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Everyday Gardeners

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Posts by Eric Liskey

King of Color

As you see here, there’s a reason why sugar maples have the reputation of being one of the very best trees for fall color. Autumn foliage varies year to year, but maples in general, and sugar maples in particular, are among the most consistent—and spectacular. Green Mountain is probably the most planted variety, because it grows faster than the typical sugar maple (which is a little on the slow side), but still has the prized fall show. This is worth having in your yard!

A sugar maple doing what it does best.

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Apple of my eye

I love the idea of edible landscapes. Not just veggie gardens, but entire gardens with edibles sprinkled throughout. Not every edible is suited for this — some are simply not very pretty. But here’s one that I can’t find fault with. This is a Blushing Delight Urban Apple from Garden Debut. It’s a dwarf columnar tree that stays under 10 feet but still produces full size, yummy apples. I’ve been enjoying them lately, as they’ve just started to fully ripen. And the tree stays so tidy, you can put it almost anywhere, and you’ll never have that “What was I thinking?!” moment that happens when you realize you planted a too-big plant in a too-small space.

Blushing Delight apple from Garden Debut

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Garden Wildlife

The most interesting time of year in the garden is late summer, IMO. It’s when the insects become most numerous, and flock to the late bloomers like caryopteris, Russian sage, sedum, and goldenrod, to name a few. Take a few minutes at dusk, on a sultry early September evening, and watch what comes to the blooms. It’s fascinating.
The moth pictured here is a white-line sphinx, feeding at a Summer Skies butterfly bush in my yard. It’s probably the most common sphinx moth, and a regular visitor to garden blooms. Just one of the small but precious gifts of the garden.

A white-line sphinx at a Summer Skies butterfly bush.


Busy Bee

A happy bumblebee on a Blue Satin rose of Sharon hibiscus.

Going out to get the newspaper this morning, I noticed this happy bumblebee visiting my rose-of-sharon flowers. To a bee, it must have feel like heaven to be covered in pollen like this. BTW, this is a remarkable variety of hibiscusProven Winners’ Blue Satin. I love the blue color, and the bloom just goes and goes; as long as it’s hot, and they have water, they don’t seem to quit. And that keeps me, and the bees, happy!

 

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Historical Markers

Ancient live oaks

I noticed this story on TreeHugger.com. It’s about a pear tree that was planted in 1620, and it still stands today, and even continues to bear fruit. (Not the best tasting, they say, but still…..) The tree was already considered ancient in the 1700s!  Trees, due to their longevity, become anchors in the flow of history. That’s one of the really cool things about old trees — they’re a physical link back into the past. I recall seeing a giant sequoia stump displayed in Sequoia National Park. It was more than 2,000 years old, and various rings were marked according to historical events that happened when those growth rings were formed: The American Revolution, Columbus sailing to America, the birth of Christ. An old tree really puts things in perspective.

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Missing beetles

I have written here before about my battles with the Japanese beetle hordes. The last two years have been orders of magnitude worse than in the past, for reasons that escaped me. Now this year, I have seen very, very few. Not that I’m complaining. It’s just really weird. All I can think of is snow cover. Last winter, we didn’t get much snow. The two prior winters, lots of snow cover. (Winter temps haven’t been dramatically different.) That’s all I can think of, and considering how much snow cover helps plants, and other critters, it makes sense. Think about that next time you have extended snow cover; it could be a rough Japanese beetle year.


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