Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly....way back in July, Colleen had a fun post about the merits of imperfection in the garden. At long last, I have come up with my own contribution. First, the good: pollinators! Everywhere, all summer, and a wider variety than ever this year. Like this one-nice pattern, and unlike any bee I can recall seeing in the past. Also good is my hosta/woodland plant garden. And although it's only the size of a city-dweller's "hell strip", it contains both my ladyslipper orchids, five hostas, two types of trillium, a jack-in-the-pulpit, trailing arbitus, hepatica, and three ferns! I have plans to re-vamp this next spring with a better assortment of hostas, too.

This hosta garden is coming along too...but it would be better if the deer would stop munching on it! The tree canopy was severely altered last fall, so there isn't as much shade anymore. But the hostas don't seem to mind, and the shrubs I have here can grow better and bring the shade back.This is good too-herps! Between not mowing my yard and not using insecticides, I've managed to host quite a menagerie of reptiles and amphibians... ....all of them are welcome in my yard, and very pretty....
.....plus, they are a terrific army against any bad bugs that may come around!Also good-berries! This year, I got my first berries from my currants (this is "Red Lake")........gooseberries (this is "Pixwell")..........and more currants ("Ben Lomond"). But the best part is that I got all of these bushes as bare-root specimens from Gurney's just last year! Stellar performance, especially considering my cold winters and drought this summer....gonna get me more of these!Also good (Heh...can you tell from this post that I'm an optimist/pollyanna?) is when bushes get big enough for the birds to appreciate as cover. When I plant things, of course I expect them to grow.... ....but I always feel a little surprised and proud when things grow large enough for the birds to perch in. Feels like real progress, you know?
Okay, now for the bad.... I have absolutely no idea what this is. Really. This is bad for me, because I need to know. It gets about 2 feet tall, spreads by runners underground, gets these tubular yellow flowers in spring....
....pretty little flowers...and that's it. I've never seen fruit of any kind, but then it is a favorite browse for deer. Anybody have any guesses?This is bad, too....my Norfolk Island Pine is throwing a fit in the screen house this year! It has always done well in here, most years it drops just a few needles getting accustomed to being outside, then a few when it goes back in. But this is an all-out tantrum!
Another for the bad category-spotted knapweed. Although it looks rather pretty, it releases a toxin that kills nearby plants. Spreads like a fiend, too....I spend lots of time uprooting these all over my yard so they won't go to seed. I have fewer than last year, but eradicating them without chemicals is quite time-consuming. (Worth it for me to keep things organic, though!)Also bad-this is my prickly pear cactus that I brought from my mom's place in 1999, and it's the same size it was when I first planted it!! *Sigh*...I plan to re-do this area next spring, adding more rocks and sand with larger granules, since my sand is kind of fine and holds a bit too much water. I do see these flourishing in this climate, so I know it can be done!

Bad, and frustrating! I was anxiously awaiting a bloom from this moonflower when a frost was forecasted. So I covered the plant, and this is what happened to the bud! Rats!
Bad again are my composters...as you can tell from the spider web, there's lots of "hot composting action" going on....

...in here, too. Oh well, this plant will get a rude awakening when it becomes a "green layer" inside the bin!

Bad deer! Bad, bad, naughty and wrong!
Also bad is the mysterious malaise this daylily is suffering. I don't know what's going on, and it did bloom (not as much as usual), then promptly began looking bad and died back. I hope it returns!
And now for the ugly....this spot is too shady for this lamium, which gives me a perfect excuse to buy some small and mini hostas to put here!
This area is a work in progress without much progress. Next year there will be rocks and a cowboy boot planted with various sedums (rather cliche', but I like it).
This plant has a lot of damn gall....(sorry, I had to do it).....I don't know if these are harmful, but definately ugly!
Ugly also are the cages I have to use to keep the deer away. Ordinarily I can remove them once the plant is big enough to fend for itself, but the young-uns need protection!
Ugly are the weeds....this thyme, "Elfin" is fighting back hard, but I really need to assist ASAP!
This area is ugly as well, but the morning glory is helping!

Last ugly is my unmown lawn. I like it, but most folks don't appreciate it. One day this will all be all sedge, and that will help. But in the meantime, it has a look that "only a mother could love". Me and Mother Nature, that is!


Colleen Vanderlinden said...

Great "Good, Bad, and Ugly" post, Lisa! I was shaking my head---I think I would go nuts if I had to contend with deer. I have a hard enough time keeping the pesky squirrels from messing up my garden!

