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Posts Tagged ‘fuchsias’

Finally, we took a day to start (yes, start, how pitiful!) the spring clean up in our garden.  I am so grateful that Allan weeded out a big patch of the horrid yellow archangel weed (Lamiastrum galeobdolon: NEVER plant it).  And then, with his usual tireless energy, he helped prune and haul all afternoon and thus we got ALL the hard tasks done. Now what is left is weeding and tidying. I’m surprised when people say they hate weeding; I love it because I get up close with the plants and it helps me focus on all that is going on in the garden.  I do hate hauling the loads of weeds OUT of the garden, though.  Years of soil improvement have made most of my garden beds so fluffy that even the creeping buttercup pulls right out. I do have the triumverate of annoying northwest weeds: buttercup, horsetail, and the heartbreaking bindweed, with Himalayan blackberries lurking around the edges.

before, old Phormium and Clematis

before, old Phormium and Clematis

In an early blog post this year I inserted a photo of the above bed, and here it was this morning looking just as nasty with an autumn-blooming clematis and a once-attractive Phormium whose leaves had been a particularly nice smoky colour.  But as you know, I am done with Phormiums in the ground, so out it went, and down came the Clematis…a bit late for such a hard pruning, but too bad.

so much better

after: so much better!

Now I look forward to getting into that bed and removing horsetail and buttercup.  I hope my precious ‘Amy Doncaster’ geranium will revive; it looks pretty peaky and it is an ever so special one I got from Heronswood nursery after hearing Dan Hinkley, in a lecture, speak of how he visited Amy at a nursing home and  even though she had Alzheimers, she could remember and speak of plants, and how the geranium is as blue as her eyes.

Why, Dan, why?

Why, Dan, why?

Speaking of Dan Hinkley, I bought this shrub from Heronswood (back in its pre-Burpee days) because something about the way he described it in the old catalog made it sound wonderful. I hate the darn thing now and have no idea what it is. This is a close up of the foliage, whiteish stems and also note the mean little thorns. It seems to do very little other than grow 8 feet tall and put out suckers in every direction. Chopped it to the ground today and will start trying to get rid of the whole thing this year. Does it look familiar to anyone?  I was SO pleased when Mr. Hinkley (who does not know me except perhaps as a face who appeared in the crowd at every lecture of his that I could attend) accepted my Facebook friend request.  That didn’t last long, as of course it would be tedious to read a stranger’s status updates about scrabulous and other daily details, but if only he hadn’t defriended me, perhaps he could tell me WHY in the world this is supposed to be a good shrub?? (I really do understand the defriending…He could end up with thousands of fan/friends, and that would be exhausting.)

A large part of the afternoon was spent dealing with that nasty shrub and hauling it out to the trailer, with much poking of those thorns right through the heavy gloves.  Allan also helped by chainsawing back the wonderful old trunks of hardy fuchsias, winter-killed to the base.  I like my fuchsias to be like trees, so that’s a shame, but their basal growth is strong.

Allan pruning

Allan pruning on the island

island fuchsia, after

island fuchsia, after

We don’t really have an island in our pond, but this gravel patio does have an island feel.

You can see to the right the ONLY way I will grown phormiums now…in rustic garbage cans. They make a good strong statement raised up in the air, but after our cold December even these look iffy. (Cut back after this photo was taken.)

Fuchsia magellanica

Fuchsia magellanica

An example of the power of microclimates: All the Fuchsias on the south side of the garden were killed back to the ground (and are resprouting); the ones in the center and the north side are leafing out all the way up and even blooming, as in the above photo taken today.

mess

still a mess

I still have quite a lot of mess to deal with, like the center area of the garden which should be a lovely sitting area but is full of STUFF I should have dealt with when I brought it home from my mother’s moving sale in October.  Or I should have  dealt with it in January.  And here it still is.  But that is so much more enjoyable a task than heavy pruning and hauling. (We have more than a trailer load to go to the dump tomorrow!)

pond with Darmera Peltata flowers

Darmera peltata flowers, pond, big rock

The next day that I can steal away from work in order to garden at home can’t come soon enough…but it might be a while from now.

Also, I miss my Lumix camera.  Borrowing Allan’s Casio camera…ordered new Lumix…waiting.

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