Posts

Toro Inspiration - Downers Garden Japanese Garden Lantern - January 2022

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I was going through some of my draft posts from earlier this Summer and I  noticed a draft post about a Japanese-inspired concrete garden object that I saw in a garden on the border of McCollum park in downers.  I thought I'd bring it up-to-date and publish it here as a marker towards some garden object-inspiration.  Here's what I saw in a garden in Downers Grove below - a short, stout object that looks like a lantern.  They are called a toro .   I've posted about being drawn toward Japanese-inspired gardening and even have a visit to Gotenyama Garden in Tokyo as inspiration where they have a large Toro (or at least that's what I *think* it is).  From that post : I also went to the Chicago Botanic Garden late this Summer to visit with a friend and colleague and while there, we tool'd around the Japanese Garden .  It was really lovely.   Here, below, is a photo I took with my phone as we walked towards the Japanese Garden section from the main entrance.  In that sam

Mugo Pine - Planted and Forgotten - January 2022

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During the past week or so, I've been poking around doing research into evergreens for this year and think about shrubs and trees that might work in certain spots of our garden.  While I was doing that, I thought that I should do some level of an informal audit on what is in place.  Of course, there are the Hicks yews (in multiple places), but also a couple of Junipers and just last year, I added a Bird's Nest Spruce that I left in the nursery container .   But, when I went out in the yard to have a look at what else there was, I realized that I planted another conifer that I failed to document in the [ garden diary ] this past fall:  a Mugo Pine.  When I was planting some of those tiny Boxwoods , I also dug in a very small Mugo Pine.  While I failed to post about the small Pine going in, I *did* mention it during my 2021 scorecard post .  While that's just fine, I do think this small conifer shrub deserves a post of its own.   What is a Mugo Pine?  From Monrovia : A popula

Northern Red Oak - Lower Leaf Marcescence - January 2022

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A note here, in the [ tree diary ] that one of our Northern Red Oak trees - the tree swing tree - is exhibiting some signs of leaf marcescence this Winter.  The leaves that are closest to the core of the trunk and along the main branches are remaining through (for now) mid-January.  

Chicago Thin Frico - Bar Pie Adaptation - January 2022

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Applying the formulation with a 51% hydration factor from last wee k and a 190 gram dough ball yielded a nice result.  Laying on a ring of Vermont White Cheddar lead to a nice frico.  Notes:  I used ZERO bench flour and was able to roll out the ball to a something close to 12".  Using Crisco as the sort of 'paste', I was able to stretch the skin out and it didn't snap back. This one has Roni cups and a heavy hand of post-oven Romano.  No baking steel involved, but I think I need to go back to putting the steel on the rack above to provide for that refractory heat in order to get the top just.right (well done).  

Lemon Star Amaryllis in Bloom - January 2022

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The Lemon Star Amaryllis bulb - that we planted in early November - sure missed the Christmas (and even New Year's) window, but it is now the real star of the show.  After the other blooms are (now) past their peak, this one is currently putting on a lovely green party in the center of our countertop.   The flowers are pretty big, but there isn't a ton of them - and they're not double-bloomed.   The other Amaryllis' that we've grown over the years have always tended towards the red/pink/maroon-type.  The Bird picked this one out because it was different.  Pretty sure it was the only green one at Wannemaker's this year.  Would recommend it to anyone - looking to do something a little more unique.    Looking back at this post from January 5th , it appears that 9 days of difference shows the growth from a closed, pointy bud on top of the stalk to having flowers on all four sides open and in bloom. There's another, lower secondary stalk with a bud emerging, so

My Belgian Fence Espalier Photo - In Mizzou Plant Sciences Piece

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Last year, I heard from someone from the University of Missouri who was writing a story about the art of espalier if they could use a photo that I took of the Belgian Fence espalier at Disneyland for inclusion in their piece on the Mizzou site.  At first, I wasn't sure *which* photo - because I've taken a bunch of them - but the one he was asking for was the second photo in this post :  the diamond-shaped one close to It's A Small World After All in Disneyland.   That story ended up getting published last year and my photo was included here: For those of you who have a little bit of interest in espalier or training trees, you should go ahead and give the story a read.  Head here to go through the full post. It is titled: " Espalier: Pruning as an Art Form " by David Trinklein - University of Missouri, Division of Plant Sciences. 

Christmas Haul: Groot Planter - January 2022

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This isn't part of *my* Christmas Haul (like the padded espalier training wire from last week), but I still wanted to post a photo of this gift that was received in our house by the Bird.  One of the things that we've done over the past year-plus is to watch ALL of the Marvel MCU movies as a family.  As part of that experience, some of the characters in the MCU have become family favorites. One of those is Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.  The Bird (now) has some Groot shirts and even a little magnet shoulder-sitting Groot that she'll wear around .   But, when I think about all of the kids, the one that has the MOST interest in nature and plants and gardening (with me) is the Bird.  So, I'm thinking that is part of the draw to Groot:  he's organic and is plant-based.    For Christmas, we came across this set of Groot planters on Etsy and knew that she'd love them.  There are four in the total set, but you can buy just one. Note: there are A LOT of 3D-printe