Re: [gardeners] Clematis

Kelly Livezey (
Thu, 24 Apr 2003 19:59:12 -0400

Hi Penny,
Thank you so much for all the information. I have mostly sloped beds 
where the shredded bark seems to be the most practical (though not so 
attractive) solution, but I do have a couple of smaller spots where I 
think the Buckwheat Hulls would be perfect. I am indeed in the DC 
area and I'll call around to see if anyone stocks it locally. I 
remember seeing cocoa bean hulls somewhere last year--they're 
supposed to smell like chocolate but I never tried them. Your large 
annual bed sounds absolutely lovely--it must be quite stunning!

>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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