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Showing posts from 2021

First Fall - Amsonia Butterscotch - October 2021

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Depositing a photo here in the [ garden diary ] of the mid-bed-planted trio of Amsonia Butterscotch that I planted earlier this Spring after buying them from the Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale.  These three plants are planted in between a row of Fanal Astilbes and some Oakleaf Hydrangeas.  These are/were billed as being "garden stars" during the Fall , so I thought I'd share what they look like in early Fall.  You can see them below: They're just starting to turn from green to yellow, so we're getting to that 'show', but the fine-nature of the foliage is certainly striking.  I'm excited to see these continue to grow up and out.  I planted them widely spaced , hoping to see them each get about 24" tall and 2-3' wide.   Excited to tuck them in for the Winter after they put on their show and sure hope they come back in Spring for year two.

More Hicks Yews Planted - Hedge Mirrored in South Back Beds - October 2021

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I recently came across some #1 Hicks Yews on a massive sale (these were sub $5 each), so I grabbed seven of them (and some other items) you can see below.  These seven join the other ones that I already have in as a hedge across the back and the recently planted pair that I'm trying to grow into a topiary .  I've had good luck with all of the previously planted Hicks upright yews not having too much trouble with drought, but they've had a little bit of rabbit damage over the years. I took six of these upright yews and put them into a hedge that will span the back of this bed to the front and - when it grows - will be shaped into that 'swooping' profile that I'm chasing .  My thought is that this new section of swooping hedge will evoke the same feeling as the one in back and work to tie the garden together by repeating the look with upright yews.  Here, below, you can see some of the yews set up for placement below: For record-keeping purposes, here (below) is t

Drumstick and Bulgaricum Allium Bulbs Planted - October 202

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Yesterday, I posted photos of the Allium 'Christophii' bulbs that I ordered from Longfield Gardens and planted in the various beds around the backyard.  In that post, I mentioned a few other varieties of allium bulbs that I also included in my Longfield Gardens order.   Here's a look at the two other types of Allium bulbs that I planted.   First, there are 50 Allium Sphaerocephalon Drumsticks .   Now that I think about it, I'm not sure that I actually planted Christophii bulbs near the Fanal Astilbes that I mentioned yesterday.  I'm now pretty sure that I actually planted THESE Drumstick Alliums there. Here's the Astilbe colony that I'm pretty sure has Drumsticks now below: Next up are 15 Allium Bulgaricum that I bought on a whim.   I stuck these in the ground around the pair of espalier'd Linden trees: And in front of some of the Summer Beauty Ornamental Alliums that are right next to the Lindens: In terms of total numbers, I planted 45 Christophii b

Fall Bulb Planting :‘Christophii’ Allium - October 2021

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Earlier this Summer, Erin the Impatient Gardener posted this reminder on her Instagram handle (it was spon con, but it still was useful) about ordering Fall bulbs and in particular, she called out ‘Christophii’ allium as a sport of Allium that she's a big fan of that she says 'steals the show' in her bulb blog post here .  I've historically bought my bulbs from big box stores or Costco ( Nat brought home these Pinball Wizard Allium from Costco this year ), so the idea of ordering direct from Longfield was something new for me.   View this post on Instagram A post shared by E R I N🌿The Impatient Gardener (@impatientgardener) Back in September, I finally got around to ordering some bulbs from Longfield Gardens and close to the end of the month, they shipped them out.  I bought a series of Allium bulbs from them (just Allium this year) including 3 15 packs of these Christophii bulbs.  Here's their product listing .  When they arrived, they were n

Bar Pie Progress Shot - Fennel Saw-seeg and Giardiniera - October 2021

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With Fall here and Winter coming, that usually means that I do *even more* pizza making than I do during the Summer.  The arrival of our Ooni earlier this year changed Summer pizza-making, but I've also been making a little bit of progress on my bar pies.  Here's a shot post-oven/pre-cut of fennel sausage across the whole thing and hot giardiniera on half.  Olive-free giardiniera, of course.    I was talking to Equation Boy/Man about this particular bar pie recently and he mentioned that (for some reason he can't quite explain) the little "orange spots of carrots peeking through make his mouth water".  Dare you to look at this and not have the same reaction.   Last time I posted about my bar pies was in August - when I showed a cross-section and a little bit of the undercarriage .  Back then, I was using a cheddar for the frico edge, but I've moved away from that (for now).  Feels like a Winter thing to bring back at Dorianell's , doesn't it?   I start

Cimicifuga (Snakeroot) Black Chocoholic in Bloom - October 2021

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Last Fall, I bought a plant that wasn't known to me, but I liked the traits that the sign at the Morton Arboretum Fall Plant Sale spoke of, so I ended up buying one and bringing it home.  That plant ended up being a Cimicifuga 'Chocoholic' - also know as Black Snakeroot .  What did I like about it?  Shade-loving, fall flowering, purple native(ish) plant.   What's not to like, right?   When I brought it home last year, it was in bloom.  This week, it is in bloom again this year.  Mid-October for these white blooms you see in the photo below: I posted a photo of the first fronds (is that what these are??) emerging in early Spring this year - their first Spring.   This particular plant showed a little bit of drought stress this year with some of the foliage curling in August and September.  The Proven Winners listing mentions giving it constant water through the Summer and taking 'a few years to reach maturity' , so I'll continue to babysit it in 2022. I'm

