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Posts Tagged ‘sedum’


Well, Summer Time starts tomorrow at 2AM – or should I write 3AM?

Anyway, today was a mix of things. We got up and had to go up to Elsinore – Helsingør is the real name of the city, but I guess most of you will only have heard of it through Shakespeare – for a funeral. A man my Dad’s age who died of cancer last Saturday. It was a friend of my Mother-In-Law’s, so I didn’t know him very well. I liked what I knew of him, though; he was intelligent, well-read and enjoyed talking ancient Danish history and Medieval literature with me whenever we met at my Mother-In-Law’s.

I think, though, that it was the parallel to my Dad’s death that kind of shook me. It was really hard for me to sit at that funeral, harder than I thought it would be. There is still a lingering sadness, remnants of grief. Something – someone – that is not there any more. For all that we didn’t have in common, for all that we didn’t understand in each other, for all that was not right, he was still my father. Was, not is. The past tense can be cruelly acute in certain circumstances.

When we came back to Copenhagen I continued – alone, as I needed some solitary time – up to the summer house. The snow has nearly melted in the garden, though there are still patches of white here and there – and a layer of ice on my three miniature ponds – but spring is coming. Some day, and hopefully soon. I wanted to have a few days alone up here, so I will be here until Monday evening. The lawn is littered with branches and other bits of the trees Denis and one of his friends cut down last weekend when they were up here, but that can wait. After all, the lawn won’t need mowing for another month, given that the ground is still frozen in places and the grass hasn’t grown since November.

I do have some plants to plant, though, if the ground has thawed where they need to go. Astilbe, sedum, phlox, heuchera, eryngium and loads of other Latin names. And I can sow some hardy annuals so they are ready to germinate whenever the soil warms up to 5 degrees Celsius. All right, so it’s a miserable spring to be gardening in so far, but eventually REAL spring will arrive and there will be stuff growing and flowers blooming – and I will be able to get my dahlias in the ground and set the gladiolus and lily corms.

Perhaps later in spring – when we are done with the kitchen rebuild and there will be plenty of weekends in the garden – I might even consider digging out another flower bed in the lawn. The one I dug out in autumn will soon be filled to capacity, so I need more space to plant flowers in. One can attend too many funerals, but one can never have too many flowers.

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Last week I had to travel to Jutland to spend the last week with my Dad. He died on Thursday, the Summer Solstice, having gone to sleep and then 10 minutes later it was all over. We buried him on Saturday.

It was a good ending, really; my two brothers and I all managed to spend lots of time with him during the last week, and it was really nice to be able to be there for him – and with him – in his last time.

Anyway, The Flâneur Husband and I came back to Copenhagen on Sunday around noon, and then in the afternoon I went up to the garden to have some time to myself.  I didn’t go to work yesterday or today, and instead I’ve mainly just been sitting around in the garden doing absolutely nothing.

Then this afternoon something happened. I suddenly felt like doing something, so I’ve finally gotten around to planting the area around The Puddles. They look a lot less like plastic tubs now, and a lot more like glimpses of water between the plants. Give the plants a few months and they will look like they’ve always been there, I’m sure. And next year I will have to start removing plants because I probably planted them too closely in an attempt to make the area look lush and mature from the beginning. Never mind…

It’s far from finished, but it’s beginning to take shape. Astrantia, sedums, hostas, purple iris germanica, purple asters and a single perennial sweet pea to climb the half-dead small beech tree just in front of the hedge.

I have been looking around the garden to see what else I have that could find a home here, and there are some more irises (both the native yellow version and the blue iris siberica that I grew from seed – before I then got two large clumps of it from my Mum…) and of course I need to add some creeping ground covers to cover up the edges of the tubs. I have an unidentified creeping ground cover with variegated leaves that might look nice around the edges, and it should get enough shade from the larger plants for the white markings to “pop”.

I’m considering moving the variegated hosta over to The Puddles as well; it’s currently in The Ambitious Border surrounded by much showier plants, so it might get more attention if I moved it to a place where the foliage would be more noticeable.

Below you can see the small hosta squeezed in between the peonies, the goatsbeard and the day lilies. It’s lovely, but it becomes rather lost in that company.

The goatsbeard is in full bloom these days and looks amazing. It comes from The Flâneur Husband’s grandmother’s garden and was given to me as an astilbe, but I’m so happy it’s goatsbeard instead; so much showier than the smaller astilbe plants, and perfect for covering up a somewhat bedraggled section of the hedge.

