The Opinionated Gardener


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How Does Your Garden Grow?

I was visiting The Bookish Gardener's blog and found an entry with a set of garden questions. Not a pop quiz of rote facts to be regurgitated to your professor. More an elicitation of your individual responses. Interesting, I thought. So, with her approval I pirated Chan's concept. Indeed, several of the questions are Chan's. And I did come up with a few of my own. After which, of course, I had to answer them myself. Ever curious (remember, curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought her back) let's see what we each have to say. No grades, no prizes, just for fun.

Gardeners have convictions, opinions, delights and prejudices concerning just about anything that happens in the garden. Favorite plants, lousy weather, worst pests. What are your preferences?

Down In The Dirt

1) Ignoring that mythical holy grail of a soil high in organic, moist yet well-drained - would you choose clay or sand?
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought?
3) Do you garden bare handed or do you wear garden gloves?
4) Are your garden beds foursquare and formal or casually informal?
5) Their edges, do these beds have a spaded edge or do you use some form of edging?
6) And the plants in those garden beds, are they informally mingled and weaving together or carefully arranged in a formal, thought-out design?

Coping with Pests (Know Your Enemies!)

(and understanding that there will be differences of opinion in town or out in the country:)

7) What's worse - deer, woodchucks, rabbits, or squirrels?
8) Do you drown Japanese beetle with kerosene / gasoline or dish detergent?

Plants, the Heart of the Garden

Bulbs
9) Do you prefer the early blooming species tulips or extravagant opera diva parrot tulips?
10) What's your preference - Oriental or Asiatic lilies?
Perennials
11) Daylilies - Do you prefer the true species and older cultivars or contemporary spider, double, highly developed varieties?
12) Yes or no - Is it possible to have too many hosta?
13) What's more attractive - cool silver foliage or subtle glaucous blue leaves?
Annuals
14) Yes or no - are all those temperennials - bananas, cannas, and such - worth the yearly merry-go-round of dig in fall, store in winter, cosset in spring, and enjoy in summer?
15) For yellow and orange daisies (not that there isn't a huge assortment from which to choose) - do you prefer pot marigolds, Calendula or French and African marigolds, Tagetes?
16) Hollyhocks: single or powderpuff double?
17) For autumn interest - asters or chrysanthemums?
Shrubs
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas?
19) Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead?

And now a truly zen, yin / yang kind of question -

20) Do you prefer a slow stroll around the garden at dusk or do you saunter at dawn with the rising sun?


Joan Carter is a real plant and garden buddy, and more. We're in the same garden club - I'm a relative newbie and Joan is, shall we say, "well rooted.". We go off on garden visits together, make mud pies - I mean hypertufa planters - together, we're even stitch sisters, part of a group of knitters meeting with on Wednesday mornings for camaraderie, laughter, learning, and knitting. Here are her responses:

1) Clay or sand? Sand - although, given a choice, I'd rather have a nice loamy soil - I've struggled in nearly pure clay for close to 40 years. The sand would be a nice change.
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought?Definitely too much rain - How do you wring water out of a soggy garden??? At least you can mulch & use drip irrigation in a drought .
3) Bare handed or gloves? Gloves - ever since I acquired my first pair of Foxgloves.
4) Foursquare and formal or casually informal? The latter - informal & haphazard at best.
5) Spaded edge or some form of edging? Some edging (stone blocks) and just nothing at others.
6) Plants informal or carefully arranged? They were lucky to get planted!
7) Worst pest? The deer we've fenced out, woodchucks make only rare appearances (thank goodness), rabbits are repopulating - we no longer have feline patrol, squirrels tend to limit their destruction to pear blossoms, green apples & pears but leave the rest to us. So the worst? of the 3 that can get in, guess the woodchuck - his destruction is total - entire rows of veggies vanish overnight - the others nibble away slowly.
8) Kerosene / gasoline to drown drown Japanese beetles or dish detergent? Dish detergent.
9) Species tulips or parrot tulips? Only the species.
10) Oriental or Asiatic lilies? No preference - can't grow either!
11) Favorite daylilies? I'm not prejudiced - love 'em all!
12) Too many hosta? Not unless you have only hosta, don't have many slugs or if slugs are a problem, have stock in Gardens Alive.
13) Cool silver foliage or subtle glaucous blue leaves? Both
14) Are temperennials worth it? The list dwindles each year of those type of plants that get dug & stored.
15) Pot marigolds or marigolds? No preference - most years don't grow any of them
16) Single or double hollyhocks? Doubles - but won't ever grow them again.
17) Asters or chrysanthemums? Asters - most mums are just a nuisance.
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Prefer the easier to care for shrubs - but love my one tea.
19) Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? Need 'em both!
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening saunter? Rarely get to indulge in either but dawn in the garden is probably best - it's great along the North Carolina Outer Banks also! (An aside from the gardener at BelleWood Gardens: Joan and her husband live across the Delaware River from the Garden State of New Jersey, take vacations on the Outer Banks.)


