Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Massive Garden Update!!!!

Father, forgive me, it's been about 2 months since my last post...

So in the last two months, the garden has been doing it's thing.  First off, I discovered that there's a bunch of desirable stuff (to me) already growing here.  There's a tree that suspiciously looks like a fig tree, (which having looked at many houses in the Charlotte area most likely is because most houses come with one, lol!)  I believe it must be a fig, because there aren't really any other trees that have fuzzy fig looking leaves.  This tree was severely pruned, so I believe most of the growth is from this year.  It has no fruit, but should set a breba crop in the fall if all goes well.

There's a wild blackberry bush that needs some TLC, but has lots of blackberries on it, plus tons of volunteers coming up all over the place.  Haven't quite decided where the blackberry bramble should be.  I never understood about berries how you identify old growth, new growth, etc, but think I know now.  It seems that the old canes are brownish, diseased looking and thick, and the new canes are thinner, greener, healthier and have deeper ribs.  Weird.  At first, I didn't think they were coming from the same plant.  Next year I plan on pruning all old diseased looking canes and seeing what comes from the new ones.  This plant has been hacked back in the last year, so not sure what grew when.  The berries are quite small,  but this may have to do with light, soil condition, and pruning incorrectly.  We shall see.

There are vines that look like grapes, though the neighbor was adamant that they have never seen grapes on those vines in 20 years (however, they hack the crap out of it every year so who knows?)  Volunteers that look like it are coming up in various places around the yard.   Keeping an eye out to see what becomes of them.  They should flower eventually.  Don't all vines?  How else will it reproduce?  The jury is out on this one.

Next up are the strawberries.  We were able to harvest some tiny berries each day.  While there wasn't a bumper crop, it's nice to know they're there and I didn't have to do a darn thing.  Next year I'll try compost and see if they do even better.  I also have alpines in the herb circle, though I admit, I like the idea of turning the whole other side of the yard into an alpine berry patch.  Seems they like it there, so I might transplant the lot of them to make more room in the herb circle for next year.  Most likely it will go like this:  get truckload of compost.  Dump in the side yard area thing.  Dig up berries.  Plop them in.  Forget until spring.  I was trying to grow mint there, but I don't think the seeds took.  Keep forgetting to look.  I'm sure eventually one plant will spring up and take over the world.  IMHO, it's not the worst thing that can happen.  Sick of looking at rocky bare tree root soil.  Dominating mint and strawberry patch would be an improvement.  It's possible I can plant the strawberries in the front.  Nasturtiums failed miserably under the oak.  I think I may transplant into herb circle or container garden.

Ok, so now we can get to the stuff I actually planted.  Here is the buttonbush.  It seems happy.

Here's the spice bush.  It too is growing along.

Onto the hazelnuts.  These have been a tad slower.  Possibly from sub par location.
American Hazelnut
This might be American Hazelnut too?

And the chickasaw plums that seem to be doing alright.
Most likely Chickasaw Plum
Chickasaw Plum II

There's three more I forgot to photograph, a possible beautyberry, and two oakleaf hydrangeas.  The mystery plant is doing well.  One hydrangea has been eaten pretty good by insects.  The other in the front has been slow to grow.  Each of these tree/bushes was $2 last February, so I'm thrilled to have such a high rate of success.

I feel sad that I most likely won't see my vision for the backyard to come to fruition, but still, even if we stay for two more years, there will be a marked difference in the landscape.  The plan is to label each plant and put together a packet detailing general maintenance tips for the next tenants.  I hope the property management company doesn't come in and raze everything down when we leave.  It was nice this spring when the landscapers came in to trim the hedges.  They were surprised they didn't have to do so much because I had already trimmed them a few months before them.  I have a lot of plans for the front, but they're on hold till the back is under control.  I spend more time in the back than front, so for me it makes sense to work on that first.  This fall I'm hoping to plant perennials and get the woodland lot situated.  Hostas, ferns, astilbes, heuchera, lily of the valley (damnit, one day they'll grow for me!), bleeding hearts, toad lily, and whatever other shady perennial stuff I can find.  For me, perennial gardens are the ultimate.  There's not so much to do once established except fall clean up, spring fertilize, and divide when they outgrow their spot.  It's important for a rented property to have easy to care for gardens.  Though I dream of a permaculture food forest, I wanted to pay homage to the woodland cottage garden and want include these favorites, even though they don't have much use other than decorative.  Well this post is getting long.  Will post about veg and Walmart sale flowers tomorrow :D


Sara MacKenzie said...

Hiya! You've been busy! Maybe try a local horticulture society or a botanic garden. They usually have free-to-cheapish classes and are super helpful in the "what am I doing wrong" department.

Miss you much!

miukat said...

Yay! I'm doing a free permaculture class tomorrow. We're helping a local high school install a keyhole garden. Miss you too!

miukat said...
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Sara MacKenzie said...

Oh, cool! It's sounds interesting. We went to a "sustainability center" a couple weeks ago and they were big permaculture cheerleaders. It sounded really interesting, but like maybe there are volumes to learn about it. Good luck!

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