Tag Archives: trees

A Whole New Start to the Garden!

How is it possible that it’s been almost a month since my last post? Last year I was on top of everything. I had already done my garden clean up, started seeds indoors, and even honored St. Patrick’s Day by making Irish potatoes. But this year, this year, I’ve done none of them, and I’ve let an entire month slip by. What can I say…I’ve been busy!

At the end of February, we bought a house. It’s in Kennett Square (the mushroom capital of the world by the way), about 25 minutes from our last place, and practically across the street from my work. Pretty nice, I know! But since then, there’s been cleaning, painting, packing, moving, unpacking, oh, and waiting WEEKS to get internet set up. Finally, after all of that time, and after 8 inches of snow the day before we had movers coming, we’ve settled in, and it’s time to return to normal.

With the move, I have an incredibly interesting situation on my hands with the garden. The house was built-in the mid-70s, and has very established trees. In fact, the back yard is incredibly shady. On top of the shade, the property also backs up to the woods and a creek. As a result, I’m thinking I might have to change my vegetable gardening practices, as I’m sure the critters will be an issue. Luckily there’s a large deck for pots.

The property has also been neglected for a number of years, so the trees, bushes, and plants are all completely overgrown. Over the next several months, I’ll be assessing what’s growing, what’s not, what might need to be cleared, and what additions and changes I can make. It will definitely be a different approach to my gardening the last several years, but I’m incredibly excited.Already, I’m starting to see some new growth and movement, and I can’t wait for more.TreesThe backyard is filled with trees. I can’t wait to see what they look like come spring.PachysandraPachysandra is everywhere. This is one of the few sunny spots. It seems prime for some perennials.VinesVines are also everywhere. They’ll have to come out too!RododendronThis amazing rhododendron is growing next to the deck.daffodilsThankfully some daffodils are poking through the ground.Flowering TreesTrees are showing some life!

I’m excited to see what comes up, what doesn’t, and what changes we can make. This year, I’m even more anxious for spring! Of course, tomorrow we’re supposed to be getting more snow, but at least that will give me some time to unpack more boxes! 🙂

A Summer of Nursery Tours

I’ve been very lucky this summer.  I have had the opportunity to tour several nurseries and garden centers, some of which are not always open to the public.  It was so inspiring to see the huge variety of plants that these gardeners are making available to the public, and the cutting-edge techniques some of these nurseries are employing to ensure they are helping, not hurting, the environment.  It was also very exciting to be able to take some of their amazing plants home with me! 🙂

Peace Tree FarmIn June, I attended a nursery tour class through Longwood Gardens.  Our tour guide, and general expert, for the day was David Culp, a knowledgeable gardener and author of The Layered Garden. David planned a tour of several amazing nurseries that day.  The first stop was Peace Tree Farms in Kintnersville, PA, with an impressive greenhouse and state of the art production.  They are certified organic, and they have the most amazing begonias I’ve ever seen.  I’m happy to report that I’m now the proud owner of 6 of their begonias, and they are doing great!

Peace Tree Farm Production

BegoniasWe then went to Paxson Hill Farm in New Hope, PA.  They have a beautiful nursery, filled with amazing plants, but also a garden maze, peacocks, and even turkeys.  I was happy to be able to take home some of their varieties of coneflower and a few other perennials that are doing great in the garden.  Paxson Hill Farm MazePaxson Hill Farm TurkeyPaxwon Hill Farm PeacockOne of the last stops we had that day was at RareFind Nursery in Jackson, NJ.  They had wonderful trees and shrubs, and a great variety.  I’m happy to report that I am now a witch-hazel owner after spending some time at their nursery!Witch HazelNorth Branch Nursery HydrangeasAlso this summer, I was visiting in Ohio and was lucky enough to meet the owners of North Branch Nursery in Pemberville, OH.  North Branch Nursery is a truly impressive operation with over 300 acres and 300 varieties of trees and 300 varieties of shrubs.  They grow over 20,000 perennials each year and have 75,000 plants in container production.  It is an absolutely beautiful property.  The property is huge, and we were happy to take a tour.  You can meander through the fields, seeing all of the trees and shrubs they have growing.  And the greenhouses with perennials is a site with such a great variety!  They grow just about everything!North Branch Nursery RosesNorth Branch Nursery ClematisNorth Branch Nursery TreesWhile we were there, I got a Little Lime hydrangea that I was very excited about.  I haven’t seen these before, but it’s a dwarf variety and has the most amazing lime green blooms.  The plant was beautiful and very hardy.  It is doing great in the yard.  North Branch Nursery Little LimeLittle LimeI was also thrilled to receive their 2014 catalog this week in the mail.  You can really see the breath of offerings they have in the catalog.  I can’t wait to dive in and see what other inspiration I get for next year!North Branch Nursery Catalog

So often, we get used to convenience, and if you’re looking for plants, that could mean looking no further than your local Home Depot.  But there really is so much out there.  If you haven’t explored some of those hidden nurseries in your area, even if they are a drive away, give them a try.  Catalogs are also a great way to get variety, but there is nothing like wandering through a nursery to get your creative juices pumping!  I know it was a great experience this summer for me, and I plan to keep it up in the future!

Saving the Garden from the Snow…and Ice!

It’s been a rough week in the Philadelphia area.  We started with I think 8 or so inches of snow on Monday, then we got serious ice on Wednesday.  There have been tons of people with fallen trees, downed power lines, and no electricity.  Luckily, I’ve had power, and haven’t had to go anywhere!  But, one of the things I did need to do was brave the snow and ice to save some of my trees.

Snow Crushing TreeWhen the snow comes down like it did on Monday, wet and packable, it can be absolutely beautiful.  It sticks to the trees and makes everything look magical.  But that heavy snow can do serious damage to your trees and plants.  The weight of the snow crushes the branches, breaking, or sometimes permanently damaging, the plant.  Thankfully, you can take some steps to deal with the snow, and that’s just what I did this week, before the ice came.

Once the snow stopped, and I saw how badly the trees were crushed, I went outside with my trusty broom and tried to get as much snow off as possible.  It’s really a pretty easy job…usually.  You just start by brushing off as much as you can from the tree.  Sometimes, that’s enough for the branches to bounce back into shape.  But, with the snow we had, I had to take it a step further.  I had to shake some of the branches, pushing theClearedm around to try and get the snow to fall.  Unfortunately, the best leverage is usually under the tree, where you get rained on, or snowed on in this case, coming out soaking wet. And trust me, you won’t need to go to the gym afterwards, it’s great cardio! 🙂

Getting that snow off as quickly as possible can save the trees and plants.  The extra weight very easily breaks tender branches.  And, even if the branches aren’t broken, they can be damaged, sometimes even permanently bent one way or another.  The faster you can get the weight off so they can return to normal, the more likely you can save the shape, and also the more likely the branches won’t break.  The branches may need to be cut eventually if they are stuck a certain way, and the tree may also need a severe prune, or worse.  But save that for later, after the tree has had a chance to try and bounce back.  Then you can assess the damages.

ClearedSo the next time you get a snow storm, unfortunately you may need to venture out for a little while.  But, in the spring, when the garden looks great and you’ve forgotten about the snow, it will be all worth it.

If you experienced storms in your area, I hope you were safe this week, and this winter for that matter!  It’s been a cold and snowy one!  I love the snow, but….when is it spring?!?!?!