David Daehnke is executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in Buffalo, New York, a position he took on in April 2009. Think I'll have to visit . . . . Here are his so-like-Dave comments.

1) Clay or sand? Sand I can always irrigate and incorporate root watering crystals, but I can't remove standing water very well, especially during this very wet spring.
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought? Too much rain I can't bail quick enough!
3) Bare handed or gloves? Bare handed I like touching and feeling the soil, plants and tools.
4) Foursquare and formal or casually informal? Casually informal, just like me!
5) Spaded edge or some form of edging? Spaded edge for the most part. I do have some beds that have a natural stone edging.
6) Plants informal or carefully arranged? Informally mingled I think that gives the garden a more natural look instead of a preformed cookie cutter look BLAH!
7) Worst pest? Woodchucks. Occasionally I get deer in Mahwah, and yes they can chew, but the woodchucks like to take up residence and constantly eat all of my veggies, even with fencing!
8) Kerosene / gasoline to drown Japanese beetles, or dish detergent? I have never had a major outbreak of Japanese beetles. I use Bt so my problems are minimal. If I did, I would use beer at least them go out happy!
9) Species or parrot tulips? Early blooming. The simpler the form, the better.
10) Oriental or Asiatic lilies? Asiatic, but that is just me, and yes I know the can be over planted just like Stella d'Oro daylilies
11) Favorite daylilies? Older, again I like the simpler form.
12) Too many hosta? No, especially in deer country
13) Cool silver foliage or subtle glaucous blue leaves? It depends on your personal tastes. I like Silver foliage as it stands out a little more in the garden than blue which melds in.
14) Are temperennials worth it? For container displays, yes. In your garden, no. Plus I love the look of bananas near a water feature.
15) Pot marigolds or marigolds? Calendula, mainly for its habit
16) Single or double hollyhocks? Single, again for simpler form and color what can I say, I'm an old-fashioned type of guy!
17) Asters or chrysanthemums? Asters. Chrysanthemums are over used in the fall
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrub roses. More carefree and less maintenance.
19) Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? Both. I like either one. I'm a fence sitter.
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening saunter? Morning, especially right after a dew. Plants are fresh and bursting with energy, whereas at dusk they have gone through the stresses of the day. It's a great picture time.


Bruce Crawford, adjunct professor in the Landscape Architecture Department, at Rutgers - School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the Director of Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick, New Jersey since 2005. He oversees a 180 Acre outdoor teaching classroom, horticultural research facility and arboretum. And he really loves plants!

1) Clay or sand? Sand
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought? Too much rain
3) Bare handed or gloves? Bare handed
4) Foursquare and formal or casually informal? Casual
5) Spaded edge or some form of edging? Prefer edging where possible
6) Plants informally or carefully arranged? Informally mingled.
7) Worst pest? Woodchucks
8) Kerosene / gasoline to drown Japanese beetle or dish detergent? Squash them!
9) Favorite tulips? Species
10) Oriental or Asiatic lilies? Turks caps
11) Favorite daylilies? Species
12) Too many hosta? Yes
13) Cool silver foliage or subtle glaucous blue leaves? Glaucous, but it needs to be based upon the garden
14) Are temperennials worth the effort? Yes
15) Pot marigold or marigold? Calendula
16) Hollyhocks: single or double? Single
17) Asters or chrysanthemums? Asters
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrub
19) Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? Usually lace, but the mops can be really cool.
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening saunter? I prefer the light at dusk, but a morning walk with a cup of coffee is fun!


