh, what's that?" and I'd wager a guess like, "A fern?" and it would turn out to be a cactus or a magnolia or a small child or a ceramic pot. It was like I was picking words at random. It's a toaster! It's a park ranger!

Then he said, "Oh look, it's the Wind Dancer booth!" which my brain interpreted as Dancing Oaks, and I wondered aloud, "Why did they only bring grasses?" Scott gave me a funny look and then I started talking about how "I hate that guy" while staring at Carolyn Kolb's husband. Some guy at Dancing Oaks gave me a dumb answer to a stupid question at the HPSO sale and I was confusing him for Mr. Wind Dancer WHO COULDN'T BE NICER. 

Chug, chug, whine whine whine goes my brain. And you know what? The rude person at the HPSO sale wasn't even from Dancing Oaks; he was from some other nursery. Do you smell smoke? 

This spring I've been inundated with tiny red seedlings in my front yard. There were probably a hundred in the rain garden. I've never seen them in my garden before, so I assumed it must be something thuggish I planted in the last year. After talking to Linda about how completely Sedum Angelina has colonized in her yard (it grows in the cracks of her street) I started to wonder if it was that. 

I found a more mature seedling that was putting on green growth and posted a photo to the Oregon gardeners Facebook page and asked for ideas. Turns out it's not a creeping yellow succulent. It's Doug Fir. I felt so dumb. 

In my defense, I've lived here for four years and never seen these seedlings before. And there's not a single seedling in the backyard . . . you know, where the Doug Fir is. I'm starting to think my garden is conspiring to make me look dumb.

Edited to add: Wow! Some of my sentences didn't even make sense. Sorry about that. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One of these things is not like the other

One of my tulips mutated or reverted and is now yellow. And it had the audacity to produce an offshoot bulb! Part of me doesn't care, as I already have a mess of orange, pale pink, peach, black, and red bulbs. What's the harm in adding yellow to the mix? (For the record, the pale pink in the very back offends me the most in this scheme.)

In other strange surprises, I've found English ivy popping up in the backyard. One spot was in the rain garden, which made me emit this terrible gargling yodel-scream as I ripped it out. This is the part they don't tell you about when creating a bird-friendly yard: sometimes they spread your neighbors' invasive plants to your garden. It's a good thing they're so cute when they splash around in the birdbath.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Invaders from hell

I've been removing popweed this last couple of weeks. I get it really bad in my hell strip and in the area under my neighbor's Doug fir. Despite the fact that I try to remove every last seedling before they set seed, I must manage to miss one and it shoots ten thousand seeds out when the wind gusts. And then the next year it's back. This last weekend I spent hours and hours carefully pulling up popweed and patting myself on the back for the effort (of course, it was sunny and my daphne is blooming, so I couldn't really complain). Then I moved onto moving all my ferns under the cedar and I happened to look to the left, to where we removed that huge pile of dirt last summer.

You're looking at one million popweed seedlings

Oh holy hell.

This is what happens when you leave disturbed earth bare. We neglected to cover it with mulch or overseed the lawn, so we now have a colony of popweed that is *this close* to releasing seed.

This reminds me that one of the focuses I have in my garden right now is ground covers. I need ground covers to unify, to block weeds, and to look nice. In the area under my neighbor's Doug fir it's dry and sunny. Anybody have a great plant to cover the bare mulch in this area, preferably one that doesn't need supplemental water every day in the summer? I have a variety of sedums there that are spreading at a glacial pace. It might be time for something else.

p.s. THANK YOU to everyone who has voted for me in the JDR blogger contest. Right now I am in the lead! It's such a silly narcissistic thing to ask your friends and family to vote so you can have money, so it got me all misty eyed that people would support it so enthusiastically. Y'all are the best.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Leap year

There's an old adage that in the first year your plants sleep, the second they creep, and the third year they leap. For some of the plants I first established at the house, this should be their leap year. Our weather has been lovely this week--cold but clear, which means perfect for weeding.

I have never been so happy to weed! It was so nice to be in the yard again, muttering to myself and saying hello to the plants that are starting to poke out of the ground. We have lots of bulbs now starting to show, and the flowering currants and elderberry bushes are budding.

The winter-blooming daphne is *this close* to erupting in blooms and the stonecrop is forming rosettes--hooray!

I spent all day removing popweed (Cardamine hirsuta, street name: Jumping Jesus) and Herb Robert (Geranium Robertianum, street name: Stinky Bob). I also put down Sluggo, the only insecticide I'll use. I had a moment of panic where I wondered if I was weeding all the forget-me-not that I sowed last fall. That's the problem with wild flowers--how do you know what's a good seedling and what's an invasive weed?

Remember when my aging next door neighbor thought I wanted her Doug Fir removed? She called a surveyor and had him mark her property lines, so I couldn't "take over her yard" like she claims I'd like to do. I carefully pruned only the roses on my side of the surveyor's white post. After I pruned them hard last year and didn't kill them, I became emboldened and pruned them even harder this time. I might actually remember to fertilize them this year but I'm not holding my breath.

I also did silly things like crumpling leaves that had accumulated under the shrubs by hand. Last fall I put uncomposted leaves on the beds, which is generally not advisable. In the wild, leaf mulch breaks down quickly because animals walk on it. In our urban and suburban yards, it just sits there and attracts slugs. But: if you put out a bird feeder nature does what it would do in the wild. To wit:

What used to be three inches of leaves now looks like this

So next fall I'm going to put out fresh leaves and a million bird feeders and I will sit back and know that I'm feeding the wildlife AND my plants.My transformation into That Crazy Bird Lady will be complete. I can't wait.

Also, remember my bird bath that I spent $5 on and drove all the way to a trailer park in Cornelius, which took two and a half hours during rush hour, and then I had to patch it with Liquid Nails so it would not leak? It holds water! So my cheap scavenging on craigslist, while dangerous and unattractive, totally works.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Five dollars to whoever can identify this weed. It's new to my yard this year and it's EVERYWHERE.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The sun came out!

The boy helped me weed this morning and learned the hard way that I talk to my plants. Oh, fern! You're starting to grow back! How did you get a weed growing in you like that? and all that.

Did you know that when two people weed you get twice as much work done in half the time? It's freaking fantastic.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First buds of spring

I really thought the dried out ferns I planted last fall weren't going to make it, but look!  Tiny fiddleheads, waiting to unfurl.


Daffodils popped up in the front yard, too.  Once those wither the tulip bulbs I planted should take their place.


The weeds are thriving, of course.  Luckily I love weeding, especially when the ground is soft and the sun is shining.  I like to throw them over my shoulder onto the sidewalk so they can cook in the sun.  You know, teach them a lesson.

My bloodgood maples have small buds on them and I'm really excited to see what kind of foliage they'll produce.  I think I'm also going to order some Rosalie tulip bulbs.  Rosalie is my Grandma's name (Hi, Grandma! I love you!) and she raised prize-winning African violets for as long as I can remember.  I'm bad at house plants but I can do bulbs.

Aren't they so lovely?