Saturday Gardening Thread: A Maiden's Hair [Y-not and KT]

Y-not: Good afternoon, gardeners!

There's not much happening at the vast 0.47 acre Casa Moxie Estates. We've had a very mild winter thus far (I'm told), so much so that we had to mow our lawn last week.

We also cut back our ornamental grasses.

soften-wall-0405-m.jpg

Gorgeous garden border from Sunset Magazine.

If you're like me, when you grew up (in the '60s and '70s) ornamental grasses were not prominently featured in suburban landscapes. Now they seem to be everywhere. Ever wonder how they became popularized?

Via the Tulsa Garden Center, it seems that ornamental grasses became widely used in the U.S. thanks to the work of ground-breaking (SWIDT?) landscape architect Wolfgang Oehme (1930-2011).

OehmeGrasses.jpg

Mr. Oehme inspecting ornamental grasses that made him famous (via The Baltimore Sun

Here's a bit about Mr. Oehme via his New York Times obituary:

"I like it wild," said Mr. Oehme (pronounced EHR-ma), describing how he marshaled masses of meadowlike grasses and perennials to evoke the feeling of ocean waves. He called the effect a metaphor for the great prairies of the West.

For 30 years, Mr. Oehme teamed up with James van Sweden to develop self-sustaining gardens, free of pesticides, that could remain beautiful even as the seasons changed. They planted flowers and bushes not by threes and fives, but by the thousands. Details, like how the wind would move the leaves of different plant species, were studied meticulously. Water, whether trickling or in reflecting pools, became a hallmark.

Their work graced embassies, universities and private homes, including Oprah Winfrey's. In Washington, it can be seen at the Treasury Department, the National Gallery of Art, the National Arboretum and the Federal Reserve building. In New York, they created pieces of Battery Park City and Hudson River Park. Their work extended to Minneapolis and West Virginia.

You can read about his partner here.

Not all ornamental grasses should be cut back, apparently. Here's a helpful article on how, when, and if to prune your grasses.

Looking for inspiration on perennials to introduce to your garden, including grasses? You might enjoy this article while you sit inside, waiting for Spring. I highly recommend one of the plants mentioned in that article, Cranesbill It's done great for us in our gardens, from Indiana to Utah.

CranesbillBill.jpg

(left) Cranesbill's "spikes" provided inspiration for the plant's name. (right) A sandhill crane.

Speaking of Maiden Hair, here's KT to tell us about Rapunzel:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel

Hello, Horde. How are things going? We got some real rain this week. Not anything like in the East. We also got some tule fog, worse than at any time during the drought. With the weather and other strange stuff going on in the world, I thought it might be a good time to discuss a strange old fairy tale.

Do you remember learning that Rapunzel was named after a garden plant craved by her mother during pregnancy? It must have been something special. There is considerable disagreement about what it was, though.

I have not done much in the garden lately, but I have winter-sown some seeds of Corn Salad, one of the contenders for the title of "The Real Rapunzel", along with some other hardy greens. I will let you know how it turns out. For today, I decided to look into some of the other plants called "Rapunzel" as well.

Remember: No matter how much a loved one wants a salad, do not steal salad fixings from an enchantress. Better to grow your own than to risk this:

RapunzelWall.jpg

The Darker World of Fairy Tales

RAPUNZEL, THE FANCY GREEN

Corn salad (field salad, mache, Rapunzel, etc.) was not always fancy. It was once only a weed in grain fields, gathered by peasants for salad. In Old English "corn" means a staple grain like wheat or rye. It was introduced to high society by the Royal Gardener to Louis XIV.

It has long been popular in Europe. In recent decades has been used by fancy chefs in the USA for winter and spring salads. Gardeners have grown it here for a much longer time for winter greens, and it has escaped cultivation on both the east and west coasts. When grown outdoors, it often has an aromatic, nutty flavor.

Grown as a winter or early spring green, field salad (Valerianella locusta) is sold in Germany as a whole plant, often with the small main root attached. Field salad grows in a loose rosette and is harvested two to three months after planting. Field salad is also famously known as Rapunzel, the vitamin-rich food that cost a peasant family their only daughter in the Grimm Brothers Fairy tale. . . .
It resists frosts to -4 deg F (-20 deg C) and can be harvested well into the winter if planted August through September. If planted later, it survives through the winter and can be harvested in the spring. Pick it after the frost is gone in the morning, or it will wilt. . .

Several small-seeded cultivars are noted for their extreme cold-hardiness. If planting for spring, choose one of the more heat-tolerant large-seeded cultivars. It is suitable for containers outdoors. When grown in a greenhouse or under lights, baby-leaf corn salad can be harvested in 18 days.

mache-harvest-m.jpg

Planting, harvesting and eating corn salad

If grown during mild winters, say in Northern Florida, the plants will keep producing if you harvest just the outer leaves with scissors. When the plants bolt in the spring, you can eat the tiny silvery-blue flowers and their stems.

forgetmenots.jpg

Be careful not to confuse the flowers with little forget-me-nots

The seeds have air pockets that help them blow to new locations in the wind. If you allow corn salad to self-sow, it will likely show up in new locations in the garden.

The mild flavor and tender texture of the leaves contrast nicely with more bracing winter greens like radicchio, endive, arugula and mustards. Try it with a mustard vinaigrette or with Pennsylvania Dutch Hot Bacon Dressing. Corn salad is also featured in many salad recipes with root vegetables, especially beets. But I really like the idea of pairing it with avocados.

mache-lettuce-salad.jpg

RAPUNZEL, THE BELLFLOWER

The name "Rapunzel" may be related to "Rampion". The most familiar plant that goes by this name is a bellflower in the genus Campanula. The species name of Campanula rapunculus means "little turnip". More on this plant later.

