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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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