It’s mid-June and the garden is just starting to find its legs for this year. Mayo and I now have both Covid shots and a sense of relaxation for the first time in a year and a half and we sharing the newness and experiments in finding our own pace for this new world we’re all facing.
Here are some of the things we’re celebrating (or not) in our front garden.
It’s not exactly celebrating but you can see the deer-eaten branches of this maple tree in this late spring picture. This and the eaten perennials in the garden convinced me to get the electric fence installed.
The dark line in the wall is the drip irrigation system for the plants. The plants in the picture above are ornamental strawberry plants of Mayo’s that require a light shade spot.
I put this old Yogurt container by the entrance to the garden where the electric fence is quite visible because many folks ask, “Is it on?” In my mind, it’s a silly question – if it’s there it’s on. But… city versus country folk….
For city folk. The electric fence is like getting a static electricity shock after you’ve walked over a wool carpet and then touched somebody. It’s not harmful to the animal or humans in any way but it is unpleasant. Anybody – human or animal – avoids doing it twice. I’ve accidentally backed into more than one of these while working with cattle on the farm and survived to tell the tale of my own carelessness.
But this isn’t deer damage.
This is rabbit damage. (There are no deer tracks in the soft ground) A good number of the hosta and even a Hellebore were sampled by this dad-watted-wabbit.
Sigh. If nothing else and looking on the bright side, it allowed me to see the weeds hiding under the “former” leaves.
Most of the time, a mature Hosta such as the above will survive being a gourmet treat. They will not regrow their leaves in the year of snacking but will resprout anew the following year.
As an aside, the native orchid the rabbits got last year survived and it’s enclosed in a prison of rabbit proof wire. It’s not very scenic but until the fencing and rabbit-proof gates are finished, I’m determined to protect the garden treasures.
I wrote about raccoons in the garden and yeah, this is a cute picture and while I admire their cleverness, I’m no garden fan of them. This is the now-moved compost bin. Damn animal easily fit through the wires I thought “might” stop them.
A brand new, shiny pile of gravel for the foundations for the next dry stone walls in the garden. All the trenches were hand-dug and at this writing have now been filled.
23.5 tons of stone that I get to move and stack this year to (hopefully) complete the walls around the front and back of our garden. The weight of these stones ranges from a few pounds right up to several hundred. I use my tractor loader to move everything to the working area but then it’s all me to get them all into position.
Two Thoughts Right Now
Two thoughts: 1) it’s my summer exercise and it’s much more enjoyable than shoving winter weights around and 2) it’s really a creative chance to spend time outside building something that’s going to be there for long after I’m done with this garden.
Transplanting Perennials In Mid-Summer
The above pic is a hellebore covered in Wilt-Pruf that I just sprayed. This is an antidessicant that when it dries, it is clear and it prevents the leaves from losing moisture. It is a critical tool if you’re moving plants out of season or even if you’re doing some propagation by cuttings in less than perfect conditions.
At the same time, it allows sunlight to hit the leaf. I had to move this rather large mature plant because I was about to build a stone wall right through it.
If you have to move a plant – this product is one way to give yourself more than an even chance of success.
How I Move Perennial Flowers In Mid-Summer (Reluctantly)
- I water the plant very heavily. Let it sit for several hours or overnight to suck up any moisture it needs.
- I spray it with an antidessicant to stop it losing moisture.
- Then I dig a hole to receive the plant – slightly larger than I think I’ll need.
- Then I dig the hellebore and carefully lift the enormous rootball to its new home. Note I make the rootball as large as I can lift.
- The final step is to soak the new home thoroughly .
The transplant was a success (so far anyway) except for one small bit that broke off and has now been planted for a new plant.
Note: Hellebore are not usually too happy to be moved at the best of times so the antidessicant is a good trick any time you move one.
Garden Lessons I’m Learning
The one thing I’d emphasize with this project. Well, actually several things….
- The garden is the smallest I’ve ever had and I think it’s a size I can maintain as I age. More on aging and gardening later btw.
- It’s a lot more fun to have a small garden that’s easily maintained than a large one that’s too much work.
- Mayo and I are truly enjoying the annual petunias in the top of the wall (it was designed as a growing space) and I’d forgotten how fast and easy annuals really are compared to perennial flowers. And the darn things are so shamelessly showy!