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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.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.

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