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Old 08-19-2015, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,504 posts, read 46,063,271 times
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I really admire your determination to do this project yourself and I hope you will be very happy with your results. In a few years you will have a show place and you must keep a good photo diary.
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Old 10-03-2015, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,735 posts, read 13,649,319 times
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Default Early October update!!

No, I haven't given up!! I was waiting to receive my order from Spring Hills Nursery (ordered back in late June) and it FINALLY came, after several emails/chats/phone conversations with them. Very very very frustrating experience (although at least I will get my money back if the plants don't make it).

I tilled the gardens, bought more compost and topsoil (I still have enough mulch left), and will be planting tomorrow. I am very concerned about the late date, although it doesn't look like there's any danger of frost for the next 10 days or so -- just frustrated because the original delivery date was supposed to be September 11th, more than 3 weeks ago, and I would have felt MUCH better getting things in the ground then.

We only have an hour of daylight left today so I will be out tomorrow getting everything in the ground. Any last-minute hints/tips/advice? Oh, CFoulke, I used the tiller for the first time -- it really zooms around!! Are there some tricks to using it?!

Will post more photos tomorrow!!
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,504 posts, read 46,063,271 times
Reputation: 47523
Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
I used the tiller for the first time -- it really zooms around!! Are there some tricks to using it?!

Will post more photos tomorrow!!
go deeply and slowly and if you run over hornets nest in the ground run like hell!
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
2,187 posts, read 3,829,929 times
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Karen, glad to hear that you finally got your plants and you should be fine getting them into the ground. The tiller - powerful little bugger isn't it? I have learned to hold onto it firmly, kind of hold it into place and let the tines really dig into the soil and do it's work. If you just lightly grasp the handle it will "walk" itself all over the place - you need to go slow and just take your time. Also, make sure to keep an eye on the electric cord and DO NOT RUN OVER IT!!! I came close once - got distracted and scared the crap out of myself!!!!

As long as the ground isn't hard as a rock - my experience is that it works up pretty nicely. If you do happen to get a good sized rock caught up in the tines - unplug the tiller - remove the rock - plug it back in - and you're back in business. I second NK's advice about hornets in the ground!!!

Keep your receipt for those plants - something tells me you may be needing it!!!! Good luck - and hope it turns out pretty!!!
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,735 posts, read 13,649,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
go deeply and slowly and if you run over hornets nest in the ground run like hell!
I didn't know hornets built nests in the ground!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CFoulke View Post
Karen, glad to hear that you finally got your plants and you should be fine getting them into the ground. The tiller - powerful little bugger isn't it? I have learned to hold onto it firmly, kind of hold it into place and let the tines really dig into the soil and do it's work. If you just lightly grasp the handle it will "walk" itself all over the place - you need to go slow and just take your time. Also, make sure to keep an eye on the electric cord and DO NOT RUN OVER IT!!! I came close once - got distracted and scared the crap out of myself!!!!
Yesterday when I was using it I was holding it pretty lightly and it was zooming all around! Today I took your advice and held onto it MUCH more firmly and let the tines really dig in one place before moving -- it worked MUCH better. Here's tilled soil with added compost (dried manure ) ... I think the soil looks pretty good ...



Quote:
Originally Posted by CFoulke View Post
Keep your receipt for those plants - something tells me you may be needing it!!!! Good luck - and hope it turns out pretty!!!
Much to my surprise, the plants actually looked pretty good when I checked on them ... I am much more hopeful now, having seen them. The heucheras are TINY compared to the mature ones I have bought at Home Depot and my local nursery (Achille Agway), but I expected the size so that is fine (and of course they were MUCH cheaper in this size).

One kind of funny note -- I had thought my bed was pretty big (it looked big to me!!), but in spacing the heucheras 14" apart, they take a lot of room! I may actually get all the plants in, including bulbs in the second bed, but then expand the second bed now by maybe a foot on one side -- i.e., just do the cardboard-and-mulch thing. Then I'll have more planting space come spring.

Here's a photo of the first few plantings ...



The big one is a mature plant from HD -- heucherella solar eclipse. Going clockwise around are green spice heuchera, melting fire coral bells, and palace purple coral bells. Love love love heuchera/coral bells -- I already have several mature ones that I will be getting in the ground elsewhere in this bed, mixed in with some flowers (English primrose, Jacob's ladder, and hardy perennial lillies). Will plan to add more in the spring (as well as some summer annuals to fill in empty spaces).

Oh, one crappy thing -- FROST ADVISORY FOR TONIGHT, our first one this season. This is why I am so annoyed at getting the Spring Hills delivery so late. Anyway, the frost advisory says to cover new plants -- do I just put a tarp over them? I could "anchor" it on large pots all around (so it's not touching the new plants).

Any more advice/tips/etc. is appreciated!!
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
2,187 posts, read 3,829,929 times
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Karen - it looks great!!! Your hard work is definitely paying off - they do look pretty healthy. I have bought the smaller sized plants a couple of times (Stella D'Ora daylillies and also some Asiatic lillies) and trust me, they will grow into the space. I think it's ridiculous how expensive some of the nurseries are when you go to buy plants - gah!!!!!

