I’m moving (again)

I had this great idea about starting a separate gardening blog.  So I did.  Problem is, I didn’t think about HOW I wanted to blog when I started this garden blog here at WordPress.  I’m a very visual person, and I didn’t like having to host my photos on another site.  I wanted photo albums HERE in this blog.  The longer I stayed here at WordPress, the more it bothered me.  So, it’s been just a few weeks, and I’ve decided to make another change.

I upgraded my Typepad account, and now I have my gardening blog at Typepad.  Please come visit An Instrument of Grace.

June 4, 2008 at 3:27 pm

What is this plant?

Please help me identify the plant at this post:  http://toomuchstuff.typepad.com/too_much_stuff/2008/06/what-plant-judys-mystery.html

A friend found it growing in the forest – she has a PhD in biology and she brought it to me to identify.  I’m honored but totally stumped.  Can you help?


June 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm

One Tough Cukie

A couple of years ago, we planted a burpless cucumber plant we found at Home Depot.  We’d never had good luck with cucumbers at our old house, as they’d always succumbed to a fungus.  We thought we’d try our hands at the new place, and that cucumber went to town.  It grew up a little obelisk and kept us in cucumbers much of the summer.  The fruit it produced was really good, too.

Last year I looked for the same variety and didn’t find it.  This year, after I’d already planted my little garden, I found a pot with 2 little plants at our local hardware store.  I was so happy to find them, and since the obelisk was already occupied by sugar snap peas, I bought a steel trellis for the cucumbers.  Unfortunately, somehow on the ride home, one little plant was broken off.  They were just babies with only cotyledons, so I was sure the broken one was a goner.  That said, I’m not one to give up on a living thing.  I filled a little juice glass with water and covered it with foil and then poked a little hole for the broken top.  I sat it in the window and watched.  For a week, nothing happened; then I noticed it LOOKED like there might be more leaves coming.  When I checked, there were a few wispy roots.  That was about four days ago.  Today, there is indeed another leaf and a good cluster of roots.  I think that little plant has earned the right to join its brother (sister?) in the garden, and that’s where it will be going today.  That’s one tough little cucumber.


May 30, 2008 at 12:38 pm 1 comment

Not Just Another Monday

Memorial Day – a day to remember those who served and gave their lives in that service.  We also remember those we love who are no longer with us.  Today, I remember my dad who served in the US Marine Corps. While he was a fighting man, he was also a gardening man; today, with my hands in the dirt, I thought of him and gave thanks I was lucky enough to have him as my dad. 

We took a trip to Surreybrooke this morning.  Garden Man had never been there, so we met friend Kathy there and took a little tour. Of course, I couldn’t come home without some new plants!  I got a few zinnias to tuck in the front border and two chartreuse ipomoea for my big pots on the deck.  The black ones in there just don’t pop enough.  I also brought home a stunning Husker Red penstemon.  I’d seen them on others’ blogs, and I was so happy to find one.  Then, when we took a tour of her garden, Kathy gave me some baby baptisia.

After we got home and started working on the woodland border again (we’ve been at it all weekend), a neighbor stopped by with some plants to trade.  I gave her some hosta (of COURSE I did!) and she brought me some wild ginger and a couple of other shade plants she couldn’t identify.  Maybe one day I’ll find out what they are.  I tucked them into a shady spot in the side border and headed back to work on the woodland border.  We moved some Krossa Regal hosta to replace the green ones I gave away.  We also planted three Brunnera ‘Jack Frost.’  I’m SO happy to have those, and if they hadn’t been on sale at Dutch Gardens, I wouldn’t have them.  I’d never bought from them before, but the plants arrived in very good shape.  I also tucked an epimedium and a tiarella into the woodland island. 

When that was done, Garden Man put a new curved edge on the woodland border, and we called it done for the day.  Over the last three days, we’ve moved 6 hydrangeas, 5 hosta and a witch hazel; planted 3 Sarcococca ruscifolia, 3 Taxus cuspidata ‘Capitata,’ 3 dwarf skimmia, 1 aucuba, 3 astilbe, 3 brunnera Jack Frost, 1 lamium, 1 thalictrum, 1 epimedium and a Cryptomeria ‘Sekkan Sugi.’  WHEW!  No wonder Garden Man is worn out.  While I do a lot, he does the heavy lifting and digging.  And all the work we’ve been doing is really starting to pay off.  See?

May 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I’ve Got A Name, And I’ll Bet You Can’t Say It

When we moved to this property five years ago, There were a number of variegated hostas planted around some of the trees.  Because they were so close to the tree roots, they weren’t very large clumps.  The hosta leaves were white in the centers with green at the margin, and the leaves were also somewhat wavy.  I’d never seen any like them before.

We had to remove some of the trees because they were compromising the basement wall, and since I can’t stand to throw a plant away, I moved all the hostas.  The soil here had never been improved, but the hostas didn’t seem to mind.  Once in their new homes away from tree roots and with room to spread out, spread they did. 

I planted a few into a holding bed at the back of the property, and the rest I planted in a bed next to the house.  Within a couple of years, each single hosta had grown into huge clumps.  Last year, I divided a few clumps into about 50 plants and replanted them along our drainage swale, hoping to keep the weeds at bay.  This year, I dug up a few more clumps and again planted close to 50 along the swale.  I gave a few clumps away, and I still have more hostas than I know what to do with. 

