Backyard Fountain Dreaming

On a recent trip to Menards, I was in the garden center and was drawn to their fountain setup.  They have a dozen or so fountain ranging from formal tiered fountains to desktop versions.  Some of them are terribly cheesy but others seem ok to me.  But, there are two things that seem to bind them all together:  they're made of fiberglass.  And they're cheap.  Well, relatively cheap.  
I've had a fiberglass fountain before at our old house in Elmhurst and I really liked it.  Some of the time.  It was a three tiered traditional fountain with a pineapple on top.  A few things I came to appreciate:
1.  The bowls weren't very deep.  So that meant that I had to constantly (like every other day) fill it with the hose.   2.  The birds loved it.  But they made it SUPER dirty. 3.  It didn't last 2 seasons because I left it out over the winter and it suffered some freezing cracks and was rendered worthless.  
Thus, despite having an itchy purchase finger, I passed on them.  I …

Mighty Oak - Inherited Backyard Tree - June 2018

Back at the end of May, I entered a River Birch tree in our backyard into my [Garden Diary].  It was a tree that we inherited, but I wanted to document it during the Summer of 2018, so I have something to revisit as it grows over time.   Today, I'm entering another tree:  a mighty Oak tree that is the inherited tree that is closest to our patio.  You can see it above in a photo that I took recently as the canopy continues to leaf out.

This is one of two really large Oaks that we have inside the fence line.  The other is the 'tree house' candidate that I posted about earlier this Spring.

This Oak (above) is the tree that we have hung our tree swing on and you can see the ropes coming down from it in the photo.

This tree was one of a few that were in a row when we bought the property, but due to the drainage requirements - we had to build an underground pit out back and swale our land towards it - we had to remove a few of the other trees.  None of them were this big and st…

Update on Fostered Peony in Naperville - June 2018

Nat's sister sent us this photo of our 'fostered' peony plant that is in Nat's Mom's garden out in Naperville that we planted in 2015.  As you can see, it has grown up quite a bit and seems to have recovered almost completely from the harsh transplant.  It is even blooming with two small blooms, but more importantly, the green foliage looks quite strong.  
I posted a photo of this same peony emerging last Spring, but didn't followup with another post.  The peony struggled and didn't flower last year, but I knew it would take a few seasons to recover. That's the good news.  The bad news?  I'm going to take it back this September and restart that recovery cycle.  
The foster care, has indeed, worked, but now that we're ready for this beauty, I'm eager to bring it home.  About a week ago, I posted about how the Sarah Bernhardt variety was starting to emerge this Summer (after planting this Spring), so I'm already thinking about creating a l…

Lemon Coral Sedum - In our patio pots

I came across this Lemon Coral Sedum from Proven Winners in this video from Garden Answer.  I really liked the way it looked in her video, so when I came across it (at the garden center at the Jewel of all places), I had to bring it home.  I put it in a few spots including this wine barrel planter that we have set on our patio.  Like a lot of other sedums, it is drought tolerant, but this one has a neat chartreuse-y color along with those pretty yellow flowers.  I planted this one and it immediately began to establish itself, stretch out and put on this show.  Tucked right in next to the Night Sky Petunia that continues to bloom all Summer long, this part of the pot is doing exactly what I was hoping for in this spot.  The only *miss* in this pot is any sort of mid-level structure/height, but it is getting close to time to rip out those Pansies and replace them with something more fit for the heat of Summer.  Opportunity, right???

This wine barrel container (for now) is on the north …

Everlasting Revolution Hydrangea - June 2018

This is the third in the series of posts updating some plants that Nat's Mom gifted us late last fall.  Yesterday, I posted about the Tuff Stuff Red Hydrangea that is doing really well.   Today, I'm sharing the photo you see above to show the current state of the Everlasting Revolution hydrangea that isn't doing *as well*.  You can see that it is much smaller than the Tuff Stuff and the foliage is barely emerging from the mulch.  In fact, I had to kind of carve out a little hole/trench for this thing to even have a chance.  It is located about eight feet from the Tuff Stuff variety, so they're getting basically the same support - sun, water, soil.  But the difference is stark.  I've actually babied this one a bit more this late Spring and hope that it continues to establish itself a bit so we head into the Winter with a strong base/root system.

I'll try to revisit this plant later this Summer/Fall to see how it has grown when the heat of the Summer hits Downer…

Tuff Stuff Red Hydrangea - June 2018 Update

Back in October of last year, Nat's Mom gave us a couple of plants that I immediately stuck in the ground and then nursed through the balance of the growing season in the hope that, despite planting them so late, they would survive the winter and come back.  I recently covered how one of these plants - the Disneyland Rose - is ready to bloom this Summer here on the blog.  The other two plants included in the series were hydrangeas.  The first one I'll post here is the Tuff Stuff Red Hydrangea

Above you'll see a happy and healthy hydrangea that is quite small (like 6" tall and 8" wide), but has more growth on it than when I put it in the ground in October.  I didn't cut it down at all this Spring and that's because, according to this Proven Winner item description, it will bloom on *both* old growth and new growth.  From PW:
This re-blooming hydrangea begins blooming in early summer on old wood and continues to produce flowers on new wood through autumn…

Canadian Hemlock - Added to Hornbeam Hill

Back in January, I posted a little snapshot of another part of our landscape plan that was of the far, southwest corner of our propertyThat corner included the addition of three Canadian Hemlock trees.  In that post, I mentioned that the plan actually calls for nine of these Hemlocks and at the time, I had not planted any of them.  
Here, today, is a look at another slice/section of our landscape plan.  There are multiple elements in this little image, but I want to focus on what is in green: three Canadian Hemlocks.  This is about 2/3rds of the way back between our house and the property line and as you can see they're tucked in against the northern fence line.  

Those of you following along know that I've posted these in a series.
The other plan sections that I've shared include: southern fence line with Hydrangeas and allium, one of our rear foundation beds outside of our kitchen, the north fence line that we put the Frans Fontaine European Hornbeams, either side of…