Monday, April 7, 2008

Soil Test, Bulbs, Thuja, Nurseries, Magazines

I'm writing a post because I am distracted, irritable, and have accomplished nothing over the weekend--and now another week is upon me, another week wasted and to be wasted, struggling away, thinking the next weekend will make it all better. And it won't. They never do. Good things happen, nearly too late, and then they get complicated and tiresome and wear you down. Then bad things happen (good things you hoped would, no, expected would happen (how couldn't they?), and they don't--big things, one big thing, and you're left to struggle yet again for another year, 52 weekends to be wasted on things you don't really care about, unfocused, abused, trivialized--completely normal, human). Vague enough for you? I feel like I'm 15 tonight. It's raining. Tickle me Emo.

1) I got the results of my soil test which confound the mitochondria out of me. Ph of 6.3. What? Medium organic content--ok. Very high in potassium and very low in nitrate--yup. I can't figure out that ph, though. I have clay; clay ain't acidic. Whatever.

2) Went to two nursuries Friday after a bad bad bad mail day. VERY BAD, depressing mail day that makes me feel utterly worthless and banal (I have many mail days like this, but this one was large). Thought I'd feel better if I nurseried, I did a little bit--looking to make a fountain out of a mole hill, er, large planter. Never been to the nursery so early. Of course, the hothouse plants were all doped up in their late May best, but even the shrubs outside seemed a few weeks ahead. Buy me. I will lie to you. And you will love me like no other. Then I will die.

3) Bought a plant--thuja emerald green--with a wedding gift card. Not an exciting purchase, but my wife and I, now seeing it in the garden, have made it our favorite plant (for now). It's green, that's part of it. But it'll be green in winter, too. And I am so happy where it is--perfect plant in the perfect place. It'll be so cool when I don't live here anymore. Sigh. Sigh. Murderous rampage. Sigh.

4) If I had to subscribe to JUST ONE GARDEN MAGAZINE, which should it be? I don't want bull, I don't want the topic du jour, I want decent writing that assumes I am informed, well read, and cultured. All of which I am. And exceedingly sexy.

5) Somewhere in this post are pics: of my little 24" thuja, a bluejay getting peanuts, house finches and a cardinal, and my martagon lily 'Mrs. R.O. Backhouse' popping up. I hear she might not bloom this year, or even the next, but to see her alive after a late fall planting is delicious. Just delicious.

6) I need a shrub that gets 4-6' tall and loves wet clay, and occasional standing water. And not a dogwood. Anyone??? It better not just be green all year long either, and it better look mildly interesting in winter, and it can't be more wide than it is tall. It also must know how to make exotic fruit tarts.


Anonymous said...

Benjamin: I get the picture! I had a weekend just like that! In spirit anyway. A garden magazine that will make you feel all those things? My advice is to join the American Horticultural Society and get their magazine free. It does all of those things you mentioned and no bs! I hope for you a better mail day! Better yet, use that darkness to write something awesome! On another note, I pulled out my garden gloves the other day, West Country Gardener, and wondered what gloves you finally decided on. Oh, and how about a Clethra. The species barbinervis is a tree with exceptional bark and 'alnifolia' blooms late in August with very fragrant flowers. Cultivars areavailable with pink flowers. It can do most of those things except for the tart!

tina said...

Your ph is perfect! Lucky you, that Emerald will grow fine. I don't let mine have too much sun though without watering.

One magazine to subscribe to is Fine Gardening, second would be your state gardening magazine.

I agree with Layanee, I like Clethra too. It is evergreen here. Do you want an evergreen or deciduous? I also love Japanese cleyera. Lovely this time of year with light green new growth. Easy care. It is evergreen. Why not red twig dogwood?

Benjamin Vogt said...

Layanee--Oh, those flower spikes on the Clethra look cool. And the scent is good? I also discovered black chokeberry today at a nursery--I hear it suckers much less than red, has bright red / orange fall caller, and black berries. I wish I could combine these two plants. Gloves: why, I just ordered a pair of those this weekend. I hope I like them, otherwise I'm coming after you.
Tina--Probably a deciduous shrub. And anything that's easy is always good! I don't want a dogwood because I'll soon have 10--2 isanti, 1 ivory halo, and 7 arctic fire. Dogwood heaven here (and I'd still like a yellow twig).

tina said...

Good luck with the Ivory Halo. Mine died out. Red twigs and yellow twigs are splendid. I have both and they do awesome. What are few more?

Anonymous said...

Benjamin: If you don't like them, I will willingly buy them from you! LOL Clethra smells wonderful! Well, some people might not like it but then some don't like the smell of Rubrum lilies.

Benjamin Vogt said...

I got my gloves in the mail today. They are LOVELY! Far better, I can
tell already, then the other gloves I've had. I may have to get a second pair, the landscape ones, too. Hope they wash up well as I'm gonna hate to see them get dirty.

Unknown said...

Dammit, Layanee beat me to the punch. I was going to say clethra, too! 'Ruby Spice' is one that I got for my uncle and aunt to plant in a spot that sometimes sits in water in their yard, and they love it. No exotic fruit tarts, but fits the rest of your bill. And doesn't sucker as much as the straight species, supposedly.

(If I'm not mistaken, you can buy a small/cheap one from Bluestone Perennials if you can't find one around there. But they only ship shrubs in the springtime.)

Benjamin Vogt said...

Ok ok. Clethra it is. Now I gotta find one. But a BIG one.