Monday, June 5, 2017

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Thank you all so much for your sweet and incredible comments on my last post! I'm honored that you think my garden is so beautiful....and I do also. 

However, I also know the wild and not-so-beautiful side of my garden.

Warning: This is a very long post with a ton of photos. You might want to grab a beverage and settle in. 



Today, Monkey and I are going to take you for a walk on the wild side. 

As we head down the garden steps, please note all the plants growing on the steps themselves. In between the flagstones, by the wooden risers....it's a constant battle. 

I even see a Morning Glory seedling popping up. 

No surprise, they are absolutely everywhere this year. 


I look to the right and I see the white Clematis I planted two years ago has a bud....finally!

But it also seems to have Clematis wilt...I'm praying it recovers. 

Fingers crossed. 


To my left, I see the Iris patch is getting ready to bloom. 

Which is amazing, because I have never seen it bloom before. 

Why, you ask?

Because it was absolutely smothered in Tansy. 

The bane of my gardening existence. 

The first season I was in the house I let everything grow and flower, as I had to see what was planted. 

One of my wonderful readers identified the flower I thought was a form of Yarrow as Tansy, a noxious weed. 

I've been battling it ever since. 

Last season I cut it back short when it started to get tall, thinking that I could treat it like a fall Mum, and it would flower as normal, just shorter and more manageable. 

Nope, still an absolute nightmare. 

This year I'm attempting to tear it out of all the garden beds. 

And it's kicking my butt. 

The roots are both tap roots and strong, deep roots. 

Promise me you will never, EVER plant Tansy in a perennial bed!


At the bottom of the stairs, the Snow in Summer is in bloom. 

I need to put in more of this type of ground cover, to smother the weeds. 


As we head to the front of the house, you can see the Hydrangeas are looking good. 


Well, that's only because I've spent hours this and last week tearing out.....you guessed it, TANSY. 

That entire empty patch was all tansy....and a dead Hydrangea, that I dug out. 

Yesterday I transplanted some pieces from the healthy hydrangeas into that space. 

They have a challenge ahead of them as, in addition to the dreaded Tansy, I also spent about an hour yesterday tearing out Bindweed from this garden. 

The struggle is real, folks, being a die hard gardener in the country. 


Around the corner, I had forgotten that I even planted Hostas here two years ago. 

How could I forget?

Because I couldn't see them through all the Tansy. 

Ridiculous, I'm telling you. 

And every time I think I've got it all?

I see another leaf. 

And I want to cry. 


The bare spot to the right of that rock is another spot I cursed and cried and tore out Tansy. 


And this is what I see this morning. It's coming back. 

I can't stand it.


From this angle you can see all the gorgeous Rhodies, that are in full, glorious bloom right now. 


What you don't see is the Climbing Iceberg rose at the corner that started out strong this spring, and then wilted and died for no apparent reason. 


Nor can you see this strange weed that is taking over the conifer at the back of the house. 

I don't even know what this one is, but it's on my list to tackle. 


In the corner by the veggie garden, the Bindweed is trying its hardest to strangle the Daylilies. 


Outside the veggie garden, the Morning Glories have reseeded with abandon. 


They are also trying to take over the pea patch in the veggie garden. 

And possibly take over the world while they are at it.


At the corner of the veggie garden is another patch of Iris that I saved from the Mint invasion last summer. 


They are doing so well, and getting ready to bloom. 


But a little farther down, in that same garden bed, what do I see?

The Mint is back with a vengeance.

Another task on the ever-growing list of garden chores. 


In the Andiron garden, this weed is an absolute disaster, and beats me every season. 

This is the only place it comes up, but it also pops under the fence and into the veggie garden. 

I have no idea what it is, but I'm guessing it came in with the loads of mushroom compost the previous owners used to have dumped in this corner. 

It also has a deep root, and a tap root, and no matter what I do it thrives here. 


There's also a pretty healthy batch of what looks like clover, as well as some very robust dandelions. 

Hey, what can I say....I'm only one person, and I work full time. I have to pick and choose my battles.

And I refuse to use chemicals in my garden, so the weeds tend to flourish. 


Up at the garden cottage, the Arborvitaes I tried to save from dying died anyway. They are on the list to be replaced.


