Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Side Garden at My Home

My wife and I have been planning to replant a five by 20 foot half-day sun garden on the side our house all summer long. This garden has had plants in it sinced we moved here five years ago, but it was mostly a holding garden, meaning we plopped things in there until we could figure out what to do with them. This area is along the walkway people take to get to the back of our house and it is really an area that needed a solution.
Step number one was to hop in the Windstar and head to the wholesale perennial grower we like to go to in Columbia County. (We buy from Behn's in Old Chatham and you can ask your local garden center or landscaper to order your plants from him, too, if you want the same selection and quality we get)
We found some neat plants at Behn's including: Aster laterifolorus 'Lady in Black' a dark-leaved aster with red flowers; Hemerocallis 'Stella d"Oro, a short day lily with bright yellow flowers; Malva alcea fastigiata, a somewhat invasive plant but one that reminds my wife of her mother's garden; Sedum spectabile 'Frosty Morn', one can never have too many sedums.
Then I was in charge of digging up all the other daylilies that were in the bed along with the spiderwort, mums, daffodils, hosta and euphorbia. We replanted the daylilies nearby and incorporated the euphoribia, echinacea, and hosta in the garden and planted all the new perennials from Behn's. We covered the entire area with compost from the town compost center, watered the area, and by golly, it looks pretty good.
Now is an excellent time to remodel your beds. The garden centers still have good selections of perennials and shrubs and the weather will not cause any problems for planting. Just remember to keep everything watered.
Keep planting!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Natural Weed Killers

I've been receiving a lot of email questions about natural weed killers. The best solution I have found, and one we used at New York State Parks, is to spray white vinegar on the weeds. Just use the white vinegar you buy at the supermarket. I used this last week on grass growing in between the bricks in my walkway and it worked just fine. The sprayed weeds were dead in one day. By the way, I've found that most of the prepared natural weed killers are based on white vinegar with clove or some other fragrance added. Not a bad idea if you don't like the smell of vinegar.
For poison ivy, make a solution of one gallon white vinegar, one pound of table salt and three tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Spray this on the leaves of poison ivy. It may take repeated applications to kill this devil, but many of my WAMC listeners say it works for them.