April 16, 2007


This Yew hedge is 100 feet long, 9 feet high and 12 feet wide. A freight train and taxus, and with two driveways passing through it, it was becoming a risky venture. So after nearly a hundred years of growth, this weekend, my brother Bruce, his son Taylor and Joe and I, removed it, in prep for a new fence which will hopefully go in this summer.

But if you think this hedge is big, you should see the hedge as it rund in the other direction.

Look far beyond the yew, and you can see the 16 foot tall hemlock hedge, which runs along the funn 218 feet of the property.

Since this hedge is suffering from the dreaded wooly algied, we are having a fence installed along it in four weeks. and then even this hedge will have to be removed Likely a task fro the tree folks, but I am dreading the cost!.

In Dan Hinkley's book entitled The Explorers Garden. he mentions that Cardamine heptaphylla can only be dug a divided via root scales during the month of March or in late winter. Yesterday, I remembered this task, and ran out back to dig up where the label was. Not sure if this was it, especially since these root sections really don;t look like 'scales on a rhyzome' but whatever it was, I separated it. There we;re two questionable plants, which I divided, so clearly, April is the month to divide what ever needs dividing! Stay tuned to see what this was, if in fact it wasn;t Cardamine heptaphylla. ID not, I will have to wait another year to divide it!

Am I finally succeeding with Plieone orchids? These terrestrial orchids grow from bulbs that are traditionally planted in shallow bulb pans, in a fast draining bark type mix. After six years of killing many species, I think I have the trick. I pat the bulbs in a mixture of snipped tree fern bark, along with hornbeam leaves that have been composted, some gravel, and a little pro mix.l Then I fertilize with half strength 10 10 10 all summer long, where the plants are placed ont he shady side of the greenhouse, and kept moist. These four bulbs went dormant right on schedule in the autumn, and we're then kept cold, near freezing, on the foundation wall in the greenhouse near the glass. Not only is this the first time that I have been able to rebloom these tiny bulbs, they divided and where last year I had three blossoms, this year I have 11. Wow.
Now, I wish I could find more to try, but they are so hard to find in the USA. A Canadian firm sells them, Frasiers Thimble Farms, and they have a wide selection, but even though I never had any problems ordering from them, they are just too difficult to get alhold of since they only check thier email once or twice a week, and don;t take orders or anser quesions through email or on line. IT is too late I think to bother writing them, and they won't accept phone calls. Too bad, since thier selection is so nice.


  1. Matt, i wish you had told me I bet there was some great bonsai material in that Yew hedge. I hope the bad weather treated you and the greenhouse with kindness. I am soaking my Japanese Morning glory seeds tonight and hope to get a great crop as I got some seeds from last years JMG Festival in Japan. Talk Soon Glen

  2. I grow Chinese ground orchids (Bletilla striata) outdoors and wanted to try the white variety and a couple of the yellow species and hybrids so I placed an order with Thimble Farms, the only supplier I found in North America. Ordering from Canada adds to the cost, but I found no other sources for the more unusual hybrids. The yellows haven't bloomed yet, but the foliage is maturing nicely and none of the plants have died.

    When I ordered, I believe I printed their order form from the web and mailed it with a check.

    I'd like to grow more terrestrial orchids outdoors, and came across a book recently on "hardy orchids". Once I track down the book (I browsed, but didn't buy), I'll see if it lists sources.


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