I was trying to find some old pages I had written in the online Wayback Machine. Unfortunately, I had deleted them before the old geocities site had been recorded (they only started recording it in 1999). Oh well.
I did, however, find the beginnings of my “garden journal” when I was just starting to look into the then-new blogs and blogging. I was looking for something less cumbersome than updating an html page on my little website of the time.
I thought -just maybe- you would find these old entries sort of interesting. A peek into my gardening efforts of the time about two decades ago.
My Garden Journal- Old School
This is a sort of garden journal to give you an idea of how my gardens are working out without cluttering the main portion of the garden section; which should be reserved for the more general writing on subjects that can benefit any gardener. Also, the more ephemeral matters of this particular seasons weather or observations can find a place here.
One such matter would be last years roses. We had a climate pattern like one that could be expected one or two zones south, and the effect on my roses was so impressively magnificent.
Do you think I exaggerate? For the first time my roses bloomed on old and new wood filled with huge blossoms that perfumed the garden in a way I had never before experienced-not even on a visit to a public Rose garden! I had large old-fashioned shrub roses that truly came into their own, and I considered that I might, someday, like to move to the South, just to replicate that rose bloom. I don’t imagine soon seeing that in Ohio again, but it was blissful while it lasted.
|Last year I had a chance to work on some of the structure of the garden,(and believe me, my work is very simple and small scale) and it made such a difference. Using scrap 4×4 boards to make a curved raised area around a corner of the house with a footpath of limestone stepstones beneath the rise made a simple and utilitarian solution for a small washed out sideyard. Such things can make a subtle difference in the strength of a garden’s design.|
|(Oct. 10 ’99)I could say something silly like “Time flies”, but the reason I have not updated the journal is due to the effect of the drought. Like the other living things around here, the dryness caused me to just lie low in the garden (actually I stayed in the house and attended more to the children and housework than usual -good for me). |
I spent the morning garden time visiting the essentials with the garden hose -just to barely keep the new things alive. I gave up on the rest-it was “live and let die”. Also, instead of real gardening I worked on changing these pages around and making some graphics. Illusions of work in internet gardening…. oh, dug up some plants for someone who promised to water it faithfully, and that was it!
I do have a theory on drought, my captive audience: I think periodic drought has a purpose in the lives of our gardens and in our own. If a plant has a decent root system, the dryness forces the roots to grow more deeply and strongly into the ground. So long as the plant survives the vicissitudes of this time, it emerges a better plant. Of course anything at all weak or the young must be attended to carefully, and if they can just be kept alive ’til the rain comes they should be fine. Details such as mulching and weeding make the difference for these plants. Drought also requires value judgements: if the tree is valuable and you cannot suffer losing it, share some precious water with it.
Think a little and it is not too hard to apply some analogies to our relationships.
One more little thing: although now is the ideal time to plant bulbs, if you have the stomach to work in the cold wet months of late November and early December (anytime before the ground freezes) you can plant your bulbs- sometimes get extra on sale and put them in. I no longer count on the sales, though, the stores don’t have them as in the past. So, buy the bulbs soon, get them in when you can.
I use the second person, because I haven’t decided where my budget and work time goes – trees or bulbs? bulbs or trees? I really don’t have the time this year, but the fall is the best time for gardening in the Midwest.
Only roses are iffy, and if you are careful those might even fare better planted now (the hardy ones, ok?).
I need a vote box here, tell me… The House? The Garden? The homeschooling? Christmas Preparation? Friends and Family? THE webpage? Which gets my time?
ALLLL of the above in minuscule and inefficient bites as always.
|(Aug. 10 ’99) You notice I totally ignored the month of July- the weather was not to my liking and I became ill, as well. The garden takes a back seat at such times. |
The combo of the hot dry 90 degree weather with the occasional inundations worthy of the rain forest produced some unhealthy results in my plants. The leaves turned yellow between the veins and the edges turned brown in many different plants, I didn’t know what to do.
