Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Got to Garden Today, and Tree Update

 I got lots done today, but had to come inside to take breaks to get out of the strong wind.  I got most of the dead growth off of plants, and got two kinds of onion plants, and more veggie seeds planted.  I finished the garden clean up across the street, and got some things planted over there.  I found a milkweed seedhead and planted the seeds from it in an area that will not be in the rabbit fencing I'm hoping to get in over there.  Some of the seeds blew off in the wind.  It was a cool sight.  I also planted a couple rows of fennel seeds that had still been on a plant.

I did not take pictures, but then, at the end of the day, when I went out front to get my jacket off of the porch, the first daffodil bloom of the season caught my eye.  I grabbed my camera, and went out in my stocking feet and took photos, then ventured into the grass so I could take photos of a few other plants that had caught my eye earlier today.

Soon, there will be more blooms.

The crocus by the house are still blooming.

A few other crocuses are blooming as well.  This one popped out today.  It had closed by early evening, but will be back open tomorrow.

I showed the buds of these chiondoxas yesterday, but couldn't think of their name at the time.  I was pleased to see them opened today.   Maybe seeing them open is what helped me remember the name.

This is what happens when you forget that the reason you had a pot in a spot was to cover the blank spot left when the bulb was finished blooming.  I moved several pots today, so I think I got all the bulbs uncovered.  There are still some covered by leaves, though.  I'm not finished getting those off.

A number of years ago, in a different yard, I grew some old fashion type verbena.  For some reason, it died.  I wanted to find some to grow here, but only found the 'Homestead' kind.  I've never had it live over a winter, though.  Last spring, I noticed some on a hill at church, and the gal who planted it there said she got it from along a road next to her acreage.  She got some for me, and when I raked some of the leaves out of the big bed in front today, was pleased to see it survived very well and looks to be spreading.

I got most of last year's dead plant material off of the plants yesterday and today.  The pasque flower has grown quite a bit since I first saw it poking out a few days ago.  I have some others that are coming up, too.  I noticed that someone had a Wildflower Wednesday post up, so I may link this post to Gail, at Clay and Limestone's monthly event, since this is a wildflower.  My woodland phlox is coming up, too.

 Thanks for the words of encouragement and advice about our tree situation.  I called the extension office today, and she very nicely got onto my blog and looked at the pictures.  For one thing, she told me the foam is not considered good practice.  She said about the same things Greggo did, that the foam would not stop the wood from rotting, making more cuts will create more of the holes that may not heal up well, since the others haven't.  She didn't want to tell us straight out that we should go ahead and have the tree cut down, though.  She was saying we will continue to have problems with the tree, and agreed that the big limb is not safe.  When I asked what she would do if it was her tree, she said  she can only give us the information so we can make the decision.  She did end up saying things that helped me figure out it really is time for it to come down.  She also said the tree is not healthy enough to draw any pesticides up into it.  I didn't want to do that, anyway.

The arborist had not come by 3:30 today, so I called to see what his plans were because I had the urge to go buy pansies and onion plants.  He said it was going to be later, if he made it.  I told him we can talk on the phone if he'd prefer.  He told me he trusts his crew if they say it needs to come down.  They hadn't told me that, but I figured that's what they were thinking, since they wanted it to come from him. I told him about my call to the extension office, so I felt it was the right decsion.  He went ahead and gave me the estimate, which was more than I thought it was going to be.  I called one other place, and they are going to be coming this week, hopefully.  Everyone is busy now, because they got a bunch of leads at the Home and Leisure Show last weekend.  In fact, the place I called for the estimate is a guy I talked to there.

Oh, and Larry and I already have different ideas about what we want to do about the bare spot.  Larry said he wanted to level the area and plant grass.  I said I wanted him to wait because we'll need to figure out what we want the area to look like and see about finding a tree we could plant.  I am so not wanting to plant any grass there!  I am starting to get ideas for plants I'd like to put there.  I'm thinking the planting area should extend from the area in front of the house.  I told Larry I'd like to plant some annuals there.  He said that's why we dug out the big area in the front.  I told him I ended up planting a bunch of perennials there, so could use more space for annuals.


  1. Sorry about your tree. We had to do something similiar with a tree of ours in February. It's one of the hardest things to do, but it's what is best. I planted seeds and more seeds today as well, but the wind was wicked.....can't wait to see our basil pop up. Glad you got a lot of work done:) It's a good feeling.

  2. Oh, I hope you show the pasque flower when it blooms! I don't know why, I used to be creeped out by their fuzziness, but now I find it strangely attractive!

    Oh dear, sorry the tree is going to have to come down, and it is going to cost more than you thought.

    It looks like there is already a raised bed there under the tree. Perfect spot for more flowers! You definitely need more plants on that side of the house, for balance....Do you think Larry will buy that rationale?

  3. Well, Sue, you've done your homework and had sound advice from people in the know, so sad as it will be to see your lovely tree go, it is going to be for the best. Definitely ask the tree fellers to save as much of the wood for you as possible, to use as edging for your beds and save some decorative pieces to place in your flowerbeds. Also, have disks cut to use wherever you need 'stepping stones' and to use in the beds for the same purpose, so you don't compact the soil when you work in the beds!

    I have also used logs to elevate areas in my gardenbeds and added more soil, to give a raised (stepped) appearance. This works very well and also provides habitat.

