Saturday, October 16, 2010

Doing some planting

Today is the first non-scorching day we’ve had all week so I decided to get some of the plants we bought yesterday at Morningsun Herb Farm into the ground.

Here’s our haul:

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Mostly winter vegetables plus a ‘Rowe Red’ banana (couldn’t resist) that will have to go inside in the winter
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Mostly lavenders and salvias

This is the area outside the front-yard fence that needs updating.

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Area that needs to be replanted

This morning I dug out a California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) that had languished there for 5+ years. In the back towards the fence we had a Heliopsis 'Bressingham Doubloon' that also didn’t do well. This area gets a lot of sun and most plants we have there are positively thriving but occasionally you plant something that should do great but for some unknown reason just doesn’t. That holds true for the four or five baptisias I’ve tried in various place in the front and back yard; in spite of giving them the growing conditions they supposedly love, all of them croaked after a couple of years. It really bums me out because they’re such beautiful plants.

Below is an “after” photo of this area. In the back towards the fence I planted a salvia ‘Byron Flynt’ which has the potential to grow to 5 ft. (the foliage is hardy only to 28°F, so we’ll see how it survives the winter).  In the middle, there’s now a feather reed grass and towards the front a new autumn sage cultivar named ‘Teresa’ with pink and white blossoms and another blue salvia cultivar named ‘Indigo Spires’.

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Same area after replanting

We love salvias and have several dozen varieties now. Some are frost-sensitive and don’t reliably come back from the roots (Texas hummingbird sage comes to mind), others like Mexican bush sage die back in a frost but spring right back.

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One of the Mexican bush sages outside our front fence

The final chore of the morning was to remove the suckers from the Bradford pear tree that the City of Davis removed last January. The stump was ground down to 2 ft. or so but suckers keep sprouting prolifically from the lateral roots (which I had hoped would have started to disintegrate by now). This is the area where we planted the giant clumping timber bamboo (Bambusa oldhamii). I crawl back there once a week to get rid of the suckers, and each week there are at least 20 new ones. Will it ever end? How much energy could possibly be stored in those roots to continue producing suckers?

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Suckers from removed Bradford pear tree
(the black thing is a flat soaker hose, in case you’re wondering)

I used to use a small shovel to remove the suckers but for Father’s Day Heather gave me a Japanese hori hori knife and it’s proven to be the perfect tool for the job. In fact, I use the hori hori for any kind of weeding. It’s one tool I would never want to be without.

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Hori hori knife

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