Herbs

Time saving Hedge Trimmer use

I just found a new use for my small, rechargeable hedge trimmer – removing the old foliage from perennials!

I know it is a bit late in the season, but pruning chores just don’t always get done by the timeline suggested!!  When I was ready to prune back the dead foliage on my Southern Shield Ferns, which had spread into 3′ wide clumps, using my hand pruners looked like a big, time consuming job.  So a light bulb went off as I spotted my small Homelite hedge trimmer  with a 6″ long blade(available at Home Depot) sitting on my work bench.  It worked  so well and quickly that I was able to trim back many perennials in a short amount of time, including Coreopsis, Coneflowers, Daisies, Phlox, Asters, Salvia, Herbs, etc.  I do like to leave a couple of inches of the stem showing, mainly so I know where they are in the garden before the new spring growth appears.

So put this fun little hedge trimmer on your spring list of ’need to have’ tools for 2014!  I know you will fun many uses for it to save yourself time with your gardening chores.

Happy Gardening,

Althea

 

I love using shrubs & small trees for the center of containers as they give such a presence or bones to the arrangement.  In a few years, they may outgrow the container and then I will transplant it to a coveted spot in my yard!   Recently I planted the orange variety of Sango Kaku (Coral Bark Japanese Maple), ‘Baihu’, as the main component for winter interest because the fun color of the bark.  For the companion plants, I chose the variegated foliage Snapdragon,  a bronzy Sedge, Parsley along with orange and dark red Violas and the existing Ivy.  All of these plants do great in full winter sun, but when the summer sun arrives, I will replace the annuals with a heat tolerant plant such as Vinca.  As an experiment, I am hoping the foliage of the Maple will shade the Sedge from the summer sun.

Happy Gardening,

Althea

Allium tuberosum, Garlic Chives, is such an interesting plants to have blooming in the fall garden.  They look very much like Onion Chives when they are young, but as they mature (2′ tall) the leaves become broad and flat and the flavour is much milder than bulb garlic.  The star-like white clusters begin to bloom in late summer at the top of long round stems which are strong and tough, not suitable for eating.  Theseed pods that follow will be the start of many new plants, so trim off if volunteer plants are not your thing!  Transplanting in the spring is a simple chore, just add some compost to the planting hole. 

When gathering chives, it is best to pick off the leaves at the base with your fingers instead of cutting with scissors, as this  causes them to die back slightly leaving a brown edge.

Althea Griffin

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