Arnold Trachtenberg is a physiotherapist (an occupation every gardener can appreciate, especially in spring when our aching bodies remind us "too much, too soon" after winter's end) and a fellow fancier of buried treasures in the great Garden State of New Jersey. Arnold had this to share:

1) Clay or sand? Sand
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought? Drought
3) Bare handed or gloves? Bare handed, although I should wear gloves
4) Foursquare and formal or casually informal? Casually informal
5) Spaded edge or do you use some form of edging? Edger from Sneeboer in Holland, could be a Dexter tool!
6) Plants informally mingled or carefully arranged? Informally mingled
7) Worst pest? No deer, squirrels steal the espaliered fruit
8) Kerosene / gasoline or dish detergent to drown Japanese beetles? Treated the garden with BT 15 years ago and rarely see one of the buggers
9) Favorite tulips? Species
10) Oriental or Asiatic lilies? Species anything
11) Favorite daylilies? Oh no
12) Too many hosta? Yes
13) Cool silver foliage or subtle glaucous blue leaves? Glaucous is the way
14) Are temperennials worth the effort? Dig Colocasias
15) Pot marigolds or marigolds? None of the above
16) Hollyhocks: single or double? None
17) Asters or chrysanthemums? Asters
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Chrysler Imperial
19) Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? Lace cap
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening stroll? Nothing better than early morning light


Bill Woodall offers up this set of seriously tongue-in-cheek answers.

1) Clay or sand? Clay for pots, sand for soil.
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought? Too much rain. Floods are the pits.
3) Bare handed or gloves? Barehanded except when dealing with the prickly varieties... one of which demands full body armor for safety!
4) Foursquare or informal flower beds? Absolutely informal.
5) Spaded edge or some form of edging? However you classify pots, they're the edging.
6) Plants informally mingled or carefully arranged? Usually one to a pot.
7) Worst pest Not directly applicable.
8) Kerosene / gasoline or dish detergent to kill Japanese beetle? See #7, wouldn't know one if it landed on me.
9 Favorite tulips? Light bulbs preferred.
10) Oriental or Asiatic lilies? [n]either
11) Favorite daylilies ?
12) Too many hosta? Yes
13) Cool silver foliage or glaucous blue leaves? Silver
14) Are temperennials worth the effort? ?
15) Pot marigolds or marigolds? ???
16) Hollyhocks: single or double? ?
17) Asters or chrysanthemums? Mums
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Neither
19) Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? Don't particularly like these either
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening stroll? Both. Since "garden" is actually a series of potted plants scattered around the condo, with most concentrated in a greenhouse window in the kitchen, they get viewed early morning during ritual coffee preparation and throughout the day, although the evening lighting system plays nicely with the collection after dark.

See! It's just as I thought - gardeners are opinionated, even the potted ones.The Gardener at BelleWood


Jerry Barad has a wonderful garden seemingly filled with everything: a shade garden, an enormously productive enormous vegetable garden, huge borders of annuals, masses of tulips and daffodils in season, plus an enormous greenhouse with fabulous cacti and succulents - the garden just goes on and on. And keeps on appearing again and again in these pages. Just this year alone, look at March, The Thrill of Victory, April's The Longevity of Bulbs, also Tulips and Tutu, and most recently, in May, Cactus Flowers. As you'd expect, so expert a gardener has his opinions. Here they are.

1) Clay or sand? We garden in an area which has a sandstone base and our soils are more sandy than clay based. I think that the good drainage has been a great help but we do help out with liberal applications of the black gold provided by our sheep.
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought? After the seven or more inches of rain that has fallen in the past week I am really quite ready for a drought. We have our own well and have been able to irrigate most everything when things get too dry.
3) Bare handed or gloves? Usually bare handed except when working with some of our nastier cacti.
4) Foursquare or informal flower beds? Most are casually informal.
5) Spaded edge or some form of edging? Some have a spaded edge and others have stone wall edging. We turn over so many rocks when planting that we needed a place to put them and the edges are just fine for that.
6) Plants informally mingled or carefully arranged? Most are informally mingled. I am more of a plant collector than a flower arranger.
7) Worst pest They are all awful. I have been able to fence out the deer but the others still give me a lot of trouble.
8) Kerosene / gasoline or dish detergent to kill Japanese beetle? I admit it! I am the killer who murders millions of Japanese beetles by zapping them in the microwave oven. I dump them into a large Ziploc bag and give them a two minute zap which finishes them very nicely! No waste of precious gasoline and no dangerous gasoline in the garbage can.
9 Favorite tulips? I am fond of all of them.
10) Oriental or Asiatic lilies? Likewise
11) Favorite daylilies I don't really know all of them well enough but I have been growing and enjoying the newer hybrids.
12) Too many hosta? NO!
13) Cool silver foliage or glaucous blue leaves? I like both.
14) Are temperennials worth the effort? It's a lot of work but I think it is worth it. I really struggle through the winter to find space for all of my brugmansia trees!
15) Pot marigolds or marigolds? Both have their advantages. Calendulas can be planted really early and will take a little frost. Marigolds come in much later but give reliable summer color after the heat has finished the calendulas.
16) Hollyhocks: single or double? Doubles
17) Asters or chrysanthemums? Mums
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Haven't been growing many. Too much else to do!
19) Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? Perhaps I'll get some. There have been some interesting new mop head ones in our garden centers recently
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening stroll? I'm in the garden working almost all day but when it comes to the casual stroll after a dip in the pool, my wife and I like to walk around at dusk to see what has been accomplished during the day and what changes have shown themselves.