There's a website I like to visit - actually DH turned me onto him. Here's a link: Mike's Backyard Nursery
This guy not only has videos on YouTube about ANYTHING you can imagine (planting, pruning, growing, etc.) he's also into taking stem cutting and growing new plants. Apparently it's pretty easy - and while I've never done it - I've been tempted. Now that DH is underfoot all the time - hmmm.....

As for the frost warning tonight - whatever you do - do NOT put anything plastic over your plants - it will kill them. If you have some old sheets or some large baskets, boxes etc., that you can lay or set over the top of the plants, or the entire bed - they will be fine. You CAN lay plastic over the top of the sheets or a light blanket that you might drape over the bed - just not directly onto the plants themselves. REMEMBER to remove the covers the next morning after the sun is up - the plants will need to breathe and need the sun.

Once the roots get pretty well established (usually after a season of growing) - I never cover mine any more. I know they will be ok and the tops are going to die anyway over the winter. Good luck - and stay warm tonight!!! I kind of dread winter coming but then, I do love the fall. Can't have it both ways, huh??
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Old 10-05-2015, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,735 posts, read 13,649,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CFoulke View Post
Karen - it looks great!!! Your hard work is definitely paying off - they do look pretty healthy. I have bought the smaller sized plants a couple of times (Stella D'Ora daylillies and also some Asiatic lillies) and trust me, they will grow into the space. I think it's ridiculous how expensive some of the nurseries are when you go to buy plants - gah!!!!!

There's a website I like to visit - actually DH turned me onto him. Here's a link: Mike's Backyard Nursery
This guy not only has videos on YouTube about ANYTHING you can imagine (planting, pruning, growing, etc.) he's also into taking stem cutting and growing new plants. Apparently it's pretty easy - and while I've never done it - I've been tempted. Now that DH is underfoot all the time - hmmm.....

As for the frost warning tonight - whatever you do - do NOT put anything plastic over your plants - it will kill them. If you have some old sheets or some large baskets, boxes etc., that you can lay or set over the top of the plants, or the entire bed - they will be fine. You CAN lay plastic over the top of the sheets or a light blanket that you might drape over the bed - just not directly onto the plants themselves. REMEMBER to remove the covers the next morning after the sun is up - the plants will need to breathe and need the sun.

Once the roots get pretty well established (usually after a season of growing) - I never cover mine any more. I know they will be ok and the tops are going to die anyway over the winter. Good luck - and stay warm tonight!!! I kind of dread winter coming but then, I do love the fall. Can't have it both ways, huh??
Thanks, Candace! I ended up putting a sheet over the new plantings last night -- they looked fine this morning when I went out and took it off. Not sure if we ended up getting frost. The overnight forecast for the next 10 days says mostly low 40s with only 1 night expected in the high 30s, so I am hoping we're OK for awhile -- I will watch the frost warnings like a hawk!!

Got some more planting done today ... this is heuchera caramel (mature, bought at HD), 3 English primrose in a reverse triangle, and heuchera green spice (one of the new ones) ...



And this is a bit further to the right -- shows the heuchera galaxy as well. The heuchera foliage is so beautiful -- I just love all the varieties.



(And boy do I need to do some weeding!! )

This is the other side of the bed (the side nearest the driveway, next to the rock bed) to the left of the plantings I did yesterday ... more heucheras: palace purple (new), green spice (new), melting fire (new), and caramel (mature -- from Home Depot I think) ... I had these heucheras in my car overnight (in case of frost) with their roots soaking, and they actually grew a LOT overnight!



I will get the rest of the heucheras and flowers in tomorrow, including the tulips in the second bed. AND do some weeding ... I may break down and use Roundup on them ... the lawn looks pretty awful and I just mowed it.

But, I am pleased with the progress so far!!
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:47 PM
 
3,537 posts, read 2,706,272 times
Reputation: 7132
Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
No, I haven't given up!! I was waiting to receive my order from Spring Hills Nursery (ordered back in late June) and it FINALLY came, after several emails/chats/phone conversations with them. Very very very frustrating experience (although at least I will get my money back if the plants don't make it).
Here is a trick I learned. Before I order from a mail-order nursery for the first time, I check the comments about the nursery on davesgarden.com. You don't have to be a member of the website to read what people say about the nurseries. It has saved me a boatload of aggravation, mainly because I realized that the beautiful catalog from Such and Such Nursery was misleading and/or the customer service of the company stinks.

The easiest way to get the info you need is to go to Google or Bing. (davesgarden.com has a lousy internal search engine. LOL) Enter a search something like this: Spring Hill Nursery site:davesgarden.com That will bring you only results from davesgarden.com The first result when I entered that search was "The scoop on Spring Hill Nursery" Scrolling down, you'll see 460 positive comments, 162 neutral comments, and 424 negative comments. When I see that many negative comments, I start reading them. No company will have a perfect track record, but when you see a lot of negatives, pay attention.

That is also how I found some of my favorite mail order companies, including Oakes Daylilies. Did I mention I love daylilies? I didn't? LOL Don't get me started.
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