WALATing May 9 2009 - photo heavy

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)May 9, 2009

Rain was threatening so walating looked like the better option for Misty and me. This is some of what we found:

The best of the Astilboides are the ones near the patio. They like lots of water so one is planted across from one of the the neighbour's downspouts:

and one is at the end of one of our downspouts:

Both of those were planted in 2006 and they are the ones in the picture I posted on the Idyll thread. Snails love them - you might have noitced the hole in one of the leaves in the picture on the other thread....

These ones are the oldest ones in the garden - planted some time around 2002 or 2003. It's much dryer in this spot but they struggle on and return each year. The trilliums are happier with the spring monsture and dryer summer conditions:

Lots of things coming up under the oak on the south side:

Waiting for my first-ever dogwood blooms:

Somebody asked about the rectangular lawn.... The lawn is looking a bit rough at the moment - needs mowing and it's .... ummm... been spottily fertilized with canine-sourced nitrogen fertilizer over the winter.... Looking south:

Looking north:

Mrs Robin is still sitting on the nest:

The fence she's built the nest on is the one on the right side of the south alley where the New Dawn rose is plotting world dominion and allowing a few canes to be swagged:

A closer view of the tangle of rose canes on the arbour:

Moving around to the front....

Peas in pots on the driveway are growing fast:

The metal edge is in place in the new bed:

The new bed is very narrow because I'm limited by the deep ditch on the road side - it doesn't look very deep in the picture but it is and the sides are steep. The straight edge runs along the top edge of the ditch. I'm going to have to change my planting plan a bit - once the bricks are in place, there will only be room for a few perennials in the middle section. I think I may use Rozanne geranium in the middle so it can spill over the edges with lots of flowers. There is room for smaller shrubs on the ends.

This is the rock that slowed us down. It doesn't look too big in the picture - but it is HEAVY!

The Chinese wisteria is loaded with nice fat flowerbuds this year. I hope the temperatures forecast in frost range for the next couple of nights miss us...:

It looks like the rain may have stopped for a while - I need to go walkies....

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Quickie, I can't wait to come back and check these out, Woody.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 2:13PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I am sooo happy to see spring at your place! It is looking so pretty. I am espacially happy about the good crop of dogwood blooms that you will soon have.
I know what you mean about a rock too heavy to move. I worked around one in the east bed, that I never even got to the surface. The plants have long since hidden it.
I love your patch of trillium. And I am envious of all the reports on the agressiveness of that rose. It would never happen here.....

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 2:47PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I meant to post a pichure of this too - a nice change from the Jack Frost brunnerias - this one is called Silver Wings:

Marian - why can't you grow roses? Do the deer eat them? if so, that might just be what New Dawn needs to control it!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 3:14PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ohhhh....another spring tour, what fun! Woody, you are making great progress on that front bed! Your trilliums are really making a nice presence! How long did it take to get that big? In photo 4, is that a dark leaved Cimicifuga?

I asked to see another photo of your back lawn. I really like that rectangular lawn with the mulch paths around it. It looks like a park. :-) I like a lawn that looks a little rough around the edges. Do you have fabric under the mulch?

I like your fence. Your peas look great! Did you direct sow them? I have had a tough time with peas this year for some odd reason. I ended up sending most of my seedlings over to DD's deck. I have one little lonely pot with a few seedlings and pansies in it, more for decoration then anything else. I will have to do better next year. You are going to have a great harvest!

Lots of blooms coming on that dogwood! Can't wait to see that and your Wisteria in full bloom. You must be very satisfied with what you have been able to accomplish in your garden. You've done a great job!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 3:39PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM - a lot of the trilliums were here when we bought the place but I've added more, particularly red ones (red ones were the common ones where I grew up.) There are a lot of trilliums around the neighbourhood so I suspect they are either remnant populations from before the land was built on in the 1960s and/or are ones 'poached' from the nearby' 'trillum wood'. These ones spread quickly from offsets and there are also lots of seedlings all around the existing plants. So I conclude they like the conditions in my garden! (You can probably tell from the pictures - I leave all the leaf litter to decay where it falls; don't add any suplemental mulch or compost that might smother things or retain more summer moisture and haven't used the soaker hoses that you see in some of the pictures in years. I think the trilliums like relatively dry conditions during their summer dormancy.

Yes, that's a dark bugbane called 'James Compton'.