I didn’t mention that before we bought the house, the former owners had given some of these hostas to the next door neighbor.  He has huge clumps that he’s divided and shared with friends.  We both know there are children of my hostas all over the county, and maybe beyond.  I’d never seen hostas this prolific.  Yes, others we have (I won’t tell you I have a hosta habit because I think I’ve managed to restrain myself to about 10 varieties) don’t reproduce nearly as fast.  One I have, either Patriot or Minuteman has gone from 1 plant to 3 in as many years. Not very prolific.  But these that were already here are taking over the property. 

I’ve never known what kind they were until yesterday.  I made a trip to Behnke’s and took a leaf with me.  Their hosta expert – yes, they have a hosta expert – first identified it as Night Before Christmas.  He showed me one they had there.  But then, he noticed the back of my hosta leaf was shiny, and Night Before Christmas is matte.  Then he said it’s Hosta undulata ‘Univittata.’ Hakuna matata, right? That’s what I thought.  Then I thought, I’ll NEVER remember that name, so I wandered through the center mumbling it to myself.  Then I mumbled it all the way home.  When I got home and gleefully told Garden Man our hostas had a name – Hosta undulata ‘Univittata,’ what did he say?  You got it, hosta hakuna matata. 

I looked them up tonight.  What did it say under growth rate?  Fast.  Uh huh.  I knew that already.  But I didn’t know the name, and now I do.  So, can I interest anyone in a Hosta undulata ‘Univittata’ or two or twenty?

May 25, 2008 at 1:15 am 1 comment

A Good Day In The Garden

Rain today. That was the forecast. We thought we’d take our chances and try to get a little done out in the garden before the rains came.  As soon as I sat down to do some weeding, the raindrops started, but they were light and seemed to come and go.  I weeded for a bit and went to get something to carry all the weeds to the compost pile. Of course I got distracted when I went in the garage, so I grabbed my pruners and a pole pruner and decided to tackle last year’s bloom heads on the crepe myrtles.  I don’t suppose they were hurting anything, but they looked messy, so off they came.  Then I hacked at the honeysuckle coming through the neighbor’s fence and climbing up in the crepe myrtles.  The neighbor’s house and yard is higher than ours, and their fence sits on top of a retaining wall that’s about eye level at its highest point.  That’s how the honeysuckle could reach out and be up in the tree. 

After hacking the honeysuckle, I picked up all the weeds Garden Man had managed to grub out and made a trip to the compost pile.  And yes, I got distracted again.  There were weeds to get and bits of ash branches and squirred-gnawed tulip tree flowers to pick up.  Once some of that was done, I thought I needed to cut out a big branch of privet that was competing with the weeping cherry.  So I did. 

When I went back to pick up more of Garden Man’s weeds, I realized he’d been grubbing poison ivy.  Not good.  It bothers him much more than me, so I’m in charge of getting rid of it.  So once again, I changed course and went on poison ivy patrol.  We have a half acre, so there was a good bit of patrolling to do.  Along with the ivy, I also found some evil garlic mustard that I’d missed on my last prowl. About the time I declared the job done, the rains finally came. 

I cleaned up and then we tackled the garage.  By the time we were done, the sun was trying to come out, so we headed to the hardware store for mulch.  I even got a trellis and a burpless cucumber to go along with my lettuce, spinach and parsley seeds.  Once home, I put the trellis in the garden and planted the cucumber next to it.  I planted more lettuce, since none I planted earlier came up, and I planted some spinach, too.  THEN, I thinned the radish sprouts for our salads for dinner and called it done.  It sounds like a lot, but it was spread out over a few hours.  I feel like we accomplished a lot, which makes me happy, but there is much to do.  Susan Harris, the Garden Coach, is coming tomorrow to give me some advice.  I guess I’m like the folks who clean their houses before the cleaning crew comes – I don’t want her to think we’re slovenly gardeners! (Which we probably are).

I didn’t take any photos today, but I’ll share this one from Monday – it’s a cuphea, but I have no idea what kind.  I bought it at the wonderful Surreybrooke nursery in Middletown, Maryland.  If you ever get the chance to shop there, you ought to. It’s not only a great place for plants, huge pots and urns and garden whimsy, it’s also the home of a series of lovely gardens which you can stroll through.  I could spend all day there, and have on occasion!


Happy gardening!


May 19, 2008 at 12:08 am 5 comments


No photo because it’s raining (again).  There is a lake where the back path used to be.  Late yesterday afternoon, on my daily stroll around the garden with Garden Man, oh he of the raspberries, I noticed little bean heads poking up out of the ground.  YAY!  I wasn’t sure they were going to make an appearance.  They took a lot longer than last year, but I keep forgetting this spring has been cooler and wetter. Um, yes. I used last year’s seeds. There were so MANY in the package and I used only a few.  They were great beans, too.  Sure, I kept them in a tin in the sweltering garage, so maybe I should be punished by the seed gods. But I have beans!

No lettuce or parsley yet.  I wonder what’s up (or not up) with that?  Please don’t remind me I COULD have planted them about a month ago.  OK?

And thank the good Lord for radishes.  I don’t know what I’d do without the almost instant gratification they provide.

I couldn’t NOT post a photo. It’s not from today. This is a closeup of a coleus and fuschia about to bloom in a pot by my front door.

Happy gardening weekend!


May 16, 2008 at 1:02 pm 5 comments

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