Sunday Morning Garden Chat: A Vineyard in Maryland

From fortunate (and ambitious!) commentor PAM Dirac:

At top: Here’s the view from the front porch over the patio and out into the yard. You can see the main vineyard. For anyone wanting vineyard details, you can go to Waving Free Vinyard.

This is the first spring as a retired person and most of the work I’ve done has been to get the vineyard into top shape. The patio area was not in too bad a shape and just needed a bit of weeding and a bit more attention to rose pruning. The roses, weigela, and catmint are in bloom.


2) When we had a big chunk of landscaping done about 10 years ago, we bit the bullet and paid a lot of money to get a bunch of river birches put in. It was well worth the money. This is sitting on the patio looking at the morning sun filtering through the trees. Wonderful place to sip some tea.


3) Here’s another view in the front yard showing (but not too closely) some of the beds we have put in. My wife demanded a moratorium on new beds until I cleaned up what we have. I have done the first pass weeding, so almost all the stuff we are sure we don’t want is gone, but there is still a fair amount of work to figure out what we do what. Next spring!


4) The back yard of course has more grape vines and the vegetable garden. Again, I was ordered to stop adding beds until I got these under control. Not too bad this year. The back beds have tomatoes and some peppers. The front left has some types of squash and the front left has a nice crop of carrots. The middle front bed is a flower bed that my wife’s sister worked on when she came to live with us in the last months of her fight with cancer and we try to keep it in her memory.


5) My wife has turned the space between the end of the deck and the garage into her secret garden. Lilies, peonies, various hydrangeas, lilacs, and of course another grape vine.


6) Lots of very pleasant places to sit, even if there is still a lot of work to do. Pull up a chair. We’ve poured you a glass of wine.

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What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Summer Shots

Thank you, commentor LaPassionara:

[At top] is a photo of my Hybrid Annabell hydrangeas. They will make quite a display all summer.


Some autumn ferns I planted a few weeks ago. This is a shady area, with some morning sun, and I am hoping they spread and fill in behind the diminished daffodils.

A new bed that I made at the end of last summer. These are castor bean plants, grown from seed. The seeds are poisonous, so they are not favored plants, but I like the red stems and sometimes purple leaves.

This is a typical site in my backyard, lots of different ground covers, with the stray daylily bloom. It started with euonymus winter creeper, with an added splash of your favorite, vinca minor, then some new and unknown spreading plants. I focus my efforts here on weeding out the honeysuckle shrubs and poke salat plants, plus cutting the euonymus away from the tree trunks. A never-ending battle.

Finally, this is now growing in the daylily bed that I repurposed last fall. I had planted rudbeckia seeds in pots on my back patio last summer, then put them in the new spot. They survived the winter and are now growing like crazy.

Love everyone’s garden photos! Thanks for keeping that Sunday morning tradition alive.

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I didn’t accomplish much gardening this week, not least because the gas company pulled a surprise raid to replace our meter and left us with no hot water for THREE HIDEOUS DAYS. The tech finally showed up at 7:15pm on Friday, and I cannot express how much being able to take a real shower improved my mood. (I never claimed survivalist credentials, thank you.)

Fortunately, the weather remained damp enough to keep the new transplants hydrated — I checked the tomato rootpouches after today’s violent thunderbursts, and not only did they come through unscathed, but a few of the plants are setting fat green fruit. Today’s project, Murphy the Trickster God willing: Get the Spousal Unit to dig up the handful of daylilies I planted in the shaded raised bed now overrun by his vinca (they’ve survived but don’t bloom there), while I dig up the ragged row of dwarf iris in front of the foundation lilac and replace them with more OsoEasy landscape roses to accompany the one that’s been sturdily thriving, scentless but bloomiferous, for some years.

What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?








Sunday Garden Chat Open Thread: Blessing Upon OpieJeanne

Thank you, OpieJeanne, for sending extra photos with your last submission, because otherwise the rest of the Jackals would be *very* disappointed this morning!

Top pic: Large bee on a chive flower.

Baby artichoke

Chives in the onion bed

William’s Pride apple

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Not kidding, guys: “Too many” garden pics is as silly a concept as “too many” homegrown tomatoes. Send ’em to me, and I’ll find a way to use them!

Speaking of which… one thing about the persistent rainy weather, it’s been good for my tomato plants. With luck, it’ll stay dry for long enough this afternoon that I can get the tomato ladders out of storage and into the rootpouches…

What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Hugelkultur

From Balloon Juice rescue angel and general favorite Satby:

On a previous garden thread someone mentioned making a hugelkultur raised bed. The idea interested me, so I decided to try a small version of one in the front if my house where I had overgrown evergreens removed. It’s a mini-hugelkultur bed, because I don’t want a huge mound blocking the porch, but it’s doing the job so far.

