Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: Getting back into digging in dirt.

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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
May 3, 2016 10:30 PM CST
I didn't waste any time getting back outside once the rainy season stopped and the sun came out. There's LOTS for me to do, a lot of it fighting weeds, and they came back with a vengeance. I'm focusing my priorities on the invasive types, specifically a patch of Bohemian Knotweed in a small corner of the creek side area that I've been working on. This last weekend I spent around 5 or 6 hours over two days digging up the knotweed. Some were along the bank of the creek, and as I worked my way upstream, I also encountered other unwanted invaders such as ivy and barbed vines (probably boysenberry vines). I've managed to dig out most of them. Since they were rooted in pine needles and willow leaves that layered up over several decades, they were relatively easy to pull out by the root. But it's going to take at least a couple more years to entirely get rid of the knotweed. Next up are the "Stinky Bobs", aka "Herb Roberts" aka "Wild Geraniums" that are in the same area and also along the back part of the fence. Fortunately they are easy to pull up. Then there's an invasion of some mundane weeds that started out in just a couple small areas. I covered them with cardboard over the winter which was effective for the ones I covered, but they sprouted like crazy all around the covered area too.

On the good side, I can now see what has survived over the winter. Two surprises were a Solomon's Seal hosta that I had given up for dead, it sprung back to life. The other surprise was a Crocosmia 'Lucifer' that I had also given up for dead after some varmint chewed on the stalk last year.

Boot Hill, July 2014. The patch of knotweed was mostly off to the left in the picture, underneath the willow tree.
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Boot Hill, May 2016. You can see "tombstone rock" as I call it.
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The creek bank was covered in knotweeds, ivy, boysenberry vines. I wouldn't have minded the boysenberry vines, but they were small and no berries.
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Set out to dry (provided there's enough sun between now and yard waste day next week). The large gray bucket is filled with Stinky Bobs.
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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - May 8, 2016 10:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Lauri
North Central Washington (Zone 5b)
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lauribob
May 4, 2016 8:06 AM CST
That looks like it was a lot of work, but well worth the effort. Nice to open up your stream a bit.
More costumes, less uniforms!
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
May 4, 2016 9:49 AM CST
I love all your boulders, and what a pretty little creek. Looks like a fun project.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
May 4, 2016 3:24 PM CST
Oh my. that is one heck of a lot of back breaking labor. But if I had such a nice little stream running through my property, I would fight to open it up too.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
May 8, 2016 8:34 PM CST
Bonehead said:I love all your boulders, and what a pretty little creek. Looks like a fun project.


I think those boulders were left over from when the previous owner put in the rockery in 1980 or 81. Not sure why there was a mound left, but the treasure hunter in my wants to dig it up to find out, and I would if I didn't have more important needs for my energy and time. I wanted to level it off, but my wife said she likes the mound, so it stays.

"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - May 8, 2016 10:32 PM (+)]
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
May 8, 2016 10:31 PM CST
Oberon46 said:Oh my. that is one heck of a lot of back breaking labor. But if I had such a nice little stream running through my property, I would fight to open it up too.


Thanks, there's plenty more to do. I kinda liked ripping up unwanted invaders by the roots, must be the inner cave-man in me. Exhausting, yes, but I paid a higher price in scratches and some insect bites on my arms. That'll teach me to wear short sleeves! The intent wasn't so much to open it up, but to get the invasive plants out of there. I want to replace them with competing native plants, I'm open to suggestions.

"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - May 8, 2016 10:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
May 9, 2016 10:14 AM CST
Briny, I love using native plants and your area would be a lovely spot for that. Here's some ideas, and I've tried to use my own photos since I am close to you in location. If you open each photo, it will bring you to the main database and you can see other photos as well.

False lily-of-the-valley. This is a shade loving ground cover that once introduced will colonize rapidly where conditions are good for it. I first discovered this when moving some forest dirt up into my beds as mulch. I soon got this pretty little plant growing in all my shady locations. It carpets the ground lushly, blooms in early spring and dies back by midsummer or so. Also known as snakeberry.


