Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sheet Mulch Shenanigans!

Just shoot me! It’s one of those times when I know I’ve got too much on my plate and of course I’m going to start a new project. This one’s been in the works for quite some time. We’re building a blue border! (You’re surprised) just off the upper cutting garden fence. The technique we’re using is called sheet mulching. It’s kind of like making lasagna. Several layers are involved. Let me take you through the steps:  
  1. A grassy area is string trimmed down and rototilled.
  2.  Wood chips are added (6 inches) and tilled.

3. A cardboard layer sets atop the chips, make sure it overlaps

4.  Add 4 inches of healthy compost.

5. Next 6-8 inches (at least) of straw on top. Wet this down well. 

If all goes well, we should be able to plant in late September. NOTE: We tilled because we want to plant quickly. If we were to wait until spring, we could have skipped that step. Wish us luck!

And yes, it’s Fair time! Our neighboring county, Dutchess, hosts a delightful county fair—celebrating 165 years. Yours-truly judges there with some regularity, this year being no exception. I wanted to show you some shots of the horticulture building and introduce you to a dear friend and the Grand Dame, Marge Griffin (below). She’s been a major force in the success of this show for years and once again my hat goes off to her.

That’s it for now… ON TO GARDEN HOLIDAY!


Friday, August 20, 2010


OK I think the rains are back (THANK GOD!) and the nights are cooler (SHHH), so we seem to have more energy and even a smile on our faces.

So...UPDATE: Thought I'd show you a better shot of the Bruggies (that's slang for Brugmansia).

Those intriguing Aristilochia are blooming again. Tropical vines related to the Northern hardy Dutchman's Pipe...and it looks like the grounds/gardening crew don't know if they're coming or going?

UPDATE: My buddy Harold looks perplexed, but it is 6:00 a.m. and it's hard paying attention to the plants and the garage customers at the same time...remember back in my July blog?

UPDATE: Donna Stanley stopped by to check on the progress of the "sphere". Here she is discussing Morning Glory culture and the promise of things to come with Tom (his better side in the picture above)...remember when Tom and Ryan were planting contortionists back on July 15th?

There, now you've got the update, Garden Holiday coming up soon...I hope it doesn't stop raining...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm not in love with these plants, but...

The Brugmansias are blooming their heads off and all are agog! (I'm not in love with these plants but...) The fragrance is sweet and wafts everywhere on warm summer evenings. (I'm not in love with these plants but....) The dramatic effect is stunning as you walk down greenhouse road at Mohonk (I'm not in love with these plants but...) I'm about the only one! Luckily, Tom is around to help pick up all the debris that drops everyday. (That's why I'm not in love).

The Lantana standards are nearby and much easier to love.

p.s. Amy Eggers (ex Mohonk greenhouse specialist) came by to say goodbye to the Ball State University interns...thought you should know.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's Never Too Early

...well the weather hasn't changed much…we keep our noses to the grindstone trying to keep everything looking perky. This is by no means an easy task. Oh well life in the gardening world. A good friend and superior horticulturist stopped by last week from Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, NY. Vinnie Simeone (world's biggest Yankee fan) brought some interns to check out Mohonk. It seems everyone is in the same boat battling the weather challenges. They had a great time and got to speak with our interns from Ball State University Landscape Architecture program.

August is also planning season, so on a field trip last week I spotted some potential varieties for next year's garden. How about Gomphrena 'QIS Carmine' for the gumdrop alley in "Candy Land" (Showgarden 2011) or Patrinia scabiosa for the long arbor border? Not enough? OK. Psycho-delic dahlias and Swizzle Stick zinnias for Candyland and who could pass up Hydrangea 'Color Fantasy'? I'm sure we can find a place for that badboy.

That's it for now…bulbs are ordered...saying goodbye to the interns :(  oops is there water running?