Aug 13 2014

News from Kruse

Filed under Kruse House

Mush Mummies: During the last part of July and most of August, picking mush mummies is a common garden task. “What’s that” you say? Well, some of the ‘Krusies’ hadn’t heard this term before either, so as all good reporters strive to do, we will share this nugget of horticultural knowledge. The past blooms of Hemerocallis (Greek term meaning beautiful for a day), commonly known as daylilies, are called mush mummies. A reference describes them as “wet globs of tissue paper, slimy creatures” and recommends daily dead-heading. It was noted that “they are especially troublesome when the flowers are purple and leave grape juice stains on your hands”. We aren’t as diligent as recommended, in the Kruse garden, but we did pick a few mush mummies and Tom kept asking “what are these called again?” And now I’ll leave this fascinating subject with a tongue twister: Mummies munch much mush.

Bushel Baskets: Hurray!!! We now have 3 new wooden bushel baskets for collecting our weeds and deadheads! June Luther donated two and Barbara Carlisle donated one. Thank you very much! No more excuses for strewing. Just go get a basket!

Ice Cream Social: The Historical Society will hold its annual fund raiser Sat. September 6th. The home baked cakes and pies along with the ice cream are an exquisite treat and the silent auction offers a host of desirable items. It’s also another chance to see the garden. We’re making an extra push for it to look nice. That’s a challenge at this time of year but we’re up for it! See you there!

Angie: We have been without our leader for a time due to Angie’s illness. It doesn’t always go so well when the boss is gone, but we limped along. By the time you read this we trust she will be well on the road to recovery. Good thing. We can’t do it without you Angie!

Perennial Ageratum: We finally have some of this plant established in the garden and are looking forward to its cheerful August and September blooms. Marion, thanks for yet another wonderful donation! Eupatorium coelestinum, also known as Mistflower, looks like the annual argeratum, grows 2 feet tall, likes sun but tolerates shade. It needs virtually no care. It comes up late in the Spring, which is why you don’t see it at our Plant Sale. The only complaint I’ve heard of, is that for some, the seedlings are a problem. I’ve had the plant in my garden over 5 years and have nothing but praise for it. It combines well with Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ or ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’ or better yet, with pink Japanese Anemone. It’s an old standard for gardens since its introduction in 1850.

Well, that’s about it for all the news that isn’t. Enjoy the last days of summer. See you at our monthly meeting.

May 19 2014

News from Kruse

Filed under Kruse House

What a happy day it was!!! We welcomed our new Kruse Museum volunteer, Kerry Perry, on clean-up day. Two truckloads of leaves and debris were hauled away. And even happier news—Kerry is still with us! We look forward to spending many more work days with Kerry.

We spent another session digging plants for the plant sale from the garden. Over the years plants have multiplied. We had also heeled-in plants that were donated for the plant sale during last year. We held them over the winter.

The garden is blooming with spring bulbs, grape hyacinths, tulips. The pasque flowers donated a few years ago by Jeff are exceptionally beautiful. They have developed into sizable clumps, start blooming in time for Easter, and continue blooming. There are still many buds that have not opened. They are in a poor, clay soil with no summer watering.

From checking our plantings we have found winter damage on our cotoneasters, the new, short varieties. The old large shrub variety cotoneasters are doing very well with no winter die-back. The other shrubs are mainly native varieties and withheld well. The shrub roses did well, especially John Cabot, donated by Carole. It is of the ‘explorer’ series and actually roared into spring, feeling right at home to a winter that was like the explorer, Canadian. Rosa Glauca looks very fine, an old rose from the 1600’s.

Some of the euphorbias took a beating, especially the Donkey tail. It should have been in bloom on cascading tails, but the weight of the snow and the wetness caused much damage. Our two newest tree donations, the gingko and the weeping spruce look very much alive and healthy, settling in well.

We saved seeds from the old-fashioned petunia and zinnias. Both grow very well directly sown and quickly sprout when the weather warms. The old-time petunias are a great favorite of some of us. They come only in pastel colors, but one plant will grow 2ft by 2ft. They thrive in heat and need no extra watering. We noticed many of the old time flowers are making a comeback—as seen by some of the greenhouse seeding at Cantigny. People are getting tired of the short and stunted look and remember with nostalgia grandmother’s garden—sweet peas, petunias, hollyhocks, morning glories, iris and larkspur—zinnias and marigolds, probably a Jackmani clematis, a climbing rose or two on the fence, everything mixed together, smelling wonderfully and full of bees and butterflies. There wasn’t much weeding since the plants were tightly grown. Besides, what grandmother had time to weed—she knitted, crocheted, cooked and baby-sat—right?

So much for musings and remembrances—at the museum garden we look forward very hopefully to more bloom, better vistas, improvement in plant combinations, new additions—sometimes anticipated like a new addition to our family of plants. We have many discussions, what to pull, what to move. Is this plant to tall, too short? Can we give Tom free reign to cut? Trim? Shear? OR NOT?

Working in the garden is fun. Everyone is welcome, 9-12AM, Mondays. Join us.

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