My house is on a mountain with tons of wildlife all around, which I love. I leave much of the landscape natural, and I enjoy the flora and fauna of our area. 


When the Tansy blooms at the edge of the woods, I enjoy it. Just not when it's taking over my garden beds. 


The new fence separates the wild garden from the somewhat tamed portion of my property. 


Behind the fence, there is a big drop-off, and tons of wild plants, trees, and blackberry brambles. 


And lots and lots of Tansy. 

That's fine....if only it would stay there. 


At the edge of the driveway, I planted two types of Hostas to complement the conifer shrubs that were in place. 

This is their third season, and the Hostas are starting to fill in and look good. 


But if you look to your left, this is the jungle that you see. 


Tons of Tansy (surprise!) 


And another crazy Blackberry bramble. 


It seems we are going to have an amazing Blackberry season.

I hope the critters....and the bears....let me have some this year!


The Tansy grows right out of the gravel on the driveway. 

How do I ever think I stand a chance of beating this nightmare?


This is what I see when I pull into my driveway at the end of the day. 

Minus my old girl, Lily, who is downstairs in her bed, snoring. 


To the left is the crazy Blackberry jungle, and another drop-off that leads to the creek. 


I head up the hill and pull into my garage. To the right of the driveway is a deep ditch, and the woods beyond. 


At the edge of the front lawn I've been trying to encourage ground covers to fill in and smother the weeds. 

I just started this last spring, and so far it's doing very well. Eventually I'd like to get rid of the front lawn completely, and I dream of a secret garden, like I wrote about last year. 

I think it might be bigger than what I can handle on my own, and I might need to bring in some help. 

But that's down the road. 


Back in the garden, in among the conifer by my sweet Namaste frog, there are weed trees popping up like mad. 

At this point, I can't get to them to cut them down without trampling all the perennials, so they will have to wait until fall.


In the middle of the perennial bed, there are three rose bushes that were here when I moved in. 

I bought them something to climb on, pruned them, fed them, and nothing. 

Not a single flower. 

This is the third season I'm in the house. If they don't show me some love this summer, they are out of here. 


On the stone patio, the cracks between the pavers are full of weeds. Crazy, and so tough to stay on top of. 

I think I used vinegar last year to kill them. I must try that again soon, before they take over completely. 


See, I showed you my pretty willow planters....but did I show you what's under them?


Crazy. Not sure what these are yet....they could be Petunias that self seeded from last year, I might want to wait and see if I can recognize the leaves before I kill them. 


Back up on the deck, things are not quite a jungle like down in the garden. But there are challenges and issues, none the less. 


The Chives that survived the winter (all did not) are weedy as heck. 


And in the herb boxes, the Dill that reseeded like mad is accompanied by lots of weeds.....and more Morning Glory. 


This corner looks great, right? Lots of color,love those grasses!


But did you see this sad little guy? A dear friend gifted me with this Fig, which was amazingly healthy when she handed it over. 

And one by one, the leaves browned at the edges and fell off. 

There's not even one leaf left, and I have no idea why. I'm hoping it just went into shock and will come back around. 

So, there you have it. The reality of my perfectly imperfect garden. 

When I walk around in the morning with my coffee, I sometimes get a little overwhelmed with all the things I see that need my attention. 


But, at the end of a long day, when I sit on my swing with a cocktail I don't see any of it. I smell the sweet, fragrant country breezes and listen to the peepers down at the creek. The windchimes are singing thier sweet song, and the swing makes a little creaking noise as it sways back and forth. 

And I know that despite the amount of work that's involved in trying to maintain some sense of order in my country garden, I'm exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my life. 

Knowing that brings me such peace and is worth every sore muscle. 

I am so blessed. 

42 comments:

  1. It was good of you to show us some of the challenging spaces in your gardens. I imagine that even if you worked full time in your yard there would still be weeds finding a way in. It is amazing what all you do accomplish and I love your attitude at the end of the day. I'm so glad you love your garden.

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    1. You are so right, Dewena, I think living in the country we just have to accept that a 'perfect' garden is just not a possibility. I'm sure it would help if I used a ton more mulch, but with a cottage garden such as mine that's not really practical, either! My only hope is to grow tons of ground covers that will smother the unwanted plants.