Plants in related genera which are also called "Rampion" include some members of the genus Phyteuma and also Physoplexus comosa, (Devils Claw), an interesting little alpine plant grown by competitive alpine plant enthusiasts.

Phyteuma spicatum, AKA Spiked Rampion or White Devils Claw, is another candidate for the "real" Rapunzel. It was known for its medicinal properties. Efforts are underway to keep it from disappearing from the UK. Its relationship to the Rapunzel fairy tale is highlighted.

I have only found confirmation that one species of Phyteuma tastes good. Alpine shepherds eat the sweet flowers of P. orbiculare as snacks and use the leaves for salads. This could be a plant to keep in mind if you are preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse or for a revival of the Sound of Music.

Phytuemaorbiculare.jpg

Phyteuma orbiculare pictured in an alpine tour

But among non-shepherds (or non-goatherds), Campanula rapunculus seems to be the only kind of Rampion that is still cultivated for food. It is generally a biennial. A rosette of leaves and a storage root form the first year and flowering stems appear the second year. The flowers are attractive.

Rampion1.jpg

In addition to using the roots and leaves raw for winter salads, larger roots can be boiled and served with sauce. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten like spinach during summer and fall. Young flower shoots can be blanched and eaten like asparagus.

In Italy, they prepare young Raponzoli (Rapunzel) very simply: "Just forage and clean roots and greens. Then dress with olive oil, vinegar, and salt."

raponzoli.jpg

Paul O. Zelinsky, who adapted and illustrated a version of Rapunzel, grew some in containers while he was illustrating the book. He did not get roots, but he harvested the leaves for salads. He noted that seeds from different sources seemed to produce leaves with different flavors.

He also noted that the seeds of this plant are so tiny, like dust, that you need to take care when planting them. Tiny seeds are often mixed with fine, dry sand before planting. You can also make up an envelope of Knox gelatin half-strength (4 cups of water) so it is like thick egg whites after chilling. Mix the seeds with some of the gel and spoon them out where you want them, or squirt them out with a ketchup dispenser or similar squeeze bottle.

If you are more interested in the ornamental qualities of C. rapunculus than in eating it, Sakata has developed an annual-flowering cultivar called Heavenly Blue that you might see in nurseries or in florist shops. Makes a good cut flower. It is daylength-sensitive, and was apparently developed to grow in greenhouses.

There is also an edible zombie form of rampion, Campanula rapunculoides. The name means "looks like C. ranunculus." This one is a perennial that is very invasive. Pretty can be evil, too. It has naturalized in much of the USA, including Wisconsin. If it appears in your garden, eat it or just dig it out.

Campanularapunculoides.jpg

Not as delicate as it looks.

RAPUNZEL THE WILD LEEK?

I ran across a site that includes a page on the history and interpretation of the Rapunzel tale. It lists movies, books and TV shows based on the fairy tale. A modern version by the author of the page was also included. It got me thinking about ways the tale of Rapunzel might have been different if it had been set in America.

For one thing, a different plant would have been featured. America has its own native plant that is sometimes called "rampion". Its more typical name is "ramps" and it is related to onions and garlic. It is not just for salads. It can also be included in hearty, Moron Lifestyle dishes like ramps, potatoes and bacon. The city of Chicago probably got its name from this plant.

ramps1-300.jpg

Allium tricoccum, better known as ramps or wild leeks, are available at farmers markets for just a few weeks in early spring, and are eagerly snapped up by chefs and home cooks alike. . . .

"In recent history, hunters and fishermen ate most of the ramps," says Jeanine Davis, an associate professor of horticultural science at North Carolina State University, who has been studying ramps since 1997. "When my husband and his friends went trout fishing in early spring, they picked ramps, fried them up with potatoes and eggs, and ate them morning, noon, and night. Unfortunately, ramps have a notorious smell that can emanate from your skin, so he would have to sleep on the couch for several days after he got back."

This woodland cooking tradition may explain fancier recipes like rainbow trout with spring morels and wild ramps. If you are a forager, here are directions for harvesting wild ramps. Sometimes bunches of the leaves without roots are offered in farmers markets. They are pricey even without the roots. Maybe you could grow a few.

The typical onion-like flowers of ramps appear after the leaves are gone, sometimes showing up with the leaves of unrelated, later-emerging woodland plants.

Have you been looking for a veggie to plant in part shade? If you have a deciduous tree and the moist soil ramps prefer, Pinetree ships plants in March and April.

Have fun dreaming about your next garden season.

Y-not: Thanks KT! Very restful.

TeaIngredients.jpg

The ingredients in Sleepytime tea. *yawn*

Sweet dreams, hordelings!


What's happening in YOUR gardens this week?

Posted by: Open Blogger at 12:25 PM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1 First?

Posted by: Skip at January 09, 2016 12:19 PM (3ZgzE)

2 Rapenzul is popular in Germany right now.

Posted by: @votermom at January 09, 2016 12:22 PM (cbfNE)

3 Ramps are very tasty grilled.

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 12:22 PM (t5zYU)

4 Twofer today, was out clipping off dead parts of my oregano, it's still green with a couple of new shoots which should be quality leafs. Also my parsley inside my outbuilding needs to be watered every once in a while but it's still big and green.

Posted by: Skip at January 09, 2016 12:22 PM (3ZgzE)

5 fourth?

Posted by: Turd Ferguson at January 09, 2016 12:23 PM (VAsIq)

6 Missed it by that much.

Posted by: Turd Ferguson at January 09, 2016 12:23 PM (VAsIq)

7 I hated cutting back our grasses, but most of them are on the property line where we'll be putting up a fence soon.

I'm a little conflicted about them. They're pretty, but the cut off stump phase is not fun. Going to live with them for a while before deciding if we'll keep them and/or add to the ones we've inherited.