Recently transplanted herself, Nora McDonald is settling in to her new site, I mean home. Like every such relocation it is a matter of adaptation. Tastes may not change, but the ground rules do. Read on, and you'll see what I mean.

1) Clay or sand? Clay
2) What's worse - drought or drenching rain? Hmmm... Drowned plants or scorched plants? I suppose drought; It doesn't usually rain long enough in this part of the world to drown anything, except perhaps the Lewisias I lost a couple of years ago.
3) Bare handed or gloves? Much like you, I have a collection of gloves, which serve different purposes. I have Foxgloves, heavy and thin leather, rubber, and rubber impregnated cotton -- my favorite all-purpose glove.
4) Foursquare or informal flower beds? Informal
5) Spaded edge or some kind of edging? Up until now, they've been spaded. I must do something about that, as it's too labor intensive to maintain the edges this way.
6) Plants mingled or carefully manipulated? see #4
7) Worst pest. It's a tie between groundhogs and deer, although I think the groundhogs may have the edge.
8) Dish detergent or gasoline to kill Japanese beetles? So far, nothing, but I think I'll try traps this year.
9) Favorite tulips? Early blooming species tulips, but see #7. My old garden had an area that I could keep the deer out of, and I planted species, but I currently have no deer fencing. That means no tulips for me.
10) Asiatic or Oriental lilies? I never met a lily I didn't like. I particularly like the Turk's cap types though. I'm sheltering the lilies close to the house, and hoping the deer aren't bold enough to come and get them. Venison anyone?
11) Favorite daylilies I like the contemporary dark purple/black ones, as well as the older, simpler blooms.
12) Too many hostas? Maybe, although the deer should take care of that problem.
13) Cool silver or glaucous blue leaves? Do I have to choose?
14) Are temperennials worth it? Yes, although I don't always have a place to put them, and then end up starting over again with new plants.
15) Marigolds or pot marigolds? Tagetes.
16) Single or double hollyhocks? They're both pretty, but if I had to choose, I'd pick the singles.
17) Chrysanthemums or asters? I like both, although the groundhogs seldom let me see any asters they can get their teeth on. I do like the single, spoon and quill mums, and all mums are better in their second year, when they are no longer "perfect" blobs.
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrub. I apparently can't keep a HT rose alive.
19) Lace cap or mophead hydrangeas? Lace-cap
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening stroll? Every weekend finds me strolling about the garden with my morning tea in hand. Such strolls usually end up with me up to my eyeballs in weeding, deadheading, or some other garden chore. Evening strolls are nice too, when I'm home at dusk.


Steve and Melody Silberstein have a fabulous garden. I've had the good fortune to visit several times. The most recent descriptions are in the May 2006 Diary entry - Plant Swap at the Silbersteins and March 2006 - The Day Before Spring. Here's what Steve had to say:

1) Clay or sand? Clay
2) What's worse - too much rain or a drought? Drought
3) Bare handed or garden gloves? Bare handed
4) Foursquare or informal garden beds? Informal
5) Spaded edges or some form of edging? Bricks edging along lawns
6) Plants informally mingled or carefully arranged? Informal
7) Worst pest Rabbits followed by woodchucks
8) Kerosene / gasoline or dish detergent to drown Japanese beetles? Very few Japanese beetles here - maybe milky spore
9) Early blooming species or parrot tulips? Both
10) Oriental or Asiatic lilies? Both
11) Favorite daylilies Prefer the newer varieties
12) Is it possible to have too many hosta? No
13) Cool silver foliage or subtle glaucous blue leaves? Both
14) Are temperennials worth the the effort? Yes. Besides, many are hardy here with a good mulch. (Explantation provided by the Gardener at BelleWood Gardens - Steve's Willingboro, New Jersey garden is in zone 7. His idea of a good mulch is leaves piled a foot or more deep. Notice, he's not mentioning the plumerias that spend the winter in their livingroom.)
15) Pot marigolds or marigolds? Neither
16) Single or double hollyhocks? Rabbits destroy them
17) Asters or chrysanthemums? Asters
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrub roses
19) Lace-cap or mophead hydrangeas? Lace-cap
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or an evening stroll? Dusk


