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  • Writer's pictureKate

You call THIS gardening?

I have been spending as much time as possible outside, in my garden, over the last 12 days or so. It keeps me both mentally and physically busy. Here in New Jersey we have been blessed with an early Spring and I am incredibly thankful for that. I want to work outside as much as possible so that at the end of the day I am physically tired and can sleep well at night. I hope you are finding solace in your garden lately, or any other way in which you can.

Proven Winners Lemonjade Sedum

I've kept myself busy with mostly little projects. What I'm doing right now at times seems more like PILLAGING and PLUNDERING than gardening. I am digging things up here and there, planting them in new beds. Dividing and transplanting the plants that need it, and even some that don't, just because I can. I hope they forgive me and live. Any plant that looks like it could even remotely benefit from a change of place has my eye dubiously cast upon it. I see you, Nepeta. You're next. Insert evil laugh here. I am weeding, then weeding, and weeding some more because that is the gift that keeps on giving. Mugwort has arrived on our property and has become a monumental pain in my ass.

Mugshot of mugwort

The Peonies!!

I check every day to see if my Hostas are emerging but, alas, it is too early for them. They'll get here eventually. My peonies will as well and I am really looking forward to that! I have two peonies that I would really like to transplant, but they are very young and it is my understanding that herbaceous peonies really don't like to be moved. They can stay for now.

Oh! I know! Let's talk about EPIC gardening fails. I promised when I started this blog that I wouldn't only show and talk about the successes. I vowed to let you know when shit went wrong so that maybe you could avoid the same mistakes. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong here so I don't know how helpful it will be but want to let you know it's not always #peoniesandpalomas over here. Well, I mean it is, but you know......

Two years ago this Spring J. and I purchased and planted 12 -yes 12 (fail big or not at all I say) Lady in Red Ninebark from BlewLabelShrubs. We planted them in a new garden bed at the rear of our property we had just created in an effort to get rid of as much of our crap lawn as possible. We planted lots of other things as well: Spirea, hydrangea, bee balm, dappled willow, clematis, catmint. We watered them in and continued to water everything in for a good while.

Spirea (don't know variety) that have managed to survive.

While most of the plants never exactly thrived back there, the Ninebark did especially poorly. They struggled from the beginning. I wish I could show you pictures but this was well before I ever thought of blogging and I mean why on earth would I want pictures of my suffering, ugly Ninebark? Would you? They lingered on, barely, and we decided to leave them in the ground and hoped that the next Spring they would surprise us and rebound. That didn't happen. Most of them were dead. The ones that remained were spindly and barely clinging to life. All 12 of them came unceremoniously out of the ground and that was that. The spirea continue to struggle along and the Limelight and Little Lime hydrangea have yet to bloom but I am ever hopeful. We've never had so much trouble in one bed but this one is giving us fits.

Apparently, there is a Black Walnut tree back there. Could this be the reason the plants in this bed have struggled so much? I've heard mixed things on the toxicity of Black Walnut on other plants. Many seem to think that the problem is exaggerated. Who knows. Not me. If you have any thoughts on the situation, I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, I have pulled up three Dappled Willows that we previously planted in the lame back garden and moved them to one of the new beds we recently created. I hope they will be happier there. I think they could hardly miss. I am just looking for bulk, sheer plant material, and projects to keep me busy.

The moral of the story is: shit doesn't always work out in the garden or in life. Do it anyway. It is the DOING and the LEARNING and the PLEASURE of it that matter. Get out there. Get your hands dirty. Dig in the dirt. Repeat until your soul is soothed.

Some sweet little Muscari that show up in my lawn each Spring


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