WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Jun 26th, 2015

When the past catches up to you

Jun 26

…it’s usually an unpleasant surprise.

Not this time. Recently I’ve been “contacted” by people I haven’t seen or heard from in a couple of years informing me that I’ve been missed. This post is dedicated to one of them, Becky at stonewallgarden.blogspot.com

I still like to visit your blog, but it was better and funnier when you were there! Ed uses wood mulch and every time I see a birds nest fungus, I think of you!

Now I’ve got to think of something funny besides my resemblance to fungus.

Guess, I’ll just post about where I’ve been hiding and hope something amusing comes to mind. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Long Island were I’ve been busy gardening lately. (week on – week off) Lets start with a couple of photos:

Front bed – June 8
Front flower bed

Front bed – June 20
front bed just over a week laqter

12 days later the Coreopsis “Zagreb” and the unidentified Sedum are in bloom. Both are favorites of mine. Both, like my wife prefer full sun and propagate easily. The propagation process works a bit different with the plants. Good thing too, taking cuttings from my wife and sticking them in the ground is probably a criminal offense.

Sedum has to be the easiest plant to propagate. Just snap off a stem and stick it in the ground. Those cuttings in the foreground were already well rooted after 2 weeks. They like the ground being kept moist but it’s not an absolute requirement. I’ve had broken stems dropped on the ground take hold without any watering.

The Coreopsis “Zagreb” isn’t as easy as Sedums because you should keep the soil moist. I like to pot my Zagreb clones and keep them in partial shade. Once established they go to a garden. Zagreb is also a spreader given loose well drained soil kept moist. I generally plant 1 gal. pots as ‘plugs’ about a foot apart. They’ll generally close ranks in a season.

June 8 – Frog fountain
frog fountain

Originally the fountain bubbled out of the “bedrock” under the frog. I usually don’t add garden nick nacks because I find them tacky. None of the others visible in the photo were placed by me. I only added the frog because I dug it out after finding it half buried in the old landscape and figured I might as well clean it up and use it. The carved wooden mushrooms and stone geese aren’t bad looking and I have to admit to liking them. I still like the natural look of the fountain without the frog but it does add a pleasant sound of water falling.

June 8
front bed

Unseen is the “Walmart” parking lot in the front of the entrance garden. The parking area came within 12 feet of the front steps. You can see the boundary at the far left of the photo by the orange rose. It was a very difficult area to make “look right” because it was too narrow to really plant in depth. The original bed only extended to the first flagstones in the steps landing. Cutting 5 feet of the parking area made all the difference in the world. I’m more than happy with the results.

June 8 – the front bed gets expanded

Originally the front bed ended at the first Cedar on the right. (hidden by the Salix – the willow with white new growth foliage) There was a double gate in the fence with lawn up to it. Moving the gate was as rewarding as cutting back the parking area. With room to expand the bed the garden took on a much more pleasing look.

I’m home until after the 4th of July. I told the home owner I wasn’t going to be available in July and he was truly distressed so I said I’ll come back for another week. It truly is a dream “job”, money is not a problem and I do what I want. Dropping a couple grand for a new bed is always fun.

Which leads me to realize that generally I’m a husband’s nightmare. Most men couldn’t care less about flower gardens and dropping hundreds if not 1,000s of bucks means their dreams of a man cave, boat or whatever is being turned to mulch.

Posted by WiseAcre on Jan 21st, 2011

winter garden and a little less turkey

Jan 21

Weed free garden.
How the mighty have fallen. The victors of the summer battle of weeds may have gotten the best of me but they sure couldn’t stand up to the forces of winter. They now lie buried under snow leaving the garden clean and neat.

The cuttings from my Autumn Joy sedum emerge from the blanket of snow. The snow caps on them caught my attention so I began today’s walk with a side trip to the garden in the hopes of capturing a nice winter image.

garden in winter

Dog wasn’t amused. It was time to go sniffing about and any delay was not acceptable.

snow covered garden

A fairy village?

sedum snow caps

Nope, just some garden variety snow cones.

sedum snow caps

And now for a little turkey

Pook as usual scared up a group of turkeys before I had a chance to. The turkeys had scratched up a section of the field foraging for corn. Here, she stands licking her nose after smelling turkey. Meanwhile the group made their escape but I did manage to snap a photo.

turkey scratchings in winter cornfield

They’ll be back tomorrow.
The corn fields are the only reliable source of food keeping such a large population fed through the winter.

Turkeys in winter cornfield

Posted by WiseAcre on Jul 3rd, 2010

Betty’s Garden

Jul 3

The front yard still looks a little bleak to me. There used to be two maple trees that more than filled up the space of the island bed. There’s more planting planned and I think the stone edge needs to be extended.

A bit of work still unfinished.
garden bed

The front entrance bed is mainly a sedum – Iris garden with some brown-eyed susans thrown in for some later color. I chose to use Sedum here to keep the main planting low to keep the walkway and front of the house open. The iris in the bed are ‘minature’ and the ‘little bush’ is a Sedum – ?, it’s similar in form to Autumn Joy but the leaves are variegated green and yellow/cream. The big shrub to the left is a well established azalea and all that remains of the too high shrubs that used to grow along the front entrance.


Around the garage side the moist clay and shade were ideal for Astilbe. I never miss a chance to plant them. Astilbe are one of my top favorite perennials. They do need some direct sun and the soil should remain moist.


Once past the end of the garage there’s plenty of light. Ajuga emerges from the shady area under the hydranga. More sedum and iris grow at the edge of the bed among the rocks. Coreopsis ‘Zagreb” leads into phlox which in turn leads into Hydranga “Limelight’. Behind them all and growing along the deck is a perennial sunflower, the name long forgotten.

garden at end of the deck

Looking to the back of the property line there is another island bed. Again more rock, Sedum and Iris replacing a dead tree.

Sedum bed

I skipped showing the side bed but you can catch a glimpse of it while looking at the back of the house.


The long view along the back property line. I normally don’t add little bumps and curves for no good reason to garden borders but sometimes going straight too long gets boring.

garden bed

It’s always nice being able to blame some idiot for dropping something in the way. This rock was meant to be set back farther but once it hit the ground it got stuck. Weighing in at over 1400 lbs the boulder was at the limit of my weight class and I was tired of wrestling it.


Large stone slabs lead from the deck to the gazebo.

deck steps

stone slab path

The sun and shade was too much for my camera. This is what the stone slab steps looked like today.
Stone slab steps
stone slab steps

The camera does better on an overcast day.

Betty's Gazebo

Of course a good garden takes a lot of TLC. Betty and her Donkey have certainly taken good care of ‘my’ garden. I consider this one of Canton’s top 10 gardens. Now that I’ve said that, I need to come up with 9 more.

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