Tree limbs and stick base of the bed.

The next layer of mulch, grass clippings, and leaves.

Following that a deep layer of garden soil, roughly about 200lbs and 10 cf. I probably should put more, but it was just enough to get the plants in the ground.

The anchor shrubs (2 vanilla strawberry hydrangeas and a Rose of Sharon in the middle).

Top picture is the finished bed without the top mulch of cedar chips. I finished off the bed with summer bulbs and Lewisia ground cover. The canna bulbs are in the buried peat pots so that I can find them to lift in the fall. There’s also dahlias in there, but those were too huge for the peat pots.

If it all grows I’ll send a follow-up later, hopefully with flowers 😆

[I put in the hugelkultur link; if anyone’s got other recommendations, leave a comment!]

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I’m sulking, just a bit. Last Monday, the one flower bed by the front door that I’ve rescued / revived this year looked amazing. Back in late April, after I removed two trashbins full of oak leaves and winter detritus, there were four gnarly, severely pruned rose stumps, and a few sad little clumps of green where the daffodils were dying and the daylilies & columbines were just re-emerging. I put down a giant bag of dehydrated manure and another of mulch, before shifting the old (not very) ornamental trellis/screen and putting in a prettier one. Then came half a dozen dianthus, some fancy old-fashioned violets, sweet peas, and some more columbines, plus sweet alyssum, blue-white-purple pansies, and dark-blue lobelia in the white planters along the front edge…

By the start of the week, the Zepherine Drouhan roses were lush and blooming pink, and the Don Juans dark red. The columbines (Nora Barlow, Songbird Blue Jay, Winkie blue) were blooming, the mini-roses in the big pots had reemerged, and cranesbill flowers in shades of magenta were nodding over rich mounds of crenelated leaves. The achemilla had grown from a fist-sized lump to a three-foot-tall near-shrub (completely hiding the sweet peas, but that’s gardening). The alpine strawberries in their big doorstep-side pot were blossoming, and because it’s been so damp this spring, even the pansies were still adding their color accents to the mix.

So I went to take some pictures… and, of course, the quick-pic idiot-proof camera had disappeared. Much later that night, the Spousal Unit unearthed the never-very-adequate second-best backup camera. The next day it rained heavily; the day after that was taken up by (another) health scare with the 17-year-old rescue dog; and the following two days were alternately cloudy and raining.

But Saturday was another lovely day! So I got out the camera… replaced the batteries, again… and took one fuzzy practice shot before it announced OUT OF MEMORY.

I decided I’d at least take some aide-memoir shots with my cellphone (we’ve never been able to transfer pics off my phone to my extremely homebrewed laptop, for reasons). Of course, two-thirds of the rose blooms had wilted, and the plants that really ‘popped’ in every shot I framed were the various weeds and woody invasives that had taken advantage of my inattention to re-emerge.

Good thing for the blog that I have you guys sending me pictures, because I think I’ve officially given up on visual documentation.








Sunday Morning Garden Chat: “Zen and the Art of Something or Other “

From the gifted, inimitable Ozark Hillbilly:

The so named by my wife ‘Zen Garden’ is finished. Well, for now anyway.

We had a pain in the ass postage stamp’s worth of lawn between the car port and the house that cried out for… Something. I knew back in 2017 when I dug up the old flagstone path and poured a sidewalk that… Something would happen there, I just didn’t know what. During the ’17-’18 winter I built the flower beds y’all saw last year but even then I knew that… Something more was called for. This past winter I bought a 50 gallon kidney shaped “pond”, just like I always knew I would.

For the first few months I just kind of moved it around to see where and how it worked best. I knew that by itself it was lacking and that… Something more would be needed. Obviously we would need a place to sit and a place to park our feet. We would also need to walk to the bench and past because our trash cans are on the far side of it. Also I would need to plant… Somethings or others. All of this required a lot of digging, including the removal of the top 4-6″ of “soil” (actually a concrete like accretion of clay, potosi dolomite, and chert).

Then I set the treated 4x4s for everything to be built on. Laying out the curves for the decking was mostly by trial and error. I could have planned it all ahead of time and worked out the math on paper but that would have made sense and required planning, which after 35 years of following blueprints to the fraction of an inch, I am averse to these days.

When all that was built I was finally able to plant some stuff behind the bench. I had originally planned on a Japanese maple but DUH! I can always use another redbud. The ground covers are a mix: Hosta, Deadnettle, Creeping phlox, wild violets, and a couple primrose. No doubt that will change.
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