Showing posts from May, 2020

Apple Tree Blossoms - Belgian Fence Spring 2020

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: 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

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

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

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

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

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?

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)

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

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

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

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

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…

Milorganite in Caddyshack - Greenskeeper Pro Move

There I was, just wasting time as I watched Caddyshack on tv a few weeks back and I see Carl Spangler prepping for his battle with the gopher. But, what's that in the sacks behind him?  Wait a second...that's...Milorganite.  Yeah...Milorganite.  
Kinda interesting to see the old-school bags from 1979 that the pros down in Davie Florida were using, isn't it?  
The time is near for my first application of Milorganite for the season - on/around Memorial Day.

Mid-May 2020 Three-Bin Compost Setup Update

Last May I built out our three-bin compost set-up.  One active bin. One carbon storage. One nitrogen storage.  That was a year ago - and the bins were....empty.
I did a check-in on the bins in December and showed all the leaves that I had picked up from our yard, but the bins weren't that full.   Once the weather turned, I started to fill the bins with yard waste and started to see enough volume to fill the active bin.  I knew that I wanted to get a good batch 'cooking' this Spring, so I decided to install a passive aeration system a few weeks back.  When I did this pvc pipe project, I opened up the bin, cleared all of them out and started from scratch - both to get the right combination together, but also to 'turn' the stuff that was at the bottom as there was a lot of anaerobic decomposition going on down in the bottom.
While I had the bins empty, I clipped some of the fence panels to allow for the pvc pipes to 'pass through' the front.  I did this becau…

Boosting Our Compost Bin And Tumbler with a Compost Starter

I'm adding this entry to my [garden diary] to mark the date when I added this Jobe's Organic Compost Starter to our active bin and our tumbler in the Spring.  If you're not familiar with a compost starter, here's a good overview of what they are and what they do.

There is some competing views on the value of a compost starter or booster, but if you believe the claims and buy one with 'microbes', then your compost starter - like the one above from Jobe's - is cultured to speed the decomposition of the materials in your pile.

There are a bunch of people who say that they don't really do anything - but for less than $10, I can't really hurt, right?  It contains no synthetics and is made up of things that you can buy at a garden center like Bone Meal, Feather Meal, Potassium, and manure.

I used this same product last year, but I don't think that I posted about it in the garden diary.

Here's the listing on Amazon (note...this is NOT o…

A Garden Train In Our Neighborhood

I was out walking one morning and came across this little garden railway.  It is not too far from our house, but I've never come across it before, despite walking around for the past few years.  It totally reminds me of the Epcot garden train that is just outside the Germany Pavilion - I've posted a photo of that railway here.

This setup isn't huge - maybe eight feet by six feet and has a couple of switches and fie buildings.  There is no locomotive or rolling stock out, so I'm guessing that they run this seasonally.  The pond is a nice touch, too.  There's a little bench for kids to sit in on the far left of the photo above, so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think that this is a grandpa's house/railway that he runs with his grandkids.

I *think* this is O Gauge - or thereabouts - and not a big garden train nor a train the size of Walt Disney's where you could 'ride aboard'.  There are a few cars from the Carolwood Pacific Railway that …

Mr Baseball's Famous Franks - Bob Uecker Hot Dogs from Usinger's in Wisconsin

When we used to go to Michigan, we tried to incorporate Michigan-based foodstuffs into our rotation like this local Michigan beet sugar, local potato chips and these Koegel's hot dogs from (wait for it....Flint, Michigan).  Since we transitioned to Wisconsin, we've done some of the same - and I've chronicled both on-going and one-off Wisconsin foodstuffs like this local root beer, variouscheesesNew Glarus beer and...of course...the King of Clubs cold pack club cheese

There's a new entrant from the Usinger's Sausage company:  Mr. Baseball's Famous Franks Beef Frankfurters.  That's Bob Uecker for those non-sports folks (or...really....non Sports-movies people as my introduction to Bob Uecker was as Harry Doyle in the Major League Movies and that Miller Lite Beer commercial - "must be in the front row!").  He does the radio call for the Milwaukee Brewers, so it is a natural to see him involved in hot dogs, right?  Hot dogs and baseball are a na…