Red Oak Tree Acorns Collected - Not Viable - October 2021

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I collected a couple handfuls of Oak tree acorns (pretty sure they are from a Red Oak) as a project to see if I could work into seedlings next Spring.  There's a lot of info out there about how to plant Oak trees from acorns, but this YouTube video was the most helpful for me .  It isn't super fast-moving, but if you have the time, it is a nice overview.  The steps of growing your own trees start with collecting acorns.  From there, you have to test them for viability - using the 'float test'.   After cleaning them up (removing their tops), you dump them in a bucket of water.  The ones that float aren't viable.  The ones that sink...usually ARE viable.  (the video recommends doing a couple of float tests to be sure...) So, after collecting these acorns, I dumped them into a bucket.  And...not ONE of them appears to be viable.  All floaters. I noticed that most of them have these little in holes on the sides of the acorn.  See the photo below: Well...I learned someth

Weeping White Spruce - Stabilized in Fall - October 2021

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Yesterday, I shared a couple of photos of the very young Japanese White Pine tree that has a ton of brown and orange needles .  The tree is either in severe decline and will be dead soon.  Or, it is going through a normal process of needle drop to get ready for some new Spring growth.  I have no idea.  I *do* know that the tree was stressed before I planted it and the cones were already present at the top - indicating that (I think) the tree was concerned for its own wellbeing, so it threw out a good crop of cones based on the size of the tree.  In that post, I mentioned that the small (and adjacent) Weeping White Spruce appears to have stabilized after suffering some heavy drought damage this Summer.  It seems like the needle loss has stopped and the remaining sections are green and well-connected.  I shared a mid-Summer update on this tree where you can see the needle loss, but when you compare the photos from September to now , it is clear that even more needles were dropped in the

Japanese White Pine Turning Brown - October 2021

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Things aren't looking good for the Pinus Parviflora 'Glauca Nana' - the dwarf Japanese White Pine tree that I picked up at Home Depot in mid-Summer after it had lingered in the lot for quite some time .  I was really excited about the tree and hopeful that it would put down some roots and establish itself this Summer.  But, unfortunately, it seems that it is fading.  And fast.  Here's what it looks like right now - in the photo below.  It is brown, orange and certainly NOT green. But, when I inspect the tree closer, I see tips that are *still* green with small needles.  Like the section you see below: And, using the old 'tree health test' of scraping away some bark with a fingernail to see if the limbs are green underneath reveals (at least *some*) sign(s) of life.  See below for a little spec of green that I revealed under the bark: Could this be normal behavior?  I'm pretty SURE it is not normal and this tree is in decline and will not be green come Spring

Pagoda Dogwood Tree Planted - October 2021

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When I posted last week about the replacement (tiny) Ginko tree that I planted 'ib2dw', I mentioned that the Ginko wasn't the last tree for the year.  There are a few more coming this week - starting with my very first Dogwood tree.  When I bought the small Chinkapin Oak tree from the Conservation Foundation in late September , I also bought another small native tree:  A Cornus alternifolia (Pagoda Dogwood).    Below, you can see the tag for the tree. This dogwood is different than the ones I've seen in the big box nurseries where I typically see Cornus kousa and Cornus florida.  You can read up about those various cultivars around the Web - but the main takeaway is that florida is the standard that has been around for a while, but kousa is a new(er) sport that is more disease resistant.   The dogwood tree that we selected is known as the Pagoda Dogwood.  Morton Arboretum has a tree listing up here for the Pagoda Dogwood - Cornus alternifolia . They describe it an '

Dividing Heuchera in Deep Shade - October 2021

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Yesterday, I shared a look at one of the Moneywort plants that I transplanted from a container to our side yard.  It has thrived in deep shade. And....Last week, I posted (again) about dividing and transplanting some Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses in our front beds (under our Norway Maple) and talked about how one of my 2021 to-do list goals was to transplant some foster plants AND to divide up some of my existing perennials.  I've created 12 'free grasses' by dividing up what I have on hand and in *that* post, I mentioned that I also divided a purple Heuchera earlier this year - but failed to post about it. The last time I checked in on this particular plant was last August when it had survived a full year after being transplanted the previous Fall.  But, earlier this year - right around early Spring - I dug up and divided this plant into three separate plants and put them back into the same bed on the northside of the garage.   You can see that bed below with the

