Sunday, July 29, 2007

Problems in the Garden

A while back, I wrote about the ugly parts of my garden; today, I want to show you some particular plants that are giving me trouble. If you have any suggestions as to what's causing the problems, please let me know. (Click on each photo to see a larger view.)

OK--I know the solution to this one: Move the plant, stupid! Every summer, this astilbe gets dry and brown because it sits in the sun half the day. A similar plant, five feet away, but in shade, does fine. Add one more thing to my list for fall.

The sun may be the culprit here, too. Several of the leaves on this camellia look sunburned. In addition to that, though, the plant's color just doesn't look good. Possible causes: lack of some nutrient, (iron? nitrogen?) poorly drained soil, gardener's incompetence???

These "Red Fox" Veronica (Veronica spicata) are growing nicely, but haven't put out the first bloom. The tag said they bloom in late summer, but I wonder how late...if you have some, when does yours bloom?

Compare the leaves of the red maple on the left with the one on the right. I wonder if this tree is suffering the effects of being dug up and moved last winter, then having to endure two months with only an inch of rain. Lesson here: be sure you know where you want the tree before you plant it.

This spring, I planted several Japanese Hollies (Ilex crenata "Soft Touch") in my front bed. One promptly died; the other looked like it was dying, but I cut it way back and it seemed to recover. Now it looks like half the plant is dead, and whatever it is seems to be spreading. Wonder if Voldemort put a killing curse on it? Where is Neville Longbottom when you need him? (Note: don't click the links if you don't want to know how Harry Potter ends.)

I took the dead one back to the nursery to exchange it, and felt kind of stupid because killing a Japanese Holly is like killing ivy--you almost have to try to kill it. I made sure to emphasize that I had five more planted in the same bed that were doing just fine, so the problem was obviously with the plant and not the person who planted it, but the clerk looked dubious. Maybe I should bring photos of the good ones if I have to return this one.

It's always something, isn't it? Of course, I'm thankful that these are the biggest problems in my life right now. Could be a heck of a lot worse. Happy Gardening!


Gina said...

hey david! I am sorry to say that I have absolutely no idea how to help you with any of your garden issues. But, good luck!

David in Greensboro NC said...

Thanks, Gina. I'll muddle through somehow!

Carolyn gail said...

Hi David,

The spots on the Camellia look like a fungus which they are prone to get. A lack of iron usually shows up as chlorosis and is indicated by a yellowing of the leaves.

How is your soil ? If on the sandy side then introduce organic matter when planting and it should provide the nutrients needed.

If plants like hollies and camellias don't get the slightly acidic soil they need they won't do as well, so make sure to mix in peat moss or the like, such as fine pine bark.

On the other hand plants don't like heavy clay soil and it has to be amended for proper drainage.

The tree you dug up and moved is not interested in it's leaves as much as it is in setting it's roots so it needs a season or two to get established. Meanwhile, it's important to thoroughly soak it deeply once or twice a week.

As to the Veronica not blooming, when did you plant it ? If recently, it too is not interested in producing flowers, but setting down its roots.

Hope this is of help.

David in Greensboro NC said...

Thanks, Carolyn Gail. My soil is heavy clay, which I've amended with pine bark. I've been meaning to test the Ph, but haven't gotten around to it. I think our soil in central NC is slightly acidic.

I planted the Veronica last fall, so I would think it was pretty well established. Guess I'll wait and see.

I appreciate your observations and suggestions.