The Big Cedar, Weeds, and Bulbs
Lovely, much-needed rains came and left the soil damp but not hard. New plants, recently set in the ground, perked up. Grass turned green again and our spirits were uplifted. We mulched all of the sunny gardens with the leaves from last fall and planted the color gardens. We turned our attention to trees and shrubs and pruned out dead and misshapen limbs and water spouts and finally we focused on the giant Juniperus virginiana that grows in full sun north of the driveway. This is a major tree at Montrose and was host to weedy vines including grape, ivy, poison ivy, and virginia creeper. We dug pokeweed, and Geum urbanum, that weedy little geum with seeds that cling to gloves, other clothes, and to Angie, our aged dog. We pulled out lots of trees including a mulberry, dozens of nandinas, privets, and ash trees and then we stood back and saw the tree as we had never before seen it. We measured it and discovered that it is 70’ high, with a tree canopy of 58’, a circumference of 16’ (192”), and diameter of 6’. We believe it is our largest and oldest tree and we feel honored to live with it.
We began our attack on two major pests in the summer gardens—an inula species and Anemone canadensis, both of which were planted here during the nursery years. The problem with these plants is their ability to grow again from the tiniest bit of root. First we removed every scrap of plant visible above ground and all the roots we could find. We plan to use a carefully directed herbicide on the bits that return. Although we hope for success if not complete eradication, we expect control.
More fall bulbs come into flower every day with clumps of rhodophialas in bloom near the corner of the May garden, and Prospero autumnalis, Acis autumnalis, and Cyclamen graecum in bloom beneath the deodara cedar. Cyclamen hederifolium blooms throughout the woods.