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.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.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • 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.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • 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
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

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