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Felder’s foibles, failures and future gardening plans – The Oxford Eagle

Felder’s foibles, failures and future gardening plans

Published 1:53 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Time for my 44th annual Felder Fesses Up column in which I highlight foibles and failures, and plans for a new gardening year. Hint: As British landscape guru John Brooks laughed one day in my front yard, “If you can’t have fun in your own garden, where can you?”

Starting with a very too-early freeze the month before 2023 officially began, a hard too-late freeze in March, and record heat and drought, this past year was a doozy. “Unkillable” nandinas defoliated, squirrels resorted to eating my newly planted kale, and aphids ran out of sap to suck, leading to the first autumn I can remember with no dripping excrement and black sooty mold on everything underneath. Need I say more?

None of that was my fault, but I did kill Big Jim, my 50-year-old rubber tree, by rotting the roots in an attempt to revive him/her/it/them. But in a going-with-the-flow mode, I spray painted the brown leaves of a dead Little Gem magnolia for autumn, then later bobbed its branches back to create a new glass bottle tree.

And rather than completely remove a dead 80-year-old Cleyera, I sawed and leveled its multiple trunks, which now support a glass tabletop.

After learning that my toddler granddaughter loves fresh lettuce and English peas, I got her to help plant some, hoping to hook her on gardening; however, when the peas petered out, and a second planting failed miserably, I taped a few scavenged pea pods onto our plants lest she discover too soon how fickle

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