The birds and bunnies do seem to love them, though.

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 12:25 PM (t5zYU)

8 The so far mild winter had a few plants coming up, it was in low 50's with light rain this morning

Posted by: Skip at January 09, 2016 12:25 PM (3ZgzE)

9 LOL

Posted by: Scarlett at January 09, 2016 12:25 PM (HaI5l)

10 >>8 The so far mild winter had a few plants coming up

A couple of my grasses had some new green growth. Fortunately, it was still below the cut line.

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 12:27 PM (t5zYU)

11 Vic had asked last week if we've had anything start to bud b/c of the warm weather. So far, no. The crepe myrtles look dormant and I don't have many other flowering or deciduous plants here.

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 12:28 PM (t5zYU)

12 In the valley of the jolly (ho ho ho) ...

Oh, sorry. Hard to let that last thread go.

Posted by: mindful webworker - slow to transition at January 09, 2016 12:30 PM (tHAoL)

13 I think we're supposed to get about three inches of snow tonight, so I will plant what I usually plant, which is nothing.

Posted by: grammie winger, sign of The Time at January 09, 2016 12:31 PM (dFi94)

14 The closest I got to gardening this week was saving the seeds from a green pepper & 2 jalape˝os when I made chilli.

And ornamental grasses. Never been a fan of the large varieties (mostly Sawgrass around here), as they are ubiquitous in a beach town.
But I do like and have various liriope around.
*if someone ever gives you a smaller liriope and says "it's a spreader, not a clumper, believe them.

Posted by: Chi at January 09, 2016 12:32 PM (gQfxF)

15 Ornamental grasses are all too often dangerous exotic invaders. Do your homework before establishing ravishing new ones, or they may ravish.

I put in some "zebra grass" in a remote fence corner about 25 years ago; it was supposed to last 3-5 years according to the tag on the pot. This year, finally, none came back. That was some hardy grass right there. I may buy another $5 worth.

Shoved some liriope "lily turf" bulbettes in under the big hostas, maybe 8 years back. They did nothing for so long that I called and got my money back. The next year, here they came, now spreading and splitting a little, and lovely little backdrops they are too. Probably will turn out to be carnivorous, or psychedelic.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at January 09, 2016 12:33 PM (xq1UY)

16 It's spitting snow here, but, it's too warm to stick.

I just want to note that I admire all you people with green thumbs. I have the Thumb of Death when it comes to plants, so my gardening efforts entail backing away slowly so the ToD doesn't hurt any more innocent plants. I am in a program and now have a 20 year Don't Touch The Plants chip and can now walk by a flat of petunias or pansies without feeling guilty that I am not beautifying my front walk.

Posted by: Sherry McEvil, Stiletto Corsettes now franchising Lulu Snackbars at January 09, 2016 12:36 PM (kXoT0)

17 @12 I have been to Blue Earth, and seen that big sumbitch. Funny thing was, there weren't many places to eat in that town. Had to settle for a pizza. I kind of expected a real vegeta-palooza.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at January 09, 2016 12:36 PM (xq1UY)

18 Manure, earthworms and rain.

Beds are sitting fallow to Good Friday.

Posted by: Hairyback Guy at January 09, 2016 12:43 PM (ej1L0)

19 Sherry,
I used to buy Mom houseplants all the time. And mums have been a tradition for Mum's Day for as long as I can remember.
I love her dearly, but that woman could kill a silk fern in three days flat.

Posted by: Chi at January 09, 2016 12:45 PM (gQfxF)

20 My oregano is doing the same thing. Love it!

Posted by: Diogenes at January 09, 2016 12:45 PM (r65B3)

21 Stringer Davis at January 09, 2016

That zombie bellflower, C. rapunculiodes, is reputed to have a period of well-mannered behavior before taking over the yard, too.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 12:47 PM (qahv/)

22 Beds are sitting fallow to Good Friday.

Oy!

Getting ready to plant. Anything not in the ground before Feb will burn to a crisp come July ...

November is better but then all heck - per usual - broke loose.

FYI:

http://www.highcountrygardens.com/ perennial-plants/ornamental-grass

extra space before perennial ...

Posted by: Adriane the Green Thumb Critic ... at January 09, 2016 12:50 PM (AoK0a)

23 From the link to info on the second ornamental grass guy, James van Sweden:

"The worst thing you can do is be ditsy". Please ignore those little corn salad blossoms if you agree.

In fabric design, a "ditsy print" is covered with tiny flowers.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 12:50 PM (qahv/)

24 Since the hurricanes of the late 90's (bertha fran floyd) NC forestry has been offering free trees every Jan at the mall in Wilmington t o replace all that were lost in the storms, a couple of years ago they started offering native grasses
Indian grasslittle bluestemmuhly grass
I get trees every year, no grasses though. This will be the first year I've missed because I'm getting a puppy that weekend instead.
I think grasses got popular because they were recommended by landscapers who needed winter work.



Posted by: traye at January 09, 2016 12:51 PM (Wh94c)

25 Ditto on the "watch for invasive ornamental grasses" warning.

Also, watch for the ones that cut you when you touch them.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 12:51 PM (qahv/)

26 This is the garden of make believe.
The magical garden of make believe.
Where flowers chuckle and birds play tricks
And the magical tree grows lollipop sticks.

Posted by: Paula and Carole at January 09, 2016 12:52 PM (5luh1)

27 I guess it is the OCD in me, but I don't like ornamental grasses. It all has to be uniform.

Posted by: chemjeff at January 09, 2016 12:53 PM (uZNvH)

28 I have Blonde Ambition & Purple Fountain in the front yard sidewalk garden and will add a carax (?) ... soon.

A couple of spikey fescues from Home Depot also. Don't remember their name ...

