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Garden Thread
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Garden Thread

Lets make this a garden post and all questions, tips , advice will be here.

I have a patch of clay, everything dies there.  I have done everything-- mixing sand, compost, manure, dirt in the clay.  Now I am just fed up with this patch.  What can I put there that grows in clay other than Coneflowers?  Have a bunch of those already.  Anyone with experience with clay?
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"Milk thistle is adaptable to hot, dry areas and waste places. It is not particularly demanding as to soil type, and in fact has been reported to do well on compacted clay soils.".............;^) Pro

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Parts of my yard have a lot of clay.  Sedum seems to do just as well as the coneflowers, and black eyed susan.
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Milk Thistle of all things--Lol !  Hopefully, I won't have any use for that ever again.

Thanks
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Oh, and one of my favs:  Russian Sage
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I actually do this for a living.  Clay is put together in a different way than other soil types, tightly packed together.  It can be good at holding onto water and nutrients but it has little air space and is hard to work.

The trick is to hand-dig in as much organic matter (manure, compost, peat, whatever) as you can.  Not you, but someone who is well and strong (it ain't easy to dig in clay).  Amending the soil will seperate the tiny plates of clay particles and improve drainage and air in the soil and roots will be able to get through it much more easily.  If they have expanded shale where you are (looks like little pieces of lava rock) use that.  It won't add nutrients like organic matter does as it breaks down, but the good effects will be permanant.

Amend the soil well by hand and you will be able to grow whatever you want, I promise.
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Actually the milk thistle sounds like a good idea.....I wonder if they sell it with the regular herbs?? I've never seen it in the stores.

One of the garden shops had stevia, but I couldn't find my way off the couch that week and missed out.  This week I am ready to dig again!!

Great idea for a thread, Tippy.  Thanks for starting it =)
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Thanks --I  would love to have rose bushes in that spot and will try your method and give it one more try.  

Do you know anything about Hydrangea Macrophylia?


Isobella
Come to think of it I've never seen it either--maybe have to start from seed?
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Tons.  How obnoxious of a lecture are you up for?  They'll grow & bloom in sun or full shade but you'll need to water them more in the sun or they'll wilt badly.  Don't prune them, they really don't need to have that perfect meat-ball bush shape and if they're too tall, that's genetic and they'll just grow back again.  If you do need to prune them, do it in the summer right after they bloom or you'll end up cutting off next year's flowers.  The color is determined by aluminum (for blue).  Aluminum is taken up much more in an acid soil.  If yours is not acid, they'll be pink.

To use as cut flowers, cut them as soon as they take on their color and they'll last.  Don't cut them after they've been on the bush for a few weeks, they'll wilt.  Super easy to propagate; just cut a pencil sized stick in December, stick in the ground and it will root.  Obnoxious enough?

I've not grown milk thistle but I've seen it and it's very, very pretty, with patterned leaves.  Herb societies will usually offer it at spring plant sales, but I think it's pretty easy to start by seed.
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newleaf gave very good advice.  I also like double shredded mulch, about 2 inches or so.  When that stuff breaks down it is like black gold, takes time tho.  

Another thing I do around here is to dig a bigger hole add in some good dirt, the first season I planted stuff that likes more water cause there isn't real good drainage.  In the fall I cut off the dead plant and the next season I try to dig the holes in different spots.  It took me a few years but I have great soil in my beds now.

Some of the stuff I planted: azaleas, pampas, mums, dianthus, bee balm, day lillies.  the good thing about those things is they come back every year.  Lavender is another good one.

Denise
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Okay here's the Hydrangea problem.  I did not cut down last fall but left the flowers on for winter effect.  My husband ran out there a few weeks ago without my knowledge and cut the flowers off, but I think he cut too much ( 2- 3 inches ).  He should have just sniped it off at the top of flower  Did he remove this years flower buds?  The old wood is about two feet high do I leave it as is, or cut old wood back to where I see new growth now.  

GSD:  I will implement this along with new leafs tips.  Should be able to get something to grow there now.  We will see.

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Hydrengas bloom on old wood - leave it as it is.  I learned that lesson the hard way too.
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Just got home and haven't had a chance to read most of the thread yet. (I went to an auction and kept nodding 'yes' until hubby realized I'd lost my mind.)

I've learned mostly everything about gardening the hard way but keep trying.

I have three beds with clay soil. I tried to improve them years ago with my leaf compost but gave up.

(My best beds were actually dug up and replaced with soil for dummies.)

1)  I've had two weigelas in the slightly amended clay for twenty years. I love the elegant flowers but they blend in with the foliage, so are hard to appreciate from a distance.

2)  Our high bush cranberry is in the hardest clay in the garden, so it's a miracle. The red berries look wonderful against the snow.

3)  Our cosmos grows wherever I put it.

4)  The sedum does really well, too - it's the tall type and divides easily.


My biggest all time mistake was planting lily of the valley, which grew like crazy. I was warned many times but didn't listen. Now it's hopeless. It would probably spread in concrete.

Has anyone had luck with creeping thyme around the hardscape? I'd be so happy if I could get that going this summer.

Would like to try the milk thistle but is it invasive?

Thanks, Tippy, what a treat to come home to this. And I bought two stunning vases at the auction!
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coreopsis (sp?) will grow in anything,  It is really pretty but will spread, I just keep dividing it.

Port, is creeping thyme the same as the stepables?  

Denise
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Another good one is irises / flags.  I have really pretty chocolate brown ones. They grew in my clay with very little extra work.

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Are you a horticulturist?  We have a landscaping company but we mostly do hardscapes, walls, paver patios, paver driveways, ponds, hydroseeding ect.  Well hubby does the work in the field and I do the books, billing, payroll, payroll  taxes and that end of things.  

We got out of the planting pretty much.  People think that the plants don't need water or they don't need covered for the late frosts.  I am sure I will have some plant questions for you

Denise
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russian sage   basil   most herbs. I would try to introduce perlite ,or pebbles into the soil to promote better drainage     good luck  
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Here's a little garden song from Arlo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPdBiYrNNVw&feature=related
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I am a professional horticulturist.  I'm degreed but have been advising folks with my job for 12 years so have answered just about every weird question there is.  Once you look it up a few times it sticks with you.  I'm also an avid gardener and being in treatment is just about killing me since I can do so little in the garden.  About all I've done this year is clean up the leaves and throw them down for mulch, fertilize the fruit trees, plant some tomatoes and...and nothing else!  

