summer 2013

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Welcome to Cambodia, Moldova, Slovenia, Mexico, Switzerland, Brunei and Saudi Arabia!

70 countries, 6 continents!

Well!   I came home from work one day last week and noticed that the outside of my house was sparkling clean.   Looked great!

My husband informed me that he called "a guy"  to come and pressure wash the house.  Really, it was beautiful.  Before the guy came, the north and east sides of the house were a tad green and full of cobwebs and God knows what else.

A few days later I noticed that the white impatiens I planted out front were a little pale and peaked looking. I mean the leaves were turning yellow and falling off and the stems were withering. It then occurred to ask Mike, "Hey Mike,  did 'the guy' use any chemicals on the house?"  He answered " a very mild soap, and a small amount of bleach."   Hmmmm.

Well, I didn't have high hopes, but I gave the plants a chance to try to recover before I yanked them.  Another concern was, will anything I grow there survive?    The dusty miller and allysum  look fine, the well established shrubs look great too.

No dice.  Went to my favorite nursery  Dutch Plant Farm  in Frederick to find replacements.  Late June - very slim pickins.   Wal Mart had white impatiens  but they are not a nursery so great care is not taken with plants late in the planting season.  What they had for sale didn't look much better than my dying plants.    Found some mixed coleus in very good shape at Dutch Plant Farm and they were deeply discounted.  They were already in flower, but I took care of that.  I clipped the tops off to a node lower down.

I am leaving the impatiens, but I cut them back quite a bit.   If they don't survive, the coleus will cover the skeletons.

Sister plant in another part of yard

Damaged plant

Signs of new growth

Coleus added to bed to fill in and hide

A lot of things can harm plants:  Chemicals, String trimmers, pollution, heat, cold, ice, animals, drought - just to name a few.

Using a spray herbicide can do a lot of damage on a windy day.  The spray can drift and you may not be aware if it.   I have done delicate weed removal in one the the penstemon beds at the demonstration garden.  Bermuda grass cannot be pulled up, one piece of rhizome will turn into a whole plant very quickly.   I took a sponge paint brush and applied the Round Up to the bermuda grass very carefully, by placing the grass on a piece of newspaper and "painting" the grass.  Worked great, tedious, but effective.

String trimmers on  shrubs and trees can damage the vascular system and harm the plant's ability to transfer water and nutrients.

Pollution can be very hard on trees and plants.  In the 1970's  I went to the USDA building in Beltsville, MD.  My father was taking a botany class and he invited me - I was about 14 or so.  I have vivid memories of the instructor telling us about the damage done to trees from the exhaust of our cars.  On the way home, I could see with my own eyes the yellowed and sickly trees along RT 495 - the Washington DC beltway.  Keep in mind, this was before leaded gasoline was banned.

On a much happier note:  here are pictures from that last 4 weeks or so.



Huge strawberry crop

Future gardener - check out the shovel

4 generations hanging out on father's day

New addition to the farm - 1 day old

Utica bridge.  We have 3 covered bridges in Frederick County

Dirty face again.  One of my garden pests

Boy do I love summer :)