It also totally switched some plant behaviors: Rosa rubrifolia kept all its leaves and Zepherin Drouhin lost hers to Blackspot. Right now, I am catching up on weeding and waiting for when I can start dividing and planting the perennials . Tune in later.
|(June 22 ’99) Rain is just not materializing in measurable amounts, so my hopes of taking pics is dashed, as is homegrown sweetcorn-it just isn’t worth putting in more seed. |
Oh well, at least I’ve been cleaning up the garden somewhat: “Death to Weeds!” I cry, as they wither in the sun and dearth; my able adze vanquishes all in its path. And what the adze misses the CLAW seeks out. Didn’t realize the sadistic tendencies that gardening brings about? Well, consider yourself advised and educated…a new study for the psych experts.
I must say that roses thrive in this weather, they look healthy and bloom fully and freely. If you would like to know what other plants stand up to hot conditions- the achilleas are a group that looks fresh and undaunted. Blue salvias look spectacular with these in the same conditions (hot, sunny, dry).
Sedums, of course, the variegations enhanced by the weather; the Russian sage, Petrovskia (?), is in its element, too.
|(June 18,’99) After such a promising beginning, I am now just trying to keep the new things alive.Such is gardening! Central Ohio is experiencing dry conditions for this time of year; I’ve already been watering as though it were August. |
This does not bode well for my newest plants, but I bought a another soaker hose. These are very useful, you just arrange them in the garden area and leave them,I think you can cover them with soil or mulch, too.
The water is delivered in a slow soak when you connect a normal hose and turn on your water. Much more efficient than standing with a hose in your hand, both for time and water.
I have a bumper crop of cherries this year, although I’m wasting them as usual- why I can’t raise food AND preserve it is beyond me..another manifestation of the dreaded sluggardliness (in me, not the garden!) It’s too dry for the slugs! I’m the only one left, now where is the salt?
|(May 20) I’ve been busy, busy, busy! My hands are again grimy and my body threatening to mutiny as I weed, seed, and hoe, spade, water, and edge. |
I started to wonder why I do this when the roses started blooming, along with the Dames Rocket, iris, and Sweet Woodruff…then I am rejuvenated or bewitched (whichever -you decide!).
It is very dry for this time of year in Ohio; normally one doesn’t water the garden in the Spring. My gardens are spread out enough that I dread watering, but after planting so many new things it will be necessary. I do a type of xeriscaping, but new plants have to be watered until their roots grow deep enough to endure dryness. At least I have mulch on many areas, that helps to keep the soil moist.
A small observation on the fringe trees (Chionanthus): when all other trees and shrubs are fully blooming and glorious, the fringe tree bides its time looking like a dead stick of a tree. Then when the lilacs are done and the crabapples are blown, the large light green leaves and sprays of cream white fluff-fringe hold sway and send their fragrance on the air. A lovely companion for the early roses.
The Minuet Weigela has the prettiest deep rose-pink blooms that match up well with the Therese Bugnet Rose, and promise to look good with the peonies. I always used to dislike that shade that peony growers call “red”. I find it is quite good with Charles De Mille roses- and now Minuet Weigela.
How did I come to own one of “those” peonies? A gift…it’s always worth it to try plants from someones generous offerings. It is wise, however, to place them in an experimental area to see how they do, what they look like, and whether they have tyrannical habits.
The little girls’ lettuce and chard is up and big enough for a salad tonight; put in the corn seed last week and let my nine year-old plant pumpkin seeds alongside the corn rows. Planted the bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, and tomatoes. The Heavenly Blue morning glories are coming up along the fence and so are the sweet pea vines.
|April 25- After the dry and warm March, the weather and soil have returned to the more normal wetness level. Now, I remember why I would often put off work on the perennials until the month of May: the clods of damp soil are unpleasant to work with and the days are less conducive to outdoor work. But intrepidly, I went forth and planted all sorts of things, motivated by the sight of so many of last falls transplants flourishing. |
I face a conflict in my gardening between the artistic and educated me and the childlike and collector me. Artistically, I know that choices have to be edited, what is left out is as important as what is chosen. Then I go to a garden store and decide that I want one of this and one of that, etc., until the garden plan becomes a challenge of how to flex and fit all these different plants together.
