Wednesday, July 09, 2008







Miscellaneous projects...in no particular order, since that's the way my season has been going this year. Funny how I can make all the plans I want during the winter, but it all seems to "shake out" much differently. Oh well, since my primary mission is to keep my gardening hobby a "no stress zone", I'll just do what I can and the rest will slide til' whenever. (What do the Aussie's say..."She'll be jake, mate"? Yea, it'll be jake for sure! ;-) So first, we have my sort-of bonsai lilac, and it needs a trim! (See the suckers at the base?)
Yea, kinda bushy (and spindly), but I'll prune down the branches more next year....

.....there! I cut all the leaves down to be smaller as well, which will "trick" the tree into making smaller leaves for the rest of the season. It would have been good to do this earlier, but oh well. Gotta loosen the wires as well, before they cut into the trunk. This bush was already leaning like this, so I decided to go for a windswept style. I know that lilac isn't necessarily the best cultivar for bonsai, but it sort of "chose itself" by looking funny to begin with, so what the hey.
See these roses in the parking island at work? They're some sort of rugosa, and I want one!


The flowers are beautiful and very fragrant, the bushes sucker all over the place... ...and it sets lots of large hips! (Sometimes large hips are the best! ;-) So aside from getting caught digging one up, how am I going to get myself a rosebush?
Like this! Awhile back, I was reading one of those ads for a "garden secrets" type book, and it had this blip about "a rose is a rose-even when it's a potato". Supposedly you can root rose cuttings in a potato, then plant the whole thing. This is a big potato, so I got a few cuttings.......plus a couple to try in water, just in case. (I prefer a "multi-disciplinary" approach to these things.) One of these cuttings looks like it has it's own potato, some sort of "nodes" off the underground runner from the mother plant I guess. Since the potato was big, I cut apart the chunks with cuttings in them. Two go into pots...
...and two into the ground where I want them to grow........marked with these cages so I don't forget where they are. This will be cool if it works! Update: I tried this about three weeks ago, and as of today the only ones that look alive are the ones in water. *sigh* Maybe I shouldn't have cut the potato? Oh well.)
Okay, now the water garden isn't looking nearly as cool as it did last year, mostly because I am stubborn. I figured that since ponds become clearer after winter with the same water in them, then I should be able to pull it off leaving the water in my tubs. Uh, maybe not......okay fine, let's remove last year's plants since they froze out and died anyway... ...the water started to improve, more in one tub than the other. So how about some new plants...
....like this houseplant. I saw pieces cut and floating like this in the aquariums at the pet store, so I cut a couple off mine to improvise...
...while we're at it, how about some fish! (See the orange blurs?) "Feeder goldfish" were cheap enough to sacrifice in case they don't make it (or a kingfisher spots them).
So a couple underwater plants, a couple "floaters" (heh, plants, not fish), 3 goldfish in each, and two snails. Get to work and clean this mess up guys!
Cactus pad that was "pruned" from an undisclosed public location (from a huge plant, outdoors, nobody cares or will miss it, yes I kinda feel bad but they say stolen plants grow best so don't judge me!) Ahem...anyway....I forgot to let the cut "callous over" (dry for a few days), but I did dip it in this rooting powder...
....now outside in this sandy pot, grow please! Or my "crime" will be for nothing!
This area needs help! The small cedar is dying, there are weeds all over...


....can you even see this moonseed vine I'm trying to grow? Yikes!

Um yea, I'd say the bark is a good indicator that the cedar is toast... ....so off with your head! Pull some weeds, then put a proper trellis around the stump so my vine has somewhere to go...

...and hopefully get larger! Poor thing.
This area needs work, too...

...look at my poor azalia! Scrawny with very few leaves...

....and this fungus growing on the branches. It's kinda pretty, and I don't know if it causes harm, but the bush needs something! Just this one pitiful bud! (It never did bloom.) After some weeding, I sprayed the trunk with "Phish Pharm" that helps with powdery mildew, mites, etc., so what the heck. A few weeks later...
...oh yea, that's what I'm looking for! Now all I need is some horse manure to "mulch" with, and he'll be all set!
This area is very shady, and leaves blow under the fence here. First to re-arrange these boards...


....well looky here! A salamander between the rotting boards! Pardon me... ...but you're awfully cute! Okay, let's gently put the board back over him like it was before he gets upset...
...there! Now the leaves will stay raked up like I want them to instead of blowing back...
...and I can plant my cute little shade-loving 'Blue Satin' sedge, (carex platyphylla) in this spot! I put the climbing fern (lygodium palmatum) nearby too, but it died back pretty quickly. The nursery said it was hard to grow, but I'll try again next year. (It sounds too cool to give up that easily, I need to kill it at least 3 times before I'll say "uncle"! ;-)
And finally this spot, caged up to protect this tiny clematis 'Multi Blue'. This area behind the downspout is a freeway for chipmunks, and the vine doesn't enjoy the traffic!



There! Both sides secured so growth can giddyap! (Update: since I did this about 6 weeks ago, the vine isn't that much bigger, but it looks happier.)


So these are some of the things I've been up to so far...there's more, of course. But in the interest of my quest for more, I'm making a point of doing first and talking about it later. I just can't seem to keep up! :)

20 comments:

Rurality said...