In front of the goatsbeard is the only peony bloom of this year. I’m a little disappointed, as I would have liked to have more flowers, but since I only planted the peonies last year I guess I have to accept that they don’t put on too much of a show this year. Maybe next year, eh?

Still, the single bloom is pretty, so I mustn’t complain. And maybe next year the 5 other peonies will bloom as well.

 

Today my garden cheered me up immensely. And I’ll be back again Friday afternoon and have the entire week off after that! Just imagine what I might actually get done! Mow the lawn, weed the borders, shift some more plants around? Oh, and paint some of the exterior of the house…

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A while ago, A Woman Keen On Sensible Footwear (a.k.a. Wellywoman) commented on one of my recent posts that she wasn’t aware that forsythias would root in water.

Well, the proof’s in the rooting, as they say:

Granted, it does take some time, which is why this lovely vase is grimed over with lime scale, but it’s a perfectly easy way to propagate this bush, either to create more of it or to create new undergrowth if it is beginning to get too top-heavy and tumble over.

I generally find that most branches will root in water, given enough time, and the trick with the forsythia is just to let it bloom away, drop its flowers and then wait for the leaves to appear. Once you have leaves on your branches, the roots will be there in very little time, with no need for rooting hormones, special treatment or anything.

In the vase above – as in all my vases of forsythia – I have mixed the forsythia branches with red dogwood. The red stems create a nice counterpoint to the brash yellow flowers, and once the flowers are gone the dogwood – in this case a rather pleasantly variegated cultivar (ooh, look at me throwing proper gardening words about; “variegated”, “cultivar”!!!) – will start showing leaves sooner than the forsythia. And of course the dogwood have as lovely flowers, even if less attention-seeking, as the forsythia. And the dogwood, too, roots before long.

Considering that I’m trying to replace an ugly wooden fence with a hedgerow of living plants, I think this sort of propagation is about as easy a solution as you can get! I could, of course, also just start pinning down overhanging branches, leaving them for a year and then cutting them loose and transplant them, but this is so much quicker and also adds to my connection to the garden. I have it right here with me in the apartment!

The pot at the back of the picture above is the sedum flowers I brought in as a bouquet last autumn and decided to keep, since they started rooting.

So far it seems that my success with cuttings is a one-all; I have had no success with rose cuttings, in spite of taking numerous the year before last, but I’ve had great success with flowers that were just picked to be pretty in the apartment and then decided they wanted to live!

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Today I received a call that my husband’s compost – his birthday present from his mother – was delivered this morning, and of course this means I have a full weekend planned.

I have only gotten as far as outlining the Sunny Border – a project I’ve imagined ever since we took over custodianship of this garden – so I need to dig away the turf and fluff up the soil beneath, mixing in a good measure of compost.

The other day I bought something I don’t particularly like; a long piece of 8″ deep corrugated plastic to serve as a boundary between the Sunny Border and the lawn, simply so the grass won’t invade the new border the same way it has invaded the Ambitious Border. I might invest in more of this once I’ve weeded out all the grass in the Ambitious Border.

It’s not pretty, for sure, but since it will be fully buried in the ground I guess I can live with it. I would have preferred a more natural material, but buying the wood to make something similar would a) be too expensive and b) probably be worse for the environment in general, since that wood would have to be cut, transported etc. to get to the garden.

 

In other news the dogwood and forsythia branches that I forced in the apartment now have green leaves. The forsythia might have lost its yellow splendour, but the dogwood is getting ready to show off a few bunches of tiny white flowers. And both the dogwood and the forsythia are beginning to show signs of roots!!! NEW PLANTS!!!

If they survive long enough they will end up in the Hedgerow toward the road, screening our haven a bit more from the outside world. More blossoms in spring, more variegated leaves in summer, more red dogwood stems in winter.

 

I picked some sedum stems last autumn as part of a bouquet of flowers for the apartment, and as the rest of the flowers faded the sedums started creating roots in the vase. I threw the rest of the flowers away, cut down the sedums to a few inches, and all through the winter they’ve stayed alive in a glass of water on the kitchen table. Yesterday morning I decided that spring had arrived and that perhaps in a month there might be room in the garden for the remainder of a bunch of flowers, picked for their beauty and retained so that beauty might regenerate. So I potted up the small stems with their fragile roots and tiny leaves.

It was propagation by accident, but I kept them alive. I watered them, nursed them and loved them – willed them – alive. It’s the greatest feat of magic imaginable, isn’t it?

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