Posts

Front Porch Bed - Mid-Summer View - July 2024

Image
The view from the curb of our front porch bed has changed SO MUCH in just a years time.  That photo above shows what you see as you view the front of our house and includes a few big changes that I'm seeing grow into their mature forms in a very short period of time.  The tree - a Triumph Elm tree that was planted in Fall 2022 is the biggest change; as it replaced a much-larger Norway Maple.  That large Norway Maple with A MASSIVE MAT of surface roots was out-competing just about everything up there.   That meant...boxwoods that were in the shade and being starved out.  Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas that were undersized and losing the battle.  And, a pretty inhospitable environment in terms of soil. I suppose that's the starting point - the soil.  In Fall of 2021, I documented the root mat and hydrophobic soil that supported no plantlife .   I tried to build a remedy over time - including adding nitrogen via Alfalfa cubes and planting annuals that I hoped would open up the soi

That's Not Nicotiana - That's Pokeweed - Garden Edit - July 2024

Image
A month ago, I posted photos showing the seed packet and the knee-high seedlings that were popping up in my new full-sun cut-flower bed on the side of our house .  I crowed about how I was really pushing things with getting used to direct-sowing seeds like this Nicotiana Jasmine.   In that month since, the seedlings kept getting TALLER AND TALLER.  Some were over my head.  And all of them were crowding out other things - like Zinnias and a few Dahlia tubers that I interplanted in that same bed.   Curious, I thought.  They were growing taller and taller.  No blooms.  Here's what they looked like: Then....we went to Nat's parents house where her mom has plenty of Nicotiana Jasmine.  Too much, maybe.  Her Mom says that it reseeds iteself.  When I looked at hers, they were MUCH SHORTER.  And the leaves were more droop-y and almost like a lettuce leaf.   VERY DIFFERENT from what I was seeing in my bed.   Then, I saw some of the buds had emerged.  They were pointy, long and curving. 

Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangea In Bloom - July 2024

Image
The pair of Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangeas that are planted near the Dawn Redwood tree are in bloom.  Late July.  With long, slender bloom heads that are turning from light green to pink.  Below are a couple of photos that show both of them.  There's also an Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea that I relocated here, but that one isn't as advanced as these two.  Planted in May of 2022, these Ruby Slippers are a dwarf variety of Oakleaf Hydrangea that I bought at the Morton Arboretum annual plant sale .   In the photo above, you also can get a peek at some of the recently-planted Sun King Golden Aralia (Japanese Spikard) that also came from the Morton Arboretum sale .    The last time that I peeked at these in the [garden diary] was about a month ago when I revisited this 'garden edit' .   I feel good about the border and the little slice of the garden that fronts this, the part *behind* the Nootka Cypress - sort-of adjacent to this - is another story.  That elusive garden path is

Agastache 'Blue Fortune' In Bloom - A Pollinator IB2DWs - July 2024

Image
In my Fall Planting sprint last year, I planted a pair of Agastche 'Blue Fortune' perennials in my mixed bed IB2DWs .  These were sort-of tucked in behind some Hakeonechloa All Gold Grasses and in front of a row of Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses.  Roy Diblik - up at Northwind - talked up Agastache, so when I saw it on close-out, I grabbed two.   They mostly just hung out in the background all Spring, but in the past week-or-so, they exploded with some blue/purple bottle-brush like blooms standing tall and proud.  Below is a photo showing the blooms and overall height of the plant: They're billed as being great for pollinators and true-to-the-description, when I was out there looking at these on a recent morning, they were being buzzed-around by some insects.  You can see them if you look closely: More of this, Jake.  Fall planting will be here soon enough. 

Cutting The Firebrick Floor - DIY Wood-Fired Pizza Oven Project

Image
The oven construction process has been one focused on:  planning (the foundation), building (the foundation), planning (the stand), building (the stand).  And, then more planning (for the oven).  And...now comes the ACTUAL building of the oven.  That starts with learning how to handle the wetsaw and cut out the floor.  Thanks to my VERY HANDY brother-in-law, we went with an isolated floor.  That means, we cut the floor of the oven to be 40" diameter and *then* cut out the soldier course to lay NEXT to the floor.   We started with cutting the oven entry:  Then, thanks to the jig that my brother-in-law made, we quickly cut out the rest of the floor and the soliders: We began to figure out the oven opening and how to make the transition pieces from opening arch to oven dome: And, cut out the second layer of the dome - these only with side-cuts, no tilt cuts (yet): We also built our indispensable tool (IT) or dome gauge - to help place the bricks of the dome: We did ALL of the inital

Scaevola Bombay Dark Blue, Red Wave Petunias and Creeping Jenny in Containers - July 2024

Image
Moving on from the pair of stoop containers (small ones) , we now look at the pair of larger, back patio containers.  #7 on my 2024 to-do list was to 'do better containers' - and these two are the largest of the bunch and that means can have the biggest impact.  Are these perfect?  Nope.  Not by a lot.  Are they better than last year?  I think so.   Here, below, is a look at both of them side-by-side.  There's Creeping Jenny cascading down in both.  Red Wave Petunias are dotted in both.  The corner container has Orange Zinnias.  And the round one has the (new to me) Scaevola 'Bombay Dark Blue flower that has spread out and added some nice color.   Below is a closer look at the Scaevola 'Bombay Dark Blue - from The Growing Place.   Here's a look at all three working together - with the Wave Petunias in bloom (last week). The Creeping Jenny was a hold-over from last year and overwintered in teh containers.  Here, below, is a look at these a month ago when I just

Back Stoop Containers - Euphorbia, Persian Shield, Sweet Caroline Medusa Green Ipomoea, Orange Zinnias - July 2024

Image
#7 on my 2024 to-do list was to 'do better containers' this year .  That meant doing DIFFERENT containers than I've done in the past.  This goes back to that whole 'get out of your comfort zone' thing that I confronted with flowers in the beds last Fall.  I told myself to resist early Spring and resist the Big Box store.  But, also...lean-in to what I liked about last year.  That 'what I liked' in our containers last year started and stopped with Euphorbia.   Last year, I bought one Euphorbia plant and tucked it in with some Zinnias from Northwind Perennial Farm .  Loved it.  I also saw that the Morton Arboretum used Euphoriba in one of their beds in the Fragrance Garden.  Lovely .  (That's also where I spotted Cardoon, too.) We have two large rectangular containers - one on back patio, one in the shade on our front porch.  Then, we have a large round planter on the patio and a couple smaller companion planters that sit on the steps our back stoop.  This