There is no fabric under the mulch on the paths. I don't like that stuff. It smothers the soil and all the soil organisms seem to go elsewhere. It's easy to see and hand-weed out and weeds that appear and, since it's very shady in the backyard, the grass is weak and doesn't seem to be trying to spread very aggressively. If it was a full sun area, I'd probably use the metal edge between the grass and path but it doesn't seem necessary in the shade.

Yes the peas are sown in place in the pots. They were planted April 14. Each pot has a different variety so they will mature over a period from 50 days from planting to about 70 days. We mainly just snack on them on our way in and out of the house :- ) When the peas are finished for the year, some of the pots are used to plant strawberry runners (might as well use that good nitrogen that the peas fix....) The soil and plants in the oldest stawberry pots are then dumped in the compost heap and the pots reused the next spring (if the pots are still in decent shape) to plant peas. So there's a crop rotation going on between peas and strawberries....

The fence the robin is nesting on actually belongs to the neighbour to the south of us - it screens his patio area. The rest of his fences are the chainlink ones that give the immediate properties around us their open look.

Yes, we're greatly looking forward to the dogwood and wisteria to bloom - also the white redbuds that should be in bloom in a week or so. And yes, we're quite pleased with how the garden is shaping up :-)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 4:41PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I suspect it is a combination of deer and poor growing conditions that roses do so very poorly on our place. Most of mine have just simply died !
Maybe a New Dawn would be the answer.

Am am glad Pm2 asked about the peas. I hope to remember to do that next year, or maybe even this fall. Do you buy the sticks that are teepeed in the pots? It is certainly better support than the brush I stick in mine.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 5:08PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I don't think I have ever lived in an area or in a home that had native plants growing. It was a rare event when I saw a trillium and always enjoy them. I love the dark bugbanes. I have one that hates my garden. [g] I have it potted up and thinking about where to try it next. Too many Silver Maple tree roots, it's very dry. You must have some moisture, it looks very happy.

I really love your pea pots/strawberry pots. I have tried growing veggies in pots around the vegetable area but I usually try warm season crops and haven't had great performance with less than full sun. You've inspired me to try the peas/followed by string beans and some strawberries too in pots. I think I will have better luck with them. Do you use inoculant? I have to repurpose a space to find room to do it but maybe next year. :-) As usual, very clever with the crop rotation between containers.

I have stockade fence on two sides of the backyard and one side is post and rail fencing to keep the openness. I don't know why it just bothers me being on a small lot to be fenced in on all sides. Maybe a little claustrophobic. [g] I wish my neighbors were all gardeners though. Your neighbors lucked out having you live next door. :-)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 5:14PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Marian - yes, I buy the poles - they are 6' bamboo.

PM - I used to grow pole beans in the pots - they grow well but they produced way more than we could eat before they got past their prime! You also need 8' poles - at least! - to support them. This is a picture from a few years ago:

I used to use an an inoculant for the peas and beans but don't bother any more. I mix sheep manure and compost into the potting soil and that seems to be sufficient.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 5:52PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I have added Brunneria to my 'look for' list. :-)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:23PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Very healthy looking string bean foliage!! Where do you get sheep manure? [g]

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Woody, loved going on a tour of your garden. I love the rectangular shape of the lawn! Nice brunnera. I haven't seen that one. My current fav is Looking Glass. I borrowed your idea of using chain for swagging for my ivy windowbox a la Denise's garden tour pics. I have had a lone trillium for at least 5 years. Wish I could get it to multiply like yours. Lovely garden, thanks so much for sharing it!


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:57PM
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From sheep, PM.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 7:04PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gee, do they have an emoticon for sticking out one's tongue? :-)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 7:13PM
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What a pleasant WALAT this afternoon, many plants I would dare not try due to our dry summers-but I can enjoy them virtually with my imaginary friends"ÂCimifuga is one IÂve always wanted, but I know it would not do well here at all. Your new bed is just coming along splendidly Woody, and the choice of ÂRozanne gets a big thumbs up from me, that is a great plant with no negative attributes that I can ascertain. I wouldnÂt be without it.
What variety of peas are you growing this year in your driveway pots ÂI apologize if youÂve already posted this info- and are they 6 stakes ? ItÂs too late for peas here (they are typically fall planted) but I would like to try a set up like yours next year. I may yet plant some Âharicourt vert in a pot  I could eat them every night !

I also love the creamy white Tulips-do they naturalize for you ?