I am a collector of some goofy stuff.  Hydrangeas, for one.  Tippy, if he cut off the top set of buds you will get a few flowers but not the cover that you usually get.  I didn't even bother to remove the spent flowers this year.  Crazy about flowering trees, rain lilies and crinums and really, any kind of bulb.  I'm also good at getting rid of grass.  Every spot that seems thin gets replaced with ground cover.  Then I can let the leaves fall where they may and throw sticks into in without hauling them off.  The dog uses the ground cover as his bathroom, too, so I never even see the results.

I'm hoping to take some time off from work and will probably figure out some more low-energy stuff to do in the garden.  Hope so, letting spring pass me by has been rough.
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My friends family owns a nursery / greenhouse and I hang out there quite often and pick up stuff (knowledge), it is amazing what sticks in my brain LOL.  

I also have a koi pond that I have been working on since it was mostly neglected for 2 summers.  It made me crazy that I couldn't work in the yard also. In Pittsburgh it is early for planting most veggies but hubby just tilled up a pretty large area for a garden this year, like about a third of an acre.  

Flowering trees..........I like them too, I would like to line our driveway with thunder cloud plums.  You mention plants that I never heard of, different area I guess.

Denise
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We use to have beautiful grass until I started feeding the birds.  Its especially bad this year because of the BOSS seed, as this is the first winter I used it.  Seems that oil just kills the grass.  Oh well, will dig that area up and put a bigger garden in.  In ten years all garden --no grass at the rate were going.  Lol

I'm kind of upset about the Hydrangeas --I had thought to tell him not to mess with them but forgot.  I will miss all of those beautiful flowers this summer.  

Normally, I cut the Hydrangeas back to the ground in fall and did fairly well with the flowers.  Thought I would try not cutting back to see if I got more flowers., but I won't know now --thanks to hubby.

I planted a Magnolia Jane tree 4 summers ago.  Its around 5 feet tall now and there must be 200 flowers on there getting ready to open.  One of my wiser investments.  Although, they do look a little strange with the flowers and no leaves.  I never trim the branches because I read you will lose blooms in doing so.

I planted 2 Purity Japanese Pieris last spring and they did well but I did not remove the spent flowers.  Should I remove them now or is it too late?  Looks pretty the way it is but I would like some brighter flowers this spring or summer.

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Yes its very hard to watch spring and summer pass by.  Did not get spring fever this year.    Whats the sense of it?  Well we will be twice as excited next spring.
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I'm still online but got lost on the other forum.  I live in the deep south.  Almost hate to tell you this but our peonies are finishing now and all the flowering trees are done.  May will be nice but a little warm, June will be quite warm and July-Sept. will be pure hell.  But you can't believe the things we grow here: gardenias, camellias, gingers, tropical bulbs.  You would have to have rain lilies in a pot but they'd be worth it.  Summer rain pops them into bloom the very next day.  Very cool.  We grow vegetables year round; cole crops, greens & roots in the winter.

I did not even know you could grow mophead hydrangeas that far north.  Husbands: you can't yell at them because you're so grateful to have any gardening help at all.  I used to be stuck with the mowing but then we got a zero turn mower and he can't wait to get out there.  Has knocked over trees & crushed things but I don't complain.  Better him out there than me.

I have Jane; I think it's the best of the 'Little Girls'.  Another of that type I have at the office is called 'Galaxy'; HUGE flowers.  I also have the white star magnolia (it's a little earlier). My latest obsession is yellow magnolias.  Okay, so they are only a little yellow but I waited so long for blooms that I'm thrilled with them.

I have a pieris and never remove the old flowers. you could if you don't want to look at them, but they won't slow down any growth or anything like that.  It's possible that they behave differently up there.  Can you see the new buds?  seems like they come along not too long after the magnolia blooms.
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I am jealous, LOL.  Could you snap a few shots of some of your tropicals & load them on your page?  I am interested in the rain lillies.  I love lillies.

I remember seeing hedges of Ficus when I was in Florida, I am lucky to keep those alive in my house over the winter.  

I do all the flower bed / garden work around here.  Ken / hubby gets so mad when people comment how pretty the flowers are and say nothing about all the work he has done.  Hubby says I don't cut the grass right so he does it, about 2 acres of it.  There is about 8 acres that we bale for the horses.

Denise
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Photos are loaded on my page, mostly bulbs, on the hep C site.  I spent the whole morning in the garden pulling invading vinca out of the monkey grass groundcover.  I must be feeling a lot better.  I've been in treatment 5 1/2 mos. and my blood has crashed and crashed, so when everyone else went to 4 wk visits, I was still seen weekly for labs.  Maybe it's finally stabilized, hope so.

My husband mows with the zero-turn (ridiculous monster for a town lot) but I don't think I could let him help in the beds.  I don't ever hire help because I'm afraid they'd weed out all the good stuff.

Didn't mean to incite jealousy (or maybe I did).  You can grow huge peonies, lilacs & 7' delphiniums.  It's all a trade-off.
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Oh yes I am jealous, but mostly because you live in the deep south and can have that garden going year round.  Its a 3 -4 month thing up here.  Very beautiful pictures and you definitely have that green thumb thing going on.  Wanna move up north and be my neighbor?  You garden and I'll cook for you.

I put 3 pictures for you to look at in the profile.  My Magnolia flower has brown spots on it -what is this and how do I fix it?  Also the Mary Jane blooms again in August--just buds and they fall off before they open.  What causes this? I asked around here and no one seems to know about the buds falling off.

I just took pic of one of the Hydrangeas--it looks sick--like I said I use to cut mine down to the ground.  Is it suppose to look like this?  Those branches look pretty dead and was thinking I should trim branch down to where I see new growth.  All that stuff on the ground is bird seed.  Need to get that cleaned up soon.

Are you in a trial?  When that hgb falls --its rough--I just had blood done and mine is still low---almost five weeks of riba reduction and hgb went form 9.8 to only 10 and they won't increase riba until it goes to 11 ( I think thats what she said.)  Big mistake doing trial with no rescue drugs.
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Nice 'Jane'. Brown spots on flowers can just be a little fungus or damage from heavy rain.  Don't worry about it unless they are big spots (fungal blight) and then remember that, petal or foliar damage never killed a plant, it's just a little ugly.  I don't know 'Mary Jane' but it could be a blossom blight (fungi can appear if all conditions are present but some years they aren't and no problems), or even more likely, thrips feeding on the buds.  Break up a bud on a piece of paper and if tiny little linear creatures start walking across the page, it's thrips.  Pour Bayer insect control on the roots at the first sign.  

Hydranges looks bad because you didn't cut it back.  It was going to get frosted down to the height you normally cut it to anyway in your climate.  Just cut it above the live buds and you'll be exactly where you normally are.