Many thanks for the loverly Gardening Thread.

BBL.

Posted by: Adriane the Green Thumb Critic ... at January 09, 2016 12:54 PM (AoK0a)

29 >>>Do your homework before establishing ravishing new ones, or they may ravish.

That would have sounded better as, "or they may ravage".

Posted by: Captain Kirk at January 09, 2016 12:56 PM (5luh1)

30 Chemjeff,

There are certainly yards in which ornamental grasses look out of place.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 12:58 PM (qahv/)

31 Blech, I hate ornamental grasses. They look weedy to my eye, plus if you have ornamental grasses, the likelihood is that Ishall soon have them, too, along with half the entire county

A pox on Mr Foreign man for making them popular, though I hope he's resting in peace.

Ramps are a big deal in many places; they have festivals and everything during the short growing season. I went to one in WV, along the OH border.

Those running campanulas are a cast-iron bitch, but they're a damn sight prettier than freaking ornamental grasses. (My apologies to everyone who loves them; I have lived in too many places where they've taken over!)

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at January 09, 2016 12:59 PM (ZAhzb)

32 My son in law took out all the boxy hedges from around their garage and entry way ( I think they were yews - anyway those boxy hedges that everyone in the Midwest has in their front yard) and put in a variety or ornamental grasses, boxwoods, burning bush and hydrangeas instead. Now it looks less like a brick ranch that was built in 1970 although it actually is a brick ranch built in 1970.

Posted by: grammie winger, sign of The Time at January 09, 2016 01:00 PM (dFi94)

33 >>>We've had avery mild winteráthus far (I'm told)

Catastrophically mild! It's the biggest challenge we face.

Posted by: Barack Obama at January 09, 2016 01:01 PM (5luh1)

34 Functional grass is preferable to ornamental grass.

Posted by: Cheech and Chong at January 09, 2016 01:02 PM (5luh1)

35 I should add that as much as I dislike ornamental grasses, I totally love seeing them play with the wind, so I see the appeal to an extent.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at January 09, 2016 01:03 PM (ZAhzb)

36 My mom and stepdad live in a retirement community where the houses are fairly close together and they can't put up fences. They use tall ornamental grasses for privacy around their back patio. My mom doesn't like her next door neighbor looking at her when she goes out to sunbathe, or drink.

Posted by: grammie winger, sign of The Time at January 09, 2016 01:04 PM (dFi94)

37 grammie winger, the burning bushes really are quite nice, I have two in my backyard, they grow really tall too

Posted by: chemjeff at January 09, 2016 01:09 PM (uZNvH)

38 Gas, Ass or Ornamental Grass
-- Nobody Rides for Free

Posted by: The Bumper Sticker on Wolfgang Oehme's Love Van at January 09, 2016 01:11 PM (RU5ki)

39 Just looked what I thought might be hosta I now think are my daffodils coming up, about 3 inches

Posted by: Skip at January 09, 2016 01:11 PM (3ZgzE)

40 So, what if Rapunzel had been set in Chicago?

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 01:12 PM (qahv/)

41 The ornamental cabbage and the lettuce look the same.

Posted by: Sesame.St hispanic with moustache at January 09, 2016 01:13 PM (5luh1)

42 Arborvitae & maiden grass together make a great screen.

Posted by: Corner Lot Liver at January 09, 2016 01:13 PM (hrMUT)

43 Chemjeff - I like them too. They add a little color to an otherwise bleak landscape in winter.

Posted by: grammie winger, sign of The Time at January 09, 2016 01:15 PM (dFi94)

44 So, what if Rapunzel had been set in Chicago?
Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 01:12 PM (qahv/)


Uh, yo, ugh. Rap nizzle, yo, Rap nizzle, lets down ya dreadlicks owe I cap yoze ass. Ugh.

Posted by: generic Chicago scumball at January 09, 2016 01:21 PM (5luh1)

45 "Gas, Ass or Ornamental Grass
-- Nobody Rides for Free "


Friend of mine has very similar sticker on his CJ-5.

I always pay for gas.

Posted by: Ricardo Kill at January 09, 2016 01:21 PM (z91zs)

46 I have six tomato varieties to transplant in early February.

Posted by: Dregs at January 09, 2016 01:25 PM (VV4qd)

47 Coastal Virginia, I have day lilies &the typical bulbs pushing up already - daffodils, narcissus, whatever tulips the slugs & voles didn't get.
Only thing in bloom is the camelia, which I think is normal for this time of year.

Posted by: Chi at January 09, 2016 01:26 PM (gQfxF)

48 Lotta maiden grass on Pedophile Isle iykwimaityd! Haw haw!

Posted by: Bill in Chappaqua at January 09, 2016 01:32 PM (hrMUT)

49 Our neighbor has a maple tree near our property line. It was planted as a twig by the previous owners. It is now huge and thick and at least one thick root is approaching our garage foundation.

What I want to know is if I cut that root, the part on our property, will it weaken the whole tree and make it more likely to fall? Prevailing winds are from the west and that is our house.

Posted by: JTB at January 09, 2016 01:34 PM (FvdPb)

50 >>>So, what if Rapunzel had been set in Chicago?

Or Ferguson. "Hair down, don't shoot"!

Seriously though, you two do a great job on this thread. I don't garden, but there is some really good info on it.

Posted by: HH at January 09, 2016 01:35 PM (DrCtv)

51 Got a seed catalog the other day. It's like porn for gardeners. I can order seeds anytime but I have to wait until early March to sprout them or they'll get too big in the house before I transplant at the beginning of May.

Posted by: huerfano at January 09, 2016 01:37 PM (NSb9d)

52 I have two seasons.
1) Working in the yard
2) Thinking about the work I'm going to do in the yard next spring.

I'm well into 2) right now.

