Wednesday's Visual Treat - Day 3 / Gardens to Cultivate

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Peeps,

I received many emails today about yesterday's visual treat which recounted the massacre at Hiram's koi pond by the alleged perpetrator, namely Betty Beaver.  Mark I., a gentleman farmer in Manitoba succinctly pointed out that beavers are vegetarians (herbivores) and consume herbaceous plants such as clover and raspberry canes and aquatic plants such as water lilies and grasses; they especially enjoy eating the twigs, barks and leaves of aspen and willow trees.  As such they could not have been responsible for the carnage in Hiram's koi pond.  A phone call to Hiram and an half hour of sleuthing was enough to shed some light on the matter; apparently Betty Beaver had never been actually seen partaking of the sea-food buffet, however had been noticed one season ago on the property which borders on a large fresh-water pond.  Numerous sightings of groups of raccoons had long been reported; all known information about these critters suggest that they were the actual culprits.  I am so glad that we were able to clear up this matter and not sentence based solely on circumstantial evidence.

Happily, today's feature is the shady garden and one that may just be the easiest to maintain.  Blessed with shelter from the harsh sunlight and hopefully receiving partial or dappled light, there are scores of plants that thrive extremely well under these conditions.  Ferns, hostas, astilbes, brunneras, bluebells, tiarellas, solomon's seal, and viola are just some of the many that will happy take up residence and provide many years of enjoyment.  Rhododendrons, laurels, azaleas, viburnums, sweet-spire, leucothoe, weigela, steawartia, tree peony, witch hazel and hydrangeas are perfectly wonderful in the woodland setting.  Of concern for the newly planted are adequate waterings since large trees compete fiercely with more extensive root-systems, and providing nutrients through systematic feedings of Plant-Tone/Holly-Tone, fertilizer spikes and so forth, leaf-mould, or the application of a rich compost.  If challenged by inadequate sunlight, consider judicious pruning and selective topping which any qualified arborist will be happy to provide.  Judiciously placed containers of annuals, garden statuary, comfy furniture and outdoor lighting can turn your shady garden into a visual joy and an even easier way to enjoy the summer when compared to that horrible ride down Rt 50, across the Bay Bridge, and into crowded, pricey Dewey Beach and Rehoboth.

Enjoy,

Shane

PS:  The Strand Bookstore has loads of garden books already deeply discounted,  visit at www.strandbooks.com, or any of the charming used-book stores in Old Town Alexandria, Falls Church, Woodbridge, Reston, and Chantilly.  I visited Book Bank in Old Town (1505 King Street), surprisingly found much more than pencilled on my wish-list, and happily left with 8 books for $50.00.  Sweeeet!!
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