This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Late August 2013: apple trees are busting; pokers and frogs

2012 was a bust for apple producers because of a late freeze. This year apple and crabapple trees are releasing their pent-up energy by producing enormous quantities of fruit -- which had lead to many trees falling apart under the heavy load. Which has lead to a reporter from the Ann Arbor Observer tracking me down to establish the veracity and extent of the phenomenon. I doubt it's a problem for orchardists because they always keep their trees low, open, and severely trimmed; but if you have an old apple tree, you might want to thin out the branches or the fruit to prevent damage.

This is my second Knifophia picture of the year. Someone explain why we don't see more use of the large and spectacular South African genus. I've heard it rumored that these 'red-hot-pokers' are not to everyone's tastes, but c'mon people, what more could you want from a perennial this late in the summer? Lots of nice pictures in the fabulous Phillips and Rix series of books on garden plants. This one might have a name like 'ice princess,' but I don't recall where I got it or anything else about it. 

Dig a hole. Put some plastic pool liner into it. Cover up the edge of the liner with rock. The rest will take care of itself, but it will speed things up if you add some water instead of waiting for the pond to fill naturally from rain-water. I do a small amount of maintenance (chemical and mechanical) to keep the algae in check. I have a little fountain that I bought from Lowe's. I clean out all the leaves and muck at the bottom of the pond once a year. And I get lots of frogs.

The cat is much amused. Occasionally he'll catch a frog and try and play with it like a mouse, but the frog will go limb and not smell so good, so eventually I return the frog to the pond where it swims away.


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