May 20 2015

News from Kruse

Filed under Kruse House

“I’m late, I’m late, I’m late for an important date,” said the White Rabbit in ‘Alice-in-Wonderland,’ hopping to his tea party. We at the Kruse garden were also late, not for a tea party, but for our spring clean-up. But we didn’t have the Rabbit’s spryness or enthusiasm.

Spring came early and caught us by surprise. In early April the one project that was done in the garden was the cutting and pruning of trees. We participated.

In mid-April I stopped at the Kruse garden and saw a lot of yellow in the distance—surely not! The daffodils couldn’t be blooming!  Perennials were coming up amid the leaves, dried flower stalks and debris from last year. I was quite startled and hesitant to look closely—maybe woodcocks were nesting in the grasses? Were rabbits thriving? Could foxes have made a den in the debris? I couldn’t bear to look up at the pear tree for fear pears were already hanging down. Spring had truly sprung and caught us unprepared. The time had come and gone when we should have slapped on our gardening gloves, bravely stepped into our Wellingtons, and firmly gripped those trusty rakes.

My dear friends that garden with me at the Kruse garden have been patient. We always work together. I’m very sure they were anxious to rake and haul and get a bit of spring mud on their shoes. They were looking forward to the bracing wind and lungfuls of fresh, biting air. And a little rain? Short of a thunderous downpour, it would not hinder, but be just a refreshing touch of spring.

I’m sure they’ve spent the many months studying, perusing gardening books, dreaming of beautiful garden vistas and fragrant roses. They have scouted out garden centers for trees. They’ve seeded and checked on the best prices and selections. They know of new equipment, better shovels, rakes and gardening methods. They know of new plants, better plants, great colors. They have a grip on hardier cultivars, hard scapes and soft scapes and every kind of garden décor. We had to go to the garden.

So finally we got our clean-up underway. The day was beautiful and the work went well. We finished up on a second Wednesday, dug some plants for the plant sale and planted some annuals. And of course we admired our work and congratulated ourselves on a job well-done. Oh, the joy of gardening!

Apr 02 2015

News From Kruse

Filed under Kruse House

Garden Word of the Month

What’s that fragrance rising from a garden after a rain? It is petrichor; the earthy aroma is partly from soil bacteria called actinomycetes. AHS March E-BULLETIN

Kramer Comes to Call at the Kruse House
(Kramer, as in, ‘Kramer Tree Specialists’.)

Trees, like all plants in the garden, need care. And, who better to do it, than the tree experts, Kramer Tree Specialists! There are three huge maples in the front yard of the Kruse Garden that had numerous dead and low hanging limbs which desperately needed attention. So this was the year to invest in taking care of the trees. This particular job is called ‘pruning & crown raising’ in the trade. We spent a chilly afternoon in the Kruse Garden watching the tree trimming  and the results are truly rewarding. The trees said ‘thank you’ from the bottom of their hearts…plants are sentient you know?!

The particular species of maple at the Kruse house is Norway maple, Acer plantanoides. This tree is native to eastern and Central Europe and southwest Asia. It was introduced into this country as early as the 18th century and became a popular replacement for diseased and dying Elm trees during the 1930s and 40s. Chosen for rapid growth and dense shade, Norway maples flooded the market. There are, however, drawbacks to this tree. The heavy seed crop and high germination rates lead to invasive tendencies and in many areas of the U.S. it is banned for sale. It is also prone to frequent wind damage, a constant problem for home owners and municipalities. Since the trees are so large they often cause significant damage to adjacent structures as the limbs break in storms and because of their shallow root system, it isn’t uncommon for the whole tree to blow over. The maple tree in the center of the Kruse garden is a perfect example of past storm damage. It has had lots of limbs cracked off in wind storms and consequently has an ungainly shape. Another of the maple trees in the yard appears to have been struck by lightning in the past (not uncommon given the height of these trees). You can see the streak down the trunk and the tree has large fungus growing in the crook of the tree.

Given the opportunity to contemplate the condition of these trees carefully we were reminded that gardens never stay the same. Not a problem…real gardeners step up and deal with it!

Looking forward to sharing lots of information about the Kruse Garden at the April Garden Club meeting.

Gardening with Spring in our step. -Billie, Angie, Tom & Kerry

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