I’m just not sure what to do with this dogwood. For the record, it’s a European Variegated Dogwood ‘Elegantissima’ and as you can see, it’s out of control.

out of control dogwood

I cut it back last year, and it got HUGE this year. It’s blocking the access door to the garage and Coraline has decided that getting underneath all the lower leaves is fun. Brodie also likes to pee on those leaves – gross!

dogwood closeup

So  anyway, I’m looking for advice! Should I cut it back again? Should I move it to somewhere that it would have more room to grow (not sure if I have such a large spot)? Is there something else I could do to help it thrive?


Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook

Week by Week Vegetable Gardeners HandbookI mostly use Folia to tell me when to do things in the garden, but this book is a really nicely organized guide, too. For those who might be interested in purchasing the book, it also has pages where you can track the dates of first and last frosts from year to year, and keep notes on how things are doing as the year progresses. Check out my post at CPL for more.


The Twilight Garden

The Twilight GardenI’ve already chosen a color palette for our front garden that matches up almost exactly with what’s recommended in this book. Beyond my goal of having the front garden in a state of being fully thriving (right now it’s getting there, but not quite this year), I would love for it to be beautiful at night as well as in the daytime. We live in a busy sub with lots of folks who are out walking their dogs or just themselves on cool summer evenings or early mornings, and it would rule to have them notice the garden and think good things about it. (Right now I imagine they think that it doesn’t look like much.) I’d also be quite happy to be able to have the scents of flowering things float in the windows on the breeze. I’ve added a number of plants from this book to my wishlist. My post at CPL has more on this book.



Not really. (Did you ever read those books when you were a kid? I totally dug them.) But it is yet another plant I can’t identify!

unidentified plant

This is in the driveway-side garden, which is getting really full. I’m going to have to transplant some stuff out of it into other places pretty soon. This looks big and unfamiliar enough that I’m guessing I planted it, but I can’t match it up with anything I knowingly put there and logged on Folia.

unidentified plant

Any takers?


memories (or lack thereof)

In the corners of my mind…or off wherever it is that they go when they decide not to stick around. I really seem to have trouble remember what I planted where sometimes. I write things down and record them on my map and put them into Folia, and yet things come up and I can’t figure out what they are.

For instance, there’s this:


This stuff is tall and numerous enough that you’d think I might remember what it is (if it’s even all the same thing – this could easily be a combination of a few things).

As you can see below, it’s budding, so I will theoretically find out soon – if it ever stops raining. Meantime, anyone have a guess?



first clean-up of spring

Last week we had some of the first warm days of the season and I couldn’t resist getting out to clean up some of the leaf mulch on the perennial gardens.

There were a number of tulips sprouting through leaves in the Red Maple Garden. I also chopped off the stupid unkillable yucca and noticed that the cuttings of Purple Wintercreeper I put in here the year before last are finally getting nicely established. This garden is a haven for weeds, so I’d really like the wintercreeper to take over and fill in so that the weeds can’t get enough sun to survive.

red maple garden

I also cleared out leaves from the Driveway-Side Garden. There was SO MUCH leaf mulch here! I think the wind must have helped more leaves to stick in this area because the mulch was far thicker than I would have thought. I think next year I am going to invest in a pressure washer.

driveway side garden

I moved a buttload of stuff into the really skinny part of this (the part at the bottom of the photo above) last year, but most of it was random bulbs that I couldn’t exactly identify, so I’m not sure what-all is in here now. I’m guessing grape hyacinth and that sort of thing.

Further up toward the garage, there’s lots of good stuff getting ready to grow. Sedum of some kind, for one:

sedum sprouting

I’m not sure if this is the Munstead Red that I got on clearance at Lowe’s a few years ago, or some unidentified sedum that a freecycler gave me. One of my goals for this year is to make better notes about what’s growing where so I can better identify things.

I didn’t snap a larger picture view of the Tiny Driveway Fence Garden, but something is coming up in it! This is a seriously tiny space – hardly large enough to count as a garden, but it’s dirt! So I’m claiming it. Weeds want to grow there, so therefore I can take it over and make something pretty grow there instead. There is fence on either side of the gate to the backyard, and I’ve planted random things here to see what succeeds. It gets an odd amount of sun (and not even from one end of the fence to the other) so it’s kind of a crapshoot. Whatever this is coming up, it’s pretty-looking so far.


I think that these are the daffodils (‘Quail’) that I planted last year – I haven’t grown daffodils myself before, but my mom used to have them, and I think these look daffodil-ish. ?


As you can see in that photo, I didn’t clean up ALL the leaves, just most of them. I’ve also started to make a real effort to pick out all the stupid tiny pebbles from the Driveway-Side Garden. At some point someone must have had it filled in with river rock and then did an exceedingly poor job of removing it. They keep emerging from the soil (which is actually fairly decent, pebbles aside)! For now I’m gathering them in old plant containers and maybe will find a use for them, or a new home, at least.


front garden spectacular!

Okay, I totally lied in the title. There’s absolutely nothing spectacular going on right now – everything is dormant and just recently free of snow cover. I’m just happy to be able to see plants again! No matter that many of them are still at least partially covered by last fall’s leaves.

Here you can see that there’s just the teensiest bit of snow lingering. (Also that Brodie is looking out the front door, something he really misses during the winter.)

front garden

Here we have Sage:


And Lamb’s Ears ‘Helene von Stein’:

Lamb's Ears 'Helene Von Stein'

And something unidentified coming up. I believe that this is probably chickweed, which seems to adore the front garden. Here’s hoping it’s not, though.

something coming up

And something else I haven’t identified (did someone tell me this was some kind of wild strawberry?), which is all over the place:

something not sure what

This is some kind of bulb I planted last year – need to look at the garden plan and see what it might be.

something coming up

And three little Juniper ‘Blue Star’ plants that I rescued from the big box garden center last year.

Juniper 'Blue Star'

And that’s it for now. It’s still far too early for me to disturb the earth or get rid of the leaves – don’t want to put anything at risk since we’ll no doubt have plenty more frosts before it’s really spring.

More pics on flickr.


Swap Matcher

If you read this blog regularly, you’ve noticed that I use Folia for tracking all my gardening stuff. You also know that I’ve just started swapping seeds. I had seen a couple references on Folia to a “swap matcher” but when I went looking, I didn’t see what I expected to see. What they had was a listing next to each item on your wishlist that showed how many people had it for swap – that was helpful, but I was expecting it to show me people who (a) have something I want AND (b) want something I have. I made a comment about this on Twitter, and – get ready – a matter of days later, Folia added just the thing I asked for! Talk about immediate gratification! You can see here what is now available, an illustration of the awesome way that Folia listens to users and responds with unbelievable speed:

folia plant swapper

NICE! I will definitely be using this feature (YES, I am the example on the help page – fame!) a ton in the future, and have already used it to set up one swap. If you’re a gardener and you’re not using Folia yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough.