Wednesday, June 18, 2008


After bragging about how well my 'Blue Muffin' bloomed this year, I'm frustrated to report there are no berries on the plant. Ditto the 'Onondaga'. What gives? Well, according to my research, research I did now and not before I bought the shrubs, the 'Blue Muffin' requires a cross pollinator, which I apparently do not have, and the 'Onondaga' is not known for its berry-producing powers.

What really aggravates me, though, is when I bought these shrubs, I told the nurseryman that I was looking for berry-producing shrubs for my backyard habitat. He came up with a list of likely candidates, and I chose five from that list. Now I discover that two are goldbricking. I can try to solve the 'Blue Muffin' problem by planting a cross pollinator (which may not be as easy as it sounds, from what I have been reading on gardening forums). But I will never get that beautiful 'Onondaga' to squeeze out more than a few token berries.

To add to my irritation, the serviceberry, which the robins love, has never produced much, while the blackhaw viburnum has tons of berries that the local wildlife is not wild about. At least the chokeberry is choking with fruit this year. I need to protect it better from the marauders that snip whole branches and drag them away.

Not everyone is goldbricking.

I have been diligently plucking spent blooms from my Stellas, in hopes of extending their season. What makes yellow so cheerful?

The name of this groundcover is anything but cheerful: 'Dragon's Blood' red sedum.

The blooms are not very dramatic, but it is a robust grower, spilling over the castle brick retaining wall in front of my house.

One way to prevent weeds is to grow 'em big and grow 'em dense.

The heuchera is barely holding its own against the hostas that ate New York and the volunteer violets. But notice: no weeds in this bed. I just have to guard against grass creeping in along the edges.

While the hostas above are biding their time, this hosta is pushing the blooming envelop.

What is odd about this particular hosta is it shares its bed with a twin. A puny, underdeveloped twin. A twin I planted at the same time. These two plants are less than three feet apart, in an old tractor tire, and one thrives while the other is stunted. Maybe it's a case of sibling rivalry. Maybe they need to be separated.

I was late planting my snap peas, and they probably do not get enough sun, but they are blooming.

I think in years past I was harvesting pods by now.

The following photo, blurry as a UFO picture in a tabloid, is proof that I have tomatoes on the way.

Now I have to tell a story on my co-worker. M asked me if the blossoms on the tomato plant were what produced the tomatoes. Yes. Then we got to discussing his tomato plants. He wanted grape tomatoes, but he thinks he got cherries. He planted them in a container, and some people have told him that he has too many plants for the container. How many cherry tomato plants did he plant? Ten. As in 10. As in Roman numeral X. He lives by himself. I told him he will have to set up a cherry tomato stand in his front yard to dispose of the extras. Or trade them for zucchini.

He is not the only one to end up with the wrong plant. When I bought this tiger lily, I thought I was buying a tiger daylily, aka ditch daylily.

It's still a beauty.

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