JB's blog

Posted on Jun 26, 2014 2:10 PM

Once Upon a Time there was a beautiful weeping cherry tree on a Christmas Tree Farm in New Jersey. It was a magnificent tree located in front of an old barn where everyone could see. Then one day a big storm came along and the tree was gone.

Cleaning up after a devastating storm is always a sad thing, especially when you loose an old tree that you watched grow into a landmark. I am sure there are not many weeping cherry trees that lived as long as that one did. It was so special in so many ways and now there is nothing left but a big ugly stump.

We debated removing the stump but the roots were so close to the very old barn that we were sure that would end up being a major problem, so we just cut it down to the ground as far as we could and left it sit to rot. Very depressing memory of a very nasty storm.

In the coming months, instead of throwing the potting soil from dead starter plants in the greenhouse out in the field, I began throwing it on the old stump to try and cover up the unsightly mess. One day the neighbor, who has a farmers market and many greenhouses dropped off some plants she was going to throw away and ask me if I wanted them. They were small cuttings and starters of some old Sedum. Just what I needed to help hide the stump I thought. So, I began planting on that old stump and slowly it began to show signs of life and beauty.

Much to my surprise a seedling from the old holly began showing life at the back of the stump. Some cats and kittens and miniature Hosta were added. We still have a long way to go, but these views show you how it is progressing.

I am sure many people have done this over the years to their old stumps, but this was my first attempt and now it is more like a memorial to our old cherry tree rather than just an unsightly old stump. It is amazing what plants can do to help you recover from a disaster.

Please enlarge the pictures if you want to see the entire picture.

Thumb of 2014-06-26/JB/82034d June 2013

Thumb of 2014-06-26/JB/3ff26a June 2014

Another shot of the progress of the old stump

Thumb of 2014-06-26/JB/b2ee63

If you look close, you can see the little holly seedling at the very back by the old barn

Thumb of 2014-06-26/JB/cf55e6

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Posted on Jun 12, 2013 10:16 AM

Grandmother Maze' always told me me things happen in 3s.   I know now she was right.

When I first moved here to my daughter and son-in-laws farm, to stay out of trouble, I was feeding the barn cats one day and I had Barney my Jack Russell with me to help.  He loved cats and seldom chased them. This day was a bit different. We kept the cat food in a large metal garbage container for safe keeping since there were five sometimes more cats arrive to eat day and night as well as other critters.  I was leaning over and into this big can one morning and suddenly a stray cat arrived and off went Barney to chase him away. In doing so he went between me and the garbage can and I went flying right down and the can went up under my armpit.  I hung there, trying to get on my feet again finished feeding. Spent the rest of the day getting really sore.  Ended up going for xrays to be sure no ribs were broken.  All is well that ends well.  No breaks, just badly bruised left armpit, arm and chest.

I went along for a year or more with no problems and one day I had the plant wagon full of plants at the door of the greenhouse and I turned around to fix them as I was moving them from the greenhouse to the outside. When I turned around without knowing it I knocked the handle of the wagon and it fell down on the ground.  I am blind in one eye and sometimes do not see things on my right side (which is what happened in this incident). I turned back and began to walk into the greenhouse to get other plants and tripped over the handle of the wagon, throwing me onto the stone floor of the greenhouse. I tried to break the fall with my right arm and damaged the rotator cup and muscle in that arm in doing so.  Ended up going for an xray to be sure nothing was broken because the pain was nasty.  All is well that ends well. No breaks, just badly bruised right arm and shoulder.

More years passed and all was going well.  i am now 84 and still remain active and healthy except for the pacemaker and some arthritis in the feet and hips and shoulders (no doubt from previous falls from horses and dumb incidents).I had the dog on the leash and we were going for our morning stroll around the farm.  We went out the door and went around the front of the house. Around the front of the house are some 2 x 4 s that border the grass and separate the stones in the barnyard and the grass.  Sometimes the 2 x 4s pop up due to rain or freezing weather, but I usually am very careful to watch for something that could cause a fall.  I made the turn to go where Charle, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was leading me and when I did I stepped on the side of the one 2x4 and it threw me to the left, I knew I had to break the fall so I went down on my knees and therefore the damage was to the side of my foot only. I was still holding on to Charle, on my knees on the grass trying to decide if I was all in one piece. I finally got up and realized the walk had to be cancelled because I was not sure if I had broken my foot. I could not walk on it.  I got us inside painfully and I mean painfully, and got the ice pack on the foot.  I could not use the foot all day which meant nothing was going to get done in the greenhouse, outside or anyplace until my kids came home. The next morning I knew I was in trouble so I told my daughter I needed to have it xrayed and something done to make it easier to walk. She made an appointment with her foot surgeon and we had xrays taken, bandaged,and he put on a walking boot. All is well that ends well and the xray results showed nothing was broken just the ligament badly bruised.

OK Grandma.........you are right, things do happen in threes.  I miss you so much. (Your Spanish wisdom is also missed.)

           The end of my story. Hopefully, if Grandma is correct, there will be no more incidents to write about.






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Posted on May 19, 2013 9:18 AM

I purchased these sweet shrubs to remind me of my Grandmother.  Gram was a Spanish lady who loved to tie a sweet shrub in her linen handkerchief in the morning so she had it to smell all day.  As a child, it was my job to go pick her a shrub each morning during their blooming season and help her tie it in her hanky. There are several different kinds of sweet shrubs and not all have a fragrance.  The last one shown here is a "Michael Lindsey" which is very sweet.

Memories are forever!

 I have added the open flowers to this blog along with a comment about them below. These plants are true survivors.




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Posted on May 19, 2013 9:04 AM

Just wanted to keep a record of the different combinations in some of the pots we have here at the farm this year.

The long boxes have the little hybrid petunia Petchoa called Terracotta and the silver on the ends just to add some color.

The six large pots have Lantana, Petunia and Pledtranthus Coleus.


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Posted on Jul 12, 2011 8:59 AM

This plant is so special I just must add it to my blog.  It is different from the  pussy willow we all know in several ways.  The bushes are beautiful and remain green during the warmer months, when the leaves finally fall off the stems are a beautiful burgundy color. You can see that in the photo below.


The catkins come in a burgundy color, turning coal black and then they seem to bloom and get a bright green.  Hopefully the pictures will show you want I am trying to explain.



They are easy to grow and propagate. The starter plants are also on sale when available at JBsPlants.

The plants grow into lovely bushes and become a very pretty addition to any lawn or garden area. The plant can grow to be 8' or more if not prunned. They are hardy in Zone 4a to 8b. They like full sun or partial shade They bloom in late Winter, early Spring. The foliage is deciduous.

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