I have a new favorite activity, which I never thought I’d enjoy so thoroughly: gardening.
I’m not letting it replace the other things I like to do, but I will definitely make an allotted time for it each day.
I may be new to it, and it will probably take a bit of time before I’m any good at it. However, from the small amount that I’ve done, I thoroughly enjoy getting dirty and nurturing plants. I don’t even mind most of the bugs, and believe it or not, I like weeding.
I’ve started spending some of my free time trying to learn more about gardening. Much of my evening reading time has been spent in the New Garden Encyclopedia, learning about new plants and gardening techniques.
I’ve also researched a few different plants online as I discover them. It’s exciting to learn what different plants’ leaves look like, as well as other characteristics, and to gain the ability to identify them.
Laura pointed out some wild strawberry plants to me on the side of the house, and I’ve found several more patches of them. One has a cute little berry on it. I found some strawberry along the edge of the planter, and in a few spots along the pathway in the backyard.
I have had some cuttings in water that Laura brought in from the clematis vine when she was working on my mailbox area about a week ago. I’ve been changing the water and removing the dead leaves. Surprise of all surprises, they are actually rooting! I know clematis cuttings are some of the easiest cuttings to root, but I am excited nonetheless.
I also found what I think is clematis growing among some of the lilies of the valley, in the planter on the right side of the house. I took it out and put it in a pot for now. I mixed some dirt with the potting soil, made sure there are plenty of holes for drainage on the bottom of the pot, and placed it in the shade against the fence. All of these things should keep it happy for a while, because I read that their roots don’t like to be crammed in too tight, and that they like to be in cold soil.
Below is a picture of one section of leaves. Some of them are damaged, but this one was the best example.
It looks and feels exactly the same as the clematis on the mailbox, but I’m no expert. It’s gripping tendrils look identical as well. It has leaves numbering from three to five that grow opposite each other, with slightly serrated edges. If any of you can tell me for sure according to the picture above, please do.
To plant or not to plant? That is a tricky question.
There were several little Mimosa trees growing in the front planter beside the pathway, which I decided to temporarily pot. I hope to plant one in the place of that not-so-nice-looking-tree on the right side of the backyard, about twelve feet from the pool. I’m not sure they’re going to cooperate with the temporary potting though. At least one of them seems to be doing OK. We’ll see.
After reading more about the behavior of Mimosas in this area and other nearby states, I’m still not so sure it’s a good idea to encourage its growth. Many people consider it to be a weed because of how it spreads far and wide. I have noticed little seedlings all over the yard and the front planters.
I’m torn because I think they’re pretty, and they attract a lot of hummingbirds. I’m not too concerned about the spot where we would plant it, since it’s surrounded by grass and any seedlings that sprout up would have difficulty and get mowed down anyway.
Plus, I read that if you dead head all the flowers before they go to seed and remove all the seed pods, you can control its spread. Maybe I should keep it in a large pot and prune it so it stays small and manageable. It’s something I have to think about.
We discovered a spotty patch of wild mint in the backyard, in the area right outside the back door.
Lily of the Valley is a bit of a monster
The other thing I’ve been working on is removing some lilies of the valley and their ubiquitous pips, and putting them in pots for use later. Most of them weren’t doing so well in the planter because they don’t have much shade, now that we removed the massive shrubs. I put some of the lilies of the valley that still look nice in a pot, along with a few of the hostas. I’ve moved them to a shady area where they seem to be doing well.
As I’ve been removing the lilies of the valley, I’m beginning to understand why people advise against planting them anywhere other than pots or heavily barricaded planters. Don’t let their sweet and delicate look fool you, they’re a lot stronger and more domineering than they seem.
I’ll remove the top layer of the root system along with many pips. Then, I’ll dig a bit deeper and be dismayed to discover a whole new layer of pips.
They started jumping the planter and moving into the grass too. There were bricks pushed lengthwise into the ground to create a perimeter around the planter, but it was ineffective. The lilies of the valley just grew deeper roots, and went under the bricks and up the other side.
If we can find a way to ensure that they stay put and mind their manners, I may eventually put some lilies of the valley in under the tree on the right side of the front yard. I’m definitely going to plant some hostas there in the fall.