Specimen Acquisitions for our yard

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2006 Spring/Summer season

Using this space to list plants purchased this year -2006;

– Eastern Snowball (bush/shrub) front yard

– Mugho Pine (2) Pumilio mugo pine front raised bed

– Hosta (Honeybells) side flower bed

– Achilbe (2) lower shaded rock garden and new wheelbarrow garden under maple tree

– Poker Plant lower shaded rock garden

– Coral Bells – Lilly of the Valley lower shaded rock garden

– Elephant ear lower shaded rock garden

– Primrose Beauty – Potentilla Futicosa (evergreen shrub/bush – creamy yellow flowers) upper sunny rock garden

– Rock Rose (evergreen shrub/bush) upper sunny rock garden

– Dwarf Periwinkle (evergreen perennial ground cover) upper sunny rock garden meant to trail down by fenceline

– Little Princess Spirea (shrub/bush)

– Hebe (check variety – tag said ‘la favourite’

– Rubus – Emerald Carpet (ground cover – part shade)

– Sedum Gracile (evergreen w/ white flowers, red in summer)

– Nordic Holly (sun – sedum?)

– Southernwood Artemisia Abrotanum (sun, bitter lemon leaves, use in vinegar and salads)

– Sedum Aizoon (yellow flowers 10″ long)

– Wormwood Artemisia – Oriental Limelight (sun 3-4′ tall)

– Ice Plant (succulent purple/pink flowers ground cover) upper rock garden

– Cardinal Flower (perennial, part shade, poisonous)

– Verbena – Homestead Purple (spreading perennial, sun) upper rock garden

– curly grass (name not known, twisty, curly grass like plant)

– Guardian Delphinium (slugs ate it)

– Coleus – three varieties

– Hibiscus – Luna Red (2) (perennial) front window bed

– Sedum – Autumn Joy (2, one in 2005, one in 2006) upper rock garden

– Tree Mallow (evergreen perennial shade, delicate everblooming pink flowers) new shade garden in wheelbarrow under maple tree

– Bleeding Heart (bush) new shade garden in wheelbarrow under maple tree

– Close out nursery sale – Grayland – scented geraniums, peppermint, orange thyme, asters and ? = planted in white stemmed flower pots

– Geraniums (3) in rose pink shades, (4) in gold and rust shades

– Heather (3) upper rock garden, and two in camellia flower bed border

– Spring/Autumn Heather (4) whiskey barrel, indoors, and 2 in camellia flower bed border

– new whiskey barrel = Eucalyptus tree; foxglove; heather; beach transplants; yellow oriental poppy, spring heather

– new whisky barrel – upright = sedums, and surrounded on sides – need central core plant specimens and then extend this part of the growing out of barrell garden into grass yard.

– Eucalyptus tree – front yard

– Rose of Sharon – 5 dry root plants from Mom – not seeing anything

– Pussywillow tree propagation from Mom seems to have taken. She calls it pussywillow tree = ?

– Propagate experiments this year didn’t work out using the root cutting formula. 2 Cotton lavender propagates seems to have taken.

– Lilac tree; lost two trunks over winter and new sturdy trunk is growing up from center

– Fuschia bush cut back severely and did not suffer – can be cut back severely annually

– vegetable garden was a bust this year – slugs!!! Ate 3 plantings of seeds = zuchinni, cucumbers, squash. Beets grew well and big this year. Tomato plants did well enough. Peas and carrots did well enough. Problem = old seeds and driest summer on record with no rain.

– Comfrey/borage planted 3 yrs ago continues to return annually. This year popped up everywhere inside vegetable garden bed and rock garden. Research = these are invasive and impossible to totally rid – underground root spreading system

– Japanese flowering cherry (upright) white blooms

– hybrid – 3 varieties Apple tree

Deersong

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Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree (bush) or Contorted Hazelnut – Corylus avellana L. ‘Contorta’

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2005 – Our Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree – mature specimen – 15-20 yrs old

Harry Lauder Walking Stick
CONTORTED HAZELNUT
Corylus avellana L. ‘Contorta’

This unusual European hazelnut was found around 1850 growing in a hedgerow in England. It has been propagated by cuttings and grafting ever since. The plant has become commonly known as “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick” or “Contorted Hazelnut.”

The stems and leaves naturally twist and turn as they grow. The plant would normally grow as a sprawling bush, but if it is grafted onto a 4 ft. tall upright stock (Corylus colurna L. is a good non-suckering rootstock) it forms a very ornamental specimen tree.

Walking Stick : This shrub reaches a height of 8′-10′, with a similar spread. The flowers of Harry Lauder’s walking stick are yellowish-brown “catkins,” as on pussy willows. The blooms appear in early to middle spring. However, this shrub is not grown primarily for its blooms but for its unusual branching pattern, which is indicated by its other common names: corkscrew filbert and contorted hazelnut. For as you can see from the picture, its branches contort themselves in every which way, resembing corkscrews.

Sun and Soil Requirements for Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick : Grow Harry Lauder’s walking stick in well-drained soil, in full sun to part shade.