Creeping Jenny (Moneywort) in Side Yard Path Bed - October 2021

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Last year, we had some Moneywort (Creeping Jenny ) in our front porch container that before Winter set in, I transplanted into a couple of beds to try to grow as ground cover.  One of the plants I divided and planted in the ' in between two driveways' bed that I was just establishing last Fall .   Another one of them ended up behind the fence, but along the house.  This bed is now set against the metal path edging and had a couple of legacy Hostas planted here and there over the years.   This particular Creeping Jenny seemed to weather the Winter just fine (it *is* tucked in against the house and has the fence not far from it, so there isn't harsh Winter winds that could hit it) and this Summer, it seemed to stretch out a bit.  You can see the current state of the ground cover below:  This seems like it needs a few shade tolerant plants tucked in on their side of the main planting of Moneywort, but it also tells me that I can replicate this in other dense-shade areas.  This

More Divided and Transplanted Grasses - Front Bed Under Maple - October 2021

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Yesterday I posted a photo of a new bed on the corner of our back patio that is now home to three transplanted Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses .  These were divided from another grass, so....they're the best kind of plants:  free plants.  Today, I'm posting a photo of some other free plants:  another trio of Karl Foerster grasses.   This is the third in the series of dividing these grasses with the first being back i in September.  In that post , I showed how I added just ONE grass underneath our Norway Maple tree in front.   This time, I took another of the driveway grasses (the middle one) and divided it into four pieces.  This one was suffering from Center Rot , so it was due to be divided.  I left the largest piece in place (you can see it in the photo below) and took the other three over by the Maple. I took the other three divisions and planted them in an array in front of the Norway Maple - along with the first one I put there last week.  Now, there's four of the

Divided and Transplanted Feather Reed Grasses on Patio Corner - October 2021

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The Fall ornamental grass dividing season continues with a few more Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses.  I started dividing these grasses the last few weeks by taking some of the larger ones in front and back and dividing them up and transplanting .  Of the five larger ones in our backyard, I had already divided one of them and transplanted near our hops vine .  So, it was natural to take another one of the larger ones from this same area - in front of our kitchen window - and divide it up again.  One of the things that I've been thinking about for a while is how we add some 'corner beds' to our patio and I've mused about using boxwoods.  But, in thinking about how I could use these feather reed grasses in a series of plantings to bring some cohesion to the garden, it seemed right to try a trio of grasses on one of the corners of the patio.   I dug out a small bed on the southwest corner of the patio, removed the Automower wire and then divided a Karl Foerster Grass in

Pardon My Pink Monarda didyma (Bee Balm) Transplanted to Sidewalk Bed

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I added another (existing) perennial down in the newly created bed by the sidewalk that has been a troublesome spot for growing anything since we moved in.  After cutting out the small bed, I added some Lemon Coral Sedum then installed a Panicum Shenandoah Red Switchgrass last week .  I mentioned that I was going to put down some other things this Fall in that post and today's photos show off the new addition:  a pink Bee Balm.  Officially:  Pardon My Pink Monarda didyma (Bee Balm) - which I kept in a container all Spring and Summer in the backyard.   You can see it in the photo below (Bee Balm in the bottom left of the bed): I held on to the plant tag when I planted this in the container, knowing that I was going to be digging this into the beds at some point.  Below is the front of the plant tag showing it takes Full Sun: Below, is the back, where it says to tuck it into the 'front of your border'.  Done and done.  The only issue that I see here is that Monarda prefers mo

Overseeding Backyard - Tall Fescue - October 2021

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We have had a particularly difficult grass-growing season this Summer.  The heat and drought sent the majority of our Kentucky Blue Grass into dormancy.  There were a couple of spots that I believe went beyond dormancy into death including the low spot outside of our patio area in back.  At first, I thought that maybe this was grub damage - because it wasn't responding to water - but after digging up the turf and having a look, all I saw was worms.  No grubs.  But, I also found a pretty shallow area of topsoil on top of gravel for our drywell.   I haven't done any sizeable Fall seeding projects, but based on the soil temperature, coupled with a forecast that called for a period of cooler temperatures and some rain, I thought that I'd take on trying to overseed a good portion of this area.   I first used my thatch rake to remove a lot of the dead material , then took out my manual aeration tool to create some holes.  After doing a little bit of research, I decided to buy som

Another Ginko Tree Planted - Front Yard - October 2021

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Last week, I posted a couple of photos of a tiny Ginko Biloba tree that I received in the mail that had suffered some shipping damage and had a bent-over trunk.  I ended up planting that damaged Ginko tree in the backyard - uncertain if it will survive .   When I sent in some photos of the damage that the Ginko biloba tree, they shipped me out a replacement tree.  This second one arrived undamaged and in slightly better condition.   Ginko trees are known to be pretty slow-growing, so I needed to stick this tree in a spot that I can largely ignore for a number of years.  Knowing I had one (already) in the backyard, I figured I should look at my front-yard tree planting wish list and pick out a spot that made sense.  My history of small trees is mixed, but one of the (more recent) success stories was the Bald Cypress that I planted a few Falls ago .  That tree started VERY small - about the size and caliper of this Ginko.  But, it has thrived.  I showed off the recent late Summer flus