What I'm Weeding Out

Catching Up With Summer

Working Away At the Frontline

I swore to myself I wouldn't do this, but I miscalculated how much I wanted to spend time with grandkids (even though it meant numerous 9 hr. trips). I am now playing catch up with the garden weeds, long grass, and a veritable jungle out there.

So in the spirit of "making lemonade", I thought I would let you know the status of the weeds around here. Maybe you have some of them, too. I'm pretty sure you do.

I make piles to gather up after weeding session is done.

What are the main weeds of July in my Ohio garden? It will take a list.
  • Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  • Poke Weed, Phytolacca americana
  • Burdock, Arctium
  • Canadian Thistle, Cirsium arvense
  • Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans
  • Red Mulberry Trees, Morus rubra
  • Bush honeysuckles, Lonicera
These are the worst of them, I have many others. 

-Purslane,  Portulaca oleracea, loves this time of year for filling in the cracks in my fieldstone pathway. They are quite nutritious edible leaves, but I haven't made use of them except for the compost pile.

-Ground ivy, Glechoma hederacea, has become so ubiquitous I only try to keep it out of cultivated areas; it is taking over the "lawn".

-Hated Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis, is very difficult, but I occasionally wage war on it.

-Garlic Mustard , Alliaria petiolata, is more of a problem earlier in the summer, but a new crop of seedlings starts to make an appearance this month.

This is the short list, grasses tend to top the work list around here. They are my worst weed, and I go to battle all the time, never really winning. The early summer is deceiving- it looks like I have achieved a nice clean area for the month of June. Then the onslaught.

For all that I don't hate weeding, at all. I only hate being overwhelmed by it. If I go out leisurely each morning, devote and hour or two to meditatively pulling weeds, it is a peaceful and restorative occupation. 

Do you wish to identify weeds in your yard? Ohio State has a picture gallery of weeds that is quite extensive. Ohio State Weed Lab

My Weeding Methods

My daughter helped with these

Yes, I have methods. I don't use chemicals, which means I must develop a certain tolerance for some weediness in my garden. That, or find a hireling.

Poke weed I simply cut off at ground level.

Poison Hemlock and Burdock are removed at the crown with a shovel ( an old farmer showed me that: no need to remove the entire deep and difficult taproot).

Red Mulberry are grubbed out below soil level with a spud bar; depending on size, lopper severs the top part from the root.

Same method is used for Bush honeysuckles as for red mulberry. Although I get them smaller and usually loppers are sufficient.

Ground ivy is pulled by hand and then roots are dutch-hoed out.

Canadian thistle pulled straight up, grabbing near ground level with gloved hand in soft earth. Levered out with long trowel or Dandelion weeder in drier conditions.

Bindweed? You try to loosen soil with fork and then pull out. Yes, its a lesson in futility, but keep at it.
Morus Rubra Removed

Poison Ivy

This merits its own page, actually, but I will try to condense.

I used to be entirely immune, but now I must always wash up and be very careful. If I am smart I wear long sleeves+ gloves+long pants+socks and shoes. In hot weather I am not always smart.

First, I cut off the most offensive long parts to get them out of the way. I lay all parts in a separate pile to get rid of later, preferably in a sunny spot for dessication.

Then, use a claw tool to loosen up the creeping roots, pull out those. Some roots are entrenched, pry those up with a garden fork and remove.

Don't throw the poison ivy on the compost pile, don't ever, ever burn. Bag up the dried out plants and get rid of them.

I devote an entire afternoon to this job periodically. And I am presently way behind.
Flowering pots for sanity. You'll be glad to know I weeded this spot after taking photos.

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Visit Ilona's Garden Journal on facebook: Click here
© 2014 written for Ilona's Garden Journal by Ilona E. An excellent blog.

Instagram Walk

I took a walk in the garden yesterday and shot some photos in the Instagram app. Most of my peonies are on the wane, but caught a pic or two of them along with some old roses.

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Visit Ilona's Garden Journal on facebook: Click here
© 2014 written for Ilona's Garden Journal by Ilona E. An excellent blog.

June Garden Report

More Of  What's Happening In My Garden

Proof that there is hope for the Sweetgum tree

I learned that I can't judge a winter's toll until June, and even then it remains to be seen what a tough summer may inflict on the garden in general and shrubs and trees in particular.

Here is what I have observed about my Central Ohio garden so far.

 > I thought two of the Sweet Gum trees were goners when I checked them last month. I was ready to mourn them and have my husband get out his chainsaw. However, it appears that they had only been grievously delayed by the winter blasts of this past spring. I was so happy to see small tufts of new leaves indicating they may not have been doomed after all.

A bit messy, but I like it
 > Many of the lavender shrubs sprouted from the base. Severely cut back and in need of an infusion of new plants to fill it, it has spelled renovation for the feature. Plans had been made to just tear out everything and do something else to line the walk. Right now I am in the process of cutting back both dead lavender and half dead rue to the ground- even though it is a little late in the season. I only have so much energy and physical resources to cover a multitude of tasks around here.

 > Both the thyme and the sage had to be pruned to stubs, as well, although some of the thyme was altogether lost, a tiny bit survived. such things make me happy all out of proportion to what they are.

 > I allowed the mugo pines to go unpruned this year, and I am wondering whether to just trim the new growth?

 > The paths of the raised vegetable garden beds are being covered with cardboard, and look messy. However a few more cut up boxes and I might cover them with mulch. I am thinking of cypress, although that is awful for bare feet.

 > The spring is dry this year, but I noticed some of my seedlings sprouting. The hoses need to get in place already.

 > Tomato plants look miserable here.

 > The new rose I put in last year looks healthy; I'll have to look up the name- it went through this winter without protection.

