Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunny Knock® Out Rose

Picture July 2009

Sunny Knock Out® is not my favorite rose.

Picture June 2010

I bought Sunny Knock Out® in May 2009.
It has good points. It has been black spot resistant even though it is planted next to roses that have the fungus disease. It blooms all summer. I water the roses periodically but it seems to be more drought tolerant than the other roses and keeps a deep green leaf color.

But - It is not as pretty as some of the other Knock Out® varieties. As the only fragrant variety, I haven’t noticed any fragrance. The bright yellow blooms fade quickly to a dull cream. It doesn’t need dead heading but it looks like this most of the summer.

Pictures August 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay Center at First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA

The Chesapeake Bay is an awesome body of water with a rich history and wide-spread economic impact. Today, the Bay is said to generate $1 trillion a year into the regional and national economy.

I have been interested in the Chesapeake Bay since I learned runoff from the watershed, which includes Pennsylvania, produces excess sediment and runoff that threatens the bay’s water quality. We don’t often think about how our lawn chemicals, parking lot overflow, fuels, sewage or farm fertilizers affect a large body water. The pollution starts small in local streams and gradually finds its way into the Chesapeake.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, about runoff:

“Changes in chemical conditions, such as the addition of nutrients, can cause rapid increases in the amount of algae. These algal blooms can have serious consequences. They block light from reaching submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) beds. Even after they die, they can cause problems. Deposition and subsequent decomposition of large masses of plankton in the mainstem of the Bay can deplete dissolved oxygen, suffocating other estuarine animals.”

A lot has been done in the past few years. Cooperation between state and federal agencies set standards and goals to clean up the 64,000 square mile watershed that stretches from New York to Virginia. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program “Bay Barometer” so far progress is slow but steady.

In May 2009, the “ ‘Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed’ was developed under the executive order issued by President Obama … which declared the Chesapeake Bay a national treasure and ushered in a new era of shared federal leadership, action and accountability.”

From its glacial beginning through the Indian settlements to the landing of the English in 1607 up to today, the Bay’s natural habitats, abundant fish and game, shipping channels and recreational facilities have been vital.

Hopefully, we will watch the heron fly, see the osprey nest, swim and play, eat blue crab, oysters, bass, and watch the dolphins play in the Chesapeake for many years to come.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I’ll be on vacation and away from a computer for a couple of weeks. Before I go I want to give you an update on ‘Dan’s Favorite’ Tomato. I bought the plant on a whim in May.

I wrote about ‘Dan’s Favorite’ in a June 9 blog. The tomato is called ‘Dan’s Favorite’. . . It was labeled “mid-season slicing tomato”. I really don’t know what that means. I’ll have to wait for a taste test to see if ‘Dan’s Favorite’ is also mine.

OK it’s the beginning of August. I guess that’s mid-season. It’s definitely a slicing tomato – just the right size for a sandwich. The bush is large and sturdy and full of huge tomatoes.

The ripe tomatoes have green or yellow spots on the outside and hard pink spots on the inside. The blotchy ripening could be the result of a mineral deficiency or uneven watering. It could be both. ‘Dan’s Favorite’ may or may not be more susceptible to this condition.

The tomato was planted in a space occupied by squash and peppers last year, fertilized with fish emulsion. Compost was added last fall and a layer of mulch added this spring after planting.

The month of July was very dry. Usually I’m careful to water regularly. I have a soaker hose laid out in a concentric circle around the plant. How hard can it be? But this was not the year to be able to spend a lot of time in the garden.

The tomato has a good taste. The size is excellent and the yield is bountiful. I should do a soil test. I may have to try ‘Dan’s Favorite’ again next year to see if I can grow them without blotchy ripening.

A list of non-pathogenic things that can go wrong with your tomatoes from Penn State listed here.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Creeping Sedum

This sedum has been identified as Sedum sarmentosum. (Please see comments.)

***See June 11, 2011 for more about this sedum. ****
I have been trying to identify this sedum for years. Susan Harris of Sustainable and Urban Gardening raised the question again.

Sedum lineare 'Golden Teardrop' shown at Dave’s Garden or Sedum acre.

Margaret Roach of A Way to Garden cited an article from W.J Beale Botanical Garden that makes a point for Sedum acre.

Whatever the name, this little sedum is fast-spreading, drought tolerant and easy to keep in check. It grows in the hot, full sun or in the shade. It doesn't seem to have any special soil requirements. In June, it's covered with tiny yellow flowers.

When it grows over the stepping stones, I hoe around the stones and scoop up the little plants. It pulls out easily.


Voila - lots of green for the compost bin.

I wish I knew its name. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


A little rain and it’s time for macroweeding.

Here are my definitions:

Macroweeding: The process of grabbing a handful of weeds and yanking them out by the roots.

as opposed to

Microweeding: The process of snatching one weed at a time and yanking
it out by the roots.

I have been macroweeding this week. Sometimes it’s not only weeds that get pulled but overgrown and self-sown annuals. There is a great feeling of accomplishment as you accumulate a large pile of weeds in a short time.

Crab grass and goosegrass look too similar for me to care about identifying them. They are everywhere in this hot, humid weather. I yank, dig, pull, hoe. Here they were mixed in with sweet alyssum. The self-sown alyssum was overgrown so it came out with the weedy grass.

Now on to microweeding - Purslane in the rose bed, dandelion in the ground cover, crab grass and creeping wood sorrel at the garden edge, and oxalis among the cosmos call for microweeding – a little more tedious but just as satisfying.

Ah, tidy once again.

Share your weeding stories in the comments. What is your worst weed? What is your favorite method of weeding? Do you have a secret to keep weeds out of the garden?