Monday, September 18, 2006

A Few of My Favorite Things

Just a simple message today about being a good consumer. Disclaimer: UK does not endorse anything I'm about to say.

There are more choices out there in the tree and shrub world than what Lowe's (insert any big box store name here) offers for sale in its stores. There -- I said it. I can't stand Lowe's. I can't stand Walmart. You will never find me there -- except when I HAVE to buy my daughter a new dance outfit the VERY night she started her dance class and WM was the only choice at 8pm.

There are so many different, unique, beautiful, trees and shrubs in the world! And many of you end up buying Bradford pears, Taxus, dogwoods, just whatever might be in stock at the store.

Well, let me name a few of my favorites and show you a few you're missing: Fringetree, Sourwood (below left), Kentucky Coffeetree, Blue ash, Bald Cypress, Daphne (at right), Contorted Filbert, Buttonbush (at left), Serviceberry, Bottlebrush buckeye, Beautyberry, Fothergilla, Kousa dogwood, purple redbuds, white redbuds, weeping redbuds, red-leafed redbuds to name a few.

With the internet, we have no excuse for settling. Research your choices. Be a good consumer.

NC State University has a good website on various trees and shrubs with pictures.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Plants but No Room

Every gardener has done this one -- buy plants with absolutely no place to put them. I do that much too often. Of course, when that happens you have to either stick them in a pot -- or -- cringe -- make a new bed.

It's not that I don't like making new beds in the garden. It's just that I have to de-sod bermudagrass. This is not fun. You can never remove all the bermuda. The best you can do is cut its head off (from which 3 new plants form, or course).

I made 2 new small beds over the weekend. Our yard has great soil. I planted some natives I got at the Salato Center's Native Plant Program semi-annual plant sale. I got boneset, Indian grass, New England asters, yellow coneflower, and my daughter picked out one catchfly (the bloom had faded to pink, she loves pink, and it was within arm's reach -- she was very proud, so I had to get it). These were planted on the south side of our house.

I also planted another native, Carolina Sweetshrub or Calycanthus fertilis. A plant here at the office had suckered so I dug it up. It lived, so I planted the little squirt on the north side of my house.

I also planted in the full-sun bed 2 seedling false blue indigo, Baptisia australis, (pictured at left) that I collected from around our plant here at the office.

So, come next year, I won't even remember the aching back and the sorry bermudagrass. Actually, I'll remember the bermuda since it will be in my new beds more than likely. Oh well, I'll enjoy the new plants up close while yanking out bermudagrass.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Poor Souls

I have a box in the back of my truck that holds miscellaneous things I need in doing my job. Boots, pruners, wooden stakes, a couple of publications, measuring tape, etc. It was taken out of my truck in broad daylight yesterday as it sat in the parking lot of the Extension office.

I feel sorry for the poor souls that felt like they needed to take my stuff. Actually, it was all bought with taxpayer money, so the poor soul is costing Pulaski County residents, not me personally. There are a bunch of yard sales this weekend, so someone will probably end up buying the stuff.

I needed new pruners anyway.