Marty’s Gardening Journal, June 28th, 2008

6-28 Clematis in full bloom


Potted plants on the patio need nearly daily watering and my nemesis, the lawn, gets watered regularly as well. In the evenings I drag the hose from plant to plant, watering those with higher needs, such as the clematis and astilbe, while ignoring others that seem fine. The different clematis plants get 10 minutes worth of water every other day and they continue to bloom magnificently. One arbor has five or six different varieties climbing either side, meeting and intertwining on top. The combination of dark purple, blue, pale pink and pure white flowers intermingling is quite a sight.6-2008 Hosta 'sum and substance'


Apparently, clematis can be a bit temperamental and some varieties are easier than others. Since I hardly ever pass up a cheap (or should I say, inexpensive) clematis, I have many different varieties and I have even propagated a few from cuttings as well. Most plants once you get them home get planted at about the same dept as they were in the pot. Clematis, however, need to be planted deeper. I found that planting clematis a few inches deeper than they were in the pot works quite well. Since some clematis have a tendency to melt down in something called “clematis wilt”, one plant among many (as on my arbor) succumbing to clematis wilt doesn’t even make a dent. You may see a few wilted leaves among the greenery, but it beats having a partly empty trellis when clematis wilt happens in your garden. Surprisingly enough, even when an individual clematis dies down from clematis wilt; it will generally resprout from the root the following year.


As there is less work in my garden, I take a break and visit other gardens. Colonial park, not too far from our home, is a great place to get ideas and I enjoyed visiting on rose day, with a reluctant Spouse in tow. This weekend I attended their rose workshop and learned a few things, including some disease not (yet) found in my garden (rose mosaic) and one I did have (rose rosette). Just in time as my dainty Bess roses are unfolding their petals, the annual scourge has reappeared; Japanese beetles. Each opening flower becomes an instant magnet for these bloom chomping insects and although I admire the color of the beetle, each one caught dies a quick death in a cup of soapy water.


6-2008 pondThis time I am using a systemic pesticide to combat Japanese beetles on my corkscrew hazelnut and the willows, two other favorite food sources for them.  While I am not a fan of pesticides or herbicides in the garden, there is room for a few, but only when properly applied. The systemic pesticide I used is diluted in water and gets poured around the trunk of the bush or tree. Then some additional water is poured around the trunk and the plant takes in the water with the pesticide. It travels through the plant and into the leaves and insects eating the leaves are killed. Since only Japanese beetles are defoliating the leaves on my plants, no other insects will be harmed. The systemic pesticide is used only once a year and if I use it every year around mid June, the plants will be protected just as the Japanese beetles are making their appearance by late June.


 With the 4th of July weekend upon us I wait for the fireworks in the garden, a bit slower in unfolding and without all the noise, but equally impressive and sweet smelling too!