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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Topsoil, mosquitoes, drought and where to buy good perennials

     The topsoil sold by Lodi Farms on Wagner Road seems to be real topsoil! Not muck + sand, not clay + sand, but real actual mineral soil without coarse grit but with enough fines to enable to you to wet it and mold it into a ribbon. Add compost and you have a darn good 'garden' soil.
     It's mid June and I've hardly seen a mosquito. It's mid June and things are flowering that you usually don't see until August. It's mid June and the lawns are turning golden and the soil is powder. My sources tell me there's a line near I-96 south of which things are wicked dry and north of which the precipitation has been closer to normal. You can see it as your drive north/south.  
     I received a box of new epimediums from Garden Vision mail-order nursery. Beautiful plants. I also received Gentiana scabra, which I don't know how to grow, and a form of Primula sieboldii, a very easy-to-grow primrose that enjoys cult status in its native Japan. I never see it in Michigan gardens, which makes zero sense.
     Speaking of well-grown plants, Cathy Melmoth at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market sells the finest plant stock you'll ever find. The roots are always full but never bound in undersized-pots. It's such a pleasure to release them from their pots, gently shake out some of the soil mix, and put them into the ground. And her selection is always choice. She has a base of knowledgeable fans (all avid gardeners) who depend on her for perennials. Of course most people passing through the market would have no reason to know better.


  1. Thanks for the soil suggestion. I have friends who bought from the "other" local supplier with not so great luck. Soil not that great.

  2. I suspect the lack of mosquitoes might be because of the early thaw/late freeze that set them back. Then a drought to add insult to injury. But with over 1/4" of rain Sunday, I wouldn't be surprised if they start making a comeback in another week or so. I'm enjoying it while I can.

  3. How do we find Cathy Melmoth? Does she have a name over her stall or something to identify her? If she's as good as you say she is, I would like to make her my first stop when shopping for plants.

    1. Most vendors know her so you can ask around. She can be found across the aisle from Frog Hollow and the bakery that comes out of Munith -- near the the western entrance to Kerrytown on the south side of that building. She may soon discontinue selling on Wednesdays, so you might only be able to catch her on Saturdays.

    2. Her business name is 'Recipe Gardens', and I think there's usually a placard up on the posts that says that, although it may be hard to see.

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