Garden Check 06/21/14 – Summer Solstice

Sunflowers amid the apple trees outside the fence.
Sunflowers amid the apple trees outside the fence.

Despite a few problem areas, how could any day in the yard not go well with so many sunflowers about! One rainy day this spring—I cannot remember when, as I was quite surprised when they started to come up!—I had a wild hare and put down a few dozen sunflowers in the orchard. It’s a mix of Teddy Bear (Helianthus annuus ‘Teddy Bear’) (I think) and Short Stuff (Helianthus annuus ‘Short Stuff’) (I know) and a few of them are starting to open while others will do so soon! Toby Hemenway says sunflowers are okay in the orchard, and ever since planting Russian Mammoths last year (from Burpee, ick!), I’ve been keen on the delight of these massive flowers. Bees love them, my wife loves them, and they’re just pretty much perfect. These are all from seeds from Baker Creek.

Now, on to the problem areas.

I’ve been distracted lately and when the garden is in such an early stage of development—it’s the work of years for me to set this up properly—abandoning it (we traveled to NYC for 5 days) can be disastrous. Fortunately, the rain came generously while I was away and most of the things in the ground are okay waterwise. Not great, clearly stressed, but also not on their way out. The Goji bushes under the Walnut continue to do this do thing where they take off for weeks, and then suddenly the leaves wilt and most fall off. Water does not help. They are heavily mulched, but I’m wondering if it’s competition from weeds or clover, or maybe even voles? Then again, they are inside the drip line so maybe they’re having a hard time mitigating the juglone. The currants also seem stressed, though they’re prodding fruit—I gotta’ get those Mulberries in ASAP!

A few potted plants look like hell. They need a more permanent home in the ground or they’re going to give up the ghost. I’ve unfairly kept them in limbo for several weeks if not months in the case of the kiwi. Two gorgeous gooseberry plants (Ribes glossularia), a few irises (Iris versicolor), snow peas, and my beloved kiwi (Actinidia arguta) (though only the female) have all taken a turn for the worse, yellowing and with lots of brown leaves. And speaking of brown, I scraped the Persimmon tree (Diospyros kaki ‘Fuyu’) and for the first time in some time and I did not see any green, so it’s probably dead and I’m entitled to a refund. I’ll get on the horn with Peaceful Valley ASAP.

Judging by the thunder I hear as I write this, we may get more rain soon, though Dark Sky says if we get any it’ll hold off until after midnight.

Punch List

  • pulled wiregrass from the side yard beds and orchard
  • weeded squash and sweet potato bed (grass popping up)
  • cleared poison ivy from Mary Foos Johnson Paw Paw (wrapped around it)
  • transplanted planted 3 small iris patches
  • watered EVERYTHING with Miracle Grow
  • calibrated the sun dial, but didn’t place it in any hardscaping(!)
  • split a blackberry with the kids —tart!

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