That kale was delicious!

"That kale was delicious!" is what was said in my house recently.


Well, not in the house exactly. Near the house. And not by people.


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You know you have a problem...

You know you have a bit of a problem...


...when your lawn grass...


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What a crop: kale!

I've really outdone myself this year in my veggie beds. As you may know, they've been in a sorry state for a couple of years, and I showed you what they looked like a couple of months ago.


Now though, my attention to detail and dedication to growing something edible (by humans) has paid off, and a bumper crop will soon be harvested!


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There are no ducklings

If you read last week about the duck that's been sitting on a nest for about a month...


...you should know that there will be no ducklings in my pond this year. Don't be too disheartened though, as the story is not nearly as sad as it was a couple of years ago.


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A taste of bamboo cleanup

There is much bamboo work to do this spring. Much is normal maintenance: pruning, cleaning. The dry fall and harsh winter have created an extra amount of damage that needs to be removed too, but I also skipped some tasks the last year or two and am paying for it now -- mainly rhizome pruning and therefore having to wrangle a few back under control.


So today just a taste, with some before and after photos. Starting with this vignette from the back garden, where it's difficult to know exactly what's going on here because it's so overgrown.


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No freedom for cup plant

Hello cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum), my big native beauty!


You're sort of an early one in my garden, emerging vigorously and almost crowding yourself out.

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Mid-Spring Blooms

I am not the biggest fan of the early spring blooms: daffodils and the like. But those later spring flowers... I love them! I guess these are mid-spring blooms?


Here's a little sampling of a few of the nicest in my garden right now.

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What do you see?

This is the view of my neighbor's house from my driveway. Why am I showing you this?


No, it's not to show a clean, more traditional garden space -- in sharp contrast to my own. It's to show you something much more interesting.

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Looking good? Look again.

Ah, beautiful bamboo culms:


Looks so good, such a pretty sight at any time of year. (This is Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis', showing off its characteristic yellow and green striping.)


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Making it through Winter

Yes, it seems like we've made it through another winter, but with that title I'm not talking about myself.


I'm talking about my Pachypodium lamerei: it has managed to keep a leaf, and I'm just about ready to move it back outside!


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Cold, cold Spring

We should be deep into Spring by now...


...but the cold just won't stay away! Some nice warm days (we hit 82ºF/28ºC the other day!) sandwiched between cold ones makes this an unusual Spring, at least compared to the last several years.


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Bamboo damage, winter 2017-2018

As I hinted at earlier this week, it's time to take a look at the bamboos and survey the damage that winter has dealt to them. If you prefer seeing healthy, green bamboos (as I do) with little evidence of winter's wrath, then you should look at the before photos I took in December. What comes next won't be pretty.


This is a look along my driveway. Indocalamus longiauritus, in front, usually shows almost no damage. The greenest clump is Sasa oshidensis, but even it has significant burning.

(Note that I took all of these photos on March 19. Things look a little worse now.)

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Bamboo Peek

So it looks like I'll be doing quite a bit of finger crossing in the next few weeks...


...as most of the bamboos are looking a bit fried. (More than a bit really)


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Spring bulbs, forcing cleanup

The allium and daffodil foliage started emerging a month ago, but cold weather slowed it down. (In recent years it's pushed out early and gotten zapped by late freezes.) Although only the crocus have started to bloom, I figured it was time...


...to clean up this bed. It is the first thing that people see when they drive past my house, so it should be something worth looking at, right? (It's where the rose support is, so maybe they're not noticing the mess?)


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Don't be tempted: fruit trees

Is there any symbol of spring more powerful than a fruit tree in blossom? Is there any thought more appealing to the winter weary shopper than being able to walk out into your garden and pick a juicy, ripe fruit straight from the tree?


Combine the two and you have a very strong potential for impulse buy: fruit trees!


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Delicious Spring?

There are tastes of Spring in the air...


...and is there a springier taste than rhubarb? (probably)


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A little game after the rain

Let's play a little game, okay? I'll show you a photo, and you just have to tell me if it's 1) a water feature or 2) a problem caused by a week of rain.


These photos are all from a couple of weeks ago, around Feb 25 after several days of rain. I think we got 5" (13cm) or so total over a few days.

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Frosty mornings, still

It's been alternating between warm and cold lately...


...which leads to beautifully thin ice fragments, and wonderfully frosted vehicles on some mornings!


