All posts by carolyn

Dahlia delay…and a whole back lot of unplanted plants.


Considering the fact I loudly proclaim dahlias my favorite flowers, I treat them poorly.

The ones I pulled up from the yard rotted in my shed this winter.

I still have yet to plant the ones I obtained at the Feb. Flower and Garden show. And I lose my steam dealing with the front yard. We basically have an entire weekend coming our way.

Today, the lilacs are finally about to burst and it is the first time since last fall I can say,”I can’t see the neighbors”.


Last year this week:

King Country Master Gardener Sale

by carolyn on 3 May 2008 — Posted in spring

herb box

(Things we need like a hole in head) It is so wrong that I find out about these things. I guess it is that time of year for plant sales.

Although spring it still is having a hard time making a case for its self. I actually was so overwhelmed by the choices at this event I exhibited moderate restraint today. The MGs are incredibly gracious, friendly people and one woman tipped me off to some new plants to try in my shady yard. Then another asked me if I wanted to know how to take care of them. Then another told me she can never buy less than 8 of those.

I am finding myself more and more pissed/impatient that I do not know my latin names. Or actually about much it seems. The good and the bad is there appears to be a bottomless pit of knowledge to be had in this game. I am supposed to also be patient that my garden has not grown into the beautiful habitat in one years time I was hoping for. Patience?

There were many plants to be had to day at the Center for Urban Horticulture. I also talked with the guy at the Bats NW booth, cursed myself for not having cash on me for a raffle ticket and even passed up a very reasonably priced rugosa rose. I told myself if I couldn’t carry the load out of there I couldn’t have it.

radio flyers

Thinking this was just going to be a few tables with assorted plants, the KC Master Gardener Sale is quite the event. Perhaps a county fair specifically for gardeners.

I’ve lost my enthusiasm for gardening in the rain. Really.

It will get better

A few things to note- it’s March and ever since a week ago the daffodils starting appearing and by about 5 days ago suddenly the Freesia is in bloom.
I had been worried after my incredible lack of interest in gardening that over took me last August that I wouldn’t care ever again, but I have spent the last two weekends in the yard, Sundays anyway, and have to rip myself in for dinner. I planted bulbs on the hill that I started in boxes late January, so we’ll see if cheating works. I have again spent hours digging up grass. Ben has been bringing me presents- black mondo grass, English daisies and pansies to plant- so suddenly we are rich in flowers and botanicals. Also heathers, which out of the blue, when I saw them in bloom this week I have fallen in love with for the first time in my life. I love this time of year.

A robin was keeping me company yesterday, nibbling on the berries that grow out of some bush that is climbing the fence from our back side neighbors. There is something so inherently peaceful about working in the yard, it is necessary. And it has been nice weather, not really rainy at all which might be problematic.
I was wondering if I should take a pruning class for next year- to nab the lilac trees and I am certain there is one big dead plum tree that should be taken out.

So all yee, do not abandon hope for the winter is almost out of the clear. I report it was a rough winter and wonder for the future how does one get on with things in January and February? I do believe this is why they invented Mexico. I do believe my sense of hope is hinged directly on available daylight and ability to not have to wear five sweaters to sit in comfort. I am sitting in the studio with out the need to plug it in.

So how to survive the interim seasons? January and February felt as if they had no end in sight. The darkness really got to me this year, adding to the troubles I was having with the family. And from July 14th until probably mid September, when bulbs go on sale, I get that summer ennui . So what can I do to get through those 4 months. How about some light therapy for the winter?

This next weekend I have many day lilies to plant, and I think I need to go get some soil and add some amendments. To make all the plants happy. The straw helped immensely this year, another thing I did late in the season. I haven’t removed too much of it as we still have fear of frost for another month, actually April 15 is the date. The peanut butter plant is actually sporting new growth.
I forgot about those little sappling leaves that take hold all over the yard that make a weeder almost lose their mind when you unearth raw soil. And the damn dandelions are what prompted me to furiously go hacking about these past two weekends.

It has been incredibly nice to see things that I planted last year come back to life. The hellebores, only half of them survived, but the two that are doing well are getting big. I need some summer flowers that like shade to go there as well. None of the purple hellebores survived this year, which was very disappointing (so I actually lost at least 3 plants).
The witch hazel is absolutely necessary. It could be the most important plant in the yard- the blooms and the smell are so incredible, literally lifting me out of depression.