I'm in the Boceprevir naive trial.  Rescue meds are allowed (thank god...I've required both procrit and neulasta).  Think about it: interferon crashes whites, neutrophils and platelets, riba crashes hgb and the boceprevir crashes them all.  Put those together and you're a limp dishrag for months.  My neuttropils got so low in January that I got a kidney infection (horrible) and when they started to crash again last month, there was not a neulasta shot in any pharmacy in town to buy, so they took me off all meds (I was already down to 40% peg dose for low platelets) for 3-4 days until the pharmacy order came in.and they had me buy an extra shot to keep on hand.  Trust me, after 4 days of no meds, the only way I felt any better was I was slightly less mummified (one eye was a little less dried out).  It takes a month to get the peg & riba into your system, so will probably take a month to get them out when I'm done.   I was on reduced riba for a week, which did help my hgb.  I am still on reduced peg (80% of dose).  

I cleared absurdly early, before even starting the study drug, so have not worried much about the reduced doses.  After 5 1/2 mos of continuously crashing, I think I have finally stabilized and may be able to keep neuts above 1, hgb above 10 and platelets above 50. I know I am babbling but taking those shots and pills has completely taken over my life.
Which trial are you in?
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Thanks you saved my Hydrangea!  No more new tricks for me, cut em down in the fall like always.  Will check flower bulb tomorrow.   Its hard to garden now with the hgb being low as bending over is not good.

I almost bought a yellow Magnolia tree but they wanted $200 but it was about 15 ft already.  We will be retiring in 5 years and moving to the south ( yeah ) and will invest in one then, maybe 2 or 3.

I'm in the Vertex Telaprevir trial.  UNd by week 4 but I suspect I was und by week 2 as ast and alt dropped into the 20's.  Was und week 14 too.  I have to pay for my own pcr's as the trail takes them, but does not tell us if were und until week 24.  Phoooey on that--I want to know. 4 months down and maybe I'll get into the 6 months group.  Am thinking maybe its best for me to get into the 48 weeks group because of the riba reduction ,and I know the Interferon reduction is next , as the platelets are falling too.  They say the early clearance increases our chances to SVR.  Glad you are stabilizing.  You get use to feeling crappy and learn your limits eventually.  Lol !  

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Forest Farm has wonderful flowering trees, a little small but they do grow.  The descriptions in their catalogue will make you drool.

I would not have been able to bear not knowing the VL.  My liver is very bad (3/4) and if they had not diagnosed me when they did (so I stopped taking the Aleve that did all the damage), I'd be in liver failure now.  Things went very fast from diagnosis to getting in the trial, with CT scans for liver cancer and biopsies in between.  I was an anxious wreck for months.  Then I cleared immediately.  I don't know if it was after 1 shot or 2 since the 1 wk. PCR was after 10 days & by then I'd had 2 shots.  The doctor was astonished that I cleared on a week of SOC with cirrhosis.  When I got into the boceprevir group I actually felt guilty for taking one of those slots from someone who needed it more.

I was such a wreck that the PCR's were the main things that kept me going.  Now I'm waiting to see if I'll stop at 28 wks (at 22 now).  How long has your riba been reduced and how much?  I would be a little concerned about that too, but you were an RVR and the teleprevir may overturn effects of reduced riba.

I suppose your trial is trying to show that their drug is effective without rescue meds.  Boceprevir recently got knocked because so many in their trials had suffered anemia and you shouldn't have to use a second drug to make you survive the study drug.  About relapse, my study doc thinks that people who end UD will almost always achieve SVR.  Those who relapse were those who used a less accurate PCR test that could not detect low levels, so it flared back up after the meds ended.  For all our sakes I hope he's right.
The other really significant thing he told me was that the virus genome survives in the liver but cannot reproduce again because treatment leaves your immune system permanently amped up.  If you blow it, like put stress on your liver (drugs, alcohol, chemicals) or use immunosuppresives like steroids & cortisone, the virus could start reproducing again.  Looks like we will be bound to clean living.
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You must feel so lucky to have cleared with your cirrhosis and to have been diagnosed just in time. A little angel on your shoulder!  You could be close to stopping--Yeah.  Five weeks of riba reduction 1000mg to 600 mg.  Hgb won't go up hovering at 10.  Yes, the trial does not want anything to interfere with the data from the trial.

Thanks for all of your tips and hopefully others will use this thread for gardening questions, or maybe I am the only one here with little gardening skills.  Lol! I am learning though.

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Plant Mary Jane
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Sorry to sidetrack the garden questions.  I'm just so fascinated with the trials since I am also in one.  Also, finally starting to feel better after a long, long hibernation and it makes me a bit excitable.

GSDgirl:  Does your company ever lay water permeable surfaces? Stones and patios that let water go through?  We have sufficient water where I live, but water runoff is an issue.  If you handle that kind of work, is it very expensive?

Also, do you guys grow the other hydrangeas like peegees and Annabelle?  I think the new reblooming mophead hydrangeas (like Endless Summer & Blushing Bride) were designed for cold climate gardeners.  They bloom on new & old wood so if the bush gets frozen to the ground it will still be able to bloom on the new growth.  How about Oakleaf hydrangeas?  They have gorgeous red fall color.

The other thing I envy besides lilacs, peonies & delphiniums is Oriental Poppies.  I tried to trick nature last year by building a high, well drained bed with afternoon shade for them to grow in.  I ordered all different kinds and they grew, but no sign of them this year. Trying to get up the nerve to dig out the bed and determine they are really gone.  I also trialed lavendars in there and only one lived.

I just know there are ways to cheat the rules for things that don't belong here but have had limited success so far.

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Maybe it's just a case of "flowers looking prettier on the other side"?  :)

It's the gardener's nature to approach mother nature from all different directions: to work with her and also challenge her.  No doubt I love the native plants (living in Zone 6, lilacs, peonies, magnolias, oriental poppies, etc do very well here), but oh, what I'd give to have some success with tropicals like gardenias and bouganvilleas.  Sometimes you can only cheat mother nature so much ;).

As far as clay soils go, one of the (sometimes helpful) tricks I learned is to use is to apply detergent (liquid laundry detergent/dish washing liquid) at the proprotion of 1TB/gal and sprinkle on the bed like a fertilizer regimen every four weeks.  Most detergents are surfactants that will help water penetrate through the clay and help with drainage.

The bartlett pears and cherry trees are in full bloom today here, and the tulip bulbs are in their colorful glory :).  Nice to see gardeners here!  Happy spring to everyone.