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  2. Oh wow, so many gorgeous plants and such a fabulous garden paradise. I love the drive up to your house, it looks amazing.

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    1. Thanks, Marty! I think I fell in love just pulling into the house when I first came to view the property - and when I stepped inside that was the end of me!

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  3. Thank you Debbie for sharing that "ugly and challenging" parts of gardening too! :) I was out doing battle with morning glory earlier and have bindweed to deal with also. My poor hubby kept on pulling weeds like mad in the back raspberry, blackberry and prune plum garden bed while I ran into town to buy replacements for my carefully grown from seed yellow squash that the ants decided was delicious and ate! We alsop battle tansy here but our biggest enemy is Canadian Thistle...oh how I abhor that weed! It is everywhere and it hurts to pull it or step on it. I also do not use chemicals in our yard because I am allergic to most of them and I don't want to risk eating anything with those chemicals on it. There was one year that I had no choice due to a invasion of flea beetles, but I am praying I never have to deal with them again.

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    1. Oh boy, if Canadian Thistle is anything like the Thistle that grows in the fields in Ireland I feel very, VERY sorry for you! That stuff is EVIL and stings like mad if you touch it at all! You poor thing! Last year the slugs ate a bunch of my seedlings - this year I'm staying ahead of them (I hope) by sprinkling Sluggo Plus (organic) every week or so. Fingers crossed!

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  4. Girl, you can only do so much. LOL. Look on line for natural ways to kill weeds. I use boiling water for weeds and ants. We have creeping Charlie...looks pretty but is a weed and grows over every thing. Every place has it's nasty weeds. I think you place looks so very nice. I love seeing your plants , flowers and gardens. You do a fabulous job for having a full time job outside. Now let yourself relax. :):) Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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    1. Boiling water, hey that's a good idea, Susie! I forgot to even mention Creeping Charlie, of course I have that! It doesn't torture me as much as the others, though.

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  5. A yard is a lot of work, there is no doubt about it. My husband and I both grew up on properties that were bordered by wooded lots and it was a task to keep the woods at bay. In our home now, we have opted for very simple perennials and potted plants, neither one of us are very motivated gardeners. It is very clear that this is your passion. Your place looks fabulous, even your wild side is enchanting!

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    1. See, you are just so much smarter than me, Kim! I did think of buying a condo or something similar that would have less upkeep, but I really love my outside time and my garden, so at this stage in my life I'm just not ready to downsize yet!

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  6. Oh girl, this all looks normal to me! Embrace the weeds between the stones. If you visit Savannah or somewhere like that, there's green growing between all the rocks and pavers. A few years ago my dad gave me something called dayflower and told me to put it in a pot. That turned out to be a devil plant!! It has grown in every single pot and all in the yard at the last house. Wisteria - that beauty that you see all the time is a devil plant here too. Grows everywhere you don't want it!

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    1. If the weeds would stay short, like moss or thyme, I'd be very happy to have them between the stones. but they grow up tall and my patio looks like a jungle, Stacey! Dayflower? I'm going to have to look that one up!

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  7. My yard is bare and boring. I enjoyed seeing your mess of green and beautiful growth.
    Your house is just the cutest!
    Lisa

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I think it's pretty cute, too!!

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  8. Despite your battle over the weeds, your property is just gorgeous. If it makes you feel any better, weeds are a constant battle for me, too. Like someone else mentioned, ours is Creeping Charlie. It's a vine with deep roots that creeps all across lawns and gardens, hence it's name. Our lawn is overtaken by it. Like you, we won't use chemicals so we just have to shrug our shoulders and try not to obsess over it. I do pull it out of my flower gardens as best as I can though. But it's a never-ending battle.

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    1. I forgot all about Creeping Charlie, Melanie - I have that also, of course!! Same as you, I leave it alone in the lawns but try to pull it out of my flower beds....and my veggie garden.

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  9. Could that be bird seed that has sprouted under your willow planters?

    Susan in PA

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    1. It's possible, Susan, although the bird seeders are at the other side of the house, over the hydrangea bed. Let's face it, it could be anything!