When I read Carla Teune's responses it became clear that while gardeners are alike in many ways, it's also different abroad. Now retired, Carla was hortulanus of the Leiden Botanic Garden in the Netherlands. She is delightful company. I have some splendid memories of our several times together in Holland, only one visit when she came to see me (hoping for a repeat, hint, hint), and when we were students and room-mates in a two week long intensive seminar on Japanese garden art held in Kyoto. And you'll just love her answer to the last question. Right on!

1) Clay or sand? Clay
2) What's worse - drought or drenching rain? Drought
3) Bare handed or gloves? Barehands
4) Foursquare or informal flower beds? Depends on the garden: informal, but a Dutch farmers garden foursquare.
5) Spaded edge or some kind of edging? No edges at all if possible.
6) Plants mingled or carefully manipulated? See nr. 4.
7) Worst pest Snails as we do not have deer or squirrels.
8) Dish detergent or gasoline to kill Japanese beetles I do drown snails in the canal.
9) Favorite tulips Early blooming species Tulips!
10) Asiatic or Oriental lilies? Lilium martagon and Himalayan Lilies
11) Favorite daylilies Contemporary maroon or cream colored but not spiders or doubles, thank you.
12) Too many hostas? No; it is possible to have too many snails. They tend to make leaves of Brussels lace with us.
13) Cool silver or glaucous blue leaves? Cool silver foliage for me
14) Are temperennials worth it? Yes! but we do not have bananas and from cannas we go bananas as they grow so well in our heavy clay.
15) Marigolds or pot marigolds? Both; but Tagetes smell nicer.
16) Single or double hollyhocks? Both, especially the dark maroon singles; but the papery doubles are also my favorites.
17) Chrysanthemums or asters? Asters;
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrub roses and especially the old centifolias and musks: Roses that smell! and botanic Roses also for their splendid fruits.
19) Lace cap or mophead hydrangeas? Lace-cap
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening stroll? I prefer weeding, and then on some beautiful evenings sitting, looking around at my handiwork with a nice glass of Alsatian wine.


What a darling daughter I have. Here's Mira Dessy's prompt response to these questions.

1) Clay or sand? Sand
2) What's worse - drought or drenching rain? Drought
3) Bare handed or gloves? Gloves - I kept getting nail infections and finally gave in to gloves
4) Foursquare or informal flower beds? Strongly informal (and heavily weedy but don't look too close)
5) Spaded edge or some kind of edging? Spaded edges or rocks depends on the bed
6) Plants mingled or carefully manipulated? See number 4 above
7) Worst pest Deer
8) Dish detergent or gasoline to kill Japanese beetles Dish detergent and hot water
9) Favorite tulips Don't have any tulips, see number 7 above
10) Asiatic or Oriental lilies? Don't know the difference
11) Favorite daylilies I like them all but don't get to see many, see number 7 above
12) Too many hostas? No -- if the deer don't eat them all
13) Cool silver or glaucous blue leaves? Any foliage is good foliage in my book
14) Are temperennials worth it? No
15) Marigolds or pot marigolds?I like them all
16) Single or double hollyhocks? Single
17) Chrysanthemums or asters? Asters
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrubs
19) Lace cap or mophead hydrangeas? Mophead
20) Do you prefer a morning walk or evening stroll? Dusk, definitely


And Ellen Hollenback has this to say:

