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Six "Great" Foliage Plants For Shade Via Garden Design

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I've written many a post about shade gardening and how my mother was a 'shade gardener' and therefore I, too, am a shade gardener.  So, whenever I come across a piece online about shade gardening, I pay attention.  I recently saw this Garden Design story that highlights 20 plants that do well in the shade.  Their list of 20 includes four trees, ten flowering plants and six foliage plants for shade - and it is those that I think are worth posting here for my reference. 

Six Foliage Plants for Shade:

1.  Hostas
2.  Coral Bells
3.  Ferns
4.  Caladium
5.  Coleus
6.  Japanese Forest Grass

The companion to this list of great shade plants is this slideshow that talks about shade garden design.  Posting this, too, as part of my landscape inspiration collection.

San Diego Zoo Tickets - Africa Rocks - Summer 2019

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We visited the San Diego Zoo earlier this Summer during our trip to the West Coast.  This is the same trip that we went to the Hotel Del Coronado and stayed near Sunset Cliffs along the coast.   There were just four of us (Nat was tied up with some wedding-related commitments) and these were the four tickets that we bought.  Filing these here under Zoo-related ephemera here on the blog.

Africa Rocks opened in 2017 and is/was the largest San Diego Zoo construction project ever.  From San Diego Union-Tribune back a few years:
...the San Diego Zoo — fresh off celebrating its first 100 years — steps into the future with the opening of Africa Rocks, its biggest construction project ever.  The 8-acre, $68 million undertaking relies on the newest thinking about zoos, which find themselves in an ongoing debate about the treatment of animals in captivity and are designing exhibits that are more naturalistic, more focused on conservation than entertainment. The San Diego Zoo and its sister fac…

Gobbler's Knob Marker - On The Square In Woodstock, Illinois

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Here's another landmark related to the film Groundhog Day (you know the one...Directed by Harold Ramis and starring Bill Murray, right?) around Woodstock, Illinois posted to the blog.  
The first one was this photo of me and little Lizzie at "Ned's Corner" in Woodstock.  Then I posted this letter that was sent to the citizens of Woodstock and hung at the Woodstock Theater - part of the Classic Cinemas chain - from Director Harold Ramis expressing his gratitude to the town during the filming of the movie.  
Today, is this small ground-level marker that reads:  "Gobbler's Knob in the Film Groundhog Day - 1992".  It is maybe 12 inches (almost) square mounted on a small concrete base.  It is located in the main park-like green in the middle of the Woodstock Square.  
There's - evidently- a Groundhog Day walking tour that takes place on/around Groundhog Day in Woodstock where you can visit a series of spots - most of which are marked with similar plaque…

Fall Seeding: Kentucky Blue Grass - September 2019

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I have always tried to put down grass seed in the Spring.  And have had mixed results.  But, the experts tell you - if you're willing to listen - that the best time to seed your lawn is in the Fall.  They say 60-75 days before the first hard frost in your zone is the ideal time to sow seed in bare spots and to overseed the rest of your lawn.  
Why?  Because the soil temperatures are high (70 degrees or so) and the air temperatures are moderate (not too hot, so it won't dry things out). 
This is the first season that I've tried this and I'll tell you:  ummmm...it worked?!?!  
According to this post, our first frost in Zone 5b is right around October 16th.  That means that 45-60 days ahead of that is between the middle and end of August.  That's when I put seed down.  
I used a bag of PURE Kentucky Blue Grass seed.  No other types of grass - and no weeds in the bag per the certification on the bag.  KBG is very slow germinating and my experience this Spring took abo…

Back Stoop Rhododendrons Early Fall Bud Setting - 2019

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On the right is the southern Rhododendron and on the right in the image collage above is the northern stoop one.  They look different, don't they?  The one on the left is larger, taller, has less broned/curled edges.  And it also kinda looks a little brighter green, doesn't it?

They looked different last Fall, too, when I applied Wilt-Pruf to one of them as a test.  And again this Spring when they came out of Winter.  What was most interesting to me is that NEITHER of these flowered this year.  Not a single flower.  Last Summer they flowered beautiful pink flowers.  See this post for the flowers, but also note how tiny they were last year.  They're really filled in that space more this year.

They both set buds in the Fall, but just like our Flowering Cherry Tree and Saucer Magnolia in the front, we ended up with no flower show.

The hard, cold Winter - including a long Polar Vortex - is likely to blame for those buds not blooming this year.

These Rhododendrons are right bac…

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas Turning - 2019

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This is the third season with a set of Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas that are planted outside of our front porch facing due East.  Here is the post showing what the plants looked like in 2017 - the first season.  And here's the post showing the pink color emerging in 2018.  This year the plants are (obviously) the largest, most mature that they have been and some of the blooms are quite large.  Not Limelight or Incrediball large, but nice sized and cone-shaped.  
The past few early Springs, I have pruned these bushes and trimmed off some of the old growth to try to shape the plant a bit.  And, now I'm wondering if - for shape purposes - that's not the best move to make?  Reason I say that is that each of these hydrangeas have a TON of blooms down near the ground and like three or four huge, tall shoots each with a flower on top.   But, they almost look like a plant with a fat base and a couple of limbs climbing out of a vase.    
I'm going to plan to NOT prune them th…

When A Man Plants A Tree...

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On Monday, I shared a Washington Irving quote about planting Oak Trees.  From the preamble of that same book about Wisconsin trees comes this John Muir quote.  Both of them moved me a bit and reinforced why I've been so fascinated with trees and getting a variety of them added to our landscape over the past two seasons.

I haven't posted about John Muir here on the blog (a search that returns no results says that's a true statement), but anybody who watch like maybe more than four minutes of Ken Burns "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" series knows who John Muir was and what his impact on our country really is today.  He's someone who's been called a "Secular Saint" for the work he did to not just preserve vast expanses of wilderness but also advocate for our communal understanding of the value that nature brings to all of us as a source of renewal, understanding and connection.

There's a lot here that resonates with me - from fav…