Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Gardening With the Professor

I have been dealing with some seriously heavy stuff as of late and in need of diversions. Finally I am finding some excuse to get away from the computer and away from scrutinizing research long enough to do something a bit more physical.

When I put a down payment on my current digs, the previous owners had a flower bed in the front yard that had some bushes, but for the most part had placed these fake plastic bushes with fake flowers around that flower bed. The realtor apparently thought that was a good idea for staging the house - the fake plants added color. Fair enough. But those do degrade over time. So too do some of the real plants. And since I live right along the western edge of North America's Eastern Forest, I get some unwanted plants in that flower bed. To give you some idea, last fall I noticed that two trees had taken root in the flower bed. Those were way too close to the house and would have done structural damage eventually. So I cut those down to stumps right before the Winter Solstice with the idea of removing the stumps and replacing them with more proper flowering plants.

About a day ago, I went by a home supply store with a nursery, bought a couple plants that I liked and brought them home. I made a mental note of where I wanted them placed. Late the following afternoon, I come home from work and errands. Of course I pick the hottest day of the calendar year, so far, to do some grueling physical work, but that is okay. Those tree stumps still needed to be dealt with, especially since I had not quite succeeded in killing those off late last fall. I cut off new limbs that were forming, and then went to work digging up the two stumps and their root systems. They were thankfully small enough trees at this point to where I could do that without having to call someone and pay for their services. Once the stumps and roots had been sufficiently removed, I went to work digging the holes where I wanted my new plants. I got both of them in place, covered the base of each with sufficient dirt, cleared up the debris and my tools. We'll just say that by the time I was done, I was definitely ready for a shower and plenty of hydration. I also made sure my new plants had some hydration.

I think they look lovely. They are Veronica "First Love" plants. The flowers are an almost flourescent violet-pink. They require partial to full sunlight and at least weekly watering. Where I live, both are doable. Hopefully they do well. In the next year or two, I will have to decide what I want to do about the rose bush in the flower bed. It is showing its age. However, it is still producing some lovely red roses. This spring has been one of its best for yielding roses. I have contemplated eventually replacing it and some boxwoods elsewhere on the property with new rose plants. I don't think you can have too many roses. Of course I will have to hire a contractor to remove the older plants. They're too established. The rest of the work should go easily enough. I'll give that a year or two. Want to save a few pennies first.

Last year, I re-established bulb plants in a back yard flower bed - including, of course tulips. There are a couple other flower beds that went bare a while back. I am still contemplating what to do with that area. I am thinking perhaps sunflowers. We've had sunflowers in the past. They are an annual plant, and usually I prefer perennials. But they are quite nice to look at, and although not completely dog-proof, they seem to do okay. We get some honey bees and bumble bees around the property, and I would like to encourage more of our pollenators to do the work they were evolved to do.

Hopefully I will have some more progress before long.

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