Saturday, May 3, 2008


Well, it is Indiana!! We are back to cold and windy weather. I was able to get a few things done outside today, but it was so windy it was useless to try to do any cleaning up. When I went out this morning I really didn't know what to do. It was so windy, that I really didn't feel like working in it, and it looked like it could rain at any time.
Then I thought of a job in the herb garden that I had been putting off and was not looking forward to doing. I decided that it would be the perfect day, and it was in a semi-protected area.
The job was to eradicate the ginger mint. Several years ago I planted ginger mint under my swing in the herb garden. Every year it would creep a little further but the winter would usually kill it back enough each year that it wouldn't take over like most mints do. But the last few years this has not happened, and the mint has moved far beyond the boundaries that I had set for it. I also had decided that I wanted to try a short variety of chamomile in this spot, so the ginger mint had to go. Removing mint that has taken over an area is no fun task. If you do not get every piece of the root it will return within a few weeks. The only good thing about the job is that it is mint, so it smells good the whole time that you are working with it. I do like this mint, the new leaves have a nice yellow variegation, so I saved enough for a pot that I sunk into the ground. This will keep it from escaping back into the garden. It took awhile but I got the mint removed and the chamomile planted. By the time that I was done the clouds had moved in and it was a lot colder, so I moved into the greenhouse to work for awhile.
While walking around the garden today, I noticed a few things. The first is the spruce tree that died earlier this spring. I have no idea why, I just noticed that it had an odd look to it earlier, and when the wind and rain hit all of the needles ended up on the ground. This makes me very sad because I really liked this tree. it was just starting to get some size to it. The only thing that I can figure caused it's death was the weather that we had last year. The late freezes, and then the summer drought, must have been what caused it's death. There was no sign of insects, or root disturbance, so this is all that I can come up with. I won't have a problem filling it's spot though, I have a shrub rose that I didn't have a place for, so it will go there.
The second thing I noticed was that my 'Sensation' lilac is in bloom. This is my favorite lilac because it has a variegated flower. It has that same lilac smell, and gets about the same size as other varieties, but the flower is really unique.
My 'Carlesii' viburnums are also in bloom. I have made a hedge with 3 plants, and they are planted near the new patio off the end of our garage. They smell so wonderful when they are in bloom, it's to bad that the flowers only last for about a week. The third thing that I noticed on my walk was the "Tiger Eye' sumac that I planted last year. I was so happy with it last summer, it held it's color the whole season, and looked great under my tri-color beech tree. So as I am checking to make sure that it made it through the winter alright, I notice shoots coming up all around it. Some as far as ten feet away. This is very bad! In researching this plant nobody mentioned that it sends out runners. Now I have to decide what I am going to do about this problem, because I do not want to fight sumac coming up amongst all of my other plants. The only solution that I see is to dig a trench around it, and sink a barrier so that the runners can not get past it. That seems like a lot of work, but probably the only solution if I want to keep it. I have circled the runners in the photo, so that you could see what a problem this could become.
I am also adding a picture here of a 'PJM' rhododendron that is in my Mother's yard. It has probably been there for 15 years and blooms like this every year. People stop and ask what it is every year. This variety of rhododendron is very hardy, and has smaller leaves than the regular rhododendrons. It makes a nice foundation plant, and it is not deep rooted, so it is safe to plant near your home.

I hope that the wind is calmer tomorrow, and it is a little warmer. I would like to get some mulching done, and maybe figure out what to do with the sumac.


Cinj said...

I love the sensation lilacs! I miss mine so much. I was hoping that they would be in bloom when I went back, but alas... It was no use.

Karen said...

Your lilac looks wonderful!

I've noticed a lot trees in my area that have died, It's strange. Most of what I have seen though are young pine and/or spruce trees. It has to be the weather we had last year.