Posts

Gilt Edge Toad Lilies Planted - Spring 2021

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Last November, I posted a 'plant dreaming' post about Japanese Toad Lilies that I came across for the first time (i.e. new to me) via Erin the Impatient Gardener's Instagram handle.  Here's that post where she talked about growing Toad Lilies and said: "You should know and grow Toad Lilies. "  Ever since that post, these have been on my radar.  In fact, I mentioned them as part of #18 on this year's to-do list when I talked about the continued expansion of Japanese-inspired gardening .  So, when I saw them being sold at Hinsdale Nursery this Spring, I knew I had to buy some of them for our yard.   Here, below, is the listing at Hinsdale Nursery - for 'Gilt Edge' Japanese Toad Lily - Tricyrtis fomosana 'Gilt Edge': They're 'shade-loving' and will 'naturalize'.  Love both of those things. Here, below, are the three 1# nursery pots as they began to break dormancy recently: ...And here's a look at the plant tag that came

Fanal Astilbes - June 2021 Update

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A year ago, I planted twelve Fanal Astilbes in the backyard - in the south bed - according to the placement spec'd by our landscape plan.  They suffered some transplant shock and had a tough go of it for the first month or so.   I baby'd them for the rest of the Summer in hopes that they'd come back this Spring.  By April of 2021, I was starting to see them come back and emerge from their dormancy .  I knew that I planted these in the wrong spot, so when I expanded the new backyard beds, all twelve of these needed to be transplanted out closer to the border in May of this year .  I've been watering this area in pretty good this Summer because there are a series of things that have been transplanted (these + the Oakleaf Hydrangeas) and some new items ( Butterscotch Amsonia that I planted in May, too ). And, all that watering has paid off with these Fanal Astilbes as many of them have come up big and bold with red flowers and quite a bit of foliage.  See the photos below

Little Henry Sweetspire - June 2021 - Front Yard

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Here, below, is a look at the pair of Little Henry Sweetspire (Itea virginica 'Sprich') that was planted back in the Summer of 2017 when our house was built.  This shrub puts off these lovely, white flowers that have a really nice smell and the foliage puts on a show all year long.   This sits in a bed tucked in between our front walk and the driveway and just kind of keeps performing without much care. The last time I posted about these Little Henry's was back in September of 2019 here . I water the front yard during the Summer heat, so this shrub likely gets a little bit of that benefit, but I haven't fed it directly - to date.  But, I've noticed that the foliage is a little bit light green - not dark green currently.   I mentioned on Monday that the Rhododendrons seemed to need a little bit of iron , so I went out and picked up a bag of  this fast-acting Iron soil supplement from Menards  to see if it will make it happy and darken things up.  I'm going to use

Totem Pole Switch Grass - Front Bed - Spring 2021

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I first spotted something called a Totem Pole grass at Hinsdale Nursery earlier this year.  It was billed as a grass that can get to six feet tall.  I was intrigued.  So, when I saw this Prairie Winds Totem Pole Switch Grass at the Morton Arboretum Spring sale, I knew I had to buy one.  (I know, I know...I shouldn't ever buy ONE of anything.  But, I broke *that* rule for this grass due to the size and sun requirement. ) In the photo below, you can see this grass in the nursery container in a spot in the bed kind of tucked behind the tulips and the Norway Maple tree and kind of straight out from the corner of our screened porch.   Here, below, is the front/back of the tag: The back of the tag reads: A sturdy, durable ornamental grass that withstands adverse weather conditions.  Grey-green leaves form a strictly upright column of steel blue foliage.  Golden seed heads in fall.   And...note the 72" height listed at the top of the back of the tag. Walter's Garden has a listin

Rhododendrons Blooming - June 2021

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We have a pair of Rhododendrons planted on either side of our rear stoop that we put in the ground in 2018 as part of our plan .  I have never pruned them, but have protected them a little bit in Winter using Wilt-pruf a couple of times.  These are evergreen shrubs and they put on a nice flower show most years. But, this year these shrubs looked a little sad earlier this Spring.  They were yellow, drooping and leggy.  I bought some Epsoma Holly Tone this year to feed my hydrangeas and these Rhdodendrons and it seems like they've responded a bit.  I'm pretty sure they have an iron deficiency - as outlined here by Ortho.  Purdue University Extension office has a post up about this yellowing - called chlorosis .   I have started to feed these with a little bit of coffee grounds, but I think that I'm going to need some more drastic action to correct the iron. But, back to this season:  these two shrubs are flowering right now with light purple flowers.  Here, below are the pa

Duchesse De Nemours White Peony - Planted May 2021

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I've posted dozens of times about peonies.  Nat's favorite flower.  By a bunch.  We had a series of lovely and productive (flowering) peonies in Elmhurst, but in the past four growing seasons here in Downers Grove, we have yet to have ONE peony flower.  I think it has to do with all the shade we have and where the peonies are planted.  To try to solve that, I transplanted some of the peonies closer to the house in an attempt to get them some Sun.   But, for Mother's Day, we also bought Nat a new peony.  It is this "Duchesse De Nemours White Peony" that you can see on the tag below: This particular cultivar is white (which, we normally don't have) and comes with some credentials.  From White Flower Farm comes this description : A century-and-a-half after its introduction, the fragrant double 'Duchesse de Nemours' remains a standard by which all other white Peonies are judged. Strong stems give the blossoms an aristocratic bearing; a touch of yellow at t

Lemon Coral Sedum and Red Begonias - Front Beds - Spring 2021

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Every year, we've planted annuals in our front bed to add a little pop of color to the front of our house - with mixed results.  Last year, we used 24 Devine Lavendar Impatiens in the bed .  The most plants we've put in this area.  The full progression looks like this: Our first full year - in 2018 - we planted some Ranunculuses - about eight of them.  In 2019,  we planted 16 orange marigolds.  +8 plants yoy. In 2020, we planted 24 Impatiens.   +8 plants yoy. The second goal (beyond the color) is to help improve the soil in this area as when I got started it was solid clay - from the foundation backfill.  I amended the soil with Gypsum and have added some biochar/humic acid to the area, too.  And, of course I've added mulch to these beds over the years.  First, with hardwood fines, then in 2019 and 2020, I laid down cocoa bean hull mulch .  The thinking here is that nothing aerates and breaks up clay soil better than roots growing.  Every year that I plant here will make t