I'm looking at a corner of my backyard, which I intend to turn into a mixed conifer garden. There is an 8' high Canadian Hemlock there already as the centerpiece, and I'm mulling over pretty much every other variety of conifer to build up the area around it.

I'm partial to Weeping Blue Spruce (Picea pungens 'Pendula'), Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus Atlantica Glaucus Pendula), and Cryptomeria Japonica for vertical dimension, with variable color and texture, filling in around it with smaller Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis Obtusa), Blue Juniper, and stones. I love a conifer copse on a cool drizzly day.

It's good that there is a winter, otherwise I'd go broke.

Posted by: pep at January 09, 2016 01:37 PM (LAe3v)

53 Also, I floated the idea of a lawn tractor to the pepwife today. It was not favorably received, but I'm a patient and persistent guy.

Posted by: pep at January 09, 2016 01:38 PM (LAe3v)

54 Hey, gringo I wanna saguaro cactus thred. Why we no have? You post one up - that ease ormanentallay.

Posted by: Jeb Bush at January 09, 2016 01:39 PM (5luh1)

55
Winters are harsh enough here that ornamental grasses go dormant. After they turn brown, my buddy burns them. They do fine. But if you wait too long they get too soggy to burn.

Sandhill cranes taste like spotted owl.

Posted by: Ed Anger at January 09, 2016 01:39 PM (RcpcZ)

56 zombie form of rampion

I transplanted some of that thinking it was a pretty flower. Stuff spread by the roots and seeds. That was about 40 years ago. I think there is still some left.

Posted by: Ronster at January 09, 2016 01:41 PM (mUa7N)

57 Is this the ornamental asses thread?

Posted by: andycanuck at January 09, 2016 01:42 PM (DLIIY)

58 JTB, that's how tree surgeons and arborists stay in business. It may be fine, but I have a scary story.

BIL of "the guy in the next office" was in the concrete biz, small scale but doing great, had his company name embroidered on the bowling shirts, one of which his BIL had. They did a little job, re-did a lady's driveway approach where it crossed the right-of-way, and cut out a just medium-size maple root, of a tree that was in the right-of-way. Everything fine. Months later, the neighbor misses the drive by a smidge backing out, just taps the tree, and it falls on her car and kills her. End of business, bowling team, and Life As We Knew It for the enterprising entrepreneur. He lost his house and firm, and of course felt awful remorse. But he never did figure out exactly what he'd done wrong, poor guy.

By all means pay the relative pittance to hear a professional opinion.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at January 09, 2016 01:46 PM (xq1UY)

59 when i lived in maryland, i had flower boxes that lined the railing of the deck....late spring, i planted petunias and variegated vinca vines....the vines were so beautiful the way they cascaded down to the grass below.....

Posted by: phoenixgirl, i was born a rebel at January 09, 2016 01:46 PM (0O7c5)

60 JTB,
Without knowing more, I'll say that I think you're probably safe to cut that one root. How big is the tree?
Know that the tree will probably throw off more roots, though.

By law, I know you can cut whatever branch hanging over your property line that you want to, so roots should be the same.
Besides, if the neighbor 's tree blows over, he or his insurance will pay for all damages.

Posted by: Chi at January 09, 2016 01:51 PM (gQfxF)

61 Speaking of Carex, some of the ornamental sedges are invasive, too.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 01:53 PM (qahv/)

62 Would we read sorybooks about Rapunzel if her name were "Ramps"?


Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 01:54 PM (qahv/)

63 One of the tricks I learned from reading was that when you have a very small seed to plant, you can mix the seeds in with cooked (and cooled) cornstarch in a zip-lock bag, seal it, and then trim a small corner off it and squirt out the gel like you were using a cake decorator.

Posted by: Kindltot at January 09, 2016 01:55 PM (q2o38)

64 58 ... Thanks Stringer. I was thinking along those lines. I have no qualms about chopping roots on our property but don't want to make the situation worse. We have used a good tree service in the past. Time to talk to the neighbors and give the service a call.

Posted by: JTB at January 09, 2016 01:55 PM (FvdPb)

65 was disappointed that there wasn't an NFL Pick'em Group this year. I was also disappointed there wasn't a Bowl game Pick'em either. And since it doesn't look like anyone else is going to do a Fantasy Playoff Challenge I did.

www.nfl.com Go to Fantasy Choose Playoff Challenge.

Group Name: Ace Of Spades HQ
Password: Ewok


Join if you would like.

A cob can put this in a post if they want.

Posted by: buzzion at January 09, 2016 01:55 PM (zt+N6)

66 traye at January 09, 2016 12:51 PM

We are taking care of a puppy right now. A little poodle/bichon mix. May grow into a medium-sized dog if he takes after Dad.

What a lot of work. Fortunately our old Warrior Princess has taken on the job of nanny, so she gets most of the day shift.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 01:57 PM (qahv/)

67 JTB at January 09, 2016 01:34 PM

Whether or not cutting that root would increase the likelihood of the tree falling would depend on several variables. You need someone local to take a look, I think.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 01:59 PM (qahv/)

68 60 ... Chi, The tree is at least 40 feet tall and the base the trunk is only maybe 15 feet from our garage.

Posted by: JTB at January 09, 2016 02:00 PM (FvdPb)

69 @60 Yes, they'll pay for all damages, except for things that cannot be monetized. Been in on this twice: back fence neighbor had a survivor elm that suddenly didn't; I did not get on his ass about it, and when a sudden gust took it down, it uprooted a Pennsylvania white pine on my side, that I'd brought here in my hands when I was seven years old. I got the firewood, but losing that tree aged me some.

