Taking Action in the Garden

It was a bold week in the garden this week . July has a way of magnifying garden to-do’s that have been put off during May and June. For me, this was a week for taking action in the garden.

White Oak

I have a white oak in the front of our house that died this year. Even though Phil was telling me that it had died, I didn’t want to believe it. I kept waiting for it to leaf out. Afterall, it is late to the leafing-out party every Spring. In denial, I kept hoping the crazy weather we have had this year had simply set it back. That was not the case.

The white oak was something that we planted the first summer we were in the house.It’s probably the last thing my husband, Phil, ever planted. It was no wonder; the front lawn is laid out over tough clay soil and construction backfill. That means that it’s no fun to dig in and it is tough for trees to grow in. After thirteen years, the white oak surrendered. I’m guessing it was due to girdling roots. I have a tree service coming to remove the base in a month. In the mean time, my son, Will, had the great learning experience of cutting it down by hand with a hand saw. The task kept him busy for a few hours and he learned a little about what it was like to cut down a tree. We now have enough firewood to get us through labor day.

It’s also opened up some possibilities regarding the sunken outdoor living room we hope to build later this year. We now have more space to work with and I believe the sad loss of the White Oak will ultimately lead to a better design for this new outdoor feature.

Will White Oak


A few Springs ago, I had a horrible case of Forsythia Fever. They were especially beautiful in the Spring of 2010 and I fell deep in lust with this plant.  I had to have it… but I had no space for it. Determined, but also consciously foolish about what I was doing when I tucked it along the edge of my water feature. At the time, I knew it wouldn’t work, but I was desperate to own this plant.

Last fall, my water feature – a pond-less stream – developed a few leaks and suffered from some erosion issues. I still haven’t gotten it repaired. Somehow, without the distraction of the stream, I could see all of the plants that were ill-placed along the stream and this aggressively growing Forsythia was at the top of the list.

The time had come to face the fact that it needed to find a home where it could grow free instead of suffering from my brutal pruning which couldn’t contain it anyway. My garden girls dug it out for me and the minute it was removed, it was as if the entire bed along the stream breathed a sigh of relief. Now things like the buffalo juniper and the peony and the filbert are easily next on the list for removal and relocation. And, I am so happy to report that my Forsythia will soon be enjoying the perfect site along a pond at my friend Jen’s house.

Kendall, Hannah, and Wendy are about to remove the Forsythia

Seed Packet Storage

I collect seed packets the way some girls go for shoes and purses. Wait – I do the shoe and purse thing, too. Well, you get the idea. Seed packets are hard for me to resist. They’re inexpensive, beautiful and informative. I also find them quite hopeful – I always have great intentions when I’m buying seed packets.

This week, I carefully went through my seed packets; throwing out the ones that needed to go and giving away the seed packets that I knew would be put to good use with fellow gardeners and neighbors and donating the rest to CSA gardens in my area. It felt good. And, it allowed me to get a better handle on my inventory.

I found a nifty silverware caddy at Goodwill that became the perfect seed packet storage container. Now my seed packets are sorted by type and sowing time. It makes me so happy to see my seeds organized in one container. Since I store it on my front porch, my seed caddy also doubles as a cute garden display.

Seed Packet Storage

This week, I publish Part 2 of my interview with Shane Smith of Greenhousegarden.com and the Director of the Cheyenne Botanic Garden.

That’s the view from up here this week.

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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