Monday, April 6, 2015

Gardening with the Grandsons

Two springs ago when my grandsons, now ages 9 and 11, showed some interest in gardening, Jack and I created a little garden for each of them. Jack had this great idea of painting their name on a rock to mark each garden. A spring chore this year will be freshening up these markers.

Last spring when we made these gardens, the youngest grandson, Jared, was all about hosta, so we selected an area to build a little hosta garden for him. On several occasions in the prior year, we had noticed what appeared to be vole damage so we planted the hosta in pots in the ground.  The pots are visible in the picture below, taken early spring last year. Seeing the pots always annoyed me and the hostas did not thrive in the them. So last fall I decided to take the risk. I took all the hosta out of their pots, and replanted them directly in the ground.  I'll do a post in a few weeks and we'll see how they fared unprotected through the winter.

Jared's hosta garden Spring 2014 (sorry for picture quality)

As you can see, we also included a few plants to add a little visual interest when the hostas die back for the winter:  japanese forest grass, a spreading japenese plum yew, and a metal iris.  Still, in the winter there is a very bare area where the hosta are clustered. This year, I'm trying to find something to plant among the hosta that will remain green in the winter when the hosta are dormant but not detract from the summer look of the hosta bed. I have Arum italicum in a few other places and really like it. I'm considering adding a few to the interior of the hosta bed. Since arum dies back in late spring and reappears in the fall, that might be just the thing for this spot.  Any other suggestions? Please post them in the comment section.

At the time we built these gardens, my 11-year old grandson, Sam, showed little interest in gardening but in the spirit of equality, we also made a small garden for him. Sam is more into blooms than foliage so we selected a site that gets a little more sun. Last spring I planted a variety of perennials and annuals as an experiment to see what would grow well there. The backside of the bed is shadier so I planted a few Japanese painted fern, columbine, and impatiens. As I feared, the impatiens were all lost to downy mildew. This year, if I try impatiens at all, it will be the New Guinea type, which are more resistant to downy mildew. The "sun" annuals I planted (petunias, salvia, etc.) did not perform well so I'm looking for plants that flower (Sam was not persuaded by my color foliage suggestion)  but can tolerate a fair amount of shade.  Any suggestions?

Sam's garden, April 4, 2015

Some things did well in Sam's garden: for one, the hellebores, which you can see on the back right side.  The dwarf monarda has come back and looks healthy.  We'll have to wait to see how it blooms. The irises bought at last year's iris sale looks healthy and promising.  (Of course, that tall purple iris always looks great--it's metal!)

I suppose all of us who love gardening are eager to share that feeling with others, especially children. Jared, who in previous years seemed to share my passion for growing things, is now more interested in technology than in gardening. On the other hand, Sam, who showed little interest last year, is quite interested this spring. So I'm not giving up on either of them.  Who knows--they may both come around eventually!

Deb Edwards TMG 2013

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to spend time with your grandsons!


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