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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Introduction, spring gardening shows

Welcome to my first blog posting! Today was a busy day, I went to a gardening show with four of my grandkids. The landscaping exhibits were inspiring, common elements were outdoor dining and even cooking and entertainment areas.

My own greatest gardening struggles involve the battle with various weeds in my 2 acre garden. Since weeds can be defined as plants in the wrong place, from a gardening viewpoint the many mature Western Red Cedars in my yard act as weeds for me. The roots are difficult to escape, and the environment under the trees is hostile to most shade plants. However, they moderate the summer climate nicely, so there is always a cool and shady place to work in the garden somewhere. I have been experimenting with a number of different ground covers to evaluate them under cedars and large maples.

This is what I consider my most successful ground cover, Symphytum grandiflorum, ground cover Comfrey.  It is presently blooming, with scorpiod spiral cymes characteristic of the Borage family.  The blooms start out pink and fade to blue then white.  There certainly seems to be an allelopathic effect with this plant so I give it the coveted "Stronger Than Grass" Award.  No weeds seem to grow in it's borders.  However I wouldn't want to have to try to remove it, either-  If you hate invasive plants or have a small yard or want to grow other plants nearby,  you might want to give it the "Ground Cover From Hell" Award.  It does stay green here in my zone 8 garden, though sparser in winter.  The rough coarse leaves stay a nice cool green, and I like it in the orchard under fruit trees to keep down weeds and make it low-maintenance.

Happy Gardening!
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