~eureka
PS:  The playground sandbox just wasn't big enough, so when I grew up I made the whole earth my sand box :).
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I have had grandkids all weekend LOL.  Between that and one of my dogs that I just bred worring me I haven't had time for cr*p.  The dog has not gone out of heat, it has been 26 days, I looked it up and supposedly it can last as long as 28 days, just seems too long.

newleaf, Don't worry about getting sidetracked LOL.  I will ask hubby about the permeable (SP?) surface patios.  Gabbing on the phone, he is.  I finally have poppies, the orange ones and my friend is giving me some red ones.  I also love lavender.  Your pics on here are beautiful!!  I honestly don't know a lot of the different varieties or their names of a lot of plants.

Tippy, around here there is stuff called fruit tree spray.  It is great for just about anything, bugs, fungus and other stuff.  It is not "natural" but sometimes a little more is needed.  I use it on just about anything.  

Rocker, I just knew that would come sooner or later.  That is my brothers department.

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Hubby says a french drain around the patio...........first to keep most of the water off of the patio and what goes on the patio will run off but be dispersed by the french drain. pay someone to use a walk behind trencher (find cheap labor), lay in perforated black pipe (flexible) fill to top with #57 gravel, throw some grass seed, it will grow and cover the gravel.  Or lay some landscape material cover with a little dirt over gravel.  That is not very expensive BUT the paver patio is somewhat expensive LOL

Denise
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The best way I've found to ammend ANY soil is to apply 12 inches of hay each year. (spoiled hay can be had cheap! or free for the hauling) The earth worms take care of the rest. Good for keeping fish bait around too! Recommended reading "No Work Gardening" Ruth Stout--She and her husband were "old hippie mentor gardeners" during the early "Mother Earth News" days. Remember the old print stock they used to use? jerry
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I have piles of old hay mixed with horsemanure in the fields.  Leftovers / waste from the round bales.  It will be scraped up (with the bobcat) and deposited beside the pile that is 2 years old.  

Tippy, NICE BIKE!!!  We sold ours when we bought this house, now we have horses LOL.
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No riding for me this summer--too hard to stay out of the sun and with my platelets being so low, if anything were to happen I'd be in serious trouble.  Oh well next year.

To All:  Front of the house is mostly shade, we get a few hours of sun in the evening.  Our Dogwood tree is not doing well there, although they said it would.  I would like to transplant  it and put some Annabelle Hydrangeas there.  I hear there tolerate shade well but do they flower in shade?
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My Annabelle blooms fine in the shade.  Are you growing the Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa) or the American one (Cornus florida).  I always heard that kousa does better in cold climates.

GSDgirl:  You have a bobcat!!!!  That is my dream.  With a bobcat I could do some serious large-scale composting and terraforming single-handedly.  Lucky you!
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NL, hubby has more equipment than I like to think about LOL.  They all come with payments.  The bobcat is his, I have never driven it although my 9 year old gr son has.  Did you read hubby's thoughts on drainage a few posts above?

orleans, do you find a lot of weeds using hay instead of straw?
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I have a couple of questions about my indoor seedlings that I started from seed a couple of weeks ago. Mostly everything is doing okay. My cosmos is sprouting just right so far.

One of my worries is about the climbing vine sprouts. They're so long and spindly that they already can't stand up. Is there anything I should do to make them more sturdy? I'm not planning to put them in the ground for about three weeks.

The other worry is about my columbine. I really want these for my hummingbirds.  (Thanks, Tippy for that suggestion.) Since I can't find them as seedlings, I started my own from seed, put the flat in the fridge for a week as per package instructions, took them out and have now been waiting a week and not even a remote sign. Could the fridge have done them in?


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As long as your seedlings trays have not dried out, the seeds are still there, alive; wait another week or 2 before worrying.

If the vines are large enough to transplant, go ahead and bump them up to a 4" and put a stick in the pot for them to wrap around.

Sturdy seedlings are all about light.  Window light is not really enough.  Try putting the trays under a fluorescent shop light, pretty close to the light, and increase the distance between plant and light as they grow up into the lights.  I've started all my stuff this way for many. many years and results are much better than the window ledge.
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I'd like to try the lights. I've never done that.

I have a lot of great (afternoon) light in my den (bow window on entire wall) and can't use my morning sun side.

Can I improvise or do I have to buy the lights? I was thinking of my laundry room fluorescents, big guys, six of them and I might be able to get the flats close somehow. No windows in there, though, so I'd have to lug things up and down if I wanted them to have both. Maybe buy the lights, after all?!

And how long should I keep them turned on?

I'm going to try that. These sprouts are the skinniest I've ever seen and it doesn't feel right.
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Your natural light situation sounds good but you can never tell how much your window glass is blocking.  You'd be shocked to take a light meter outside and then compare the inside light.

If you could take the fixture cover off and get the flats right under your fluorescents, it would work.  Probably easier to buy the shop light, though.

Leave the lights turned on round the clock.  Growth is cumulative, so instead of 10 hrs of growth a day you will get 24 hrs.  That's another reason I use the lights.  MY tp's are ready sooner.
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I did it!

It's a first for me and I'm excited to see if I get sturdier growth.

I bogged down going to shop for gro-lites, so decided to try the laundry room. Luckily, my freezer is just under one of the fluorescents, so I piled up boxes and set a flat with columbine and unsprouted cypress vine right under the light. Then I taped the switch tight to keep it on 24/7 and husband-proof it.

So are they fine there or do I also have to bring them upstairs occasionally for some natural sunlight?

I'll also try to get some gro-lites for my den.

TY. I'm a happy gal tonight.

TTYL
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newleaf knows her stuff!  Lol

Let us know how this works out, and when you see your first columbine sprout.
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Shop-lites are easy to purchase, economical, and lightweight -- and I found the price and hassle differential for gro-lites not worth the slight difference in color and growth. (Besides, the plants will be outside in no time...)  Don't forget you'll have to water a little more frequently, though... when I first started light gardening, I was surprised how quickly the moisture evaporated.. and it only takes a day for a whole tray of seedlings to keel over from dehydration.  Good luck, and happy seeding!
~eureka
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Don't buy growlights.  The light spectrum is enough on a cool white fluorescent to raise seedlings perfectly.  The growlights include red wavelengths for reproduction and flowering.  You'd want them if you were growing orchids or violets all year in a closet, but not neccessary for seed starting.  Cost too much, too.

I plant my flats with new, sterile seed-starting mix (has some fertilizer in it so you don't have to worry about nutrition), then dip them into a tub of water until I see water just starting to come through the mix.  You have to watch it because the if the flat sinks in the water, all is lost.  Then drain them very, very well and put under the lights.  They will stay wet for much longer than overhead watering.  Lift the flat and if it's light, dip it again.
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Today I purchased a Alice du Pont Mandevilla and I was reading on line it does well in clay?  Is this true?  Any experience with this?

