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.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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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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