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Eight-year anniversary: best of INWIG 2017

According to Blogger I made my first blog post on March 5, 2010 which means today is my eight-year anniversary!  One of the main reasons for creating this blog was so I'd document everything I did in the garden, and although I've slowed down over the past year with less frequent posts, I've still captured some important moments.Hopefully I have still given some entertainment and knowledge to you, my readers over the past year. (Or several years if you've been reading for a while or went back to discover older posts).


Today, as I've done every March 5 since I started, I'm going to take a look back over the past year and list my favorite posts in chronological order. If you haven't seen them before please take a look. If you have seen them already, then take another look -- it's still fun! I did this type of post on my previous anniversaries too, and I really like the way they turned out. See them here.

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Warm weather makes it happen

The other day when the temperature reached 82ºF (28ºC) I knew I had to take advantage of it and get something done in the garden. But what? Where to start? Actually, the answer was pretty easy: the veggie garden!


These raised beds, fenced to keep the herbivores out, sat fallow and unused all of last year. I suppose "unused" is the wrong word though, since Nature used it to grow whatever it wanted to.


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The pond, end of January

After a very cold start to January, the pond had a thick layer of ice on it. I can't really say how thick it was (at least 6"/15cm), but it lasted for most of the month. It thawed a bit once and got over an inch of rain on it, then another cold snap froze that.


By the last day of the month though, most of the ice was gone and I was able to take a good look.


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What to do: dividing Aloes

Like many gardeners -- even casual ones -- I have a few Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) plants that I received from others. This "small" one is now several big plants, each ready for its own pot.


The question I have is how exactly do I divide this?


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Seven-year anniversary: best of INWIG 2016

Hey, I only just realized that I never did a "best of 2016" post last March!  Here it is, only 351 days late!

According to Blogger I made my first blog post on March 5, 2010 which means today is my seven-year anniversary!  One of the main reasons for creating this blog was so I'd document everything I did in the garden, and I have to admit I've done a pretty good job of that. Did I list every detail of every task I did? No, certainly not. I missed lots of stuff, including some important details such as what exact varieties of veggies I planted, spacings, fertilization schedules, etc. but I also shared a lot of things that I would normally have just observed and enjoyed for myself, and have hopefully given some entertainment and knowledge to you, my readers.


Today, as I've done every March 5 since I started, I'm going to take a look back over the past year and list my favorite posts in chronological order. If you haven't seen them before please take a look. If you have seen them already, then take another look -- it's still fun! I did this type of post on my previous anniversaries too, and I really like the way they turned out. Expect it every year.

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Weird Winter?

So I've been noticing: it's been a pretty weird winter, at least here in St. Louis. For example, here's yesterday's forecast:


Yes, it was over 80ºF (27ºC) yesterday, dropping to 32ºF (0ºC) at night.  (Our normal high is about 45ºF / 7ºC)


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Mid-winter, still pretty

We're approaching the time when the garden starts changing pretty quickly (wishful thoughts of Spring?) so I thought I better post what things looked like on January 19th. I went out there intending to take photos of the bamboo for comparison with the "before" photos taken earlier.


I did get a few of those, but instead I was distracted by how pretty things were, in a relative way. The browns of the winter garden really make the other colors pop, and the blue, blue sky doesn't hurt. I love the pergola shadows in that first photo!


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It was cold and damp once

This winter has been bitterly cold at times, alternating with days or weeks of warm dampness. Very little precipitation though, so it's mainly dry.


During one of the damp mornings in January my vehicle windows showed some interesting patterns.


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Fried

Worst Foliage Followup ever? The "cold snap" (that's a friendlier, happier way to say it I think) we had to welcome the new year did what I expected to the bamboos: fried them.


Some of these groundcover bamboos get fried every year so no real harm done -- they provide a good way to ease into this post though.

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Backtrack: bananas

I realized recently that in my flurry of pre-freeze activity last month I never posted about my banana overwintering preparations. I let my Musa basjoo do whatever it will until a really hard freeze is forecast -- usually that means a low temperature below 25ºF (-4ºC) or so.


This year that condition was not forecast until December 6, so that's when I had to get moving on this. (Note that there had been a few nights of below freezing temperatures so the foliage was already fried, but the thick pseudostems can handle those temps without damage.)


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Pond Ice

When the cold weather finally moved on, I took a quick look at the pond which was frozen over. My hope was to see some of the fish beneath the ice...


...but as I got closer I realized that would probably not be possible.

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