Full sun was recommended at the nursery but I read on line it does well in partial sun.  The clay patch gets afternoon sun from 3 pm on.  I sure hate to kill this beautiful plant as it was almost $30.   Should I risk putting it in clay with afternoon sun?
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http://www.wave-rave.com/dispimage.aspx?id=43&imagefield=diagram

Is this it?!

I want one, too.

Have no experience with it. I put a hardy rose into clay with afternoon sun years ago but it never once flowered. Still grows well. Don't know why.

Love,
Port
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No thats not it, although it is stunning.  Mandevilla are a lot larger -well the one I have is.

I put 2 roses bushes in clay and both died.  Last summer I put Gladiolus in the clay and they did well, but I really want a large perennial there.

How are your columbine seeds doing, any new growth?
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I so wanted to tell you but given your news today, I didn't feel right about jumping up and down about the first seedling to pop up THIS MORNING. I never expected the flat to do anything at all 'cause it's been about three weeks.

It sure made me happy and reminded me that it takes patience in all things. Everything else is growing too fast, except for the columbine.

That photo was from google Alice du Pont Mandevilla images, so it's another reminder to not believe everything you find on the Internet.

Much love,
Port
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Tippy:  mandevillas are one of my favorite vines... unfortunately, it dies off with frost in our part of the country, but it's so stunning, it's worth planting every year.  I've never tried to plant any of my mandevillas in the shade (they are rather costly, so I didn't want to risk suboptimal locations), but I know one fella who grows them on his porch, which only gets about sun from 2pm onward, and they do pretty well.  Don't know how they would do in clay soil, though.

Portann:  congratulations on the sprout!  Some plants have seed germination times that really test your patience, but that's when it's really exciting! :)  And that pic on your link is actually petunias, a new variety called "wave" -- easy to get at most nurseries these days. Mandevillas are climbing vines, sometimes called "chilean jasmine":

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/2941/

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Columbines take patience, but they are well worth it.  Don't give up, they have a looooong germination time.
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Yeahhh for your seedling--you did it thanks to newleaf.  Don't every worry about jumping in when I have bad news.  I need the distraction as one can only think about this so much until the minds can't absorb anymore until it gets a rest.

That link did not look like it but the picture was small and hard to see the size and shape of flower and leaves.  I posted some pictures of it in my photos.  Take a look.

To: eureka

Yes they did tell me it would die in frost but it was too pretty to pass up.  I better play it safe and plant in sun and no clay.  I'd hate to lose this one and I do have a great spot for it.
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Love this thread and hope to have time to read all posts some day.

But about the clay, I grow azaleas, oak leaf hydrangeas, iris, lillies, a few hardy roses have survived, camelias, and any other native ga plants.  My plants and I love home made compost.

Began a woodland garden last year.  Editing the woods and seeing what comes up naturally.  Will add more oak leafs and azaleas over time.  My native dogwoods exploded this year with more light from removing some gums and pines.  Have lots of new baby dogwoods, two small crabapples and magnolia.  Few trylliums.  All provided by mother nature and her birds.  Sorry to say I eradicated the wild blackberries b4 I adopted my new philosophy.

Not being able to spend all day outside in the dirt is the worst sx...so far.

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If I put something in the ground outside, it is a death sentence. It's even sadder that I live in Florida, where plants simply have to look at soil and they become part of the magnificent lush landscape. So I've taken up sprouting and micro-greens. If it can live on a kitchen counter or a sunny window and have a life expectancy of 10 days or less, then my evil black thumbs can not kill it.

I did buy some sunflower seeds to plant outside yesterday. I can't buy enough raw seeds to sprout or grow into sunny greens, so silly me figured I would create my own supply. We'll see how that nightmare turns out.
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Florida is rough.  Soil in most parts is so sandy that there's no way to slow down water rushing through and absolutely no nutrition in sand.  Is there a sugar mill or something nearby so you get some composted baggass to dig in?  Cotton Gin trash is good, too.  Organic matter won't take long to decompose back down to sand again, but if you add a pickup load to your growing area every year, you may be able to pull it off.

I nearly killed my self in the garden last Saturday.  Felt so whooped for 3 days that I didn't know if my blood was crashing or I was just tired out from long inactivity.  Turns out I WAS crashed.  Platelets down to 36,000.

Well, hgb feels okay.  If it was low I wouldn't have been able to work so hard; not enough breath in that case.  This weekend,even with low platelets, I just had to work outside.  Careful not to wear sandals, to wear gloves and stay clear of stickery stuff.  Just keep telling myself 'don't get hurt, fool'.

I am so far south that if you can't get everything into the ground by May, don't even bother; you will spend your whole summer just watering it for survival.  I never meant to buy anything new this year because of TX.  But... people kept giving me stuff, plant sales had outrageous things like Syke's Dwarf oakleaf hydrangea, sweet shrub (fragrant native), hellebores and weird japanese azaleas with spidery lavendar flowers.  Stop me before I plant again!!!!

Hope spring is going well for all of you and if you can't get into your gardens, you've managed to twist someone else's arm to do it for you.
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Just keep telling myself 'don't get hurt, fool'.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Too funny!  We have the opposite problem up in Michigan, not a lot of planting until end of May due to frost.  Its been know to frost here up until Memorial Day.  Many times we run out there covering everything with boxes, blankets-etc..  I have flowers in pots waiting to be put in the ground--maybe another week I will.

Every year I buy two Dahlias and I tried digging up those tubers and storing but it didn't work out.  I was really upset about that because they were Holland Festival Saucer size 10' flowers.  I have never been able to find them again.  I've been buying the Gipsy Dahlias but they are not as big or pretty.  Maybe this fall I will try digging up those tubers again , with your guidance.  Such a shame to keep spending that money every year.

Isn't 36,000 platelets dangerously low?  Do you have to reduce your Interferon now?
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1 of the branches on our papaya tree broke off the other day and out fell 36 papayas, never realized how many can grow on a single branch!  no ways to eat all of it so we planted some and made soup with the raw ones :)

also, i'm trying to plant lavender, they are so hard to take care of, it says full sun, but one type just wilts!   and they take forever to grow, any advice on that?   growing mind in a pot should really move it out to the grow so it can grow faster than it should.  and we have wild tomatoes thriving in out backyard like crazy.
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oops, i meant "mint" not mind :)
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Where area do you live to have a papaya tree?  How nice and I am envious.  Papaya smoothies everyday.  I have grown mint in containers, as I have heard it will take over a garden.  One year I had chocolate mint and added it to my tea.  It was odd at first but got use to it.  I have mint every summer along with basil, lemon oregano , rosemary and various others.  

