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Friday, July 23, 2004


"On the Greener Side"
By Dana DuGan

Working the gardens

Hailey gardening is neighborly

Garden tours are heady affairs for the gardeners, of course. It takes extensive planning, sometimes a year in advance to ready a garden for the event. It also takes massive weeding, watering, mowing and possible last minute planting. The whole affair can be exhausting and gratifying, all at once.

The valley has recently celebrated, over two consecutive weekends, the Sawtooth Botanical Garden Tour in the north valley, and the Friends of Hailey Library Garden Tour in Hailey. That’s a lot of prep work for valley gardeners and nurseries. Just think of all those who just want to kick back on a deck for the remainder of the summer.

This year, Hailey’s tour took place in what is known as Old Hailey, among the quaint old houses and small lots.

I discovered a funny side bar to this whole venture. Not only are the gardeners toiling but their neighbors are as well. Believe me, it takes a lot of work, though probably less money.

Because my garden backs up to one of the featured gardens in the Friends of Hailey Library Garden Tour, with a fence between us, I found myself weeding for hours the day before the tour and the morning of the tour. My weeding led me into my neighbor’s garden, where I could get a better look at how the growth from my own site might look to those on the tour. There I stayed for another couple of hours, helping my neighbor weed, and trimming, pruning and cleaning all the stuff I never get a chance to see.

But it wasn’t just the two of us. Folks all over Old Hailey were busy making their own lots look their best. It was a neighborhood event in the best way. Everyone was in on it.

Speaking of cleaning up, there is plenty for gardeners to do even if they’re not faced with a deadline.

Since it’s the height of summer fading blossoms from bulbs need to be deadheaded, though some, like daylilies usually drop blossoms on their own. This encourages new blossoms and keeps the garden looking spiffy.

If you know a flower self seeds, deadhead it before the plant goes to seed, or wait and cut the flower heads, dry and save them for planting at a later date.

A good example of this is the gigantic lovage plant in one of my plots. It is nearly time to deadhead it totally, so that it won’t spread anymore than its already done. If you want lovage, and frankly who doesn’t, you know whom to call.

As for the lawn, much as gardeners would like to eliminate it altogether, it needs cutting every 10 days or so. Raise the height of the lawn mower so that the grass grows a bit higher. Longer grass blades shade the soil surface and roots, keep the ground cooler, and the grass greener, as pesky brownouts won’t occur as frequently.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.