Mid-Atlantic

September, 2009
Regional Report

Look at Old Stuff with New Eyes

Is there a dead tree trunk near our garden or in your yard? Maybe an old stump? Better yet, a huge stump pulled out of the ground with thick roots (for fairies to hide among). Rather than removing nature's dead wood structure, consider them gifts -- to design and play with. Clematis, climbing roses, and 'Moonlight' hydrangea vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight' ) will twine up a dead tree trunk. Alone or clustered, tree stumps can make great seats and bases for decorative containers. Uprooted stumps with intricate root masses can be grouped to create a "Stumpery" -- to be interplanted or simply enjoyed as natural art.

And the Bench Could Go Where?

You've been busy tending your garden all summer. Now's the time to meander around and make those aesthetic or creature-comfort changes you've been thinking about yet putting off. Why not put a bench under the tree or in the woodlands corner? How about an arbor? Or a bird feeder at the garden's edge? Or lay pavers for a path? Or you could fashion a bench with found stone or wood or gather/salvage materials to make an arbor.

Make Next Season's Gardening Easier

What have you been complaining about or struggling with all summer that you could change to make next spring's gardening easier? How about attaching a splitter to your spigot -- with one flow stream connected to your hose and the other unfettered? That way you don't have to unscrew the hose just to wash hands or tools. Or install a spigot on a stand near the garden to make watering easier? Or use snap connectors to attach hoses and watering wands? Or hang extra, short hoses on posts at far corners so you don't have to lug one long, heavy hose too far?

Clean Bird Feeders

Clean (scrub with bottle brush) and disinfect feeders with one part liquid chlorine household bleach in nine parts of tepid water (a 10% solution). Immerse empty, cleaned feeder in solution completely for two to three minutes. Allow to air dry.

Save Seeds and Seed Pods

Cleome, Verbena bonariensis, marigold, iris, bee balm, summer phlox, swamp milkweed (butterfly weed), verbascum, veronica, cosmos, baptisia, woodland peony, and snapdragon are some perennials, tender perennials, and annuals going to seed now. Collect seeds when they are ripe, not green. The seed pod will be dry and usually have changed color, probably from green to brown or white. The seeds inside will change from green or white to brown or black.

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