No advice on lavender, but I am sure someone will.  I think your almost done with tx.  Yeahhhhhh!
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If you grow papayas you are further south than me.  The only lavendar you can grow is spanish lavendar and then it will do best is a high well-drained alkaline bed (add a handful of lime).  I trialed them all in N. Louisiana last year and spanish was the only one to come back. I put them with afternoon shade.

Tippy, 36,000 is 14,000 below danger and will get the study doca panicky call from the study, then they call you.  The last time I crashed so bad they stopped all meds for 4 days and it pushed shot day to Tuesday.  That's messed up because bloodwork is done on Monday and results don't get back till Thurs or Fri, so you've already made it worse before they know how bad it is.  They asked me to come back on Tues for bloodwork but it will be a waste of time, even worse by then.  I'll try to talk them into letting me go back to Fridays.  3 days late on interferon can only allow the platelets to rise. I'm already on 84% of the interferon and will go to 40% of the interferon dose.  Done it before, not a problem for me.

Just call me Casper.  I went to a Halloween wedding party and wore white makeup as the  Queen of the Damned.  I look just like that now, but not wearing make-up.  I've started noticing the signs of crashing.  Exhausted & breathless is low hgb, ghostly and mouth sores is low platelets. Kidney infection for me is low neutrophils (don't want that again!)

I only got my husband to stop freaking out by showing him the wallet card to take to the emergency room.  It'll work out.
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Mint will definately take over, so will lemon balm.  I have lemon balm and clip sprigs when I make green tea.  A bay leaf plant, basil, italian oregano rosemary, thyme...I dry all those at the end of the season.  Lemon oregano sounds good.  

I could never get dahlia tubers to keep for the next year either.  I don't think my canna's are going to come back either, those I store in the garage and plant in pots for the pond.
I also think I lost a pretty nice sized branch of my Summer Chocolate Mimosa tree this winter.

Hey Tippy, Have you ever seen an elderberry bush?  they grow in clayish dirt and they look like a fancy Japanese Maple, sorta, mine gets flowers on it.

Lal lives in Texas somewhere.  Lavender is easy to grow (at least in Pa.  put it in the ground and forget about it), maybe in Tx it needs more water cause it is so hot?
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Not a water issue.  Down here we lose stuff because the combo of high humidity and heat lets fungal diseases attack much worse.  We try to cheat but some things are just not meant to be.

Are you hanging the dahlias and cannas in an area above freezing?  It's hard to put them someplace that is both cold but not freezing and not getting dried out by your heating system.
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I put them in the garage that is not heated but it is not freezing.  They, the cannas, actually did come back when I planted them in the ground and that does freeze around here LOL.
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GSD
Yes, that is what I will put there--a Elderberry Bush or two.  I googled it and looks like it will do well there.  We feed the birds and I plant flowers, shrubs to attract them, and birds love the Elderberry Bush, although birds and berries make for a big mess.  Will just have to hose everything down every other day for the blue stains on the patio, gazebo and everywhere.  

Oops --Husband just said no Elderberry bush or tree, as he will be the one cleaning up the big mess.  Aaaaw he knows me well--" Honey, please....  "

Casper
The Dahlias are kept in the basement and its cool down there in the winter.  I'm worried about you and please let us know what they do this week.  Your one cool, calm and collected girl.  Wish I had one tenth of your calmness.

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Tippy, My elderberry does not get berries.  It is ornamental.  They are inexpensive too, I'll snap a pic tomorrow and post it.

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I will find out tomorrow, if I don't have a tag on one I will ask my friend at the greenhouse where I bought them.  Might not be till Monday cause tomorrow is mothers day and she will be swamped.  They are purple with feathery / lacey leaves and there are 2 types, one that flowers and one that doesn't.  I have seen some in hubby's landscape magazines advertised as the "new japanese maple". They grow very fast too, I cut mine back every fall.  It is growing in **** clayish type soil that hubby hauled in to put around the pond.  My friend always tells her customers to dig the hole twice as big as the root ball & you could work in some sand or something to fill in around the root ball.
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I always plant tree in native soil.  The roots will have to grow out into some day, anyway.  If it's really horrible, like your clay, that's good advice to dig the hole much, much wider.  Once you've busted up the clay and put it back in the hole, it should be a lot easier for the roots to move through.

We are on the cusp of hydrangea season here.  The 'Endless Summer' has already colored up.  I'm sure those rebloomers were designed for you guys in cold climates.  Since it blooms on old & new wood, if the bush gets frozen to the ground and loses its old wood, you still have a shot at blooms.

I'm going to upload photos of the ultimate mophead hydrangea (my opinion) on my page.  It's called 'Ayesha'.  Grows and establishes much faster than all others (possible choice for difficult soils?), has a darker, shinier leaf and the petals are cupped so that some people call it the popcorn hydrangea.  You will love it if you can find it.
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I put two Endless Summer in last year and excited too see how, and when they flower.  We won't get any blooms until mid July on the mopheads.  Even the Rhododendrons won't bloom until end of May, or early June.  

Husband wants to put in some Lillis of the Vallie's, as he loves the smell and his Mother always had them.  Theres two bags in the garage waiting to be planted.  Oh boy!  Trying to tell him those things will take over the whole yard and we'll never get rid of them.  I'm half  tempted to hide them, never to be found.  I don't know what you did with them, is all I can say.

I did look at the photo, nice.  Think I will put some Black Eyed Susan in and some Gladiolus in the clay. They make for beautiful fresh cut house flowers.
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I have some of the smaller black eyed susans and actually like them better than the tall ones.  Have you ever seen the green eyed ones?  They are different.  

Good Luck with those lillies of the valley.  Can they handle a shady area?  I have a spot that would be good for them to take over.

In my pic of the orange azelia as you can see no blooms yet, I think that one is red blooms.

When we first moved here there was Mountain Laurel around the back porch.  I had pygmy goats then and they ate EVERYTHING even the Mt Laurel.  Well it acted like an overdose of speed, I thought my mean female goat was gonna drop over dead, she didn't & went on to eat my grape vines LOL
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Hi all,

This thread is so amazing. Thank you all very much. It brings me real happiness to think of us and our gardens.

Tippy, I really love Lilies of the Valley. We brought our  from the cottage, where the lilies have taken over about half an acre. And in the last ten years, I've seen first hand how frustratingly invasive they are. Have tried digging in border edges but they go underneath, tried digging them out but they come back. I still tell myself that I love them but now I also hate them.