Then, there was an "English" (non-black) walnut not too far from the old garage on dad's end of the compound. We had just gone over that tree, and I judged it the healthiest on the property. Our late Hungarian neighbor had carried the nut with him from his home village, in the Revolution. Hungarian custom, to plant a walnut tree where you put down your roots. Lot of rain one spring, tornado warnings up, and a mini-wind shear took that big sucker down right into the garage, which by a weird twist of fate that week only was housing my late uncle's brand-new '66 El Camino.

It was nice to get a new garage from the nice insurance man, but he and I both had a drink on the miraculous survival of that Chevrolet. Not replaceable.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at January 09, 2016 02:01 PM (xq1UY)

70 A little bourbon makes any garden thrive. *hic*

Posted by: Ready For Hillary!!11!! at January 09, 2016 02:02 PM (Dwehj)

71 Had to take a few wild leaks while camping.

Posted by: Insomniac - Pale Horse/Death 2016 at January 09, 2016 02:04 PM (kpqmD)

72 There will be growth in the Spring.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner at January 09, 2016 02:04 PM (rwI+c)

73 Every rose has its thorn.

Posted by: Ready For Hillary!!11!! at January 09, 2016 02:04 PM (Dwehj)

74 Kindltot at January 09, 2016 01:55 PM

The cornstarch gel idea for planting tiny seeds is a good one.

They use corn germ meal to inhibit germination of seeds. Probably unlikely that remnants of the germ would be in cornstarch, though.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 02:04 PM (qahv/)

75 I went to a garden party but it's alright now, cuz if you can't please everyone, ya gotta please yourself. *hic*

Posted by: Ready For Hillary!!11!! at January 09, 2016 02:08 PM (Dwehj)

76 It is well below zero here, and the ice on Muskeg Bay, Lake of the Woods, grows thicker.
Not much else.

Posted by: Barry Manitoba at January 09, 2016 02:09 PM (pjP2B)

77 Where in the hell do you people live? Belize? It's January and it's 10 ckufing degrees outside. There's nothing growing out there!

Posted by: Dack Thrombosis at January 09, 2016 02:11 PM (4ErVI)

78 @53 Pep: Mine actually volunteered to let me plant veggies in the front yard this coming season. Mind you, she pretty much lived off the tomatoes I planted in the side yard for August and September. She has stated, "We will have at least three chocolate cherry tomato plants."

So, I gotta use the garden planner to lay out everything. Thought must be given to sun angles and shadowing. It's very complex, because i'm a guy and I must have it be so.

Hey, Y-not, have there been any discussions of garden planning software? I use Territorial Seed's version, and it works pretty slickly to my inexperienced eye. It remembers what I planted where, and reminds me to move stuff around for best disease resistance.

Posted by: Gordon at January 09, 2016 02:14 PM (hqhmo)

79 I'm starting to get bulbs coming up. crocus and tulip. plus a Mediterranean pink bush, due to the unseasonably warm weather.

Posted by: Bigby's Knuckle Sandwich at January 09, 2016 02:14 PM (Cq0oW)

80 Y-not,

There are several true geraniums known as "Cranesbill". Many are great garden plants. A few are really invasive.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 02:14 PM (qahv/)

81 We get a spring weed here that makes a seedpod that looks like a cranesbill. It may be related to geraniums. It forms a substantial taproot for a plant its size. Gophers love it. It is good for attracting gophers to traps.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 02:16 PM (qahv/)

82 76
It is well below zero here, and the ice on Muskeg Bay, Lake of the Woods, grows thicker.

Not much else.

Posted by: Barry Manitoba at January 09, 2016 02:09 PM (pjP2B)

Holy cow you are waaaaaaaaay up north.

Posted by: chemjeff at January 09, 2016 02:16 PM (uZNvH)

83 Wolfgang Oehme.
James Van Sweden.

A couple of scandis naively promoting importation of invasive species that crowd out the natives. Just like flooding the joint with muslim rapists back in scandiland.

'Diversity.' Doing the ornamental plant jobs that American species just won't do.

Posted by: Joe Biden, State Convention Delegate for the Great State of Delaware at January 09, 2016 02:17 PM (/f6Nd)

84 I think our tomatoes are finally done. The one ripening fruit that remained has fallen off in the cold and rain.

Posted by: Grump928(C) says Free Soothie!, with purchase of commenter of equal or greater value at January 09, 2016 02:18 PM (rwI+c)

85 @82 Yep.
I can walk to Canada.

Posted by: Barry Manitoba at January 09, 2016 02:18 PM (pjP2B)

86 Dregs at January 09, 2016 01:25 PM

I should get going on tomatoes, soon.

What varieties are you growing?

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 02:19 PM (qahv/)

87 @77 Here 3 miles from Lake Erie, it's been damn cold several times, and quite a few days with the high below freezing. But at the moment it's 40-ish, and the goldurn spinach and oakleaf lettuce that re-sprouted in early December after being mown down and tilled under are still green. Some years they poke right up through the snow. Usually I can pick fresh "par-cel" celeriac parsley for a stuffing, either Thanksgiving or Christmas. My main batch of that stuff froze off early, but when I went over into the other patch where we'd raked leaves over the beets, a spot where I last grew par-cel two years ago, there the sonsaguns were.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at January 09, 2016 02:19 PM (xq1UY)

88 I thouhht the refugees would be ornamental.

Posted by: Angela Merkel at January 09, 2016 02:20 PM (5luh1)

89 Hey, fescue babe. Come here beetch. I pollinate you like you never been pollinated.

Posted by: Zebra Grass Gang Rapist at January 09, 2016 02:21 PM (/f6Nd)

90 That's right, Preen is corn-based.

I will have to look into that.

Speaking of corn, my garden is soaked, but no longer flooded. If I try to do anything the clay will convert into brick when it dries.

