The Things I Don't Do In The Garden

I heard somewhere that it is hard to grow orchids. That's been enough to keep me from trying to grow one.
However, since my last heart attack, the one that almost killed me, I'm beginning to rethink what I can or cannot do. For example, I began to try to grow fruit trees from cuttings. For sure I always thought that growing trees from cuttings was better left to expert gardeners. Time will tell if I am right but I am trying anyway. So far I am 0 for 2. In case you are curious, I think I am removing the mini-green house (plastic pop bottle) too soon.
I also want to grow vanilla; yes, way up here in Kansas. But that is a story for another day.

And again, because I am predictable, I will say that whatever lessons I learn in the dirt, can be applied elsewhere in my life.
For example, I am notoriously awkward with people. I find it best not too bother with other human beings; it's a lot safer to my ego and my sanity.


I want to grow an orchid. So against all my fears and…

A Different Kind Of Garden

Sometimes you want to grow a certain plant and you just cannot. Come on, you know you have tried and failed at growing something in your garden.
I have. I have said before that a Master Gardener is someone who has killed more plants than you. I am not a Master Gardener, but I have killed my share of plants.
Maybe your soil is wrong for that plant. Maybe the spot where you put it doesn't get enough sun; or it gets too much. The number of variables is staggering, especially when you consider the number of possible plants to plant and their unique needs.
And sometimes you cannot even have a garden. Sometimes you lose your house in the divorce and you end up in a small apartment where the only window available faces East and your neighbor who has the South-facing balcony is a total ass and won't let you put your beloved potted baby Sassafras tree I digress.
What is a gardener to do? Without resorting to the tired cliche of drawing parallels with gardening and lif…

State Of The Garden

The Cage was exploding. The tomatoes were going wild, the potatoes had blooms already, the cucumbers were reaching up filled with promise of Summer bounty.

Then, calamity.

The first blow came via a couple of branches from the giant Cottonwood tree in my yard. It seemed the old fellow was developing root rot and was beginning to lean menacingly over my and my neighbor's house. The majestic beast had to die. I hired a good old boy with a good nature and a penchant for talking. His crew set to work on the 50 foot tree.

Unfortunately, they couldn't avoid dropping a large branch into the cage. The branch hit so hard it moved the cage half a foot south of its original position. This broke the Early Girl and the Better Boy tomato plants which were doing really well. The branch also crushed my lettuce and my cilantro.

After this assault, the plants recovered quite well. The cherry tomatoes especially were asserting themselves. I had also planted close to 20 pepper plants t…


I was asked 'Why are you taking cuttings? Why don't you just buy the trees?"

It's a fair question. I did decide to do my gardening with as little money as possible this time around.
so in a sense I am a cheapskate.

However, there are a few reasons why cuttings are a good idea.

The main reason for taking Persimmon cuttings is that I know the trees I am taking the cuttings from have survived many Winters in my area. By taking the cutting and rooting it, I ensure my Persimmon tree will also survive the Winter.

It is a lot of fun to root a cutting. There is much to learn in this hobby/business and nothing beats experience when it comes to growing plants.

While walking around the park with my friend, we found several Mulberry trees. One of them gave considerably sweeter berries than the other ones. If I wanted to get the same berries, taking a cutting, which produces an identical tree, DNA-wise, is the only way to go.
Or take my N…

Learning As I Go

After being so very excited that I got the fruit tree cuttings to bud, they died.

Apparently, I removed the plastic bottle mini greenhouse too soon and the buds and leaves dried out. I pulled out the cuttings and there were no roots present.
It seems the cutting will absorb enough moisture to bud without roots.

Lesson learned.

Now, I have to procure more cuttings. To that end, I set out on an expedition with a friend and her daughter (and their dog Joshua) looking for Persimmon trees. We found none. After running into some Mulberry trees however, one of which gave very sweet berries, we found:

Two cherry trees
One pear tree
One bush that gave a fruit we couldn't identify
A white Mulberry tree!

I was told a long time ago that white mulberry trees are very rare. I in fact, had seen only one in my life until this weekend. I have seen many mulberry trees. As a child, I spent countless hours climbing them and eating the delicious berries. To my surprise, I learned that the name…

Life Wants To Live

Dr. Ian Malcolm tells us in Jurassic Park, that "life will find a way". Watching life find a way it's amazing.

I have been watching videos on YouTube of people who know more about plants than me doing amazing things with trees. One of those things is rooting a tree branch.
There are a number of ways of doing it. I won't go over them here, you can search YouTube for the stuff.

I cut a small branch from a Persimmon tree. I selected a branch I suspected was this year's growth or maybe last year's. I cut it in four sections. I then trimmed the bottom of each section diagonally to increase the surface area. I dipped that end on rooting hormone I bought at a local hardware store and stuck each section on separate small plastic containers filled with sterile growing medium which I also bought at the hardware store. I added water to the growing medium before I planted the sections of the tree branch in it. The plastic containers were for…

The Root Beer Tree

I said I didn't want to spend any more money on the orchard. In fact, I don't want to spend much more on the whole garden. My plan was to propagate some of the stuff already growing. I have Autumn's Joy for example. It has bloomed every fall since the day we moved in. I want more of it everywhere.
I have this green-gray cover plant that is near impossible to kill and it spreads like wildfire. I want that in various spots in my front and back yard, preferably under controlled conditions. I have Lilly of the Valley. It has been growing without my help for 15 years. I want more. I even have a poor Honeysuckle that has been clinging to life under the most horrific conditions of neglect. It is time for the Honeysuckle to soar!
I've already spoken about he Rose of Sharon bush (tree?) that has been sending volunteers for years. This is the year the Rose of Sharon regains it's proper place of prominence.
Let's not forget about the Tiger Lilly that showed up one year and…