Still, I have so many big showy flowers but nothing does it for me quite as much as a couple of lilies of the valley or forget-me-nots in a teeny vase.

For Mother's Day, my husband is going to put in another hardy climbing rose for me. (He's been designated responsible for Mother's Day, now that the kids only phone home from out of town.)  Has anyone heard of butterflying the root ball? It's so tangled and overgrown in the pot.

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Yes, the lilies like shade.  Maybe you should send that goat to portanns house to thin out those lilies.  

Port
In a month or so we can start putting up pictures of the garden.  Mine doesn't get going good until mid July.  
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Do you mean cutting (sort of)it to split it up?  If so, I do that with my 30ish year old asparagus fern every year.  Speaking of asparagus, I planted a bunch last year and just yesterday ate 6 nice fresh sprigs, yum.  real butter on those too.  Next year should be a good harvest.

Yes, yes, I love pictures
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If roots are really tight in the container and going round and round, definietly butterfly them or score lightly down the outside of the root ball with the balde of your pruners.  It's possible for rootbound plants to keep circling after planting and never spread out and get established.

Daylilies starting here soon, too.  Does anyone else have daylily rust problems?  They used to be the world's best perennial till that disease came in from China.  I'm hoping all the plants I moved in last year are resistant.

We really learn some lessons the hard way.  In a garden of mine further south, vast areas were ruined by oriental bloodroot groundcover and by hardy morning glories.  I actually had to move away to end the frustration.  Now if someone tells me a plant is invasive, it might get admitted in a container, but probably not.  

Portann I agree.  No matter what's going on, there is nothing like the joy you get from the rebirth of the garden every spring.
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Dahlias are my husband's favorites, and when survive year after year, they just get bigger and more fabulous.  I found the best thing after digging them up is to brush the soil off gently with a paintbrush, and put them into individual paper bags with some sterile soilless mix/sawdust/vermiculite (easy to label that way, too), and I kept them in the basement were it was very damp, but not below 45 degrees.  I had many prize bulbs for several years (some Park Princess that would grow 4-5 tall and flowers 8-10 inches across), but had a flood problem one year, and they all rotted in the basement and we had to declare them a loss along with some furniture and keepsakes. (I think my husband minded the loss of the dahlias more than anything else...!)

Being in New England I'm still waiting for last frost, so I've just been admiring the bulbs coming and going at this point.  The little surprise in the garden was last week a local stray decided to pick my backyard ivy bed as the place to have her litter of kittens!  Cutest things, barely moving around under the yews... so I guess this year my seedlings are gonna have young feline competition for space lol.  

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!
~eureka
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My sister and I have been gardening for a few months now.  We have to contend with the beach sand that's actually all the way into the mainland where we live.  We built it up with top soil, manure, Miracle Grow soil, etc.  We've got some things growing great now.  Some tall corn, some tomatoes, some zucchini, some yellow squash, some spinach, some broccoli, some beans and some marigolds (to ward off the interested animals-hopefully).   Today, I got to taste some of our first harvest and it was Yummmm.  I had 1/2 of one of the 1st tomatoes, some of the zucchini which I ate raw dipped in some ranch dressing and a few of the green beans-raw.   We washed them off first, of course!  But, there was nothing that I've tasted that's is store bought, that ever tasted as good as just picked that day from the garden!  And knowing that we did it ourselves, from seeds,  and with the good Lord growing it, made it so much the better!!

Blessings and happy gardening.

Susan400
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I have a wood chuck {or somthing] in the area  , he kills everybody garden in the circle. most of my stuff is going in screen porch .  hes big and fat    sun of a  bit*h .and his hair is shiney        bob
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A 22 short will fix that, LOL  It works around here
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Love that this thread is still going=)

I haven't tried all the beautiful flowers, but am doing pretty good with my veggies.  Neighbors probably think I am crazy because it is in the front yard, not the back-but it was the perfect spot.

I finally found some stevia and it is doing well.....I just don't know what to do with it.  Have any of y'all ever grown it?  Any suggestions?

We couldn't figure out what was eating the bottom leaves off the collards this past season....until hubby found a huge turtle out there one morning stuffing his face, lol!
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I have stevia cuttings that I'm trying to root.  I was told they are tropicals so have to come in for the winter where I am.  They are struggling.  Everytime I take off the humidity tent they flop over.
I wonder if drying the leaves and crushing to a powder would work.  You could make an extract but that involves alcohol.  Guess it wouldn't be any worse than vanilla though.  I still use vanilla, but I flinch everytime.
I read there are over 200 varieties of stevia, some sweeter than others.  I have no idea which one I have, but know it's sweet, cause I munched on one of the leaves.
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alot of people have old aquariums , some w small cracks .i have 4 outside.  there great for rooting and growing herbs .as long as the water can evaporate or drain {drill small hole in corner of tank ,}  the 40 gallon will be a painted turtle  project {it holds water } as i didnt get to make my kio pond AGAIN this yr !!!       just a thought  
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I was putt zing around in the yard and this is what I saw.  She let me get 2 feet away.  Not scarted !  I took pictures and posted in my photos.  Take a look!
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http://www.diggingdog.com/pages2/plantpages.php/S-0595

Here is the link to the elderberry bush.  I saw another one online too but mine has lacy leaves kind of like a japanese maple.  gotta go check out your ..............wait a minute, I saw it this morning.  I am gonna get a pic of what eats my suet
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I looked at the link but it states it does produce fruit.  Been to local nurseries and haven't seen them anyway.  Bought some nice stuff today --still waiting for the Roses and Dahlias.  I want some yellow double knock outs.   Still to cold to plant yet, as we had frost twice this week, and had to run and cover everything up.  

That ole sly rooster--too funny.
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You're right, I found the exact name and didn't read the description.  My friend at the greenhouse has tables full of these plants and they don't get fruit.

The knockouts are nice and I don't think I ever saw a double one.  I have a knockout bush and a KO tree.

Today I bought chives, cilantro and a dwarf purple & green basil.  Rule of thumb around here it to wait till Memorial weekend to plant the veggie garden.  I am lucky we didn't get a frost a few nights ago, my japanese maples would have been toast till next year.
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hey all, sorry took me so long to reply,  summer is finally here!!!  i just got done with my last final!  papaya and tomatoes are so easy to grow here way down in the south!  matter of fact, we have wild cherry tomatoes thriving on their own in the randomest spots in our backyard! (picture soon).
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Congrats, Lal, on doing your last final today. I'm eating some mango and imagining having a papaya tree like you. Whew.

