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Back in the Landscape Again

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Hi folks: I’m back. I have been resting up from a Series of Unfortunate Events that started in January and just kept on coming. But as of yesterday, I’m back in the saddle again. Out where a friend is a Friend! (love that old cowboy song)

David Lee stayed home the whole day and helped me knock out most of the renewal of the front landscape. We still have a couple of plants to dig up and move to more agreeable locations but that will come, all in good time. I’m so grateful I’ve finally gotten my buddy to work with me. My hero!

Today I went out to document the work done and found a Sparrow hatchling trying out the bird bath.

Sparrow Hatchling in the Bird Bath

This little guy had a hard time getting out of the tub!

getting out of the bath

We reseeded the bare spots in the lawn. I had sprayed for weeds a month ago. I’ve been pulling weeds for 11 years and was delighted to find my work was paying off. This lawn was almost all weeds when we bought the place 12 years ago.

reseeding the lawn

and greeted the new flowers on the Mountain Laurels

Mountain Laural

and the beautiful Cinco De Mayo roses that start out a smoky lavendar-rose and turn to a spicy soft coral as the sun matures the blossoms

Cinco De Mayo Colors

I had to learn about rose diseases, all of which I tried to solve organically last year but which have returned with a vengeance this year. I had to spray, according to the rose expert, Dr Mark Windham from the U of TN. He was on hand at Chuck Johnson’s Garden & Nursery for their Rose Education seminars held yesterday.

A large, 1/2″ long, Rose Slug

Rose Slug

Rose Slugs, the larva of the sawfly, are eating all the rose leaves with such speed I can’t pick them off nor can the natural predators such as the wasps keep these little critters in check. They defoliate the bushes in no time.

Rose Slug Damage

Rose Slugs climb up the rose trunks as tiny, almost invisible, hatchlings where they go to the underside of the leaves and eat them through

Rose Slugs

Black Spot fungus is particularly bad for us here in Middle Tennessee this year (also shown is more rose slug damage)

Black Spot fungus and Rose Slugs

My Azaleas have it, too, and what were huge full bushes are now spindly, struggling plants so they got a drenching as well. This fungus even attacks those roses who live in hot sun all day, like this climbing rose on the power pole

black spot

Powdery Mildew

powdery mildew

This was a surprise as the Coral Drift(tm) roses are supposed to be resistant to these fungal diseases but all my azaleas have this as well so it was time to take up the stakes.

So, sprayed, weeded, fertilized and watered we were ready to mulch. Last year we chipped up the branches of two Black River Birches that we had cut down and the resulting mulch was adequate but not a good type for soil building. This year, using the Amazing Dave’s method of mulch buckets we managed to get 4 scoops transported and laid upon the landscape beds in 2 trips and all done in one day. We even mulched the front yard trees. Things have never gone so well!

Roses in their new beds


Shovels are one of the few tools Dave says he is allergic to. The others are anything used for plumbing and most importantly, a hammer. “Hahahahahahaha”, sezs I, “but you’re so good with them! You can’t ever give up trying!!!”

Anyway, ignoring my “encouragement” he devised a method of bringing mulch to the house in the most economical manner by laying down a tarp on the trailer and filling the bed with paint buckets. We have plenty of those from our finish booth at the company. Then all the buckets are strapped down with bungy cords and off we go to visit the mulch purveyor. This year we got 2 scoops per trip and used another tarp across the top to keep any pieces from flying away.

Once we make it home we then carry all 30 buckets to the mulch needed sites in the yard and simply dump and spread. This store bought mulch is much better at soil building than the chipped up birch wood.

Our neighbors saw us doing the mulch Dave’s way and just had to borrow the buckets for their own mulch run scheduled for today! In fact they sat on their porch and starred at us for hours, willing us to hurry up so they could grab those buckets ASAP.

Oh the pressure….

I’ll be glad to see them not having to shovel into a wheelbarrow, transport and then shovel into the garden beds. So much less work!

mulch buckets

Dave’s very fine solution to a very exhausting problem. Our Hero!

Oh, and the Hero also helped me carry out some of the boxes left from closing and sale of my Stitchery so now I can actually walk into the sewing room. The center ceiling light bulb has been burned out in there for the last 2 months! It’s changed now and I can see. 🙂

I have a dress to make. Sewing coming up!


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

12 responses »

  1. Glad to see you back! We have been busy here too. Had the garden turfed and very fortunately it has rained non stop since, almost 3 weeks ago now! We have had windows and dorr replaced, a 13 x 22 extension is being built, kitchen being ripped out and replaced with oak units etc and also having the bathroom changed to a shower room. Electric stair chair soon too.

  2. I can’t wait to see the pictures when everything becomes healthy again.

  3. Glad to see you back. Lawn is really looking good.

  4. ,Nice post I’ve such problems with the roses….and my dress to finish
    have a kiss from Marseille

  5. What a great way to mulch! Glad to see you back.

  6. Wow, you have been so busy! And so beset with fungus and mildew. Hope you can get the upper hand.

  7. So glad to have you back. Was starting to get a bit concerned, there had been silence for so long. Mulching – hmm. Something I’ll have to think about for next year.

  8. Hi again. Welcome back! I’ve been absent too. My husband just had gall bladder surgery so I’m nursing him back to health. Like Gilda said, “it’s always something”!

  9. Welcome back and here’s to some clear sailing for a good long time – you deserve it!
    I try to do organic as much as possible, but when weeds, diseases and insects get a head start (especially years worth) sometimes I need to get out the nasty stuff.

  10. So glad it isn’t just my garden that is beset here in Southwest Ohio-my “rescued” rose has lost all its leaves just when it has started to really bounce back. When I moved into the house this rose was planted in almost full shade and had one shaky tendril with one pitiful bloom that had grown across the side yard in desperate search of sunlight. It was uprooted about 3 years ago and very nearly got tossed last year but I decided to give it another chance and it was gloriously covered in gorgeous flowers-and now it’s being defoliated.

    Out of curiosity-what do you spray it with?

    • Last year I tried Insecticidal Soap (Garden Safe). That had no affect on the rose slugs. Early spring this year I tried Neem Oil and it had little affect on the problems and requires numerous applications. I was advised by Dr Windham to use Systemic Insect Control (by Bonide) and that has had a great affect. I still use Neem Oil on the powdery mildew.

      What you use will be dependent entirely on what is defoliating your roses. Cut off a cane, put it in a plastic bag and take it to your nursery or Ag Extension Agent to determine exactly what the problem is. These chemical are expensive and powerful and should be avoided if you can avoid using them.


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