And the tulips and the bulbs that Ben gave me the first winter we were here are all coming up. I have no idea how many years you can rely on tulips to come back, but what a joy! We have many back yard projects to execute this summer so I will document them all in this journal.

Today is also the first day of daylight savings time. I tried to go to bed early last night, but with not much luck. It is very dark outside at 7:12 am, but tonight there will be longer hours.

Now what to do about those cutworms.

a hiatus of sorts.

Good bye for now to you too garden site. I’m sure I will be back once the unbearable nature of the winter goes on for too long. At least we got some of the dahlias up and moved the geraniums to a safe place for the cold weather.

I am dragging my heels on the bulbs. What at first seemed a joyous activity soon turned treacherous, every inch of our yard is hard, hard clay. It is hateful. And I never moved the huge dirt pile that was to be the iris bed. So we are ending here with a shrug. Maybe they will go in if we get a rain free weekend before the holidays. Putting them in containers is sounding more and more rewarding all the time.

Good bye garden.

PS And for the record, it was Ben who took down all the tomato plants and tomatillas (or however you spell them) and everything else that was rotting from neglect.  Sigh. I have been hugely distracted.


witch hazel

I know it isn’t fall for a few more days, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s here.

The rainy weather of last weekend kind of sealed the deal. And I am fine with this.

I am ready for fat socks and five cups of coffee to be nursed while reading books under comforters or what ever we do here in the bad seasons. I’m ready to let the ground do its thing and regenerate its batteries.

With the exception of bulb planting and Yvette’s kind visit this coming weekend, I can’t image we will be visiting here to much more until spring. Or maybe I will lose my mind in January, like I did last year. Who knows.

Out of the blue, the witchhazel tree has started turning, and it is beautiful.


It’s raining like crazy and I’m feeling like some insane English lady, pruning my roses while wearing my wellies.

At first I was bummed, thinking the only reason it rained this weekend was so I would tackle some much neglected house work. But then I realized they invented rain gear for a reason. After dawning slicker and all, I put down the weed cloth for the dug out side, poured bark over it. Then guilt got the best of me and I decided I needed to finally plant the Russian Sage. Then when it was really raining I decided to put some of the hens and chicks into the ground. And then of course when it was absolutely pouring and I’d taken a mud bath from crouching on our front slope, I decided to tackle the rose bush: cut off all of the black spotted leaves, cut more dead limbs off, scratch a measly amount of fertilizer toward its roots. Its a pretty little plant. A new 12” shoot is growing next to the main trunk and the whole shoot- trunk and leaves is bright pink, very bizarre to this gardening novice.

God, maybe I will become one of those people who goes gaga over hybrid teas. I would love to know what this particular plant is, and now I am determined to save the thing.

Guilt of what I did not get done this weekend:

•   dahlias

•   rain barrel

•   rhubarb

•   finish putting frame on beds

•   clean out the side garden next to the shed that now has those damn Himalayan blackberries creeping into from the back neighbors.

•   Dig up the front bed next to the house, bark it or put cordyline next to the house.

•   Plant rest of seeds – including sunflowers and mexican vegetables.

•   Finish moving/cleaning up the heap, top off the composter.

•   Mow the damn lawn.

But this is what I did. Some people travel near and far on their vacations, and I am here.

•   dug, deturfed and barked the bed next to the house.

•   witnessed the English Laurel getting hacked into control (okay, so I just watched, but it is finally done).

•   weeded around a lot of the plants. Most everything looks like it is not currently dying, which is a hopeful sign. The tree guy told me my witch hazel is going to get too big and I should move it. Sigh. The whole reason I planted it where it is, is to prevent winter depression. If I move it is will not be able to do its job as I will not be able to see it.

•   trimmed grass where no weed whack fears to tread. With kitchen scissors much to Ben’s chagrin.

•   put blueberry plants into ground and some dahlias to boot. Well so I did plant some dahlias, but not the ones out front as I had hoped.

•   composter. I have the composter ¾ full, but now I’ve run out of brown material (dry leaves). I was doing this insane meditative sorting thing Friday evening, separating greens, dirt and rock. Can’t see keeping that up with any sort of regularity.

Problems to solve maybe:

Lithodora diffusa- why did this plant die right off the bat? I dug it up and the roots were totally compact. I pulled them apart and put it back in the ground with fertilizer.