The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Free Mulch Found Next Door

Most plants love mulch - some cats love dogs.

We used a few bags of cyprus mulch to finish the main rose bed. The eight KnockOut roses had about 280 blooms altogether, decorating the front yard. The hybrid tea roses were blooming shyly, a few blooms for each rose, providing quite a selection in roses, color, and fragrance.

Every few days I cut more roses for neighbors and friends, which keeps all the bushes in production and looking great. I leave the blooms on the KnockOuts a little longer, for color, and they are also good for bouquets.

The recently trimmed crepe myrtle showed off its first new bloom, more like a tiny pink feather for now.

My other concern was the blueberry patch. Lowe's did not have acidic peat moss for digging in the blueberries, so I settled for peat compost, a combination of peat and horse manure. Blueberries like acid, but Almost Eden advised me that mulching with pine needles would help. He followed the same recipe to show customers that mulching alone was sufficient, if not the ultimate.

Our neighbor has pine trees, so they have needles galore and pine cones too. Our helper took the wheelbarrow over and filled it with mulch, just as I nabbed the same amount in grass clippings from our landscaper neighbor. The grass went for the sunny garden, and leaves will provide another blanket for the soil creatures.

The pine needles now fill the blueberry row with a potent aroma of Pinesol. I never used pine before, so I was startled that dried pine needles retained so much fragrance.

Vines
English Ivy
Most of our vines are doing well. The English Ivy on the front porch is completely neglected, not even trimmed. One little stem has grown under the door. One of our first concerns when moving was filtering light through the picture window. Our special wooden shelves are there, and sunlight would eventually eat away at them. I put on a plastic window treatment that would eliminate most of the rays and let sunlight through.

The vine began framing and decorating the window, even though the growing area is the little front porch - no soil except on the far side. This spring a bird sat on the vine and pecked away at its rival mirrored in the semi-opaque glass, every day. He had to be a male seeking dominance for his lady love.

The nectar and pollen are bound to attract insects,
hummingbird baby food.


Trumpet Vine
The three Trumpet Vines have begun to grow. I laughed at a column I saw on the Net, making Trumpet Vine sound like The Kudzu Vine That Swallowed Atlanta. The vines arrived looking like dried sticks, but I soaked them in rainwater for several hours and planted them. One is climbing on the Wright fence. One is climbing the maple in the front yard. The third one was planted in the shade of a tree in the backyard, mostly neglected. I made a point of watering the first two, which also enjoy sunlight. The third vine is doing almost as well, without much water or sunlight.

Norma Boeckler has a Trumpet Vine, with beautiful orange blooms, very attractive to hummingbirds, whose little ones grow on insects - not sugarwater. No, I am not condemning those who support the hummingbird feeder industry. For good results, plants for the nestlings and shelter for the parents should be considered.

Boston Ivy is wonderful, full employment for the groundskeepers.


Boston Ivy
The hated and loved Boston (Japanese) Ivy, which adorns so much of the Ivy League, sits in the sun and grows like crazy when planted in the shade, trying to reach the sun. Since it really is wild grape, Boston Ivy provides fruit for birds. I do not mind inheriting it, but I am leery of starting a plant that groundskeepers curse later.

Honeysuckle gets compost this fall.
It will grow over the dead tree stump, which is fairly tall.
When our landscaper friend was cutting up the dead tree, which had fallen over,
I said, "Woodman spare that tree. I want a vine trellis for free."




Honeysuckle Vine
Like most vines, Honeysuckle has a romantic image and steely roots. I was trying to dig some for a friend to grow. It was more like a tangle of cable, one big tenacious unit. I patted it back down - later, maybe after the rain.

Passion Flower Vine - Maypop
Mine was chewed by slugs and never made it past Baltic Avenue. I may try again next year, but not likely.

Cow Vetch

The fence is colorful when the Cow Vetch blooms.


Cow Vetch
This homely name is owned by a member of the bean family. Its seeds are loved by budgies but hated by those who consider it an aggressive pest. On its own, Cow Vetch climbed my back fence and flowered. Later a group of birds were eating the seed sown by the vine.

Morning Glory, like Cow Vetch,
wins by sowing seed.


Morning Glory
This vine entered the backyard, unbidden. Mr. Gardener tells me it was growing when he moved nextdoor 35 years ago. Last year, during fall cleanup, he put all his extra Morning Glory vines in my compost. When I saw the pile of vines there, I thought, "Yes,  I have them too."