Pruning the Honeysuckle

Alas, the title of this post isn’t some esoteric euphemism: I really did just prune my honeysuckle bush today.

Back in May, this particular bush featured tiny, delicate flowers. As with many of the bushes and plants that my landscaper couldn’t identify early in the spring, I went to the Twitternets and asked my followers:

Dear #lazyweb: What is this #white #flowering #tree called? My landscaper couldn’t tell me.

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Swift came the reply:

And @martinivixen wins the #lazyweb prize! My plant appears to be Amur #Honeysuckle, per Google Image Search. Thanks!

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It wasn’t until July that it started to get out of hand: huge, top-heavy, and increasingly unattractive. Today, during Connor’s nap, I took a leaf bag and my bypass pruners — and my cameraphone, of course — and went to town.
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The Charlie Brown Rosebush

Blooming Rose

The rosebush right in front of my living room window bloomed this great peachish-coral color back in early June. The flowers were gorgeous, if a bit bespeckled with purple weirdness… and many of the leaves looked sickly and spotted.

Blackspot, I Presume?

A week later, the rose bloomed again, this time in yellow. The canes were so thin and spindly that the blooms were drooping pitifully, so I deadheaded most of them and brought the most beautiful inside (on a very short stem).

Yellow Rose in the Kitchen

It was then that I decided I needed to do something about this rosebush. The other bushes on my property seemed to be surviving the neglect of the past few years — their former caretaker having passed away — but this one caught my attention as needing some TLC.

I did some online research about rose pruning during the growing season, and found Paul Zimmerman’s YouTube channel. From his videos, I learned what tools I would need, and I purchased them on Amazon.

The day they arrived, I set to work.
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How Does Your Garden Grow? Part 1: These Damn Weeds

I had finally finished weeding the back side of the fence out front on Friday evening (yeah, that’s my idea of a fun Friday night out) when I realized how many more weeds I had yet to pull. So, in a fit of frustration, and with no advance planning (i.e. no makeup and no script), I pulled out my iPhone and started filming. The idea was to post a quick and dirty video that night and not have to spend time writing copy and editing photos and all that. Couple quick cuts and done.

Alas, the video editing software I’d been using on my old computer (it’s been quite a while since I tried to edit video) doesn’t work with my 64-bit processor. I then spent the rest of the evening seeking out a better free video editor than Windows Movie Maker, which kind of defeated my original quick-and-dirty-post idea. I ended up going with WMM, anyway, since the one relatively powerful tool I found has a bit of a learning curve to it.

So, this is my attempt at a little video blog series entitled, “How Does Your Garden Grow?” (Just like dozens of other gardening websites and resources, yes, I know. Best title I could come up with on relatively short notice. I’m not usually so spontaneous.)

As a postscript to the video, I realized that I’m going about weeding all wrong. I need to go out with the Preen and put it down immediately, not wait until some time after I’ve weeded. Otherwise, all the weeds I just pulled will have shaken off their seeds and already started to take hold again.

Next up: pruning my roses! My loppers and bypass shears arrive from Amazon tomorrow, so, assuming that I feel up to it tomorrow after the toddler goes to bed, I’ll be outside documenting the pruning of one or more of my rosebushes.

I never thought I’d have a singular rosebush I didn’t manage to kill, much less the four or five that are on this property. It’s gorgeous here… if I can keep everything under control.

Pink Hyacinth

Spring Blooms in my Back Yard

[Taken 9 April 2013]

My back yard has untold treasures waiting for the spring sun to reveal themselves. So far, I’ve seen these pink hyacinth, grape hyacinth, daffodils, and some tiny purple flowers that may or may not be weeds.

Gardening: Year Five

I’m not exactly Jerry Baker when it comes to gardening. I tend to be a passive gardener, rather than one who waters daily and feeds periodically. I’ve killed more plants than I’ve successfully tended over the past five years as a homeowner.

I’m finally starting to realize that bulbs and rhizomes are definite winners for me, as I can pretty much “set it and forget it.” Three years ago, I planted some miniature daffodils that Sheryl gave me for my birthday, and they’ve survived, albeit weakly. Two years ago, I planted some daylilies from my co-worker, Scott, and they’re easily the strongest and healthiest plants in my yard. Finally, last fall, I planted a lily and a few bulbs (daffodils and tulips, I think) by the mailbox, and they seem to be sprouting up just fine.

I’ve tried my hand at supposedly “invasive” plants, too, like catnip. It’s supposed to spread and self-sow like a mofo, but it hasn’t, really. The first year, I started the catnip indoors and then planted it outside, and I harvested a sandwich bag full of Kitty Herb, leaving several plants to go to seed. Last year was the second year of the catnip, and only a few plants came up, so I only harvested a few sprigs, leaving most to go to seed. So far this year, I see just two little catnip plants sprouting up, and I doubt the harvest will be very plentiful.

The newcomers to the yard this year will be the grape hyacinth I bought to add color to my desk at work. It may end up being friends with the miniature daffodils, or I may plant it under another tree in the front yard.

Oh, and I’m also planning a resurgence of annuals this year — specifically, impatiens, which seemed to thrive well enough in the dry shade under the overhang in front of our split-level house. (Nothing else ever did.) I may see how hostas fare there, too. But nothing will be planted until mid-May, after we return from our vacation. Never again am I leaving new baby plants to the mercy of the elements while I’m out of town. Not even for a long weekend.

I have a large container of lilies of the valley, also from Scott; I had planted them under said overhang when he first gave them to me, but they didn’t do well, so I rescued them and transplanted them. I’ve had them for a few years now, and I keep meaning to bring them inside during the winter… but I forget and leave them out all winter long. Last year, I still had a few left. We’ll see how many I have left this year. Maybe I’ll find an appropriate permanent home for them this year. I have a few ideas.

Someday I’ll have a decently landscaped and colorful yard. Until then, I’ll just see what works.