This year I gave in to Magnolia trees. The price was right and the weather conditions showed what a magnolia tree is capable of, nevermind that this is the first gardening year I can remember that we didn’t get blasted by late frosts. Well, I put in a ‘Jane’ liliiflora AND a ‘Royal Star’ stellata.
Soon I’ll look like an arboreteum around here, since I already have Amelanchiers, Cornus(both types), Chionanthus (due to a super price last fall), assorted fruits,…..I’ll spare you the entire list.
I also planted rose replacements, egged on by the good response to the Canadian planting technique. Although, I know these last two winters are foolers, Ohio will have a fierce unrelenting winter again that will test the technique in truth.
The lettuces I had the little girls plant are coming up nicely and it’s time to hoe the veg. garden to get rid of the weedlings. There are so many it’s scary.
|April 15- It’s a rainy day, finally, fitting for tax deadlines. Ohio’s vagaries worked in reverse, unusually warm and dry weather meant a full blossom season with even the Magnolias capable of showing their magnificence. It also meant that much was withered prematurely. |
I now understand how insidious this computer habit is: wasted several gorgeous working days figuring out my graphics software. But back to gardens: I am so unsatisfied with my gardens! I haven’t planted any new tulips and my stinginess is so apparent; tulips have to be replaced every couple years and they need to be grouped to suggest abundance. That is a general rule for gardening: generous abundance is beautiful and stingy spots of plants are pathetic. You just feel sorry for them!
The new plantings of small bulbs look great and daffodils just love it here. All my transplanted Hyacinths showed bloom this year. The bunch in front of some creamy daffodils and near the budding variegated weigela was the epitome of spring.
A type of hyacinth described as orange is really the softest pinky-apricot and meshes with any color. It is named ‘Gypsy’ I think.I planted strawberries under the vegetable garden fence so that they could grow undisturbed and keep down the hand weeding.
That garden looks wonderful right now, early summer makes everything look under control….and then July hits. The midwesterner’s mettle is tested in July’s heat, humidity, and weed explosion. That’s why this month is prime for getting rid of weeds from the perennial plantings.
I have a whole portion of my main border to redo. I’ve decided to place some shrubs there to give definition to that bed and so I can mulch it to stop the encroaching grasses.
|March 17- I am so proud of myself, I actually put in my sweetpea seeds! The day was perfect with warmth and sunshine; always nice for a gardener’s work. Although, I have been known to brave rain and cold, and misty drizzly days are ideal for planting; if one just waits for pleasant weather the work is overwhelming. And walks in the woods or a lazy nap in the sun takes precedence on days like that, anyway.|
March 25- The crocuses are in full bloom. I love to look out my window and see the bright little groups of multicolors. Usually the golden types bloom first, at least a week before any of the other colors, with the deep purple sieberi next and in concert.
Today I walked around to get close-up looks before my little girl, who can never resist, picks anymore huge bouquets. She loves a feeling of abundance and has a real appreciation of the flowers I plant. Just not in situ…they must be plucked and carried around for full enjoyment. It’s a good thing I planted many new ones last fall, they shoot up somewhat later, so my garden won’t be noticeably bereft.
The snow crocus and the larger size mix perfectly fine in my eye, unlike the different proportions of daffodils. They are now blooming together, and for years I had kept them separated, but in the places where I moved them in together everything works and the larger sizes make the far views better. I have been leaving the perennial stalks through the winter and it almost seems like a woodland verge when the crocus peeks through and blooms.
Yes, this wind scraped farmland requires an imagination to visualise that, but the garden invites such flights of fancy. In the city I grew a great wall of Boston ivy across the garage to mimic a hidden grotto of my dreamworld hidden from the trucks and traffic of a few houses away.
The best gardens are someone’s dreamworld, I think; something of their owners interior that grows into a satisfyingly fantastic elaboration- animated and colored, as well as presenting more than a few ideas of its own.
hope you enjoyed that
I edited to separate the paragraphs a bit better- but the old journal had no pictures (which style I had later begun blogging with, to the complaints of readers). Pictures were not added til much later, and photos after that.
But this gives you a picture ( so to speak) of what my gardening life was like in its heyday.