Deer fern. A delicate fern that stays fairly low.


Sword fern. Some folks are leery of this because they can get quite large. I love them as an understory to evergreens. They are evergreen as well, but near my yard I cut the old fronds to the ground in late winter when the new one start poking out to tidy them up a bit.


Vine maple. A good addition in dappled shade - near the edges of your evergreens. Will mature at about 20'. Gorgeous fall color.


Kinnikinnik. Another ground cover, but this one wants more sun. It is evergreen and would be a good choice between your native area and lawn (if you intend to have one). It colonizes quickly, has pretty pink flowers, and later berries.


Devil's club. This would be an adventurous addition to the far side of your creek. It is quite an impressive plant, but definitely packs a sting! It will also colonize and does well with ferns.


Western azalea. I absolute love this plant - more delicate than its cultivar cousins. I unfortunately lost all 5 of mine last winter, not sure why (they may have been in too exposed of a location).


Red flowering currant. Another stunner. Blooms in spring, and very easy to propogate (just but off some end sprigs, dip in hormone rooting compound if you want, stick in a pot of dirt, keep well watered and plant out in a year or two). This likes full sun.


Indian plum. Grows at the edge of the forest, makes a great summer screen. One of the very first plants to break dormancy for me and has early white blooms, followed by tiny dark plums that the birds love. I am encouraging these to colonize in an aspen grove between us and the neighbor in this photo.


You could also open my personal plant list and limit it to the category of 'native' for some other ideas. http://garden.org/lists/view/Bonehead/

Good resources I reference often:
Native Plant Association: http://www.wnps.org/
King County Native Plants: https://green2.kingcounty.gov/gonative/index.aspx

Have a wonderful time with your project, and please keep us updated with photos! I grew up in Lake City and know your area well, beautiful setting.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
May 13, 2016 8:34 AM CST
Deb, we have some of the plants you mentioned but others are terribly invasive up here. And Devil's Club. Yechhh. Shrug! You get into that stuff and you would be miserable for weeks with itchiness and burning. But it might work differently down there. We find Lily of the Valley to be also terribly invasive. You can rip it out where you don't want it though. I have False Solomon's Seal, about 2' tall on slender bending stalks that have lovely little bell shaped flowers dangling in a row. White with the faintest green edging. My mother in law thinks it is creepy and weird but it comes back each year and slowly spreads. I dug some corms (don't know what you would call them - bulbs similar to Chocolate Lily bulbs) and planted them next to the house on the west side where they only get sun in the afternoon which is really hot in summer. So a difficult place to plant. No sun at all then hot direct sun. Bleeding Heart, Goat's Beard, Leopard's Bane, short columbine and Hosta all do well there though. That is one of the areas I was looking for a ground cover for. The Kinnikinnik might work well there as a sort of edging in the front. Although it would look kind of strange with some Hosta mixed in. Weird mix. Shrug!
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
May 17, 2016 10:08 PM CST
Some good suggestions except for the Devil's Club. Neither my wife nor I care for anything with barbs, especially if they're poisonous to boot. Only barbed plant we make an exception for is the climbing rose I planted last year, but that's on the sunny side of the house. The sun lover suggestions we could use on the other side, I like those red currents. I'm particularly interested in native riparian plants to plant along the creek bank. I'm considering blue elderberries.

Bonehead said:Briny, I love using native plants and your area would be a lovely spot for that. Here's some ideas, and I've tried to use my own photos since I am close to you in location. If you open each photo, it will bring you to the main database and you can see other photos as well.
You could also open my personal plant list and limit it to the category of 'native' for some other ideas. http://garden.org/lists/view/Bonehead/

Good resources I reference often:
Native Plant Association: http://www.wnps.org/
King County Native Plants: https://green2.kingcounty.gov/gonative/index.aspx

Have a wonderful time with your project, and please keep us updated with photos! I grew up in Lake City and know your area well, beautiful setting.
"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Jun 27, 2016 6:32 AM (+)]
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
May 17, 2016 10:25 PM CST
What I did Sunday and today - spent about a total of 5 hours digging out some ivy that was starting to creep up one of the trees and weeded out an infestation of stinky bobs and other weeds along the fence line. I noticed that the ivy had been more advanced at one time in the past from the dead vines that were much farther up, but it appeared someone had cut them off. Turns out my wife did that a long time ago before we met.

