Re: [gardeners] Clematis (
Thu, 24 Apr 2003 16:52:09 -0400

Hello Kelly -- I am encouraged to try the sedum, and thank

I've been using the Buckwheat Hulls for many years. They come 
from a factory in Penn Yan, NY, (Finger Lakes) where the flour is 
manufactured. I don't think there is any other supplier. About 
5 years ago there was a supply shortage, but I have not noticed 
any problem since. I don't know why they inhibit weeds unless 
3 inches of anything would do an equally good job ... My entire 
property is irrigated from buried lines, and I strongly suspect 
that this saves water, and helps to hold down weeds in general.  

I've forgotten the cost, Kelly - if it is important, I can make some
phone calls for you.  They ought to be marketed nationwide, but I
am not sure. As it is, I am 350 miles from the source, so who knows?
Are you in D.C...?

I lose a very little amount by summer's end from invisible sources,
which means that I occasionally find some hulls on the sidewalk next 
to the elevated rose garden. I never have to weed in there, and 
ordinary winds do not seem to disturb them. They do not mat together;
in other words I could run my fingers thru them even after a few
years, if I chose to. OTOH, if I am doing some serious rose pruning
in there, I may lose a few hulls when I finally rake up the debris. If
I wanted to carefully cut and drop each questionable poor leaf into
my pail, I would not ever have to rake, obviously, but that method is 
just too slow for me.  (My hubby rags me about this ....) In the end, 
I don't even need one bag a year for replenishment -- and a bag is 
like a stuffed pillow case in volume. 

For many years I used mini-hardwood bark on all my beds (and I do
have many) because it kept in the moisture and kept out the weeds.
Jimmie went crazy if I needed help with replacing a shrub, because
those pieces of bark were always imbedded in the soil, no matter how
I tried to rake them aside. He would end up flinging them to the 
winds in a fit of temper, and that forced me to switch over to shredded
cedar for two reasons:  most of my beds are slope-sided, so the bark
tended to slip down into the gullies and therewith would infuriate that
same husband no end, for he was compulsive about keeping the gullies
clear so rain could properly run down hill as designed. Add that 
problem to his hatred of trying to dig a hole and hitting some bark 
underneath, and the shredded cedar was the answer. Within one 
season the cedar does mat, so it is ideal for slopes, moisture retention 
and weed control. I just happen to feel that the old bark was much 
prettier, but too bad, sigh .....      

I chose the Buckwheat Hulls for the elevated rose garden because 
they remained a beautiful dark brown, and their size is much more 
appropriate for the location. Of course, they would never work on 
my other beds which do have sloped sides.  

One more thing:  I do have a fairly large annual flower bed, almost 
flat in nature, and in there I have a routine:  start with a clear and
clean bed. Lay out dozens upon dozens of annuals according to
height, and plant them, adding Osmocote underneath every single
seedling. Sprinkle (by hand) Preen around every single plant when
everything has been planted. Then add a shallow layer of Buckwheat
Hulls on top of the Preen. This bed gets irrigated from buried 
Netafim lines underneath, which helps to keep down fungus. Aside
from having to walk in occasionally to deadhead, that bed is self
sustaining once planted. And most of the Hulls remain from year to
year, in spite of the new plantings. So once again, I do not need
much more each season, in this case perhaps one bag or less. That
bed is open on all four sides, measuring about 26 x 26 x 30 x 20. 
It's actually shaped like a concert grand piano, and I border the 
entire bed in blue ageratum to make that feature stand out. Works!

You got me started on my favorite subject, didn't you...? ...<g>.... 

Penny, NY  zone 6, but 32 degrees last night .....


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