LOVE that salamander! I promise not to call the plant police on you. :)

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

you sound busy. Love the critter.

Cinj said...

Wow, that's a lot of projects. It sounds like we're on the same page with that one. I guess we're installing the shed's florr today. What fun....

lisa said...

Thanks Karen! I appreciate you not "narking" on me, it wasn't anybody's yard or anything. :)

Deb-Waaay busy, but I try and at least take pictures every day so I can enjoy my flowers later. Salamanders are so cute, I used to rescue them from the window wells at my mom's house when I was a kid.

lisa said...

Cinj-RIGHT?! I was racing around the gardens last night after dark with the hose, just trying to water the "emergency" dry plants so they don't die! I'd have to have an irrigation system if I grew a veggie garden, or they'd wind up as a dry layer in the composter! Sheesh!

troutbirder said...

Wow...cool pics & I like the "no stress zone" theory. My adopt it myself especially after returning from a two week vacation and the WEEDs have taken over my world

lisa said...

Thank you! Heh, my weeds have become real bullies lately too, with all the rain we're having. I'm comin' after them this weekend, though. :)

Tam said...

Aww..I want a salamander.

lisa said...

Aren't they adorable? I love their little faces, cute like a puppy! People do keep them reasonably well in captivity, but I don't have the heart to separate one from his little salamander friends. They'll eat crickets and worms, and my son did keep one in the house for a couple weeks when he was a kid, then we turned it loose where we found it.

gintoino said...

That was a cute salamander! I was all excited when I started reading about the potato/rose experiment (there are a couple of roses I would like to do that to), sorry to ear that it doesn't work. Nevertheless I think I will give it a try.

The Garden Faerie said...

ooh! Ooh! ooh! The salamander is soooooo cute. There used to be a shoe shop in Detroit called Salamander Shoes, and I still have a bendable plastic salamander figure--wearing shoes--sitting on my bookshelf. (Or at least I did... just went to look for it and can't find. I guess, having shoes, maybe it did just walk off!?!) Glad I'm not the only one who doesn't want gardening tasks to turn into chores, so I never add them to my to do list. So they don't get done exactly. But I prefer a per"fact" garden to a perfect one, anyway!
~ Monica

Cinj said...

Gee, why do you think I broke down and bought an inground sprinkler system at my old house? I ended up with lots of garden plants I forgot to water. Of course then I forgot to weed my vegetable garden so they got choked out instead of wilting from lack of water. LOL. I may do better with one now that I'm more motivated though. I seemed to do much better when they came back every year.

vonne said...

Great post, Lisa! Everything looked so purty when you got done!
Can I maybe talk you into coming out here and whooping my garden into shape, in your spare time, of course? ;)

Btw, that Opuntia looks like a happy camper to me. I think someone 'up there' is pleased. ;)

lisa said...

Gintoino-Salamanders are very cool, for sure! Please let me know /blog about your experience with the rose & potato experiment...I hope it goes better! :)

Monica-Aw, I hope your salamander didn'r really walk off! :) Yea, gardens should be strictly pleasure, I say...although it's difficult to take my own advice on occasion. I'm certainly not above a good ol' fashioned freak out now and then! ;-)

Cinj-Heh, I'm awfully glad so many perennials are tough plants, too! My ground is at least 85% sand, so any rain I get doesn't last too long, anyway. I'm trying to keep up with my soil amending, but it seems to suffer the fate of all my OTHER amending! ;-)

Vonne-Thank you! I'd actually LOVE to come and help with your garden, but traveling is plain out of the question for me. :( I'm feeling rather 19th century about luxuries of any kind these days....*sigh*
I'm sure hoping "felonious opuntia" is happy enough! Feels good to be forgiven!! :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Lisa, I'll have to ask my godmother about the potato thing. I know that she has told me that when she was a single mom, raising my cousin alone, she started almost all of the shrubs she ended up putting into that backyard by sticking them into potatoes... but I don't know the details on that. I'll get them, though!

lisa said...

That would be great, Kim! I would really love for this to work, I'm glad to hear that it does for SOMEBODY!

meemsnyc said...

White Mulberries, we didn't know that existed! Where mombean grew up, there was a blackberry bush in her backyard. She has fond memories of eating the berries in the summertimes.

lisa said...

Our blackberries are ripening now, should be able to pick in a couple weeks. With all the rain we've had, it should be a bumper crop! Yay!

Frances, said...

Hi Lisa, I've been spending some quality time on your blog and loving it. Your outlook is so healthy. I'm afraid that my gardening is more driven, but I am retired, sounds better than don't work, but that's the way I operate. Sort of tightly wound some have said. We have pretty little skinks here, blackish with yellow and blue stripes, kind of iridescent. They live in between the blocks of the big wall. I love that metal trellis around the dead tree, even without a plant on it.

lisa said...

Thank you! I really WANT to retire, but at 45, I'd best put it out of my mind for now or I'll be bummed out too much. That's why I'm so casual, I simply don't have the time to keep up as I'd like. And honestly, in last year's dry weather, the weeds helped to shade the "important" plants and lessen evaporation after my waterings. Don't you just love the skinks? They used to live almost exclusively under my wood pile, and I could hear them "barking" at each other at night. Now they have so much cover elsewhere, I don't hear them often.