10 Transplanted Ostrich Ferns - July 2020

I've posted a number of times - across houses, towns, years - about Ostrich ferns.  We had them back in Elmhurst at our old house.  And when we moved, we transplanted a few clumps of them over at Nat's Mom's house in Naperville.  When we bought our lot in Downers Grove, we inherited some of what I've been calling "Survivor Ferns" that lived through the construction and re-grading of our lot.

As part of my 2020 to-do landscape list, I identified area #2 that includes the planting of a series of Ostrich Ferns - along with other items.  One of those 'other items' is the planting of hostas around a large Oak tree - in an area adjacent to where these Ostrich Ferns are supposed to be planted.  I posted about those variegated hostas yesterday.  The plan calls for Hadspens, but I decided to go with Variegated hostas because I had quite a few of them on hand.

In that Priority Area #2 post, I mentioned that the plan called for 12 Ostrich Ferns in this area.  A…

Transplanting Variegated Hostas Around Oak Tree - June 2020

My #2 priority area in our backyard for this gardening season is around the large Oak tree that is home to our tree swing.  That part of the plan called for adding a series of hostas, ferns and connecting the beds between the Hornbeams and this nascent bed.  The plan called for the addition of 10 or so Hadspen blue hostas, but there were two factors that made me go a different direction.

First, I planted three hostas in this area already.  First, there are two, existing variegated ones present:  Christmas Tree and Fantabulous from 2018.  Second, there was a third, variegated hosta that I tucked behind the tree - the miniature variety that I really like.  And finally....I had a mixed variety of Hostas that I've tucked underneath the Hornbeams over the years - including mixed variegated ones with more blue ones.  So, I decided to get the variegated ones out from below the Hornbeams.  And move them to where you can see in the photo at the top.

Below, you can see all the new ones in …

Eight More Summer Beauty Alliums Planted - June 2020

This photo above shows seven new Summer Beauty Ornamental Onions (Alliums) that I planted just to the West of the Fanal Astilbe border.  I planted eight total with one other new one joining the previous four that I planted earlier this Summer.  These eight (well...7 + 1) are part of "Priority Area #1" that I wanted to plant this year that called for 12 total.    I planted these about mid-way back in the bed with the thought that I could - maybe next year - supplement these with a border (closer to the edge of the bed) of annuals in front of the Allium. 

If you zoom in SUPER close to the photo above, you'll see that there appear to be some flower buds that have shot up in the middle of the clump.  So, I'm thinking that we'll get *some* flowers this first growing season.  Have a look at the red arrows for the 'curl'ing up' flower buds that are emerging:

Red Oaks vs White Oaks - At Waterfall Glen

We were out for a walk at Waterfall Glen and came across this sign on the trail - a bit "in" from the waterfall parking lot off Bluff Road - that shows the two groups of Oaks:  Red Oaks and White Oaks.

This sign shows that in the Red Oak Group are: Northern Red Oak, Black Oak, Shingle Oak and Hill's Oak.  in the White Oak Group are: White Oak, Bur Oak, Swamp White Oakk and Chinquapin Oak. 

The key difference is that *most* of the Red Oaks have pointed lobes while White Oak lobes are typically rounded. 

We have two large Oaks in our backyard.  But, I haven't, at this point, been able to name them.  With this chart, I'm now thinking that I'll be able to do JUST THAT this Fall when I'm seeing the leaves on the ground.

Glazed Patio Container - Zinnias, Salvia, Petunias - June 2020

Here's one of our patio containers that we recently planted for the Summer.  It is a purple, yellow and red combination - which we've mirrored elsewhere - based on a bed we saw in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.  This container has a larger Blue Salvia  (Salvia farinacea), a yellow Zinnia and in front a red Wave petunia. We've planted this large container every year - always different - but this feels like a nice combination of sun-happy annuals that should flower all season long.

Notably, the Salvia (Salvia farinacea) is a perennial in warmer zones (8-10), but is treated as an annual up here in Zone 5b.  With the newly installed Eze Breeze windows in our screened porch, I'm wondering if we move our containers in there this Winter...if we'll get a little bit of a 'greenhouse effect' with the wind cut down?  Maybe this is a container that I should test to see if the Saliva will come back.

I'll post a few more photos of our other containers on the patio thi…

Driveway Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses - June 2020

Spring and early Summer has treated our Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses that are sandwiched between our front walk and driveway really well.  There are three of them planted in this little bed that I mulched earlier this Summer with some cocoa bean shell mulch.  They're all happy and putting on a little lacy show right now. 

I've posted photos of these grasses over the years.  They were planted when we moved in back in Summer of 2017.  And here's a look at them their FIRST year back - in early June of 2018.   By August of 2018, they had finished growing and were transitioned to golden tops/tips.  The last time, I posted a photo of these were last October (2019) when they were on their way to dormancy for the year. 

In the photo at the top of this post, you can see them right now - happy and green.  With a lot of top growth that is lightweight and moves with the wind. 

Here - below - is a close-up view of those tips.  They are really striking RIGHT now. 

These provide s…

Oakleaf Hydrangeas Flowering First Season - June 2020

Yesterday, I posted photos of both of the Munchkin Oakleaf Hydrangeas flowering and today I have a couple of photos of the traditional variety that are also flowering in their first year.   There are five of these 'traditional' (aka. non-Munchkin) Oakleaf Hydrangeas that I planted in early June 2020.  Those seven are the most important aspect of solving for - and planting out - "Priority Area #1" in our backyard.  In the photo at the top of this post, you can see one of the conical flowers from one of these hydrangeas.  Lime green small flowers followed by bright-white blooms. 

Below, you can see two of the five traditional shrubs.  (are these shrubs?)  On the left is one with multiple flowers.  On the right, the foliage is a little bit lighter color, but you can see a couple of flowers starting to emerge. 

Here's a closeup of one of the flowers.  Also note, the brown spots on the bottom leaf - that was present when they arrived (these were a bday present).