Care of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick: Being a grafted shrub, Harry Lauder’s walking stick does require some special care. The rootstock is Corylus colurna. As often happens with grafted plants, there is a tendency for suckers to shoot up from the rootstock. You must prune off these suckers so that the plant does not revert to the characteristics of its rootstock.

How Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick Got Its Name: According to Adele Kleine of “Flower and Garden Magazine,” the shrub’s “appealing common name derives from the old Scottish comedian Harry Lauder who performed using a crooked branch as a cane.”

Uses for Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick in Landscape Design: Harry Lauder’s walking stick is a specimen plant. The corkscrew shape of its branches lends much-needed visual interest to the winter landscape.

More on Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick: Harry Lauder’s walking stick is a case in which one may rightly claim that a deciduous shrub truly comes into its own only after its leaves have fallen. Not that the shrub isn’t attractive when fully leafed out. But the eye is especially drawn to this curious specimen in winter, when many other deciduous trees and shrubs are little better than sad reminders of a defunct fall and summer.

our dog, Jake (an Australian shepherd – collie mix),
lays under our Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree – 2005

What is Harry Lauder’s walking stick?

By Chelsie Vandaveer

March 11, 2005

At one time, shrubs and trees were planted to separate fields or fields from roads. These hedgerows divided land in a gracious, idyllic way. They were a mix of useful plants neighbors could share—willows for basketry, berries and nuts. A modicum of maintenance kept the hedgerow, a hedgerow. Wildflowers grew there; birds and small animals had refuge in the midst of cultivated lands. The hedgerow stayed the same and yet it changed with the seasons and the passing of the years.

Sometime in the early 1860s, a curious shrub was noticed growing in a hedgerow in Gloucestershire. It was hazel like the hazels (Corylus avellana Linnaeus) that people had cultivated for hundreds of years. But it was different, its branches twisted and corkscrewed and wept. Not many years after the discovery of the contorted hazel, a boy was born at the north

His father died when Harry Lauder was twelve. He helped his mother support his seven siblings by working in a flax mill while he went to school. Later he worked in a coal mine and it must have been difficult to see the stars when one is in ‘the pit’. But he clung to his dream—someday he would be a music hall entertainer.

Harry mixed comedy with music and made laughable, yet touchingly lovable characters for his songs—the stodgy Dame, the red-nosed slovenly Calligan, the kilted tight-fisted Roderick McSwankay.

By 1912, Harry was at the top. He was elected to the Rotary Club of Glasgow and his fame spread beyond England. In 1913, he entertained in America; in 1914, he was in Australia. While in Melbourne, the British Empire entered World War I. Harry’s son, John left his father’s tour and went to war.

Harry, too old to be a soldier, mobilized to do what he could do best, entertain. And entertain he did. Realizing that those soldiers and sailors maimed by the war would be left in poverty, Harry raised huge sums of money for their pensions. Then Harry did something crazy and the war office fought him on the very idea of it all. He took entertainment to the trenches and battlefields of France.

Harry and Ann never saw their son John alive again. In 1919, Harry was knighted for his charitable works. When World War II broke out, he launched himself into another round of entertaining the troops and raising funds. Harry Lauder died in 1950. Few alive today have even heard his name, but entertainers have kept alive the tradition he started—laughter and songs for soldiers and sailors far from home.

It was Harry’s wild character, Roderick McSwankay that made the hazel famous. The decked-out Scotsman leaned on an equally crazy hazelwood cane. The shrub became known as Harry Lauder’s walking stick.

our much mature Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree

Deersong

Reshaping the front entrance yard area

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We figured it out! The front area of our front yard (entrance to the house) that has been elevated and rocked with bricks laid for pathway, concrete poured for a patio and three concrete steps to walk up to the elevated ‘gardens’. Nice idea, but makes no sense to the lay of the land and we have been trying to figure out if P.O. intended it to be decorative or why it was installed the way it was.

Work in progress as husband has dug out the ‘elevated’ bed (translated to big pile of dirt, lined by boulders, overgrown with ivy and other assorted unasked for and undesirable volunteer growth). It is hard to make out in this photo, but the wall he has lined with boulders is the height of the dirt mound (elevated bed). The neighbor’s yard right behind is about level with the bottom layer of the boulder wall. Husband has begun digging away and in a matter of a couple of days will haul most of that dirt away. While we weren’t able to do away with the ‘elevated’ beds, he was able to seriously dent it and push it back away from the front door entrance leaving enough room for us to do a bit of landscaping and comfortably walk around to the back (more literally, the side) of the house.


The brick path that leads from the elevated bed to the front door is so steep that surely anyone attempting to walk it would easily slip and fall so it’s not useful as a footpath, in fact, flat out dangerous. Nixed that by blocking off the brick pathway to avoid having visitors use it at all. And even at that it was a bandaid fix.

