Gardener's Grapevine 2011.11.09

Written by David Green.

Was this past weekend a keeper or what? I spent all day Saturday cleaning up yards—my mother’s, the church yard and ours. It was perfect sweatshirt weather. My grandmother has a saying, “I can go until I drop, I just drop a lot faster than I used to.” I understand that sentiment, and Sunday my muscles were screaming my age at me.

While cleaning up the church I realized something amazing. Over the last five years, many people have donated hostas to our landscaping project. As I was cleaning up the grounds I found it odd that some of the hostas were completely gone—frosted into fall death, yet some were healthy and happy.

As I looked at them I realized that the dead ones were all the same type, just as the healthy ones were another type. It got me to thinking again about not only zones, but also varieties of plants and how even if they are related they may not have the same temperature tolerances.

Some plants while in the same family have very different needs and tolerances. Sharon Bruce told me she has a hosta that is very sun tolerant. To a hosta lover this is an oddity, as they most generally love the shade.

After she told me this I spoke with a nursery person at Rhodes nursery in Toledo. The owner is one of the top hosta breeders in our area and a huge contributing member to the Toledo Botanical Gardens hosta club. I was told that there are hundreds of types of hostas with more coming every year. There is a hosta for any area of your property.

My favorite hosta is Mouse Ears, a miniature hosta with little leaves that are shaped like mouse ears. There is also another miniature named Dragon Tails and the leaves look like yellow dragon tails. A person could go hog wild with these plants and to be honest, what plant is easier to care for?

I have written before that my love of gardening comes from my mother-in-law and my husband. This is mostly true, except that as a child I spent a lot of time with one of my grandmothers and she was a huge gardener who was originally from the south. Not only did she have a green thumb she had great recipes.

I loved fresh snapped beans with ham or bacon and red beans and ham, but my very favorite was pickled corn. Sound disgusting? Some people think so, but it is actually very yummy and I am a fussy eater. It is just raw sweet corn on the cob packed in a crock of salt brine. You eat it just like regular sweet corn off the cob.

My daughter has a very green thumb. I told her to plant marigolds around her garden and the rabbits and coons will leave it alone. She planted marigold seeds and the plants were the size of a bushel basket. She just has the touch.

My mother-in-law, Betty Erbskorn, is the same way. She planted petunias one year, and what should have been an annual is a perennial—they come up on their own year after year. It is the same with snap dragons, she has them everywhere. There is even one growing out of the bricks in the side of her porch. It’s the strangest thing to see, and so far the frost has not effected it. I guess it’s protected by the all-powerful green thumb!

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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