I have a cold again, today, so I plan to shell last Fall's indian corn.
It used to be a simple job, but then I used to have callouses. I work in an office and have clerk's hands now.

I bought a mill that attaches to my Kitchenaide mixer, so I can grind fine corn meal now. It makes better cornbread.

Posted by: Kindltot at January 09, 2016 02:22 PM (q2o38)

91 Gordon at January 09, 2016 02:14 PM

The thing I like about Chocolate Cherry tomatoes is that they continue to taste good in the fall when nights get cool. They are not my favorite in summer. Hard to find on the plant.

We have discussed garden planners before. The Territorial garden planner sounds great.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 02:22 PM (qahv/)

92 what I'm waiting on is the pokeweed to come up. after that garden thread I think I'll try to get rid of it

Posted by: Bigby's Knuckle Sandwich at January 09, 2016 02:24 PM (Cq0oW)

93 @85 Barry: I've been up there. The bars on the Minnesota side, during the day, are full of Manitobians, eh? They come in on sleds. I do not think they observed all of the customs regulations.

It has gotten cold here. I think my sole remaining rosemary plant will not survive this blast. Perhaps the Seahawks will not survive playing outdoors in below zero cold.

Posted by: Gordon at January 09, 2016 02:25 PM (hqhmo)

94 Growing alpine plants in unheated greenhouses is a big deal in the UK. I don't think the Swiss or Austrians mind the cultural appropriation. Provides lots of tourist dollars when garden clubs visit "their" plants in the Alps.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 02:26 PM (qahv/)

95 George Bush caused the incredibly cold Minnesota weather.

Posted by: Pete Carrol at January 09, 2016 02:27 PM (zt+N6)

96 At the end of every growing season here it winds up raining. And that means all the almost ripe tomatoes start to split, usually when I am not ready to can.

The last couple of years I have been dragging them in and washing the spatters of mud off of them, chopping them coarsely and shoveling them into zip-lock bags to freeze.
If you can freeze them so they lay flat they file into the deep-freeze better.

I use them for sauces and soups in the winter.

Posted by: Kindltot at January 09, 2016 02:28 PM (q2o38)

97 I knew an English M.D. who had a shooting preserve in Wisconsin (which contained among other things a 900-yard rifle range).
He was looking for hardy strains of Miscanthus sinensis. The idea was winter cover for his pheasants.

Posted by: Barry Manitoba at January 09, 2016 02:30 PM (pjP2B)

98 O/T


Drudge: 20% of Dems for Trump.

Heh.

Posted by: Mr Aspirin Factory at January 09, 2016 02:30 PM (89T5c)

99 @96 Right you are. We bring in the last tomatoes and peppers that freeze on the vine, and cook them into sauce for the freezer. They're perfectly good, it's just that they won't grow any more, and if you leave them out there they will rot away.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at January 09, 2016 02:30 PM (xq1UY)

100 Just an FYI, ace posting on a Sat.

Posted by: HH at January 09, 2016 02:32 PM (DrCtv)

101 Obama may be a dick, but he's got balls.

May he meet with the same fate as my dick and balls.

Posted by: Caitlyn Jenner at January 09, 2016 02:33 PM (5luh1)

102 This has been a weird weather season: very warm temps and a bit more rain than usual. It's only the last few days that temperatures are getting to be normal. This is a far cry from the last two years that were frigid and snowy. I just hope the weather pattern normalizes so the fruit trees in the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont aren't damaged come spring blossom time.

But I haven't missed snow shoveling or had to worry about slipping on the ice.

Posted by: JTB at January 09, 2016 02:35 PM (FvdPb)

103 @91: KT, our one little (chocolate cherry tomato) plant grew so much that if fully extended, it would have been 14 feet tall or so--with at least a dozen branches that long. I know now that next year we will plant them away from the other tomatoes, as they could not keep up.

We probably harvested 1200-1500 very tasty fruits, and at least half of those were not consumed by my wife before they got into the kitchen. There were at least 200 still on the plant when the frost finally killed it off in November. It makes a very delicious salsa when mixed with some other stuff.

Posted by: Gordon at January 09, 2016 02:41 PM (hqhmo)

104 92
what I'm waiting on is the pokeweed to come up. after that garden thread I think I'll try to get rid of it

Posted by: Bigby's Knuckle Sandwich at January 09, 2016 02:24 PM (Cq0oW)

Oh man, I have a giant pokeweed stump in the back corner of my property that is right next to the fencing and some concrete, that is going to be a real PITA to remove in the spring...

Posted by: chemjeff at January 09, 2016 02:41 PM (uZNvH)

105 @78So, I gotta use the garden planner to lay out everything. Thought must
be given to sun angles and shadowing. It's very complex, because i'm a
guy and I must have it be so.



Yes, that goes without saying. If it's worth doing, it's worth obsessing over. Besides, I hear that guys who aren't this way tend to favor the "dwarf" varieties.

IYKWIMAITYD.

Posted by: pep at January 09, 2016 03:00 PM (LAe3v)

106 101 Obama may be a dick, but he's got balls.

May he meet with the same fate as my dick and balls.
Posted by: Caitlyn Jenner at January 09, 2016 02:33 PM (5luh1)

No. He's an asshole. And the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick. With some balls.

Posted by: Insomniac - Pale Horse/Death 2016 at January 09, 2016 03:01 PM (kpqmD)

107 Hey, did I miss something in the classic Rapunzel tale? Who is that climbing her hair in that illustration? Rapunzel was a lesbian? Was her suiter in disguise? Sure looks like another girl.

Posted by: Jimmy Doolittle at January 09, 2016 03:19 PM (HpwDR)

108 Ramps are kind of a big deal in KY in the spring, at least in the eastern/central parts of the state. We enjoy them wilted with hot bacon grease and bacon crumbles. They also make yummy soup, whirled up in the food processor.