>> Even though I love the rose that I think is a Scotch rose or R. spinosissima (AKA Pimpinellifolia), due to its apple fragrance all summer, it savagely tore at me through my leather gloves and long sleeved shirt as I removed its dead and overgrown canes. I had neglected that side of the house and poison ivy had taken hold. So it was slow work, but I am two thirds through with a very onerous job.

I am the designated poison ivy remover around the place.
Bowl of Beauty Peony

 More Observations

My Ash trees are completely dead. -The Emerald Ash Borer got them, this time there is no doubt.

Not sure what happened to the ornamental grasses, but the Miscanthus is barely sprouting around one edge (on all the plants).  Wondering if they are marginally hardy here, or whether the heavy snows created wetness and rot???

Dog ticks were still pretty bad despite the cold winter.

A deer was observed in my front yard. Rabbits have made themselves at home here. I really need a dog.

The Days Have Been Glorious

Sorry, can't remember the name of this one
German iris bloomed gorgeously.

Clematis delight me every year, including this one. 

Perfectly lovely weather, so that even the nagging concern about rain is pushed to the back of my mind. 
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© 2014 written for Ilona's Garden Journal by Ilona E. An excellent blog.

Blooming In The Garden

Finally. Cold weather disappeared and things are blooming.
Therese Bugnet

I cut these roses down to the ground last fall due to dieback. They are sprouting up and blooming. Rugosa roses are usually very resistant to rose ailments. Except for being a bit chlorotic due to the uneven moisture levels this year, they are doing well. I expect that they will reach their 5-6 foot height by the end of summer.

Blanc Double De Coubert has one bloom and numerous buds

That one flower has perfumed that part of the garden. I am going to make cuttings and try to start new plants of this lovely old rose. These roses are a bit earlier than many others.

Beaux Arts, a German Iris
I like the colors of this one. It is one of a few remaining German irises that I still grow. I don't take care of them very well. But this one is frilly and has unusual color that blends nicely with other plants of mine. I saw some German Irises growing in town that made me have second thoughts about them. A very striking stand of strong bicolor purple flowers on either side of a driveway entry. They stood alone, with no competing colors or flowers.  It was very effective, and I think that is how I like them used the best.

Siberian Iris
I prefer the delicacy and easier care of Siberian iris. They are also coming into bloom now. I think this one is Caesar's Brother- or was supposed to have been.

Cheddar Pinks

I just planted these pinks last year and they are just blooming for the first time. I was sort of surprised since I had forgotten about them - and there they were! These are really cute, diminutive blooms. They would be right at home in a Fairy Garden.

Bowl of Beauty Peony

This single herbaceous peony is the earliest of my peonies to open, although they all have flower buds. It is in a part of the garden that I let go a bit wild, as opposed to the parts that get wild without my permission. Its color is very pleasing from a distance, and I look at it after my eye has glanced over the Beauty bush and the variegated Weigela, which bloom at the same time in the back yard.

Dream Catcher Beauty Bush
Here is the Dream Catcher Beauty Bush that is finally growing to size and blooming as advertised. It is in the shade of a very tall highly pruned (by ice storms and one paid professional) Silver Maple. I'm very happy with it. Its golden foliage is not as sharply colored as the one I located in full sun in the front yard, but it grows better with a bit of shade.

Well, I have a few more things, some of which are over or just starting. Shasta Doublefile Viburnum is almost over and the Fringe trees, while fragrant, are losing their petals. Columbines popped up everywhere, now slightly past their prime, and the lily of the valley is about over.

I've worked really hard in the garden, but it still needs so much more weeding, trimming, and quite a few other tasks. 

To leave on a happy note (the whole post is happy, but this is what really made my day) : the Sweet Gum trees that I thought were goners have showed new growth. Perhaps the very late hard frosts had killed back the new growth on those trees and they were just slow to recover. I hope thye make it through the summer- then we will be home free.

Also, I cut the Lonicera fragrantissima down to the ground (actually my husband chainsawed it for me) and it is responding with new growth now.

All is well.

Til later, Friends.

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© 2014 written for Ilona's Garden Journal by Ilona E. An excellent blog.

Lavender, Lavender, Where Art Thou?

Summer Lavender

When we put in our stone walk many years ago, I envisioned it rimmed with a lavender hedge. Lavandula vera has been a feature lining the walkway, scenting the air, and providing the garden with charm ever since.

The story does not have a happy ever after ending. It is more of a Romeo and Juliet tragedy because of the periodic deep frozen temperatures we endure every so often. This past winter was one of those years, and I fear that I lost the entire hedge.

I was prepared for the worst. Still, hope that the snow cover kept the plants insulated from the below zero temperatures survived; but now that it is May, hope had faded.

As I was writing this, I again checked on the Lavender. Finding some small growth at ground level, the decision was made: cut everything down to that point, clear out companion plants that suffered dieback and then fill in with new lavender plants.

The Lavender hedge shall live again.


I have had to replace it once before, and it was interspersed with Rue and Iberis sempervirens, but now that all the lavender plants have died,and the spring started so late I am wondering whether to try again.

The Rue ( Ruta graveolens) is sprouting from the bottom of the plants, and I think perhaps I should simply make it the "Rue Walk", now.

If I really must give up the Lavender here, it will have to be planted somewhere in the garden. I can't have a garden without lavender. I just can't.

The trouble in trying to place lavender in my garden is that I don't have much space which qualifies as more protected, plus sunny.

Better Days along the Walk

Temporary Measures

I will decide whether to -again- face prospects of winterkill sometime in the future. The next act of this Lavender drama will appear on these pages...

Stay tuned. 

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© 2014 written for Ilona's Garden Journal by Ilona E. An excellent blog.

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