Gardener's Grapevine 2012.08.29

Written by David Green.

This past week has sure been a busy one. I’m still learning a new computer charting program at work and it has drained my brain every night. Just when I think I’m pretty foxy and have a handle on it, I get thrown a curve ball by the IT trainers. It is a program that builds on itself and is not an easy process. After 25 years of using the same paper charting process, this has been an extreme case of having patience.

Patience is something I struggle with in every aspect of my life. In the gardening world some things give you quick gratification and become large and in charge quickly, at times too quickly. A good example is a plant called liatris. My friend Mary Johnson bought a start of this because she thought it was pretty. The first year it was pretty, the second year it was a huge patch and the third year it went nuts. It came up everywhere.

My aunt planted a ground cover that came up quickly and filled in the space rapidly, choking out everything in its path. It was beautiful when it bloomed, but crazy aggressive. She called it Michigan kudzu.

On the other side of the coin are plants that seem to grow so slowly you’ll be dead a hundred years before they reach full maturity. A prefect example of this is my grandmother Katherine’s Japanese maple tree. She has had this tree in front of her house for probably 10 years and it is only about a foot taller than when she planted it. We were visiting on Saturday and I mentioned how slow it grows and she noted that she did not know it took so long to mature when she bought it.

When purchasing an addition to your property it always behooves you to do a little background on the plant. If the intended use is to hide or cover something quickly you need to make sure what you purchase will do just that. However if you love a plant and it’s a slow grower, plant your landscape around it like my grandma did with her little maple tree. By planning out your landscaping ahead of time you can make sure one plant does not overtake everything and ruin your plans. Also if you choose to plant a prominent tree or bush like a Japanese maple I hope you are a patient person.

My aunt had an interesting butterfly bush that was yellow. I had never seen any color other than purple and thought it was the coolest thing going. Well, I had to run out and find one. I didn’t ask her questions like how fast does it grow, does it like or dislike certain other plants or types of soil. I bought it, brought it home and then decided where to plant it. Apparently one of two things are going on with it as it is not very big after about five years. Either it is a slow grower or it dislikes one of its neighbors. The birds however did plant a butterfly bush near our basement entry that is huge and has the largest flowers I have ever seen on one.

I am not a very patient person, as I said, but in the gardening world you just have to wait and see or do your homework prior to purchasing. Most plants can be thoroughly researched online for no cost. I Google so many things you’d think I’d be a computer pro, until it comes to computer charting. This old dog is learning a new trick and refreshing the use of an old one: patience.

  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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