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  10. Love, love, love your "imperfect" garden, and your house. Here in Kansas I had tansy in a flower bed once, got tired of it and dug it out. Didn't have as much trouble getting rid of volunteer plants as you are having. On the other hand Chamomile - planted that years ago and soon got it out of the flower bed. But all these years later it is growing in a gravel driveway all the way around on the other side of my husband's shop. I just mow it off and enjoy the scent. There isn't any up by the house any more. Next job is digging up the "ditch lilies" - the old fashioned orange day lilies you see along roadsides where houses used to be. Just tired of them where they are close to the house and have some elsewhere so going to try to dig these out. Hard to get rid of all the little tubers. Gardening is tiring but rewarding. Enjoy yours.

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    1. You are so right, Joyce - tiring but oh so rewarding! We have daylilies here also, but I actually love them. They remind me of being a child and coming to the mountains from New York City for summer vacation. The Lilies always started blooming right about when we got settled in our camper for the season - some of my happiest memories, indeed!

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  11. Oh my, you are truly blessed! Thank you so much for the warning about the tansy - I had no idea. Luckily, I have been growing my mint in a pot. I learned my lesson about mint the hard way at our old house. I do have wild morning glory, however, and I have been arguing with myself about what to do with it. I just love the morning glory climbing up in a spiral and blooming with abandon, just as long as it stays out of my garden. Unfortunately, the morning glory has learned that it can get water if it grows in the garden, so I am having to constantly pull it out. Again and again. ;) Thank you for sharing your gorgeous garden, weeds and all!

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    1. I'm the same as you, Vickie, I absolutely love Morning Glory and this is the first year it's popped up all over the place like this - usually I'm nurturing each and every sprout I see around, encouraging it to grow! This year I'm yanking them out by the handful....leaving some, of course, but not all.

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  12. What a FABULOUS post! I think I missed the earlier one, so I'm heading off to read that as well. I love garden posts, particularly being able to view established gardens. Everything is so lovely; I am envious. You won't believe this, but I cannot grow mint. Clearly there is something seriously wrong with me because I know how invasive it is. Every year I buy a new mint plant, and every year it laughs at me before it dies.

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    1. That's pretty funny, Pattie - did you try growing it in a pot? I grow mint in a long planter right outside the kitchen door - it's supposed to keep ants out, and seems to work. Plus it's handy when I want to pop it in my gin with St. Germaine, lime and mint!! Favorite summer cocktail!

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  13. I watched a show called "Hart of Dixie" and there was a lady on it named TANSY !! Lol

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    1. Her parents must have hated her, ha ha!! :)

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  14. What a great tour Debbie! Weeds are such a dang hassle. I don't use chemicals either. If we don't tell people we have weeds, they might not be seen for all of the lovely blooms that are growing beside them. :-)

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

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    1. They sure are a hassle, Lorraine! It's tough to keep on top of them, that's for sure. After the rains the past two days I saw about a billion more this morning when I did a quick walkabout with my coffee before work - yikes!

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  15. Oh you are so wise when it comes to identifying weeds. I don't know what I have, but I thought it was English daisy (cuz it came up where I had originally plant the daisy), but it's some kind of weed that has the same flower, but grows about 20" and is not pretty at all, all plant and tiny looking flowers. So I got that out. Last year a friend and her husband convinced me that a plant I thought was a flower was a weed and I pulled the all out only to realize, at the end of the year, that I pulled out all of my tall phlox. UGH!! I don't have a blog, but I wish I could show you my little neck of the wood and my flower gardens. Always hard work. The rain is making everything beautiful but at some point, isn't going to be too much and start rotting things out? Do your hydrangeas bloom? I have mine every where and I have had one bloom in 7 yrs, but I can't pull them out. oh well. Very beautiful, serene place you have.

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    1. I'd love to see your gardens, Cindy! Feel free to email me photos, I'd love to see what your amazing space looks like! My sweetie transplanted his hydrangeas last season because they hadn't bloomed in a number of years. Mine are a different type, they bloom on old and new wood, they are white. Not sure what they are called as they came with the house, but I had them in my old house also and they were great - a friend gave me a piece of hers. Your hydrangeas probably only bloom on old wood so if you prune them too late in fall or in spring you won't get any blooms the next year.