The Weeping Spruce that spreads out horizontally across the top of the brick wall is a ‘Must Save’ so unlikely we would tamper with this element and will leave it as it is…

As I once again try to figure out the minds of the P.O. with some of their modifications to this house that make no sense to me, like adding a lower turret/cupola to the main level as an extension of the top floor cupola but in so doing, opening the whole side of the house to what amounts to the air flow of a front porch without the barrier of house front or front door. So, I wander around that area looking at the historic photos trying to figure out where the front door originally was and what did they do to the architecture that caused removal of the porch, the front entry door and secured the house from winter sea storm winds.

I digress, (as I usually do). So oila, as we are reviewing the historic photos of the house, and realizing that second P.O. dug out the basement, since there was no basement and the house was post and pier (sat on pier blocks) —- wait a minute —- P.O. dug out basement and what did he do with all the dirt he dug out?

We think we know. Now we think we know. Historic photos of this house show the front yard to be flat and in countour lines with the neighboring property.

These two elevated mounds of dirt that have been landscaped with boulders and rocks and plantings, and brick pathway and concrete patio and steps — was this all just to disguise two huge mounds of dirt removed from under the house when the basement was added?  The elevated ‘bed’ is so close to the front of the downstairs cupola, that it makes no sense when looking at the contour of the land. Now, with this ‘aha’ moment, perhaps it makes sense. Surely, I think to myself, with the amount of labor to dig out the basement, install bricks and concrete floor, you’d think there were funds or labor to haul away the dirt??
Did P.O. think this would provide some kind of water table drainage barrier or …..

Husband is doing what amounts to construction type labor in disassembling the boulders, digging out the dirt and hauling it away as he carves into this hill of dirt that makes the ‘elevated’ garden bed. I respect him for doing the labor, and taking on the project.

Deersong

Spring Time Tulips; my small bed at home and the grand fields and fields of beautiful tulips

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First year for the tulips in my yard that I planted last Fall. I’m so pleased!

Tulips in Mossyrock, WA:


I have to toss in a photo of the Money Tree plants growing at the side of the house. I mention, because I planted the seeds last spring and they grew all winter and really sprouted flowers by early spring this year. I’m astonished since I planted seeds, didn’t see harvest and thought it was a lost cause. Apparantly not! I was also astonished to still be pulling up turnips in December in my garden. I say astonished because I’m not a knowledgeable gardener and so I’m thrilled when anything I plant works – in other words, lives, flourishes and yields produce, flowers or just lives at all.

When we took our recent trip from our digs on the shoreline edge of Western WA to Eastern WA, we didn’t get very far East when we encountered these tulip fields belonging to a Nursery in Mossypoint. These give Mount Vernon in Skagit County a bit of a run for the money. Mount Vernon is known for the amazing daffodil and tulip fields the farmers grow there and in approximately April every year people travel to Skagit County to see the daffodil and tulip displays.


Photo we took on our way from Western WA to Eastern Wa and passing by the Tulip Fields at Mossyrock,Washington; DeGoede Bulb Farm & Gardens.

Deersong

Epsom Salt as Plant Food – yes – no?

entry from the Tacoma News Tribune Get Growing blog (post no longer there)

Alert! This just in from the Epsom Salt Council. Could it possibly be true?

Just as “Milk does a body good,” Epsom Salt may be one of the most perfect nutrients for flowers and plants. And mid-to-late spring is the ideal time to nourish the soils and roots of your favorite foliage and flowers with this inexpensive and easy-to-use compound. According to the Epsom Salt Council, research indicates Epsom Salt can help seeds germinate; make plants grow bushier; produce more flowers; increase chlorophyll production; improve phosphorus and nitrogen uptake; and deter pests, including slugs and voles.

Anyone used Epsom salt? What did you think? If you haven’t tried it, but want to, the Epsom Salt Council recommends these amounts:

Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks.

Lawns: Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader, or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer.

Trees: Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times annually.

Garden Startup: Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting.

Roses & Tomatoes: Use 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks.

Deersong

Making progress in the yard

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We bought this house in Nov 2002. Now in 2006, I have an acquisition of photos that show changes in the yard. Photos below are from 2006. I will need to backtrack to add slideshow photos from previous years.

(link to rockyou photo carousel which no longer exists)

We bought this house in Nov 2002. In Spring 2003, began work in the yard, very modest beginning, mostly adding a few annuals, some containers, cutting back rhodies and some other overgrown mature specimens. For vegetable garden, I used split-bag topsoil, planting seeds directly into the split bags.

In Spring 2004, work in earnest began to shape up the yard, retaining the flavor of the original owners vision. Also did not want to take out, prune, remove plants until we knew what they were – using that axiom to wait a year and see what’s what.

In Spring 2005, more work in earnest, serious pruning, removing, and began actually rearranging, creating and starting to claim yard more to our vision, rather than preserving integrity of original owners vision. Learned original owners stopped living in the house, using on occasional weekends, so yard upkeep had lost it’s shaping over the years.

In Spring 2006, we are now engaged in claiming the yard as our own. We have been one-income family since May 2003 when I left my career employment. It has put a serious damper on spending so working the yard has been on extremely frugal budget.
Patience and bit by bit, plant by plant, back-breaking labor, we are very gradually getting somewhere towards our yet unrealized vision for the yard and house.

Deersong