Friday, July 26, 2013

Summersweet Clethra

Summersweet Clethra has induced me end my blogging hiatus. Passing by a massing of this shrub yesterday, I was caught off guard by the fabulous scent. Dr. Dirr describes it as “delightfully fragrant.” It’s not a scent that is overpowering, but rather one of which you can’t seem to get enough.

Summersweet Clethra (Clethra alnifolia) is a large summer-blooming shrub that grows 3-8’ high and 4-6’ wide. The fragrant blooms are not terribly showy but will last 4 weeks or more. This plant is “tremendously pest free” and will do well in sun or shade and wet soils. Fall color is also a “worthwhile attribute.”

The pictured shrub is the ‘Ruby Spice’ variety which is a lovely soft pink. Bees, butterflies, and a variety of insects love this native plant. If you have an informal shrub border with some space, use this plant. And in other garden news, the American Plums are ripening!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

my new job: Lawn Technician

On account of my ever decreasing discretionary funds, I have fired my lawn guy and hired myself. For the cost of approximately one month of lawn care, I have purchased a 16” reel lawn mower to use throughout the season. The Greenworks brand is well-reviewed and the 16” size seems perfect for me, at about 26 pounds.

The only maintenance I foresee is sharpening the blades, which many online have called an “enjoyable activity.” While this will be a new time commitment on my part, I will be burning more calories and reducing my carbon footprint. (Previous lawn maintenance technician used a gas-powered riding lawn mower and gas-guzzling trimmer.) I particularly enjoy that Greenworks has categorized their reel mowers as "human" powered on their website. 

Thanks to Amazon, I will have my new human-powered mower this week. And should the weather be enjoyable Saturday, I will have a go at cutting my lawn myself! (Among other needed landscape chores.) I cannot wait for spring, happy gardening ya’ll!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2013: Damp & Cold

To paraphrase Steinbeck's East of Eden, February of 2013 was a year heavy with water. And it has been; at 10”, Nashville is 30% above average precipitation for the year. We have also had several wind storms which caused downed trees and power lines. My neighbors had two cars totaled after a recent wind storm; the ground was just too saturated to hold a large precarious tree, which luckily missed their house when it fell.

The wet weather has been great for any new trees planted this winter, and for all early blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers. It’s a relief to see Flowering Quinces, Daffodils, Hellebores, and Cherry trees blooming, only 21 days till spring! This year’s Vernal Equinox is on March 20th. And just one day after is a lecture on native plants and rain gardens at the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center by Mike Berkley of GroWild, more info here.

In my own garden I am cutting back anything yet to be cut back, mulching, and planting. I still need to severely prune my butterfly bushes and camellias, as well as plant a new Rhododendron. There are still several weeks left in the ideal planting window to get any last minute trees or shrubs in the ground before bud break. I am so looking forward to longer days and weather better suited to spending time outside!