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Showing posts from 2020

First Milorganite Application - Memorial Day 2020

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This post is now two weeks in the coming.  It is being published in the first week of June, but the photo above is from Memorial Day weekend when I put down two bags of Milorganite on the front yard.  I applied to the main yard, the south side yard, the parkway and the strip of grass on north side of the driveway. 

My 2020 scheduled called for Milorganite application to the yard on Memorial Day with five bags (2 in front, 3 in rear).  In the photo, you see only 2 bags - and that's because I only applied the fertilizer to the front yard. 

Of note, though....#9 on my 2020 to-do list was to work the turf - and apply the work that I have done on the main yard on the parkway and the north strip.  I've been cutting those other sections high - like my main yard - and now the fert application is continuing that trend of hitting #9 on my list. 

Why not the backyard?  Well...I don't have the backyard automower wire set up, so I held off on the back application because I didn't w…

Hicks Yews Hedge - Spring Growth 2020

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After seeing some Winter damage (and rabbit damage) on some of our Hicks Upright yews that I planted last year, I was happy to see that the shrubs are showing off some growth this Spring.  All twelve (12) of these small yews have new, fresh Spring growth on the tips.  I planted these in mid-Summer of 2019 and baby'd them with a soaker hose.

I stuck some of the Jobe's fertilizer spikes in near the northern-most shrubs in an attempt to see if they work.  If you recall, my goal is a wavy shrub like the one this post.

I posted some photos of these yews in my garden walk-around earlier this Spring and gave them a heavy mulch.

Weeping White Spruce - Spring Growth 2020

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A couple of days ago, I posted photos of the new growth on our tiny Canadian Hemlock trees.  Today is another conifer - the Weeping White Spruce tree that I planted last year.  It has put on some Spring growth, too.  The new, bright green tips are clearly visible in the image above.  On the far left of the photo in this post, you'll see one of the Summer Beauty Allium that we planted last month

The last time that this tree was featured in a post in the [garden diary] was last Fall when it had not put on any new growth, but seemed to have gotten through the hot Summer.   It was coming in at 47" tall in November, but you can see some of the new growth is right.on.top, so it is a little taller today. 

If you look back at the photos from May 2019 when I bought the tree, it had green tips, then, too.  In that post, you can also see what the mature tree will look like as it continues to climb upwards and stays columnar in form.

One other note:  I sprayed this tree with Wilt-Pruf…

Front Porch Maple - Trouble Spot In The Canopy

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We positioned our house back about 15 feet from what the front-yard setback minimum in an attempt to preserve this Maple tree.  There is a dead spot in the canopy now - on the southside of the tree that I wanted to document here in the garden diary in an attempt to see if it is worsening or if the tree has stabilized.  I don't remember this dead spot being present last year, but I didn't document it, so I am unsure. 

I'll be watching this tree closely to see if we need to call in an expert.

A Pair of Redbuds Planted - One Snapped, One Not-Snapped - Spring 2020

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A couple of weeks ago, we had a tree arrive on our front porch from an online nursery that had what appeared to be a challenging trip via FedEx and when I opened the box, it looked like this:

Snapped in half.  Womp Womp.

It was a Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud - which Monrovia describes as:
Rosy lavender-pink flowers completely cover bare, slightly contorted, weeping branches in early spring. This truly unique selection can develop a beautiful umbrella of cascading branches covered in heart-shaped leaves if trained when young. A captivating small specimen tree for a focal point in a shrub border or entryway. Deciduous. Back in Elmhurst, our neighbors to the north had a big, beautiful Redbud that put on quite a late Spring show with the purple flowers.  And I remember planting one of own - a small one - in our old backyard, but I don't think I posted about it.  
One of the kids wanted to get a RedBud as one of their Earth Day trees, but due to the whole COVD-19 thing, shipping date…

Spring Growth on Canadian Hemlock - June 2020

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Yesterday, I showed off some new growth on our Yews in the rear yard and today, I'm happy to show one of our tiny Canadian Hemlocks showing some new light-green growth.  This is back in the 'rabbit damage' area that I posted about in March of this year.  You can see one of the Ostrich Ferns on the right side of this photo and - in terms of documenting this location - this is the furthest right (north) of the three that I initially planted.

This one was the least damaged by rabbits, but I now need to get round to protecting it with some chickenwire/poultry wire to keep the critters from munching on it.

The other ones have a little bit of growth, but not like this one.  I'll post some photos of the other set later this Summer.

Apple Tree Blossoms - Belgian Fence Spring 2020

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A couple of weeks ago, I planted eight Apple trees for a Belgian Fence espalier and chopped off six of them at 16" tall.  The two on the ends, I left tall and proud.  And today?  They are showing off some pretty pink blossoms.  On the top of this post you'll see the tree on the right (facing the fence).

