Gardener's Grapevine 2013.01.02

Written by David Green.

Happy New Year! A new year means so many things to everyone. To a gardener it means a blank slate, a new start. Everything is asleep and below the ground so when you look out over your gardens you can start a new plan for the New Year.

Art and I have changed up our gardens more times than I can think of. We have one out back that is slowly getting an overhaul as one plant decided to become the dominant plant. No thank you, you’re out of here.

It’s called feverfew and is used in medicine. It’s beautiful in arrangements when it blooms—small compact white flowers like tiny mums on long stems that grow bush-like. The problem arrived in the fact that it spreads on the wind. That would be OK if a few new plants popped up, but that doesn’t happen every year. The first year it looked a little sparse—two or three plants among my roses, pretty. Second year, lots of plants scattered in my roses, beautiful! Third to fifth year….holy farm crop, where’s the pharmaceutical company? Now after five years out of control and being pulled back in to shape.

There are many invasive plants out there that on a small scale are gorgeous, but can become very overly aggressive quickly. If you don’t know your plants you can be in a nightmare mess within a few years. Art has suffered through a lot of my bad plant choices and since his hip is bad the rest of the family now gets pulled in to help mom with the “mistakes.”

Some invasive plants include feverfew, mint, coneflower, many herbs and anything that develops a multi-seeded head like my ultimate enemy—dandelions! 

There are many ways to spend a cold winter day of free time. I enjoy curling up with a stack of seed/plant catalogs or my computer, cup of tea, warm blanket and gardening notebook. Remember the notebook? I keep one all year long and it is not a nice tidy thing. It has dirt fingerprints, scribbles and sloppily jotted notes. Who wants to stop and write when they are playing in dirt? This habit has paid off in the past. My current problem is time. In the past two years I have been working at an extremely demanding job and my time to spend working in my gardens is limited. If I could win the lottery I would have the most outstanding gardens ever. Since I rarely buy tickets I will keep plucking at the regular Joe’s gardens (no pun intended).

So here we go with the planning, in the spring I like to give my extra plants to other people and it is pretty much a first-come, first-served basis. If you are around beware, I share!  Actually if you see me in the garden stop in and I’ll set you up with whatever I am thinning out.

What are your new year’s ideas in the garden? Whatever it is, don’t forget to share…now who wants some feverfew?

  • 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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