    Ask Larry if he really envisages having to mow more lawn!!! Tell him the 'greenies' are promoting LESS lawn, not more! As Alison says, a flowerbed on that side of the house will balance things beautifully, and I'd definitely look for a small, compact, indigenous tree (or a fruit tree!) to plant as a replacement for your Grande Dame...in her memory! The birds will thank you for it, in time and a garden needs at least one tree!!! You'll be doing your bit for posterity, too :)

  4. I got a tree cut down and removed that size for $600., and another company wanted to undercut his price. Usually a certified arborist should be hired to "trim" a tree but a "tree trimmer", less experienced tree whackers, have the least expensive removal prices.

  5. Good morning friends. Thanks again for the ideas and words of encouragement. I told Larry yesterday we should have an open house so our family members, especially his, who used to live here, can come say good-bye to the tree. Our house is a mess right now, though, and he wasn't keen on the idea.

    In the night, I had the idea of getting some fence like the one on the east side, only put it across the front of the bed, and across the west, leaving a path next to the sidewalk there, which has a couple beauty berry bushes and a butterfly bush. I wonder what it would be like to plant the taller plants against the side further from the house to create a little room in there. That may not work, though, if we planted a tree. I can see my coral bells and some annuals in there. It would be nice and colorful in the summer.

    I like the idea of cutting the stump into circles. Is that something the guys who cut it down would do? I could ask my neighbor who does trunk sculptures how much he would charge to do that. I asked him if he wants the trunk if they need to cut it down. He said the wood is too soft, so he doesn't use silver maples for his pieces. I wonder if the trunk will be solid. I know there is dead wood in there, and there are holes from the borers and wood peckers. I wonder if they would take a branch over to my garden across the street. I'll have to ask.

    I think we should get more estimates. The first one is $2,200! He had said $1,800 when he was out the first time, but he said that hadn't included the stump removal.

    I will show the pasque flowers when they bloom. If you don't want to wait to see them, I showed them last spring. Here's a link to one of the posts they were in:


  6. Around here the "tree man" did all our trees...thousands of dollars. Large ones about 500 to 600 with stump removed.
    Wish those crocuses lasted longer.
    Have chiondoxas (should be a simple name)they bloom right after the crocuses.

  7. I bet Larry thinks you have enough gardens. Little does he know. We never have enough do we? I like your idea of the annual garden. Too bad the tree has to come down. I'd still think about a tree also - maybe something that isn't too big but flowers out in the spring. Your gardens are going to be beautiful this year.

  8. Nice to see that golden bloom, I need to check mine now.

  9. It sounds like if the limbs are dangerous, than maybe the tree should come down. You definitely don't want the tree to fall. My parents have a large tree in their backyard, and many years back, there was a hurricane and one of the tree branches fell on top of the roof and caused a lot of damage. Hope everything works out for you.

  10. Oh Sue...that's so sad about the tree :-( On the other hand, it certainly is exciting to see things popping up in the garden! I have had similar experiences with Verbena...Homestead never seems to live very long...it might make it through 1 winter, only to die the next. When I lived in Nebraska, my grandma had a Verbena much like the one you mentioned, it was love and vigorous, and came back bigger and better each year. I haven't found one exactly like it...but bought one from High Country Gardens last year called "Annie" that seems to behave much like my grandma's...dying back to basal foliage in the winter, but at least it overwinters...so far!

  11. Sue, things must be more expensive up north!

    We had three trees removed, two elms, one very large silver maple, an old apple tree pruned a little, two Elm trees pruned up and one stump about 24.5 feet across ground out. Total price: $1400. I was pretty pleased and thought that was reasonable.

    I think I would have the stump removed in it's location.

    I also vote for a smaller tree in that spot.

  12. Sad news about the tree Sue.

  13. Hi Sue!

    Came back to thank you for visiting my blog and for the welcome comments :)

    Re the disks, I'm absolutely sure the tree felling team will be more than happy to slice through the trunk and give you as many disks as you feel you need. We've never had a problem getting that done over here. You can decide on the thickness etc. then just tell them. I got our guys to trim the nice branches I wanted to keep, to size and they simply put them into a neat pile for me to use as and when I required. If you have some nice large pieces of the trunk cut into knee-height disks, you can place those in and around your garden for elevating pots or to use as a bird feeding table, or to display a nice piece of garden sculpture. Any hollowed bits make lovely 'sculptures' on their own, too - you could even fill the hollows with good compost and plant ferns or ivy in them.

  14. The woodland phlox is neat looking, Sue. So sorry about the tree! So how much wind have you been getting- we're nuts with it here, it's driving me crazy because it's the first year since we moved in Nov. '09 that I've really been about to 'dig' in- so to speak! It is a La Nina year, so sad!

    Happy spring to you, Sue!

  15. Sue, Oh no~It's hard to have to lose part of tree, let alone an entire tree. A friend had the arborist who took down a large tree cut the larger limbs in in 4 foot sections, then in half and made some really cute bench tops. You won't believe the light on your home once it's gone...gail

  16. The daffodils are just starting to bloom here, too, Sue. It's an exciting time of year when everyday you can make new discoveries in your garden.

    So sorry about your tree; it's hard to lose an old tree like this, but I think you're doing the right thing. Your husband sounds like mine--I have to plant flowers quickly, before he fills in an empty space with grass. You'd think they'd be happy to have less mowing to do:)

  17. Oh Sue you have been a busy girl! I had to have a tree taken down several years ago and the estimate was $1500. The man was licensed, bonded, insured, etc. However, the city crew was in the neighborhood and I asked them how much they would charge to take it down and they could do it for $400. It pays to shop around.


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