Below, is the tree on the left (facing the fence) that is blooming, too:


Also...in an effort to shame myself, I'm now two weeks in and still haven't gotten around to installing the wire system on the fence.

Why does that matter?  Because I'm seeing some TINY buds that are emerging from the trunks of the trees that I lop'd off.  Take a look (a close look) below:


Both of the top buds seem to be emerging from the 'front' of the tree, so that's going to take a little work to move it around the side.


Rhododendrons Blooming - May 2020

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After taking a full year off, our back stoop rhododendrons are blooming again this year with beautiful purple flowers. Both shrubs (these are evergreen...which always amazes me) are pictured side-by-side above, and there are individual (slightly larger) individual photos below in this post.
The last time these flowered was when they were planted in May of 2018.  In 2019, like all of our flowering trees/shrubs, the buds appear to have been killed by a cold Winter.
On the left (above), is the Southern one.  On the right (above), is the one to the North of the stoop.  The southern one is larger in both dimensions - taller and seemingly wider as it has some branches that are spreading out a bit more.  It has taller blooms and - at this point - more of them.  The northern one is more compact, but has what seems like deeper green foliage.   
I applied Wilt-Pruf to both of these last Winter and...frankly....I'm not sure if it helps.  Seems like it is one of those things:  you only know …

Limelight Hydrangeas - Front Porch - Spring 2020

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This pair of Limelight Hydrangeas put our a great show each Summer and Fall.  I posted a photo of them in October of 2019 when they were weighed down with tons of flower blooms.  And here's a photo from the previous Summer - just a little bit over two years ago - when these were greening up for the Summer.  These are located to the south of our front porch.

I gave these a pretty hard prune in the late Winter and they're responding (seemingly) well this Spring.  Limelight Hydrangeas bloom on "new wood", so that's a big part of the reason for the hard prune. 

I gave both of these a heavy mulching this Spring - their first in two years - and they get plenty of water from our gutter run-off, so I think I've set them up for success.

Disneyland Roses - Sideyard Spring 2020

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The last time I checked in on our Disneyland roses on the side of our house was back in September of 2019 when they were flowering.  At that time, one of them - the one closer to the rear of our house - was bigger than the other one.  Today, that trend continues with the one you see above being the one closer to the rear of our house. 

Below, you can see the context of that Disneyland rose - adjacent to the vent in our house and the window well. 


Here's the other one - closer to the front of the house - that is much smaller. 


They're both showing signs of growth after being pruned late this Winter.  I pruned off some off some of the growth to try to shape them a bit into a compact form.  I haven't fed these things anything, but I know that roses need some help to bloom strongly.  Next time I put together an order at Home Depot, I'll be adding rose food to try to get these to keep up their growth.

Frost Damage - Front Yard Hostas

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted some photos of our Ostrich Ferns that had suffered some late-season frost damage.  On a walk around our yard recently, I noticed some strange signs on our front-yard hostas.  You can see one of them above with the whitish tips on parts of this hosta that showed up after that frost event. 

The hosta above is the 'middle' one of three up there.  Below is a photo showing all three - in front of the tulips. 


This one (below) is the northern-most one on the right:


And this one (below) is the southern-most one that has the least amount of frost damage. 

This area can use a few more hostas to fill in - as I think the heavy clay soil in this bed has limited the growth/spread of anything that we've planted in here.

Our Parkway Maple Tree: Spring Color

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When we had our house built back in 2016/2017, one of the steps was the digging and installation of new sewer and water lines.  That required some serious digging from the center of the street all the way up to our house.  That digging was located fairly close to our large parkway tree - in fact it was so close that when we came to see the hole, we could see that the sewer guys had cut some of the roots.  
Ever since then, I've been holding my breath with concern that the tree had suffered some damage.  
I'm posting this in the [garden dairy] so I remember both what the canopy looks like in Spring but also what the color of the leaves look like, too.  
Here, below, is the tree.  It is orange-ish/brown-ish.  Certainly NOT green like the rest of the maple trees around our neighborhood.  

And, I'm content this year because I noticed the same thing last year.  This tree isn't suffering/stressed (at least I'm pretty sure it isn't), rather this is *just* how the tree…

Lombardy Poplar Tree - Suffers a Setback (Frost? Transplant Shock?

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A couple of weeks ago, we planted a fast-growing Lombardy Poplar tree in our far backyard and had high hopes that it would provide a little bit of screening in a quick way.  But, today I went by to inspect the tree a little and was surprised to see it was having some trouble.  Look at the photo above to see the leaves that are wilting and browning out. 

This is certainly NOT a good sign, but I'm not calling it yet with this tree and I hope it can bounce back.  I'm pretty certain that this was a recently-planted bareroot tree that came in a burlap sack.  This was the first tree that we received in one of those burlap sacks and I decided to NOT plant the sack.  I think that was a mistake. 

