Saturday, May 26, 2007

Garden Questions

I know there is a wealth of gardening information out there, and in the hopes that gardeners out there might pass by my little blog -- here are some of the questions I have been pondering:

Should I avoid planting near evergreen shrubs because their roots suck all the moisture/nutrients away from other plants? i.e. I noticed that the Siberian irises near a juniper looked smaller than the others (then again, these ones may get a bit more shade too). Also, the Polemonium next to a globe cedar looks puny compared to its lush compadres lounging around the raised beds.

How high of a structure do you need to grow pole beans? I stuck my steel obelisk (about four and a half feet tall) in the garden, but then jammed a rough piece of 7 foot lumber in there too just to be sure.

How do I deal with pear slugs? I noticed these on the sandcherries and tart cherries last summer but didn't know what they were till I read the Sherwood greenhouses blog about these little monsters. I sprayed them with insecticidal soap and maybe some permethrin last year, but they didn't look deterred by this effort.

What is a good replacement for a drift of catmint (Nepeta cataria, no particular variety)? The catmint looked really nice in front of some pink tulips for the first two years, but now looks a bit tired (after it spread its seed all over the raised bed). I was wondering about Veronica spicata. My criteria: blue/purple flowers, about 8 to 18 inches tall, flowers in June, hardy to zone 3, and does not become invasive. I especially hate the plants that spread quickly by their roots, like the ladybells I am still trying to eradicate from the yard. Also, I prefer plants that I can grow from seed because these are usually easier for me to obtain.


Karen said...

Wouldn't a raised bed be a naturally better environment for growing the Polemonium anyway? It seems like you are looking at less successful plants and trying to find excuses for them, rather than thinking about why the more successful plants are larger. I haven't noticed that shrubbery is any kind of a problem in my garden. (My plants that get overtaken by spreading vinca groundcover, however...)

Gardenista said...

Actually, the shrubs are in the raised bed. I am just wondering if success next to a shrub depends on type of root structure (fibrous, taproot, etc.) I know that only certain plants put up with tree root competition.

Kate said...

It might also be a case of the ph of the soil near the evergreens... along with a lack of moisture.

Pole beans - well, you can always wind them back down and up the obelisk. They get all nice and tangled up that way.

I am not familiar with pear slugs ... hmmm ... off to read Larry's post and find out more.

Good question about the catmint - I have a clump that gets so shaggy now, I really should divide it. I like Veronica spicata or Salvia ... either are good bets. They both do well in my garden. What about penstemon? There are some blue/mauve forms that are about a zone 3.