To all:  I think I overdid it and come Memorial Day weekend, I'll have to be outside day and night, planting a gazillion seedlings, new dahlias and rose bushes.

Two questions:

Has anyone ever tried growing tomatoes upside down?

Any ideas for what to do about dozens of tulips, post-blooming?

I have about seventy for the first time. Before this,  I just had a few,  let the leaves die to feed the bulbs and would hide the leaves among summer growth. This year I'll have so many browning leaves everywhere. Any ideas?

Nice to get back to the thread. I had a couple of bad post-tx days (days 14 and 15) Monday and Tuesday. It was a bummer, I kid you not. Just kind of went blue, real blue, as in emotions. I had some fries for breakfast at a diner this morning and snapped out of it. Sure surprised me.
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There is a guy close by me that has been growing tomatoes upside down waayyyy before the topsy turvey came about.  He used 5 gallon buckets hung on a clothes rack with wheels and pushed them in & out of his shop way into late fall.  He used coffee filters at the hole in the bottom so the dirt wouldn't come out.  Good luck if you try it, they are all the rage.

I know some landscapers that do a lot more planting than we do, the big expensive houses in the upscale neighborhoods.  They just cut them off and claim that it doesn't hurt them.  I would just spread some mulch over them to hide the dying leaves.  Or you could pull them up & replant in the fall uughgh  I don't do that, I put mulch over them or let the mostly die and the cut them.

As for the post tx blues...................I had that real bad.  I am just a little over a year and FINALLY feeling good.  My joints & muscles are still killing me but I can handle that.  I actually went to a psych and am still going.  It really helped to talk to a neutral party.

LAL!!!!  Great news on finishing up the finals!!!!

Denise
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That sounds great about your neighbor's custom upside down tomato plants. I'd rig something up if I weren't so lazy. I'm going to try the topsy-turvy this year. I've had mixed results with veggies, except for my Thai chilies which were an amazing success.

I'll  definitely do the mulch over the tulip leaves. Totally hadn't thought of it. I have a huge compost but haven't turned it over for I don't know how long, so don't think I should use that.

Last time I visited a psychologist was when I was having conflict with my younger son. In the end, I didn't want to talk it out with a stranger, just wanted to 'flee'. (I love fleeing.)That's what I did for a month. When I returned home, my heart still ached but I'd adjusted or at least resigned myself.

It was really good for me to get away but I'm not up to it this time, physically or emotionally. I feel so d-amn decrepit and feeble and wish I were Lal's age.:)

I do have the post-tx blues and thank you so much for telling me that you also went through this. I can't put my finger on why.
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475300_tn?1312426726
Port, My motto was "when the goin' gets tough, Denise gets goin' ".  So I know all about fleeing.  I wish I was Lal's age too.

I am 47 and TX aged me probably 10 years in looks and I'm not sure about everything else yet.  I would be driving down the road and just start bawling for no reason.  Everything came to a head the evening I decided to drink a half pint of vodka (I know, I know) I haven't drank in so long, like 15 years, and the waves of anxiety, and my doc wouldn't give me anything except zoloft and told me it would take 3 weeks to work, and, and  DUHHHH.  Well I didn't know what Soma & vodka would do.........ride to hospital in the ambulance, scared my mom and hubby to death.  It was stupid but self medication "seemed like a good idea at the time.......not.  That is over and done with and I guess the psych is helping.

Hinest, it took me a year to feel like myself.  Not saying that it will for you but if it does remember that you are not alone.

Denise
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Denise,

Thank you truly - I could bawl just reading your post.

Aren't garden threads great?

Maybe it's how tx drains us and makes so many demands. Then some of us collapse after the marathon.
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717272_tn?1277594380
Ugly as it is, don't cut or cover the foliage to your bulbs until it's pretty yellow.  They need to make the energy for next year's flowers.  We can't grow tulips here, too warm.  Kind of like trying to do cut flowers...still worth it for the pleasure it brings, then throw them out.  

I am on my first week of sick leave and will stay out until I finish and turn back into a human.  I was really hoping that the 10 years older look was totally related to the dehydration.  You mean it's not?  And here I was thinking that with losing 15 pounds I was going to be so good-looking when I finished!  Crushing disappointment.
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475300_tn?1312426726
Newleaf, hmm I honestly never had a problem but then maybe I do wait till they get kinda crappy before hubby (yes hubby) puts down new mulch. He does it cause we use 20 - 30 yards around here.

Oh and BTW I gained that 15 lbs back and then some LOL.

Port, yea I did collapse the money issues didn't help either.
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Avatar_f_tn
A bit of nostalgia, looking up Tippy's thread for some info I need today. I recall someone posting about it.

My dinner plates are finally going to flower (surreal!) but the leaves are being eaten pretty badly. Does anyone know if I should do something or just let things take their course?

Also, I had a disaster with my cosmos. I think I overfertilized them because all the greenery turned burned-looking. Is there anything I can do to save them?

We're getting a lot of rain here but I know those in the Texas area are having a rough time with lack of water. How is Lal's garden hanging in?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hres a good video on to grow  herbs


http://stagevu.com/video/bmviwuqtzila
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217882_tn?1249048826
If your talking about Dahlia dinner plates, its probably grubs eating your leaves.  They love Dahlias.

You can try the old beer trick, or you can buy the harsher pesticides.  One year I didn't do anything and the plant look pretty bad.  Your flower buds will come from new leaf shoots and if those are being eaten it will affect the plants flowering performance.  
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Rocker, you don't learn gardening by watching, you learn it by doing.  

We've been getting drowned for some reason in Louisiana.  I'd love to plant something but know that the rains will quit and new stuff will die in the heat.  Envious of you guys.  We just hold on through the summer.

Rereading the posts reminded me of spring and also how lousy I was doing last spring.  Kind of a weird mix of emotions. Certainly happier now!
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547836_tn?1302836432
it is frying hot here down south!  my last lavender is almost burnt out :(  and our grapes won't fruit, gardenia bush won't flower :((

wish we had some rain here, lacking water is a yes, they have a policy for people here that even numbered street addresses can only water their lawns on tue & thur, and odd numbers mon & wed something like that.  most people violate the rules and secretly water their plants at night.  our water bill went triple digits last month

but recently, my mom mowed over our only thriving patch of wild tomatoes in the backyard, they fruit like crazy rain or shine!  but wasn't getting enough nutrition seeing the baby tomatoes all turned yellow when the drought hit, no more red tomatoes.  so mom mowed over them bc she wanted them to "rest in peace."
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