Posts Tagged ‘GardenWeb’

I posted a link of my problem weed post at the “Name that Plant” forum on GardenWeb and before the day is done, I have my answer – The amazing Carrieb advises me that what I have is GOUTWEED! 

Carrieb was even kind enough to provide a link to a profile of goutweed on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s list of “least wanted” plants which says in part…

” Goutweed, also known as bishop’s-weed and snow-on-the-mountain, is an herbaceous perennial plant. It is one of several species of Aegopodium, native to Europe and Asia. Most leaves are basal, with the leafstalk attached to an underground stem, or rhizome. The leaves are divided into three groups of three leaflets, making it “triternate.” The leaflets are toothed and sometimes irregularly lobed. Foliage of the “wild” type is medium green in color; a commonly planted variegated form has bluish-green leaves with creamy white edges. Sometimes reversion back to solid green or a mixture of solid green and the lighter variegated pattern occurs within a patch. 

Small, white, five-petaled flowers are produced in mid-summer. Flowers are arranged in flat-topped clusters (called compound umbels) and are held above the ground on a leafy stem up to about 3 feet tall. The seeds are small and elongate, similar in size and shape to carrot seeds, and ripen in late summer. In contrast to the dense foliage cover produced by goutweed, flowering shoots are uncommon in densely shaded areas.

The rhizomes of goutweed are long, white, and branching, superficially resembling those of quackgrass (Elytrigia repens, also known as Agropyron repens). Patches of goutweed typically form a dense canopy and can exclude most other herbaceous vegetation. Because of this, it is often used as a low-maintenance ground cover.

Goutweed is an aggressive invasive plant that forms dense patches, displaces native species, and greatly reduces species diversity in the ground layer. Goutweed patches inhibit the establishment of conifers and other native tree species as well.

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I know, I know. It’s not very becoming. But I just have to show you my before and after photos.  We’ve been away for a while (more about that later), and I’ve likely tested the interest of any regular readers with my unapologetic silence – so who is there to offend, really? 

Patience and hard work paid off here. Also, the assistance of followers of this blog and GardenWeb folk  – who continue to make great suggestions to this day. Oh . . . and really good weather may have had a hand. Also, the neighbour who watered while we were away.

So really, it was a group effort. Regardless, it is very gratifying to see what can be achieved in the span of six months.  It is especially appreciated this summer when a successful rental season at Keats View has kept us away from the cottage for six weeks and counting: Having a little bit of dirt to mess around in just steps from my kitchen has prevented me from feeling too unhappy about my exile from the cottage garden.  

Without further ado, here is my backyard in March of 2010:

Just getting started in the backyard: March 2010

And here is how it looks today, as I sit typing out a blog post and sipping a blender drink:

My new happy place: August 2010

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I’ve been delaying my update hoping to finish this project but I’ve stalled again. I have included an updated diagram, since most of the plantings are so small as to have little impact at this point – thus the two flats worth of annuals I’ve plugged in to give us – if the sun ever comes out – something to look at.  Details on current dilemma follow pictures…

I moved the path when I realized that it was taking up valuable real estate in the sunniest part of the yard.

To date I’ve invested in some topsoil (though it never seems to be enough) as well as a mock orange, Japanese anenome, two shasta daisies (a fond memory) bee balm and three lavender for the hot spot around the rocks and up against the retaining wall.  

At the cottage I have an abundance of wild geranium, iris, primrose and hosta that I can move over at an appropriate moment.  I also plan to get an old-fashioned (tall) bleeding heart, as was suggested by a GardenWeb contributor. Meanwhile, I am repeating my mantra:  I must be patient.

The bricks in the path are leftover from the patio, and all were donated by generous friends redoing their own patio area.  I decided to use these for now, knowing that I will likely replace them with something a bit less structured ‘in the fullness of time.’

I had planned to fill in around the pavers with bark mulch. But now I am rethinking. I rather like the contrast provided by the grey path, and in light of comments received noting that bark mulch tends to shift around quite a bit, I am considering small rock.  It might look a bit like a dry stream bed, particularly if a few large flat stones replaced the brick stepping stones.  I can’t decide if this would look good, or just a bit twee.  Discuss?

If I was going to use rock, it wouldn’t be much more trouble to shovel it up from the beach, since I don’t need a large amount. I’ll be at the cottage with the kids this weekend and will explore the viability of this idea then. In any event, Cottager is away, riding the Camino de Santiago, and I am loath to move rock without his muscles. I must be patient.

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problem quiltI started this quilt top in a fit of inspiration – but without any real plan – quite a few years back. It depicts my favourite view from the old family cottage porch. Those are my boys jumping off the dock, though they are quite a bit bigger now. And the chair in the foreground is my ‘happy place.’

From time to time I dig this quilt out to add a few more details, but there is a problem that I just can’t get past, and until I do, it will never be finished.

My musings last week on the old cottage collided with my discovery that GardenWeb has a quilters forum, so I dug this out, determined to seek advice, choose a course of action, and – as noted in my blog mandate – “finish that (darn) quilt.”

So here is the problem: Whatever idea I had for the mountain background when I sewed in the green wholecloth outline has deserted me. It desperately needs shading and definition. I have photos to work from, but I can’t figure out how to go about it.

I solved a similar problem in another quilt with 1 inch watercolour squares, but I don’t want to do that again. My best idea at present is to use snippets, but I feel there is a better idea waiting for me out there. 

Please click on the image for a larger view and if you have a thought on how to resolve my dilemma, do share! My adopted weekend community of Gibsons has a Fiber Arts festival each August, and my goal is to finish and submit this quilt for display in the 2009 festival. Thats leaves me about 15 months, and with my busy life, that is a realistic goal.

Thanks for visiting and for any advice you can offer!

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Delavay Olive in full fragrant bloom

While I appreciate your help, House Bloggers, I had to go to the experts. I signed up at GardenWeb and went straight to the Name That Plant forum to post my query. Went to bed, dreamt sweet dreams, and this morning I have my answer: My unknown tree is actually a shrub called Osmanthus Delavayi or Delavay Tea Olive or, by its common name, Sweet Olive. Apparently, I am in for a treat this Friday, when the day is meant to be fine and I should find my shrub in full bloom and exuding a sweet ‘Daphne-like aroma.”

Great Plant Picks says this is a fragrant, blooming evergreen shrub that adds interest to the garden year round. It is easy to grow in full sun or part shade, drought tolerant once established, adapts to a wide range of soil types, and can be easily maintained through summer pruning.

I’m very relieved to know that it is “quite amenable to trimming” as one nursery site noted, since I intend to give it a jolly good haircut after it has done blooming. While I didn’t find too much information about the root structure, I am prepared to adopt Cottager’s position that so long as the septic is working, we shouldn’t worry about it. Besides, what are the options? Cut down my Delavay Tea Olive? Not on your life!

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