Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hard work, today, ya'll!!

Nobody says ya'll, around here. 'Cept me. I still like it and it sounds darn friendly. More so than the "you guys" we normally use.
Anyways....Today I got to work on the bed.
 I never could decide-shape the bed along the eye of sight or across?? So, I compromised. The bed is at an angle, with the far end extending away, at a 45* angle. I dragged all the big components out there in my yard cart circa 1867. I placed them in the area, without any direction or boundary. Starting with the Honey Locust 'Sunburst', to anchor the whole thing. Looks far away, doesn't it?
Another purpose of this bed is to be another "stepping stone" for the cardinals to come into my yard. I can hear them, back in those trees, but they are small and skittish and without tree cover, they won't risk the trip to my yard, because of the hawks. Planting another shade tree out there increases the chances we'll see song birds at our feeder, this winter.
I moved things around until I liked where they where. I consulted with Laurrie about the Miss Kim standards. My first reaction to these weirdo trees was yuck. Another addition to the Impervious Pile of Grass, but Laurrie suggested I try them, underplanting them with full shrubs, to try to take away the formal feel of the standard form. The formality of a standard pruned lilac felt out of place in my rural landscape, but since they were free and they were here, she suggested I plant them and forget about the design clashes.
I just love sensible bloggers like her!
After much moving and schlepping, this is what I liked:
The fountain grass says 5-6 feet tall, I bookmarked the bed with tall grass on either side. 
The Potentilla is McKay's White, and I will keep this guy pruned down to a pillow shape that stays 2' tall.
Another reason I angled the bed away from the house is to mind the shade the tree will eventually cast. Positioning it this way, the shade will fall to the east, but the plants are to the northeast.
 Anyways, the Honey Locust doesn't cast a dense shade because the leaves are so small. 
Once I was happy with the way things looked, I got out the 100' extension cord and laid it out around the plants. I was careful to make a simple shape, one that could easily be mowed around with the rider.   I brought all the shrubs and trees back up to the storage area, (the deck), and I was ready to start killing. 
note: organically minded souls should look away now.
Information about my enemy:
from the University of Minnesota Extension site: Rhizomes (underground stems) are yellow to white, 1/8" in diameter, with distinct joints or nodes every inch or so. Each node is capable of producing fibrous roots, and sending a new blade of grass through the soil. The creeping rhizomes are so tough they can grow through a potato tuber, or push up through asphalt pavement. If left to grow, they will form a dense mat 4" thick in the upper part of the soil. One plant can produce 300 feet of rhizomes each year. Never use a rototiller where quackgrass is growing, because it amounts to propagating thousands of new plants from the chopped up rhizomes.  The most effective way to eradicate quackgrass is by using a herbicide that contains glyphosate (Monsanto Roundup). It should be applied when there is no wind and when there will be no rain for 48 hours. The plant must be green and actively growing for best results. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that will kill almost any green plant it contacts, and also can injure or kill woody plants. It is important to apply glyphosate only to the plants you want to eradicate. One problem with using glyphosate on quackgrass is that up to 95% of the lateral buds on the rhizomes are dormant even though the plant is actively growing. Since herbicides are translocated from the leaves to actively growing plant tissue, after about 7 days the glyphosate degrades and the dormant lateral buds will start to grow new shoots. It may take more than one application to completely eradicate quackgrass.
I purchased the RoundUp concentrate and carefully mixed it in a gallon sprayer and went to battle. Today was a hot day with zero wind, perfect for using the grass killer. I carefully sprayed the entire area inside the extension cord that marked my bed to be. Tomorrow, I will do it again, ensuring that I got it all.
I also dragged the awful Norway Maples to the burn pile, pulled a 5 gal bucket of quackgrass out of the split rail fence bed.
In the end, it was 4 hours of work and right now, there's almost nothing to show for it!
I did plant things, today!
Pink Champagne Clematis:
planted on the split rail fence, Type 2 pruning class
Daylily, Edge Ahead

These were more "rescued" plants. After 2 weeks in my care, they looked alot better than when I pulled them out of the garden center. 
Time to go in, Gracie. Looks like you need a drink. I KNOW I do, ya'll!!


  1. It's going to look lovely Sissy. You are so lucky to get those extra plants. Can't wait to see photos of the finished project.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. I LOVE seeing the design thought and process and execution of a whole new garden space! I do like seeing beautiful finished gardens on all the blogs I read, but I enjoy much more seeing one being created out of nothing, with all the explanation and details. This is great.

    You are right to position the bed at an angle. My mistake is that my beds are viewed from my house broadside, so I see their width flat-on. It is much more inviting to be "drawn into" a garden along its length or at an angle from afar.

  3. I want 'Pink Champagne' Clemmy. It's on my wish list. I won't steal yours. :) That Daylily is also a stunner. I use RoundUp too sometimes. A gardener's gotta do what a gardener's gotta do. Right, ya'all? :) Good luck with your latest project.

  4. Hey, I use Ya'll all the time (enlisting all kinds of strange looks at work- can't hide those southern roots ya know!)

    Love the new plan. Can't wait to see it finished! I love the planning and creating process- and the birds are going to love it too. Ever consider a small water feature (not that far out of course). Mine attracted tons of birds.
    Oh, and thanks for the warning for my organic eyes... I'll try not to look. ;)

  5. I like the bed on an angle. You put in a lot of hard work, and it will be worth it. It's going to look wonderful!

    Nice rescued plants. That's a great job perk!!

  6. We use Round-Up too, although we wish we didn't have to. But honestly, there would be no way to keep up with the weeds that grow around the out-buildings and the garlic mustard in the woods, the poke-weed that is spread everywhere by the birds, etc. This year I used a crab-grass pre-emergent around my gardens, which cut down on the amount of round-up used to fight that stuff, but it's just another chemical. And we've used it to create or extend beds too --I'm too old to remove sod by hand!

  7. Looks like a great plan, Sissy! All that hard work is going pay off with a beautiful garden to enjoy one of these days. I try not to use chemicals, but sometimes there's no other choice when fighting some of these nasty thugs.


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