09 September 2009

note to nancy


Clearly I am doing something right with the dahlias out by the chicken coop, “Andries Orange” in particular, which is as tall as I am. He’s going in the back row next year, and “Little Beeswings” is moving up to the front, because I can’t see him at all.

What is less clear to me is how to fix the rest of the garden, which suffered this summer from too much rain, too much cold, too much traffic (our house painter mostly missed the plants in the garden next to the house, but still and all), and way too little weeding. I have a cow barn full of leaves to shred and use for mulch. I have a little compost left from the load delivered last year, but because it wasn’t cooked enough, using it is like laying a carpet of weeds I have never seen before. Don’t even look toward the bed at the bottom of the driveway; the weeds in that are taller than I am and have choked out most of my zinnias. Where to begin?

Our tomatoes have been killed off by late blight, which is depressing, but on the positive front, I planted lettuce for the fall two weeks ago, and it’s coming right along. I also commandeered one of B’s boxes in early August and planted some zinnias and cosmos, which are in bloom now. On the minus side: this year the vegetable garden has been quite the hangout for deer, woodchucks, skunks, and who knows what else, which means we’ll have to shell out for a fence next spring.
  • Minus: “BlackGold” cherry tree from Miller Nurseries pooped out on me about three weeks after I planted it, even with all the tender, loving care provided.
  • Plus: Fringe tree (Chionianthus virginicus) planted and thriving.
  • Minus: I have lost the delphiniums to the weeds.
  • Plus: Anemone tomentosa “Robustissima” planted last year are blooming now.
  • Minus: Long and steep slope is still a weedy mess.
  • Plus: However, there are definite “zones” of plants there; that’s something that didn’t exist before.
  • Minus: Herbs planted near the patio are way too crowded.
  • Plus: We have lots and lots of herbs.
All in all, there is a ton to be done, always is. However, I am grateful that I am not in full poop-out mode as of the beginning of September, which is where I usually am this time of year. B and I are planning on extending the garden all the way around the patio, because we love the embrace of the garden on the south end. I would also like to make more of a garden on the north side of the house, which gets morning sunlight and might be the perfect spot for some partial shade plants.

Sigh. How does your garden grow?



  1. Hi Jared, I am in a similar situation as you. We live in a condo in Toronto during the week and have a weekend house in Owen Sound, which is 2 hours north of Toronto on Georgian Bay. We don't get up every weekend and when we do their is a ton of stuff to be done. The lawn alone takes 3 to 4 hours to cut, and this summer had to be cut every time we went up (sigh).
    We use bark chips on our flower beds to supress the weeds. It is not my favourite look, bit municipal park, but needs must. It makes a huge difference, I really notice it when it get thin, the weeds pop right up. We had a tree taken down, and the tree guy, chipped the branches for us, but he said that he always has lots of chips to get rid off.
    I look forward to reading your blog, hoping that you have some brilliant ideas at managing two homes. (Unless you have a staff, and then there is no point) LOL

  2. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Note to Jared :-)

    It's so good to read your report, friend. It sounds like things at Pleasant Hill, for the most part, are doing well. Your dahlias are certainly a wonderful splash of colour! And yes, sometimes the weeds do get ahead of us, most understandable when you're managing two homes. But you must take some photos of your slope, and I suspect those beautiful trees will soon be showing some vibrant colour. It's a wonderful time of year. It's sometimes best that the weeds get the upper hand from time to time IF it means that you're not exhausted from chasing them. :)

    As for my little balcony garden, everything did very well this summer with some plants being star performers. I have three gigantic tomato plants that withstood (for the most part) the remnants of two hurricanes -- lots of fruit remains, but it's terribly slow ripening. They had a late start, and our nights are getting very cool. Hopefully, we get enough to ripen to have a taste. (Two Yellow Pear plants and a Better Boy.) It will soon be time to clean up the containers and prepare for colder days, but there's still life out there yet. :-) xo

  3. Anonymous8:18 PM

    Welcome back. I have missed you. Those weeds are just "volunteers" come to play.

  4. Anonymous12:32 AM

    Your nephew is adorable but I miss the Dawg. So the dahlias aren't too shabby and I'm surprised they didn't suffer from the rain and cold. They usually get mildew so badly. The look terrific.

    It was cold down here too and my flowers are just average. They looked better last year during the drought. On a better note---we don't have as many acorns this year---oh my word....we must have gotten 20 black trash bags full last year. Drove me nuts;)

  5. Deborah, I WISH we had a staff. The only person who helps us out is the guy who mows our lawn (every week this summer). I did that for one summer and found I was spending my entire weekend mowing. Not the most efficient use of my time! We need to mulch, too. It's good for the soil and it does keep the weeds at bay. We should probably also buy it by the truckload, but I haven't gotten that far! Don't know if you'll find any brilliant ideas here, but thanks for visiting!

    Nancy: All right, all right, I'll take some photos of the slope. The clematis in the most recent post is on the slope, so that's part of it! Actually, the Rosa rugosa are filling in beautifully, and the rudbeckia have done pretty well this year, too, as has the goldenrod I'm cultivating there. Will take a photo or two this weekend. So glad you didn't have the late tomato blight on your plants. I've seen all of my friends' plants wilt and die (sometimes in a weekend). I hope you are having some nice tomatoes. Don't forget fried green tomatoes, if the nights look like they're getting a little close to freezing and you're worried about losing the plants!

    BMS: Thanks for the visit and for the compliment!

    Betty, always nice to see you, and if you want to come and play roughly with my volunteers, do stop by!

    Anna, the dawg is on his way back to the footer, not to worry. I cannot believe you had TWENTY BAGS of acorns! Sakes alive! Did you grind them up for flour? It's somewhat comforting to hear that you had a coldish summer, too. I don't know why it's comforting, but at least we can commiserate!

    Thanks to all of you for stopping by!