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  16. Your Rhododendron are beautiful. With your working I don't see how you keep up as well as you do with that big yard. I planted tansy back at the house we moved in. I tore it out but it kept popping up in the lawn. I bet my neighbors really loved me for planting that! You can dry the flowers though for bouquets. Nancy

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    1. It's not easy, Nancy, and no doubt at some point in my life I might have to downsize but as long as I have the energy I'd like to stay right where I am! I will try to remember to dry the Tansy flowers this fall, Nancy, thanks for that tip!

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  17. Ah, Debbie, we all have struggles in our garden if we are being honest. For my cityscape landscape, it's wild violets. They are my tansy. In fact, last fall, I paid someone to pull just those out of my beds for two whole days. What'd I get? Less flowers, same stupid weeds grown back. It's like they were never pulled other than the fact that some of my flowers were collateral damage to the effort! Now they're spreading in the lawn. Unlike you, I am retired, and could spend days on end trying to curb the weeds, but like you, I just enjoy what I love about my garden. I am, however, adamant about getting out poison ivy sproutswhen I see them. I never got the allergic reaction until I was 40, and now I can practically just look at it and start itching. I take precautions in game t's and scrubbing afterward now, just to be safe.
    Still, your home and garden is picturesque. Thanks for sharing your dirt!
    Rita

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    1. *garments, not game t's, lol. Gotta love autocorrect.

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    2. Wild violets? I don't think I have those, but who knows, they could be buried under some of the other weeds! I just looked them up, they are so pretty but I guess they get out of control, huh? I also had to look up poison ivy as I forget to look for it....I don't think I'm allergic (yet) as no doubt I would have had a reaction by now if I was, with all the gardening I've done all my life. I'll be on the lookout now, thanks for the tip, Rita!

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  18. Gardening always seems to come with some insistent intruders, doesn't it? In my neck of the woods (Washington State), my intruders are horse's tail and morning glory. Both of those are virtually impossible to obliterate :( But, regardless, we soldier on and enjoy the beauty of what we can achieve. I so appreciate the tour - I'm sitting at my desk at work, eating my lunch and enjoying your lovely yard!

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    1. You're so right, Janice, we just try to look for the beauty and don't let those nasty weeds get us down! I never heard of horse's tail, I had to look that up!

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  19. Hi Debbie, thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoyed this post, in that I tend to see my weeds when others see my flowers! I do not have tansy to deal with, but bind weed is the devil! You mentioned that you weren't sure what was in your andiron garden. I'm almost positive it is called creeping jenny (not sure of a latin name). It survives quite well in a lawn, compost pile, anywhere really. I buy it for my window boxes and urns because it is beautiful when it trails down the side of a container. But all you need to do is toss out the remains of your pot in the fall with a bit of it still in there, and boom, you have it again! I don't think it is a terrible thing, though. It's not bad to control. -Jenn

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    1. Hi Jenn,

      Yes that is absolutely Creeping Jenny, but that I actually want there! It's that other weed with the wide leaf and the deep taproot that bugs the heck out of me, and I have no idea what it is. Maybe if I let it grow it will flower and I'll find out? I grab pieces of that Creeping Jenny and put it in my pots and in other areas as a ground cover. Love it!! Thanks for your visit as well!

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  20. Your have made your place absolutely beautiful. I feel tired from even reading about the invasive plants to you struggle with, and fully understand. It's enough to drive you crazy!! Here, it is bamboo grass, violets, lemon balm, and, oh gosh! Where does it all come from. You have a beautiful home and a lot of yard to keep weed free and looking good. I wouldn't have it any other way, would you? :)

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    1. You're so right, Henny, I wouldn't have it any other way, either! It is a lot to take care of, but I love having space, and privacy, and gardens!

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  21. I have found that once a weed arrives it never leaves. Even when the gas company totally tore up a side section and the dirt sat around for a few days in the winter before being put back there is the damn bindweed coming up as usual. The creeping myrtle is something that I pull all spring and summer in the flower and veggie beds, there is some unknown but annoying weed-vine stuff that comes up in one section of the front for the last 3 years or so and then there are the buttercups and on and on and on :) I think I did some vinegar mix for driveway weeds last year and it didn't help much ( gravel ) and I read somewhere to try rock salt....I dumped half a bag that was left from the winter in the worst parts and that did the trick

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