It *could* be frost damage like what we've seen on some of our ferns, but I'm not sure. 

On the next tree - which I'll post about soon, I trimmed the burlap sack down to be pretty small and planted the sack to try to keep the soil around the tree roots a bit more. 

I'll be watc…

Northern Red Oak Tree - Planted May 2020 (#46)

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We planted our first Oak tree in our yard this month.  You can see it above - it is a Northern Red Oak tree and it is REALLY small.  I'll get the caliper dimension later this Summer, but I think this might be the thinnest tree that we've planted.

Why an Oak tree?  Because of this Washington Irving post from last year.


I know we won't be living in our home by the time that this tree - if we nurture it - grows up to be significant.  In ten years, it will be a small tree.  In 20 years, it might be an eight inch or 10 inch caliper tree.  We'll be gone from here.

But, we have two huge Oak trees on our lot - that planted a long time ago.  And we are the ones - the future ages - that are enjoying the trees.

We plant this small tree without the expectation that we'll enjoy the shade that it will create.  But, this little tree will 'benefit mankind long after we shall have ceased to tread our yard'.

We planted it on the south side of our lot, behind the existing Oa…

Fertilizer Spikes - Feeding Trees in May 2020

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Just a couple of days past a year ago, I posted about how I was feeding our columnar Frans Fontaine Hornbeams with Jobe's fertilizer spikes and included a photo of PART of the trees after they had been fed.  This year, I bought three boxes of the spikes for deciduous trees and one box for evergreens.

In that post, I mentioned that I put the spikes in the ground on May 1st in 2019.  And despite this post being dated May 23rd, I have just gotten around to posting this - as I put the spikes in the ground on May 12th.  12 days behind 2019.

Here's how the trees look below - from a similar view - as last year.  You can see how the gap between the trees that are right outside the screened porch is closing down below the fenceline.


The trees haven't totally filled in for the year, but they're already doing well to provide some screening as they green-up and out this Spring.

Hoping the fertilizer spikes will help keep them growing on their current trajectory.  2020 finds them …

Apple Tree Belgian Fence Espalier Planted - May 2020

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Three weeks ago, I posted my fruit tree haul from Home Depot and talked about building my long-desired Belgian Fence espalier in our backyard.  About two weeks ago, I got around to planting the trees and....(gasp) lopping off the tops.  Here's the location that I decided to plant the Belgian Fence below.  On the right of the photo, you can see the first of the trees planted that I'm planning on leaving tall and proud.  In the foreground is the Azalea that you can see in this photo here.


Here's that same tree a little closer:



I planted the rest of the trees in a row - 16" apart.  And four inches (4") from the fence.  You can see them lined up below.  The trees from right to left are:

1. Golden Delicious
2. Honeycrisp
3. Honeycrisp
4. Honeycrisp
5. Golden Delicious
6. Honeycrisp
7. Honeycrisp
8.  Golden Delicious



Here's another few looks at the trees - in their full height below.




I planted them one afternoon and then had to sleep on things.  I didn't have t…

Sally's Shell Hellebores - Planted May 2020

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Back in March, I posted about Lenten Roses (or..Hellebores / Helleborus) and how our plan called for a few of them in parts of the yard.  On the same trip that we bought the Summer Beauty Allium, we also bought ONE (1) Hellebores (or...I think Helleborus).  It is called "Sally's Shell" and you can see it below: 



I planted it in the bed on the northside of our backyard - and since there is just one, it is standing alone.  For now.   

Here's a little bit wider of a shot - that shows the larger tree trunk that is set a little bit 'in' the yard that shows this is planted about six feet to the West of that tree.  (also note...that at the time of this photo, I had pulled up our Automower boundary wire and spooled it here while I remade some of the contours of the beds.  

The plan calls for ten (10) of these - from this one and to the left - that I'll add over time.   But, since this area falls just outside of Priority Area #2, this will likely fall to a Fall p…

4 Summer Beauty Ornamental Allium - Planted May 2020

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Back in February, I outlined my #1 priority area for our backyard landscape to be addressed this year - the area to the south in between the espaliered Lindens and the large Oak tree.  That part of the plan called for a series of Oakleaf Hydrangeas, Fanal Astilbes, some ferns, a couple of columnar trees and a number of Summer Beauty Ornamental Alliums. 
A couple of weeks ago, we went out to The Growing Place headquarters location in Aurora where they had setup a 'drive thru' situation where you could shop from your car.  This was the same trip that we bought the Harry Lauder's Walking stick contorted tree.  
As we drove through the perennial section, we saw these Summer Beauty Allium.  Our plan calls for 12 of them.  But, we bought four to start.  You can see them in their nursery pots below.       

Here's the tag - below - that calls out the name Allium tanguticum 'Summer Beauty'.  

And here, below, is the back of the tag. 


The plan calls for four of these Al…