Look forward to more WALATs through your garden as the season progresses !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 7:43PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Looking good Woody! We seem to have lost some trillium from our spring flooding..or maybe they are covered in debris. We have had so much heat though that many things are blooming all at once and the bugs are out. I just noticed the white erythronium in bloom this afternoon.

In a nearby town (Elmira)there was large hail today. Fortunately we missed it! Yet, with frost in the forecast, I am nervous about the hostas, many of which are in leaf.

DH bought me some Mother's Day plants today!(aquilegia, verbascum, lysimachia, solidago, an iris, etc...)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:18PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I'm glad you're enjoying the walat - walking around the garden is always one of the day's pleasures. Especially this time of the year when so much changes from day to day. It's also an essential activity to keep the tree seedling under control! It is very clear that one year's worth of neglect is all it would take to have a forest of ash and maple seedlings take over the garden!

PM - failing a flock of sheep, bagged composted sheep manure from just about anywhere that sells bagged soil will do...:-)

Eden - don't forget to post an ivy swag picture...

Kathy - yes, the pea poles are 6' bamboo; 8' is needed for pole beans though. I did post the pea list before and have now lost track of the specifics of this year's plantings but it was likely:
Spring (52 days to maturity)
Progress #9 (60 days)
Lincoln (65 days)
Sundance (70 days)
Mr Big (72 days) or maybe Rondo (74 day)
I select the varieties to give me as wide and continuous range of maturities as possible.

The white tulips are Ivory Floradale. They start off a creamy, sunny yellow and fade to the creamy white. Yes, they are good naturalizers (I'm lazy - I don't plant any that don't come back on their own :-)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:28PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

gb - we were posting t the same time....

I keep planting erythroniums but they never seem to grow for me :-(

We haven't had much heat here - 'cooler by the lake' and all that....

A few hostas are just starting to unfurl leaves but most are still tightly furled or barely showing above ground at all! They seem late this year...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:33PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Woody, I thought you were going to tell me you had a neighbor with sheep. I have never seen bagged sheep manure anywhere. It must be a Canadian thing, or I just don't get around enough.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 10:35PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Beautiful, beautiful Woody! love that Brunnera, What a lovely variety. I'm jealous about your Astilboides. I can't grow them as I don't have the right spot. One day I'll figure it out.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:19AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM - I do have a friend who has 3 sheep - a 50th birthday present from her husband! (She's always been obsessed with sheep for some reason....) They live on 10 acres and have room for such things - the sheep join the two ponies, a couple of rabbits, multiple cats and two big Goldens. Her horse is kept at her trainer's stable nearby. It's a little too far to her place though to make easy, quick runs to collect composted manure of whatever sort :-) Composted sheep manure makes a great soil addition - it's less inclined to burn things than composted cattle manure does at times so you can use it in higher concentrations. I'd be surprised if it's not available where you are. It's very common here - and this isn't a big sheep-farming area.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:35AM
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Well this was a fun trip to your garden, Woody!

I love the thoughtfully laid out paths, and I think the rectangular patch of grass is a nice place to rest the eyes.

I will look for a good spot for Astiliboides tabularis, as I think you've all got me sold.

I will have to second what Kathy said, I can't find a thing wrong with Rozanne, and if you cut her back hard, you get new blooms/foliage if she ever gets ratty.

Sarah just looked at all the pictures and we're discussing teepees of beans now! Those are quite impressive!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 8:59AM
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Looks like you're ready for a fine season this year, Woody. I'm growing beans in pots too (borlotto, a pink speckled shelling bean, a current fave), so will heed your advice re 8 feet for the poles. I've seen Astilboides in England but of course never local. Magnificent plant. And to naturalilze tulips! The woodlander section under the oak must be a lovely sight. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 11:43AM
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Woody, I too like your rectangular yard. I can see why you would be hesitant to tackle those tangled rose canes. I have never learned how to prune climbing roses.
You are so good at planning your beds and containers for maximum use. Looking goood. Norma

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:21PM
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Woody what a wonderful stand of trillium you have and the brunnera 'Silver Wings' is quite nice. The peas look like they are doing quite well.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 4:44PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

What a lovely WALAT, Woody! Thanks for sharing. Great way to do the peas. I dearly love snow peas, that might just be an idea! I think they're insanely expensive at the grocery store, and fresh picked would be such a treat!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:16PM
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