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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #370 - Lacking green grass, this bunny loves weeds.
August 07, 2020

We had a nice rain last Sunday but that was the first significant precipitation in almost 2 months. You can see how brown and crispy the remains of my lawn have become. It crunches when you walk on it. Last Sunday’s rain has not restored it but it has encouraged the natural vegetation, aka weeds, that were growing in it. How do they find the moisture to survive and why don’t we just adapt them as lawn? The Bunny? One good thing from the drought, it’s forcing the bunny to eat the weeds as that’s the only green vegetation he can find. The nice green vegetables are fenced so that he can only salivate from outside the fence while he’s mowing down on sow thistle.

I have grown purple Peppers before and they were always slow to mature and limited in their yield. These are Purple Star from William Dam Seeds and they are amazing. This huge bunch is on one plant and they started doing this by mid July. They are thick walled with a sweet mild flavour. They will stay on my must have list for the foreseeable future. It’s always great to discover another variety that makes that list.

This yellow Water Lily is not a prolific grower or bloomer but the few blooms that show up each year a delightful pale yellow and worth waiting for. I’m sure it has a variety name but I seem to have trouble keeping track of such things for any period of time. I had a closeup shot of this but I also wanted to show you the other amazing thing that happens in this pond by mid summer every year. I throw three pieces of Water Hyacinth in the pond as soon as the weather and the pond water are warm enough to keep them alive. They float to the edge where the river leaves the pond and I regularly pick them up and toss them back to the other end. Then, seemingly overnight, they multiply faster than the rabbits. They send out sturdy runners from one plant and a new plant rapidly develops at the other end. By the middle of August, I could stock all the ponds in the neighbourhood and still have more than I need. I start pulling them out by the bucket load, they make good compost, so that I still have some clear water to see and feed the fish. I have never had one flower in all the years I have grown them. All those roots hanging down into the water collect a lot of tiny junk, helping to keep the water clear. No! I do not try to overwinter them in a tub in the basement.

I call this my Hydrangea tall and short garden. I have several of the new macrophylla hydrangeas that are supposed to bloom beautifully here but this is the only one that ever has. It is the original Endless Summer variety and usually dies to the ground each winter and then emerges to bloom. The tall H. Paniculata are some of the most reliable and easy to grow of all the Hydrangeas. It easily makes a small tree as it has in this spot in my garden. I do prune it each spring just to keep its size and shape suitable for the space it occupies. There are several named varieties with different coloured flower heads and many of them, like this one, fade from white to pink over the several weeks that it is in bloom. Variety name? See previous reference to my ability to retain such things.

This is the ultimate picture of a hardy weed. I planted Pansies in these containers on the walls around my front porch in early April. Never did find any of the new mildew resistant Impatiens to try in them. The very hot weather through the early part of the summer fried the Pansies and that’s when I quit watering them. At a guess, I probably gave these containers water sometime in late June. They do not get any rain as they are under the porch roof. They face North so they don’t get a lot of sun. These two sturdy Lamb’s Quarters continue to amaze me by growing in what seems to be a totally dry box of soil. It’s just Mother Nature playing with my mind yet again.

To ask a question just “reply” to this ezine. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Maria Asks? You mentioned cutting the Sweet Summer clematis to the ground each year. I have the Sweet Summer (purple flower) and the Sweet Autumn (white flower) clematis sharing the same trellis. Can both be cut back to the ground? I've had Sweet Autumn for several years now and is quite vigorous. I would love to cut them back if they will rebound the following year.

Ken Answers! Yes, both Sweet Summer and Sweet Autumn will respond well if cut to the ground each year.

Judy Asks? Both my son's have big vegetable gardens this summer. I was wondering what you do to the garden in the fall after everything is harvested to get it ready for spring.

Ken Answers!The vegetable season ends quite late in the year as the Brussels Sprouts and Parsnips stay until we have had a couple of light frosts, usually into November. I just try to get all of the vegetation gathered into the compost. All of the Earthboxes are tipped over so that they drain and then spend the winter laying there. If the weather cooperates and I get the leaves raked from the lawn, I will spread them on any open soil, mulch them with the lawnmower and let them decompose over the winter. Keep reading "Dallying" as it should tell you what I'm doing.

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