Timing Crabgrass Preventer This Year

One of the amazing things about being online today is that there is a community on the Web for just about any niche interest you might have.  Take...for instance Lawn Care DIYers.  There's a bunch of YouTube "Stars" (I hesitate to call them Stars, but I also am *not* going to call them Influencers because, well, that's just gross.), there are online forums and plenty of bloggers.  There are also tools that have historically been used by the Turf industry (think Golf Course Managers) that have now been set free into the world.

One of them is the use of Growing Degree Day Calendars.  What are Growing Degree DaysFrom Wikipedia:
Growing degree days (GDD) are a heuristic tool in phenology. GDD are a measure of heat accumulation used by horticulturists, gardeners, and farmers to predict plant and animal development rates such as the date that a flower will bloom, an insect will emerge from dormancy, or a crop will reach maturity. And it turns out, there are GDD calenda…

Spring Shaping of Rear Foundation Boxwoods

Back in 2017, I showed part of our landscape plant that was just outside of our kitchen window that called for a variety of perennials and some shrubs including Green Velvet Boxwoods.  You can see the plan here in this post from October 2017

Here's a look at that portion of the plan:

The plan called for four Green Velvet Boxwood plants.  You can see in the photo at the top of this post that we indeed, planted four of them.  I ended up staggering them a little differently than the plan called for, but they're mostly in the same spot.  The reason for clustering them more closely to the window well is to fit in a spot for our grill.  This [Garden Diary] post can be found in the feed over on Hornbeam Hill

This post is to talk about shaping of these boxwoods.  We have a set of these in our front yard beds directly in front of our porch that you can see in this post that we're trying to let grow a bit.  I'd like them to get larger, but the ones in back?  I took the prun…

More Tokyo Street Trees (Pruned Young Conifers)

This is a photo I took from my cab one early morning that shows off some very large street trees in Tokyo that have been heavily pruned.  I've posted about street trees like this before here.  But, if you look closely behind those larger parkway or street trees, you'll see some smaller, very thin conifer trees that have been trained or pruned to be long and leggy in the style of the larger spruce/pine trees that I saw in the Imperial Gardens. 

Remember that photo of a beautiful tree that I posted from outside the Peninsula Hotel?  I think these little trees might be on their way towards something like that one:  a big, strong singular trunk that can be wired to create some of that curvature and longer limbs with needles clustered on their tips.  Scroll down on this post from my last trip to Tokyo where I visited the Imperial Gardens and you can see more of these mature conifer trees.

#8 on my 2019 Garden To-Do List is to plant more conifers.  I know I want to look at adding so…

Forest Glen Park Water Feature As Inspiration - Woodridge

On a recent Sunday morning, the kids and I found ourselves out at Forest Glen Park in Woodridge.  It is right on 75th street and we've driven by it hundreds of times on our way to Nat's folks house over the years, but we've never stopped.  The park has a couple of tennis courts facing 75th Street, but tucked in right behind the courts is a nice playground setup with a soft surface, a bunch of unique equipment for a variety of ages.  Our kids - who span from the upper single digits to just past potty-trained found a place to have fun.  Together.  That's pretty nice.

But, the park also has some nice plants (or what appeared to be nice plants since Spring hadn't quite emerged when we arrived) and a neat-looking fountain and/or pond.  You can see the size/scale of the fountain in the photo at the top.  Of note, the fountain is totally out of the ground and at a perfect kid height of like 30" tall. 

I call it a fountain/pond because it is kind of a linear pond or…

Aurora Borealis Somewhere Above Alaska

"Aurora Borealis?! ...At this Time of Year.  At this time of day.  In this part of the country.  Localized entirely within your Kitchen!?"

No.  Not in my kitchen.  But outside of the window of my JAL flight from Tokyo to ORD a few weeks back.

The Northern Lights are one of the seven natural wonders of the world and now I've had the pleasure of seeing them with my own two eyes.  And now, thanks to Google Photos NightSight, you guys can see them in pretty much the same fidelity that I saw with my own eyes.   I've written about the Wonders of the World when I posted about the Southern Cross here on the blog.

You can see in the photos that I witnessed plenty of greens, but not any purples or blues or yellows or the various other colors and what-have-yous that you expect to see in the Northern Lights. 

Green was good enough for me.  No steamed hams, though. 

For those of you who have no idea why I opened up this post with that line, here's my first introduction to t…

Toto Child Restraints In Bathroom

Not only do they make toilets (excellent ones at that, btw), they also make this child restraint system.  So Moms and Dads all over Japan can sit on the pot in peace.

A Trip to Russ & Daughters For Black And White Cookies

On a recent visit to NYC, I decided to ask around for a good recommendation for a black and white cookie.  There are a bunchof lists of the *best* black and white cookie out there on the web, but I figured some local might know the answer to my question:  the best black and white cookie that IS WALKABLE from where I was staying. 

The answer turned out to be the same:  Russ and Daughters.  It was both walkable and it turns out, #1 on the lists. 

I walked over there and was immediately struck by the place.  Beautiful sign.  And an even better experience inside.  The store was split down the middle with their smoked fish on the left and the bakery items on the right.  They bagged up a few cookies and off I went. 

Have a look at one of the cookies below.  These were different than the black and whites that I had been buying at the little bodega across the street from my normal hotel.  These were almost glazed, not frosted.  And definitely not fondant. 

I liked them and I think the kids l…