Field of Science

How does your garden grow?

The Phactors are busy assessing the condition of their garden prior to opening our garden grounds to a few hundred visitors.  The drought of 2012, which continued right through the winter, did a lot of damage to a lot of plants.  On the grand scale, on the sit back and just take in your surroundings scale, our garden looks just fine. It's big, spacious, park-like, lovely.  It's in the fine detail where you notice the severe damage to the lawn, yes, even our diverse lawn ecosystem took a beating from a brutally dry summer and a too wet spring.  If you examine gardens up close, the blank spaces here and there tell the story.  All the watering last year was highly beneficial because watered areas had very little if any damage, and without the TLC things would have been worse.  Local nurseries report there was a lot of damage to Japanese maples and other somewhat finicky plants, particularly new plantings of all types and they are being inundated by replacement demands based on their sales agreement, but they know, and TPP knows, that most of those plant deaths were avoidable with adequate watering.  Just a pointer here; if you water with a nozzle on the end of the hose you almost certainly do not water things well.  So nurseries are doing a brisk business in replacements for plants not under warranty.  One of the problems of liking less common plants is that they are not easy to replace.  If your plum yew dies, no body here abouts is going to sell you a replacement.  Say what?  A plum, yew want a plum?  Thank you anyways.  Another interesting phenomenon that someone may wish to comment on is chlorosis, the yellowing of leaves where the veins tend to remain green, a sign of nitrogen deficiency.  For some reason a broad cross section of plants, some of which never looked chlorotic before, are showing need of some nutrients.  Rhododendrons and their heathy relatives always look that way, but the magnolias, crabapples, silver bells, and others are showing the symptoms.  Somehow this must be related to the 2012 drought for this to be so widespread.  Everybody got a dose of foliar fertilizer but it will take some time for the symptoms to subside.  Some long planned hardscaping is under way: a new flag stone path through the back garden looks very nice and will make planning the rest of the area easier (knowing where people will walk always helps).  However the new patio area by the garage and garden shed is just way too pretty for messing up with lawnmowers and wheelbarrows and the like, but that's its destiny.  Someone asked if we had furniture for the area!  Sure.  Furniture.  Prediction: the newness is going to be worn off pretty fast. 

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