At our May meeting several of our members shared their Good/Bad/Ugly stories. A synopsis of their treasures follows:|
Janet: Best Tool: Swoe hoe/Stirrup hoe – has two sharp edges and a nice long handle enabling you to push it back and forth. About $25, available at Rohslers in Allendale. Favorite Maintenance Book: The Well Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust.
Barb: A carpenter apron is invaluable to wear when gardening. One pocket always carries small scissors for deadheading or light pruning, another has a pencil and blank labels and/or the plant IDs to save and the third can even be your "outdoor entertainment center" holding an MP3 player for music or audiobooks.
Irene: Taught us some fun facts about where bay leaves come from - Bay laurel or sweet laurel, a small evergreen shrub or tree native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. The plant has small green waxy leaves that dry well. It flowers in the spring and grows best in damp shady areas. It is not really hardy in this area but can be grown in containers and brought indoors in winter. Water infrequently. To harvest wash and dry leaves by simply placing on paper towels or hanging in bunches upside down; store in tightly covered containers. Some uses you may not be aware of include steeping and using as a dandruff rinse; treating bronchitis and severe coughing; poultices for swelling including bee and wasp stings, and arthritis.
Bea: Bea uses a great "lawn bag support" purchased from Harriet Carter Gifts, Inc., 425 Stump Rd., North Wales, PA 19454 (mail order) and www.harrietcarter.com via internet. Cost is $9.98. She also raved about a hydraulic hose winder - "ReelSmart" Automatic Hose Reel from Hydro Industries, usually available in Home Depot, Lowes, BJ's or similar outfit.
Joan: Joan uses a cool hand truck that has a great configuration. It can be purchased at Sears. It can be used vertically in the traditional way, or horizontally by adding a black plastic mortar tub to carry things in. The mortar tubs can be purchased in the "cement" area of Home Depot. Carol: Raved about the Tomato Success Kit from Gardener's Supply - item #38-659. Their website is www.gardeners.com and phone #1-800-427-3363.
Sally: Provided living samples of her favorites and provided lots of detailed information:
THE GOOD - My top 5 favorite plants from 2009
Indigofera "Little Pinkie" Indigo Plant. 3x2ft small shrub, Bright Pink pea like flowers May to October. Sun to part shade. Source: Plant Delights Nursery
Lespedeza thundergii Bush Clover. 5ft shrub with arching sprays of either Pink (Gibraltar) or White Flowers (Alba) late Summer. Sun to part shade. Source: Bill Kolvek
Spiraea thunbergii "Ogon" Ogon Spirea . 4x4ft shrub. Bright fresh green foliage all year. Masses of small white flowers in early Spring. Source: Lazy Farm Nursery
Fothergilla x "Red Licorice". 4x4ft shrub. Fluffy white honey scented blooms early May, Soft green rounded leaves throughout year turning bright red in Fall. Sun to part shade. Source: Rare Find Nursery
Rabdosia longituba Trumpet Spurflower. Perennial 36" Tall. Part Shade - shade. Tall airy spikes of blue tube like flowers in September light up the Woodland Garden. Source: Plant Delights
THE BAD - My top 5 plants that have bad habits or too many pests & diseases - but I just have to have them!
1. Myosotis sylvatica Forget-Me-Nots
2. Stylophorum diphyllum Woodland Poppy
3. Chasmanthium latifolium Northern Sea Oats
4. Lysimachia "Firecracker" Fringed Loosestrife
5. English Roses
THE UGLY - I wage a constant battle against these thugs..
1. Hedera Helix English Ivy
2. Pachysandra terminalis Japanese Spurge
3. Lysimachia nummularia Creeping Jenny
4. Aegopodium Ground Elder/Bishops Weed
5. Pleioblastus viridistratus Golden striped Bamboo
Looking for a replacement ground cover? Try these kinder, gentler alternatives:
Hedera Canariensis Variegated Algerian Ivy.
Pachysandra terminalis "Silver Edge" Variegated or Silver Edge Spurge
Lysimachia nummularia Aurea Golden Creeping Jenny
Hakonechloa macra "Aureola" or "All Gold" Japanese Forest Grass
Epimedium - Barrenwort
Geranium macrorrhizum Bigfoot Geranium
Asarum europeum European Wild Ginger Asarum canadense Native Wild Ginger
Galium odoratum Sweet woodruff