Here is our year-round garden helper (when it was new). We couldn't be without our 4-wheel drive John Deere. While working around the yard, this lawn tractor allows us to work smarter rather than harder. It has both a plow and a bucket attachment. Not only can it mow grass and plow snow, but it can effortlessly move huge rocks and large amounts of black dirt. When we dig up mature daylilies for dividing, the gigantic root balls are simply rolled into the bucket and driven to the dividing area. We have even pulled out trees and shrubs with the John Deere. What a terrific back-saver!
We love this cute little garden helper, too! She feels strongly that there's a fashion statement to be made no matter what the activity.
It's one thing to have a flower garden, and quite another to keep it weed-free. Simplifying my garden over the last two years has saved me so much time and effort. Since I don't like clutter, I'm not sentimental about what I keep and what I don't keep. I made the decision to focus on my daylilies, because they are what I truly love. I only have a finite amount of time available to keep things looking nice so I made some changes. Here's what I did:
Removed the 40 foot long split-rail fence. Fences are weed magnets. What a back-breaker crawling under and around a fence trying to remove weeds. This never bothered me 20 years ago, but that was then and this is now. Ange helped me pull the fence posts out, fill up the holes with dirt, and haul the fence posts and rails away with our John Deere lawn tractor. Best decision ever! In addition, there is much more air flow for my daylilies which they have really responded to.
Goodbye Garden Phlox. Garden phlox are fragrant and pretty from a distance, but up close they were -- I'll just say 'not pretty.' Every year they got powdery mold and mildew. I was not willing to put in the time to get rid of the mold and mildew year-after-year. As they grew and spread they would get entangled with Creeping Charlie and crabgrass; then the ticks moved in.
Ditto to Bee Balm. I know hummingbirds and butterflies love them, but unfortunately I don't. They have tender shallow little roots that constantly got tangled up with weeds. I got tired of re-planting them each time I weeded and accidentally pulled them out. They got powdery mold and mildew too , even in full sun.
The flowers in the above two photos are long gone. Last summer was the first time that weeding was easily doable. And I thought my garden was still beautiful, even without the fence, the phlox and the bee balm.
Here is one of my favorite doubles, 'Black Lace Conspiracy.' The first photo was taken in the morning when BLC looks grape-purple, and the second photo was taken in the afternoon when it mellows into a rich burgundy. I love both versions! Plus, if you look closely it has a really neat white edging which is more pronounced as the day goes on.
'Black Lace Conspiracy' came from my friend Becky who bought it at a daylily nursery on one of her adventures in northern Wisconsin. What a find! This dormant tetraploid was introduced in 2008 by Wisconsin hybridizer Nate Bremer. It grows about 28" tall and has 5" blooms, with a bud count of 21-25. It also doubles very consistently. This gem looks great in all types of weather and is a hardy, reliable performer in my backyard. Keeper!
Persistence is a trait that those of us who garden are very well-versed in. There's not much about a garden that doesn't involve hard core persistence. You may love flowers. You may imagine having flowers. You may have motivation. But in the end, it's persistence that does all the hard work.
Since I learned to garden by the trial and error method, I've had countless failures along the way. My thumb doesn't always glow green. Far from it! But I do find that with continued effort I can eventually achieve the end product I imagined, or pretty darn close to it.
“Success is not the absence of failure; it's the persistence through failure.” ~ Aisha Tyler
Persistence will be rewarded. My flowers thank me every year. And it is beyond exciting when the blooms arrive!
Pictured: Daylily 'Andy Candy'
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