Posted by: Shinypie at January 09, 2016 03:19 PM (3nZXa)

109 KT, is corn salad also called mache?

Lots of rain in So Cal this week which is great. Broccoli, broccoli raab and kale but the cauliflower still has nothing on it.

I am looking at catalogues and already got some Garden Gem tomato seeds. What other varieties would you all recommend? Last year I think my best ones were the Berkeley Tie Dye and Big Beef. For some reason the San Marzano ones I planted didn't go nuts like they usually do.

Posted by: keena at January 09, 2016 03:52 PM (RiTnx)

110 Jimmy Doolittle at January 09, 2016 03:19 PM

The enchantress/witch/sorceress/ogre who took Rapunzel from her parents as payment for stolen salad put her in a tower when she turned 12, and climbed Rapunzel's hair to visit her, bring supplies, etc. One day the Prince did the same.

Incidentally, in an older Italian version of Rapunzel, the girl is named after parsley.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 03:56 PM (qahv/)

111 Yes, Keena, mache is the French name for corn salad.

Are you sure you didn't grow Pink Berkeley Tie Dye last year? Berkeley Tie Dye is very tart. Big Beef is very adaptable. If you are near the coast, check the Territorial Seed catalog for recommendations.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 04:01 PM (qahv/)

112 Shinypie, they really are! I think they're a big deal in most of Appalachia.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at January 09, 2016 04:01 PM (ZAhzb)

113 Good to know, shinypie! I'll look for them this spring.

Posted by: Y-not on the phone at January 09, 2016 05:29 PM (34pA0)

114 27 I guess it is the OCD in me, but I don't like ornamental grasses. It all has to be uniform.
Posted by: chemjeff at January 09, 2016 12:53 PM
--

LOL, I don't like anything that requires pruning to a shape. Naturally that means I've inherited a dozen boxwoods!

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 06:01 PM (t5zYU)

115 @KT 111. Yes you are right! It was pink Berkeley tie dye.
Isn't there a purple heirloom one that everyone loves? We're about 5 mi from coast but it's a lot warmer and sunnier in the summer here.

Posted by: keena at January 09, 2016 06:02 PM (vk43t)

116 I'm looking at a corner of my backyard, which I intend to turn into a mixed conifer garden. There is an 8' high Canadian Hemlock there already as the centerpiece
---

I covet your conifer! :-)

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 06:05 PM (t5zYU)

117 Hey, Y-not, have there been any discussions of garden planning software? I use Territorial Seed's version, and it works pretty slickly to my inexperienced eye. It remembers what I planted where, and reminds me to move stuff around for best disease resistance.
Posted by: Gordon at January 09, 2016 02:14 PM (hqhmo)
--

I'll look into it. Or maybe you'd like to write a short review. If so, email me at my gmail account which is bailesworth.

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 06:08 PM (t5zYU)

118 Keena,

Cherokee Purple is one many people love. It is not very productive, but its tomatoes (picked before they get too soft) can be wonderful. Pink Berkeley Tie Dye has beat it in one taste test, maybe in cool weather. I have to put Cherokee Purple in part shade. Pink Berkeley Tie Dye got some disease in my garden.

If you are growing plants from seeds, you might consider Indian Stripe. It is very similar to Cherokee Purple, but more productive for many people, with slightly smaller, lighter-colored fruits you can pick ripe, on a somewhat smaller plant.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 06:26 PM (qahv/)

119 I love ornamental grasses in the landscape and also love the look of native bunchgrasses on the roadside,in the pasture or out in the dunes at the island. Bluestems are so pretty after they turn copper in winter.

I'm right on the edge of the floodplain, so our easement is a messy wildscape. We planted inland sea (or wood) oats and yes, it does spread, but not anywhere NEARLY as aggressively as, say, the evil English ivy that invaded from the floodplain and threatens to cover every vertical and horizontal space.

Posted by: stace at January 09, 2016 06:27 PM (CoX6k)

120 Gordon at January 09, 2016 02:41 PM

Once there was a brush fire near our house (started by a transformer), and the fire crew hung out near the fire hydrant by our garden watching for recurrences until repairs could be made.

When one guy learned that I was plsnting tomatoes that would turn out brown, he immediately wanted to plant his own, so that when he made salsa no one else would want it and he could eat it all.

Heh.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 06:30 PM (qahv/)

121 the evil English ivy that invaded from the floodplain and threatens to cover every vertical and horizontal space
--

I, too, hate English Ivy having battled it in our first home in Indiana. I swear a door-to-door ivy salesman must've done great business there. We had to get it off of our wood siding and, even worse, out from under the deck. The latter was worse because it was mixed in with POISON ivy, which my (allergic) husband cleverly discovered.

Posted by: Y-not (@moxiemom) at January 09, 2016 06:30 PM (t5zYU)

122 Today was clear and beautiful, high about 40F, so cleaned up the yard and readied a truckload for the dump...

Pruned out the old floricanes from our raspberry patch, should get a nice crop come summer!

Posted by: JQ Flyover at January 09, 2016 09:03 PM (044Fx)

123 Hey KT,

Thanks for the Rapunzel explanation. I'm glad I don't have to realign another bit of history.

By the way, up here in the Mountains of Idaho, we've got 2 ft of snow on the ground everywhere, and I can't even get to my greenhouse. Good thing it's buttoned up for the winter.

Posted by: Jimmy Doolittle at January 09, 2016 09:22 PM (HpwDR)

124 Hey Jimmy,

Stay snug. We will be looking forward to greenhouse reports when your planting season starts.

Posted by: KT at January 09, 2016 09:59 PM (qahv/)

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