Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Making it through the Heat and Guilt with Change


I don't like the heat. I love shade, air conditioning, and misters. While I dislike the cold equally, I don't feel the overwhelming guilt associated with the heat, because in winter the garden is in stasis, nothing changes. During hot days, plants can literally die without water. I think this may be why I have gravitated toward planting everything in the ground while others are planting more pots. You have to water though and that entails going outside in the heat. In an effort to be a more effective waterer, I hooked up a 4-faucet attachment to the outside faucet and have a separate hose for the plants on my deck, a soaker hose for the hydrangea along the house and a separate hose for the rest of my watering. In the future,  may attach a buried fourth hose to my hosta garden to run some sort of watering system there so I can just turn a valve and water.

I think these weather extremes may force me to be a more efficient gardener if nothing else.

Clematis 'Diamantina'

Daylily 'Arthur Kroll' and allium 'Summer Beauty'

Spider daylily 'Northwind Dancer'

Phlox and balloon flower
It is too hot to move plants around, although I did move some orange daylily flava.

Daylily flava
And, I have been doing some major editing. In the battle between sun and shade; plants preferring sun while the gardener prefers shade, I have done some major editing. I mean major in that I purchased a chain saw.

My parents were both concerned with this purchase as was my son. Graceful, I am not, as some of you know. This is probably why my father never taught me the ins and outs of using a chain saw as a girl. As it was as a supervising gardener to my son who was doing the actual work, I managed to trip backwards over some branches and bruise my butt, hit my head, and put the majority of a 1/4" by 1 1/2" stick into my calf. Not as gory as that sounds, I didn't feel that stick, nor notice it until about a half hour later when I was eating lunch and the back of my leg itched. It didn't hurt when my son pulled it out, nor does it bother me to walk. It is a bit sore to touch. I would guess the muscle at the back of my calf deflected the stick placing it between the skin and the muscle. My head hurt worse and my butt will be sore for a couple days I suspect.

But if a chain saw could be considered cute, this one is. I purchased a cordless Greenworks 10" chain saw. It seems more like a amped up hedge trimmer. (It ran for about an hour and a half on the battery which was fully charged again in an hour.) And with all its safety features, I felt confident letting my 22-year-old son wield it. Over the course of a few minutes we cut down the cherry tree, a sheared balsam which was 12' tall, took out most of the lower limbs of my katsuras and even trimmed out the leader on one (I have been keeping these shear in lollipop forms about 8' tall for years.). The smell of almonds was redolent on the heated air. The largest diameter trunk was maybe 8" but it sawed through an 1 1/2" branch on the katsura in seconds. I hate to consider how long it would have taken us with my handsaw. We even used it to cut through the shrubby base of the dead side of my ninebark which had many branches of 5/8" to 3/4", making it the prefect tool for trimming and limbing up small trees and shrubs.

The brick makes a spot where the balsam once grew.

Two barberries were removed here. As the trees filled in, the amount of sun they received did not show their color to its best. Why have something so prickly when there is little upside?

This cherry is 10 years old and has borne little fruit. It was shading out a variegated dogwood and my grapes. We left the trunk long to use as a fulcrum to remove most of the root ball.
The growth habit of this 'Limelight' hydrangea has suffered from too much shade. It will need a major shaping now that it has more light.
Once it starts to cool down and with my son off to his first adult job and his own apartment, I will have time to make some major overhauls to my garden and yard. He got his degree in chemistry this spring and has accepted a job as a raw materials tester for Sigma Aldrich, a subsidiary of Merck.

Changes all around...