Friday, April 30, 2010

A hedgerow is born!

the beginnings of a native plant hedgerow at 2 Green Acres, a Maryland garden
Last weekend, I got started on the hedgerow I am planting this year. My plans have changed a little from my last post - still plan on blueberries and winterberries. Now, I have also added sumersweet (clethra alnifolia) to the plan.

Last weekend was the first weekend of the Herring Run Native Plant sale. Good thing I got there early - they were mobbed! Fortunately, I was able to find most everything on my shopping list.

I bought 5 blueberry bushes, and 2 viburnum for my berm (more on that later). I also bought 3 summersweet. I wanted 3 full sized plants, but there was only one left. So I snagged that one and two "sixteen candles" variety. I did not buy the winterberry. Honestly, I did not even look for it because the inventory list printed before the sale showed that they only had a few and I just assumed they would be gone before I got there. I am pretty sure I can find them somewhere else.

I spent Saturday and Sunday planting all my new plants. I now have a (very sparse) hedgerow, with a big gap in it for the winterberry. Progress!

Monday, April 26, 2010

First Harvest of 2010

radishes from 2 Green Acres in Maryland
I always hate waiting for the garden's first harvest. This is the main reason I planted radishes. I am really not crazy about radishes, but they are one of the first things to come out of the garden in the spring. So I planted some.

I pulled the first ones out of the ground yesterday. And, I tried a new, great recipe for the radishes. It calls for watercress, but based on the comments from other reviewers, I used the radish greens instead.

sauted radishes from Maryland garden 2 Green Acres
The dish was simple and turned out great. Suddenly I am glad I have more radishes to harvest!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wildflowers on the C&O canal

Wildflowers from 2 Green Acres, a garden blog Mystery flower on the C&O canal

This past weekend, I went for a long walk on the C&O canal, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. I was amazed at the wildflowers I saw - at least one of which I could not identify.

I saw Mayapples, Solomon's Seal, False Solomon's Seal, Virginia Blue Bells, Squirrel Corn, and a wide variety of violets - purple, blue, white, and yellow.
I have never seen so many wildflowers at one location. I think part of it was luck - it was a good time of year to see wildflowers. Part of it was knowledge - a year ago, I am not sure I would have known what some of these were. And would not have known to look for Solomon's Seal. And I think part of it is the area - the park has a huge variety of native plants, and I was able to see a good variety of them.

Below are some pictures from my walk. Can anyone tell me what the white flowers are in the picture at the top of the post? I saw them everywhere on this trip - in fields, in people's yards, etc. I live about 90 minutes away from here, and have never seen these flowers. Any ideas?

wilflowers from 2 Green Acres a mid-atlantic garden blog

Squirrel corn

2Green Acres Wildflower

Virginia Bluebells

More wildflowers from 2 Green Acres, a Maryland Garden BlogFalse Solomon's Seal

Wildflowers from 2 Green Acres a mid-Atlantic garden blog

More violets

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bloom Day: April 2010

Azalea at 2 Green Acres
Cherry Tree at 2 Green Acres

Redbud at 2 Green Acres
Bleeding Heart at 2 Green Acres

Grape hyachinth at 2 Green Acres
Daffodil at 2 Green Acres
Some natives, some not, but probably the best month for my garden.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Just say no to Bradford Pear trees

invasive bradford pear from 2 green acres
Right now, where I live, the Bradford Pears are blooming. And, I admit, they are beautiful. The trees have a nice, formal shape, and their white blossoms are enchanting. But please, I beg you, when you see the Bradford Pear at your local garden center, just walk on by.

Bradford Pears are the most common varietal of the pyrus calleryana a species of pear trees native to China. Unfortunately, these trees do not play nice. They are incredibly invasive, with their seeds being spread by birds. When the Bradford Pears are blooming, drive around town and look in vacant lots or areas with a lot of scrub plants. Chances are, you will see the pretty white blossoms of Bradford Pears.

invasive bradford pears in vacant lot - 2 Green Acres
In addition to being invasive, Bradford Pears are weak-limbed, short-lived trees. Strong winds and storms easily break major limbs off of these trees. Not all Callery Pears have this problem, but they all are invasive and should be avoided.

What to plant instead? The book Native Alternatives to Invasive Species recommends several trees. The one that seems to most closely resemble the Bradford Pear is the Allegheny Serviceberry (amelanchier laevis), a beautiful small tree with early white blooms. Other suggestions include Green Hawthorne (crataegus viridis).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Garden Project: Hedgerow

As mentioned in an earlier post, I want to plant a hedgerow this year.

I am only half joking when I say I am not exactly sure what a hedgerow is, but I like the sound of the word. I do know that hedgerows contain shrubs or small tree that product fruit or berries and so are great for wildlife.

My hedgerow will be an important source of fruit for wildlife and humans. It is where I will plant my blueberries. In addition, I also intend to plant winter berry, and possibly some viburnum. I have a 50 foot long space, which sounds like a lot, but, when planting bushes that can grow 8 - 10 feet wide, I suddenly realized that this is not that much space.

I had hoped to plant my blueberries last fall, but failed to get my act together in time. Specifically, I did not get a soil test. I continued to procrastinate, but finally got around to sending it off a couple of weeks ago. I got the results back last week.

The thing I was most concerned about was the soil pH. Blueberries need acidic soil (between 4-6.5 pH). I did not think my soil would be acidic enough, but the soil test came back spot on - the pH was 5.3. This is also good for the winter berries. I think the reason the soil is so acidic is that this area is right next to some pines, so there is a lot of pine needles on the ground. Whatever the reason, I am happy.

The area I had tested is a low spot on the property. To describe it as a swale would be an exaggeration, but it is sort of a baby swale. Unfortunately, after getting my test results back, I read that blueberries don't like to have wet feet. What? I thought they liked boggy areas. In fact, I specifically picked this spot for them because it is the dampest area on my property (which is not saying much). Then I read in other books and on other sites they like wet soils.

Argh! This is why I get so paralyzed! Which source to believe?

I have agonized about this for the last several days and finally decided that I am going ahead with my plans. Hopefully it will work out.