I'm also envying your herps! I hear some kind of toad around here during the summer, but I have yet to see it.

Your compost bins look a bit like mine. I have tomato, potato, and pepper plants growing in one of my bins now from kitchen scraps I've thrown in there. No hot composting going on over here either :-)

I grinned when you got to your Norfolk Island pine. I've had two of them. One got to decent size, but eventually both of them threw an all out temper tantrum on me. I wasn't able to keep either one alive, unfortunately.

Great post, and I had a lot of fun seeing all of the different parts of your garden. Thanks for playing along!

Annie in Austin said...

Nice play on the Good, Bad and Ugly, Lisa! I like the fern, hosta and Jack in the pulpit combination.

I think your 'bad' yellow flower is a native wildflower named Diervilla, a kind of bush honeysuckle. It looked like something in the honeysuckle family to me, and I found a southern species Diervilla sessilifolia in a book on Appalachian wildflowers. But yours might be Diervilla lonicera, Northern Bush Honeysuckle. It's a butterfly plant.

What do you think?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

[Sorry I don't come too often Lisa - your site tends to lock up my computer for some reason.]

Annie in Austin said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that some of my daylilies get all creepy after they bloom. Instead of cutting them back, I wait until the old leaves are starting to shrivel, then gently tug the bad leaves out of the crown and new ones usually appear.


Ki said...

You don't recognize your bee because it's actually a fly. A hoverfly to be more specific. I could be Helophilus pendulus but I'm not sure.

Your hostas are sure well mannered. Ours have grown to be huge and definitely outgrown the space alloted. I love that blue tailed skink and amazed you have so many toads and frogs. I also wanted to plant some gooseberries but there was a ban in NJ about planting them. Something about they being hosts to the white pine rust.

Isn't it just galling to see your plants disfigured like that! ;)

lisa said...

Colleen-Glad you enjoyed my post! Better late than never, I guess. Kinda glad to hear I'm not the only one having trouble with Norfolk Island pines, this is definately the largest I've ever managed to grow one. For me, the problem has always been overwatering, but I finally got the knack of letting it dry out between waterings. I hope it recovers, but if not then it's one less heavy planter to schlep around. I also appreciate that your composters are "resting" as well....I don't feel like such a slacker ;-)

Annie-Thanks so much for the ID!!! That definately looks like it...*whew*! It really revs my OCD when I have a plant with no ID, now I can relax. Sorry about my blog clogging things up, I'm sure it's because I have so many pictures, and the file size of each is rather large as well. I have trouble opening some blogs on my home computer-dialup! :( Thank you for the daylily advice, I will try it next year. Sure hope my funky one comes back, it's real pretty.

Ki-Thank you for that hoverfly ID, I agree that's likely it. I get some problems with my hostas, too...their "mature size" absolutely varies per growing conditions. My hosta "striptease" is too happy and got much larger than I thought, prompting some re-arranging this year. Now I want more smalls and mini's, as well as a couple with weird leaves, like "Hacksaw" with narrow serrated leaves. That bit about the gooseberries harboring pine rust concerns me....I'd better look into it before I buy a bunch more. (Hopefully my climate is cold enough to compensate or something.) Those galls really stick in my craw! ;-)

chuck b. said...

You have such an astonishing number of garden projects going on at any time, it's to be expected that some things are going to get out of control. That's probably to be hoped for to some degree.

Your Norfolk pine doesn't look all that bad...except for the stuff on the floor. Those are common houseplants in California too; and sometimes you see them planted in the landscape. When I was in Kauai earlier this year, I saw a very columnar version, Araucaria columnaris, which I thought would look cool in pots on either side of a front door. Like junipers, but better.

I don't know where your 'Ben Lomond' currant came from, but I bet California..? There is a small, unincorporated town in the redwood forests above Santa Cruz named Ben Lomond--it's a place of great beauty, and a place where currants and gooseberries would grow wild.

I needed Colleen's comment to catch the irony about the spiderwebs on your compost bin.

MrBrownThumb said...


I came across a site that has been scraping content from some of the garden blog feeds. Yours was one of them-if you'd like I can give you the link if you e-mail me through my blogger profile.

Feel free to delete this message when you read it. I only posted it here because you don't have an e-mail available in your profile.

lisa said...

Chuck-That's interesting about Lomond....I bet you're right.

Mr. Brown Thumb-Thanks for the info! I didn't realize my email isn't on my profile...it used to be. I will contact you for that link.