1) Clay or sand? Sand - so much easier to pull weeds out of
2) Drought or drenching rain? Drought - too much rain rarely lasts for months, drought does
3) Bare handed or gloves? Bare pretty much all the time
4) Four-square or informal flower beds? Definitely informal
5) Spaded edge or some kind of edging? Use edging as much as possible. I use mostly 4x4 wood or field stone walls
6) Plants mingled or carefully manipulated? Definitely informally mingled! I rarely do any planning though I'm doing more than I have in the past
7) Worst pest Never had any problems with animals till this past winter. I think it's because my dog is getting too old and doesn't chase things away like he used to. Voles have done the most damage
8) Dish detergent or gasoline to kill Japanese beetles Neither, they die inside the trap
9) Favorite tulips Opera diva tulips
10) Asiatic or Oriental lilies? Whichever is blooming! Of course I always love flowers that are fragrant the best.
11) Favorite daylilies Newer varieties! Some of the older cultivars are still very nice, but I love the fanciness of the new ones.
12) Too many hostas? Not unless you're running out of shady spots. Too easy to do on my property.
13) Cool silver or glaucous blue leaves? Depends where I want to plant it.
14) Are temperennials worth it? Yes. I probably wouldn't say that if I didn't have a greenhouse though
15) Marigolds or pot marigolds? I like the flowers of Calendula but I like the fragrance of the tagetes type.
16) Single or double hollyhocks? Single mostly, the doubles almost look fake.
17) Chrysanthemums or asters? Mums generally grow better for me, asters seem to die after a while.
18) Shrub roses or hybrid teas? I like the Old English rose types best but my sister-in-law used to grow the biggest most beautiful hybrid teas. She used Miracle-grow. Maybe that was the key.
19) Lace cap or mophead hydrangeas? Mopheads are my favorite but some of the new lace-caps are really nice.
20) Are you a meadowlark / morning walk or evening owl? At dawn before the kids wake up . A slow stroll is good anytime I can fit it in though. That doesn't happen often enough.


Me first:

1) Soil: Clay, it's what I have, it's more nutritious than sand, and holds water better than sand.
2) Precipitation: This one is tough to answer. You can't do much for drownded plants, but you can only water in a drought until the hose pipe bans are in effect.
3) Gloves: It depends. Leather gloves for moving rocks, Foxgloves for general gardening such as weeding and light digging, plastic disposables for pulling poison ivy, bare handed when I go out to the mail box and get distracted on the way up the driveway . . .
4) Garden design: You're kidding, right? On this wild and sloping site beds are designed by the lay of the land.
5) Edging: Some edging with relatively sizable fallen branches in the woodland garden, spaded edge when I can coax Chris into a few days work-for-hire in early spring, and I'm hoping to get a load of those concrete look-like tumbled stone blocks to use for edging.
6) Planting style: Weaving, definitely weaving.
7) Vermin: Whatever is currently eating plants is the worst. My organic pest control device, the gray one with the long skinny body, long tail, and loud purr is good on voles, mice, chipmunks, and baby rabbits. The rest he leaves up to me. I'm equally good at heaving rocks and hurling imprecations.
8) Dealing death to Japanese beetles: Dish detergent. But I have a friend who microwaves them in a plastic bag . . .
9) Species or parrot tulips: Never met a bulb I didn't like. However tulips are problematical in my garden: if the deer don't eat them the voles will. Also many of the gorgeous, blowsy, May-blooming cultivars (including parrots) are not truly perennial here.
10) Asiatic or Oriental lilies: Have to say both: Asiatics for their late June / early July bloom before the other hybrid lilies begin performing, Orientals for their late season of bloom and wonderful fragrance.
11) Species or cultivar daylilies: You hardly ever see species daylilies offered for sale, more's the pity. Love 'em, everything from early blooming pale lemon yellow Hemerocallis lilio-asphodelus, cantelope apricot colored Hh. middendorffii, dumortieri, just gotta love H. altissima that flowers in late summer with flowers on 6 foot tall scapes. You can take 'Stella d'Oro', please! Though 'Hyperion' isn't bad.
12) Hostas, love 'em or leave 'em: I like hostas when used as a perennial. Mass plantings of collections of hostas bore me.
13) Silver or glaucous foliage: Come on. I wrote two books on gardening with foliage so you know I consider the leaf. Both.
14) Temperennials, good or bad: What's a few days frantic hauling indoors ahead of frost for way cool bananas in the garden. Besides, they look fabulous in my bedroom and the great room over the winter.
15) Marigolds or pot marigolds: I can do without them both. Of course, that's this year. Next year might be different.
16) Single or double hollyhocks: Singles, definitely.
17) Chrysanthemums or asters in autumn: Asters are more graceful, haven't yet been turned into blobs.
18) Shrub or hybrid tea roses: Shrub roses, for sure. So what if they only bloom once. So do lilacs and azaleas, even, choke, forsythia (though that's really fortunate, now that I think about it.) And the species roses have wonderful hips for autumn interest.
19) Lacecap or mop head hydrangeas: lacecaps mostly, I like the delicacy of the flowers and, on the white ones, the contrast of a wash of color on the small fertile flowers.
20) Dawn or dusk: Both - dew wet grass and the fresh new day, golden light and indigo sky of a summer evening.

Now it's your turn. Contact Me

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