With the end of each season comes sales! As autumn wears on, nearly all garden centers in the northern part of the United States typically discount the remaining summer stuck of plants significantly. I desired a smallish hardy shrub to go in the center of the raised bed where I had been attempting to grow my sweet cicely. The cicely is growing along the right edge, so I wanted something that grew up to 10 feet high x 5 feet wide. I perused all the shrubs and came across a bush cherry that was 50% off.
I took out my phone and did a quick bit of research. The variety I was considering was the Juliet Bush Cherry. This beauty is happy to Zone 2! It grows to ten feet high and 5-7 feet wide. Perfect! To top it off, one plant can eventually produce 25 pounds of cherries once mature. Quite a delightful bonus, wouldn’t you agree?
I started creating this post on the 13 August of this year. With that in mind, here’s a moment that happened as I was writing that day:
I am sitting outside writing this and the sun is now in the west which makes it difficult to sit in the shade under the pergola. Because of this, I am sitting on the couch which is still shaded. I have a bonsai with a tray underneath that catches water. The chickadees love to drink from this tray. I am sitting right next to it so now and again I can hear wings fluttering near my head. The chickadee flapping around wanted to land but didn’t like my being so close. I moved down and stole these photos.
I absolutely adore the chickadees and have more dedicated feeders for them than any other bird.
I purchased the Juliet Bush Cherry and once home, I created a respectable hole and planted it in snugly into the little raised bed. Digging and planting finished, I removed my gloves, sat down and immediately started looking forward to the day when it would reach maturity. When that day arrives, my sweet cicely will have ample shade and I can harvest fresh cherries as an added bonus!
Because winter would be arriving soon, I added an entire bag of soil pep mulch to the entire area.
Though the bush cherry is still relatively small, it did seem it would provide some decent shade for my (hopefully) soon to be emerging sweet cicely. But, would it be enough to allow for success?
I believe it was the second or third week of March when I noticed the little fern textured leaves poking through the ground. Though optimistic, I did not allow myself to get too excited. I had seen the foliage emerge in a similar fashion in years past. It did not take long for me to realize that this year was going to be different however. More and more leaves began to emerge and then! I was blessed with flower stalks. The little umbels were similar to that of Queen Anne’s Lace and their very presence allowed for the type of elation only a gardener would understand. When you try for something so long within the garden, an occurrence such as this is wonderful validation for years of hard work.
I wish I had a photo to show you, but I cannot seem to find any of the photos I took when the flowers formed. With that said, here is a photo from Wikimedia Commons that is a fair representation of what I saw in my garden.
I am not entirely sure why I had such success this year. It could be everything combined (clearing out competing plants, providing a bit more shade, etc.) but I am convinced that the main reason is due to adding the soil pep. I say that because I added soil pep to other parts of the garden. In each area where soil pep was added, the plants flourished. I absolutely love this product and plan to mulch the entire garden with it throughout the rest of this autumn season.
This concludes the Sweet Cicely portion of this series. I still owe you a story about the maple and that story shall be told in the third and final part of this series.
I thank you so kindly for reading.
Until next time, happy gardening and thank you for being a part of my community!
As always, here are some photos of my garden for you to enjoy.
Dear friend and gardener. It is a warm afternoon but with a slightly cool breeze drifting through now and again; sitting outside is tolerable. During the warmer months, I try to make it a point to enjoy my lunch outside as often as possible. I just glanced westward, and heavy gray clouds are heading this way. Maybe we will be blessed with rain despite the forecast indicating otherwise. Once can hope! I have spoken about this before but living in an arid climate, every drop of rain is so precious.
In my last post I mentioned that I have had some great successes this year. So begins the story of Sweet Cicely and The Maple Tree.
This story began in May of 2013. I created a post describing my delight in planting some sweet cicely seeds. That was also the day I discovered I have high blood pressure. I would subsequently learn I have diabetes as well. That aside, it turns out May is not the time of year to plant sweet cicely. Cicely seeds need cold treatment to germinate so the ideal time to sow is in the autumn. Not knowning this, I thought something was wrong with my seeds. Months passed without germination.
I belong to an online community called The National Gardening Association. I cannot recall all the details but somehow, I reached out to other members of the site asking for advice on growing cicely. A very kind soul from Belgium reached out and explained I should sow my seeds in autumn. Thinking nothing would come of the seeds I originally planted, she was kind enough to send seeds from her garden. What a blessing! I planted this new set of seeds in December 2013 or January 2014. Because I planted at more or less the appropriate time, I hoped they would germinate after winter released its grip.
Winter blew in then melted away. Then, it happened! I believe it was April when I noticed small fern like foliage emerging. Success! Sadly, the plants did not put on much growth and they did not flower at all. All throughout the season, the plants declined and eventually faded away to nothing as the gardening season ended.
Over the next couple years, I contemplated, and attempted to correct whatever I was doing wrong. Is it too warm to grow this herb in Colorado? Possibly, but cicely should still perform well during the early part of the season. Maybe the bed I chose to grow this plant was too crowded? I had raspberry plants in this bed and if you have ever grown raspberries, you know they spread very rapidly. My raspberries never produced fruit, so I dug them all out. I thought maybe this would help. It didn’t.
I even tried digging up the clump and moving it to a berm in full sun and that failed miserably. The plant languished in its new location and eventually perished. I was certain my desire to grow this fine herb had finally been thwarted.
April came around once again and thankfully the delicate fern like foliage emerged again ever so faithfully. I am sure I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I didn’t kill it by trying to move it. Whatever root system that remained was enough to produce foliage once again. As it turns out, the root system of sweet cicely runs deep so that is most likely why I didn’t kill the entire plant when I tried to move it.
As the months passed, there were a few leaves but nothing remarkable. I kept the area clear, but the plant once again languished.
2017 faded away as did the leaves of the plant. 2018 arrived, a few leaves emerged but then nothing. By this point, I was determined to successfully grow this herb! So, at the end of last season, I formulated a plan and put it into action.
…To be continued!
Thank you so kindly for reading. This story may be comprised of three parts so please stay tuned. The rest of the story shall be told.
Until next time! Happy gardening and thank you for being a part of my community!
As always, here are some recent photos of my garden.