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I didn't really get a before picture of the fence line, but it was covered with stinky bobs and some other weeds. I paused to get a picture towards the end just before I finished.

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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - May 17, 2016 10:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jun 26, 2016 10:10 PM CST
I just happened to find more "before" pics of my project in an old thread I started a year ago. I spent 45 minutes today digging up more Knotweeds. It starts like I always do, I intend to just go outside and do some "forest bathing", then I pull up a couple shoots of knotweed, then I find more, then I end up digging up large Knotweed roots. I've gotten to know what they're like. Knotweed roots tend to be brittle and I've learned the way they sound when they break, a kind of sharp "crack" sound.

These "before" pics are more recent because the new fence is up, May 2015.

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Some recent pics:

This one I took to add to my sunlight inventory. Morning around 8:30am.

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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Jul 2, 2016 8:25 PM (+)]
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jun 26, 2016 10:45 PM CST
[quote="Bonehead"]
False lily-of-the-valley. This is a shade loving ground cover that once introduced will colonize rapidly where conditions are good for it. I first discovered this when moving some forest dirt up into my beds as mulch. I soon got this pretty little plant growing in all my shady locations. It carpets the ground lushly, blooms in early spring and dies back by midsummer or so. Also known as snakeberry.


What's the difference between False LOTV and the regular LOTV? We have some bulbs of the latter that we were going to use.
"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Jun 26, 2016 10:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jun 27, 2016 1:21 PM CST
I did it again, went to get some forest bathing and I ended up doing about an hour and a half of digging up knotweeds. I found some good sized root balls and more large roots close to where I found that other one. I just happened to spot what I call a "cluster" of shoots which usually means they're attached to a root ball. I dug up a couple of them.

This is what the cluster looks like on the surface.

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The first root ball after I pried it up.

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The second rootball.

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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 27, 2016 3:34 PM CST
Maybe I missed it earlier, upthread. What's "forest bathing"? Immersing yourself in the shade and quiet, or do you have a pool in the forest where you swim or bath?
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jun 29, 2016 10:57 AM CST
RickCorey said:Maybe I missed it earlier, upthread. What's "forest bathing"? Immersing yourself in the shade and quiet, or do you have a pool in the forest where you swim or bath?


I never really looked it up, but from the context in which I've heard it a few times, it's the first guess, just enjoying the fresh air and natural scenery. Before that I just called it "de-stressing". I googled it just now, here's where it originated: http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html.

"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 29, 2016 4:34 PM CST
Cool!

I know the feeling of "immersing yourself" in the woods. It does feel like layers of crud and dead skin floating away.

Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Aug 3, 2016 10:34 AM CST
Found a calla lily sprout this morning! That's a big deal because we planted some in the new garden bed, and the next day I saw a mole had a fun time tunneling through the bed (see this post: http://garden.org/thread/view_post/1202500/). Unfortunately I didn't mark where I planted them, just a general idea, but I mashed down the tunnels and raked the whole bed and hoped that nature would show how resilient it is and they would pop up. Since I didn't know what the sprouts looked like, I was careful when I weeded it. I only pulled the weeds that I could match up with the weeds in the surrounding area we call a "lawn".

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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Aug 26, 2016 10:06 AM (+)]
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Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Aug 3, 2016 10:42 AM CST
Yay!
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Aug 26, 2016 10:13 AM CST
There's been three more cala lillies that have sprouted. Plus I salvaged part of a spent hanging basket and it seems to be doing ok. I don't know exactly what it is, but it was in the middle and looked viable when I went to toss the the basket. I dug it out and just stuck it in the ground. Not sure what that stuff is they use in hanging baskets, but it had a kind of "plastic" feeling to it when I was trying to dig it out.

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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 26, 2016 3:25 PM CST
Well, the bottom one is a geranium and would bet an ivy geranium
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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