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Showing posts from May, 2021

15 Yards of Mulch - Delivered - May 2021

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Last year, I had 12 yards of mulch delivered on the driveway.  And it wasn't enough.  This year, I expanded the beds in the back and knew I needed more than 12 yards.  I was planning on ordering 20 yards, but the delivery truck can only hold 15 yards.  So, that's what I ordered - thinking that I'd start with 15 and order 5-10 more after I spread it to see what was needed.   This is what 15 yards of hardwood mulch looks like below:  And here's a video of the delivery being dumped on the driveway: I've done these videos a few times.  Here's a video from 2020  showing 12 yards.  Here's a video from 2011 showing 10 yards .   I had a couple of my nephews come over to help me haul the mulch to the backyard in an attempt to save my back from the pain I had in 2020.  We were able to get all 15 yards put out in the backyard in just one day and there is quite a bit of more bed coverage needed, so I'm going to try to measure the space left and calculate how much mu

Front Lawn: 2 Bags of e-Corganite Down - May 2021

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Trying to put down a marker in the lawn diary that I feed the front yard a couple bags of this new Milorganite competitor from Menards called e-Corganite .  It is a 4-3-O 'eco-friendly' product that carries all of the claims that Milorganite does in terms of being heavy in iron, being non-burning and slow release.   Right before Memorial Day Weekend, I threw down two full bags of this fertilizer on the front lawn, the parkway and the 'between two driveways' turf.  I bought five bags, but when I decided to put down a synthetic weed and feed in the backyard about a week ago , I held off on spreading any of this in the backyard.   Here's what the bag looks like: For my record-keeping purposes, this is the third application to the front yard.   First, I used a bag of Ironite on the front in mid/late April .   Followed up by 1/3rd of the bag of Soil Mastery soil conditioner featuring biochar, humic acid, sea kelp and lime at the end of April .  I'm going to do a seco

Two Shaggy Shield and Two Tassel Ferns - Planted May 2021

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I have a section of our backyard that calls for a bunch of Ferns.  Ostrich Ferns, to be precise.  Last year, I transplanted a bunch of them (10) to this area just to the West of the Large Northern Red Oak tree that has our swing on it.  You can see some of those in the photo below - the Ostrich ferns are the lime green ones that are vase-like.   But, with the newly expanded beds, I also needed to fill in the section in front.  I did that by transplanting three MORE Ostrich ferns in front.  But, then I had a little gap between those in the border and the ones from last year.  So, I when I came across a pair of ferns that I've never seen before (at a good price), I grabbed them and decided to use them here.   First up, a pair of Shaggy Shield Ferns.  I didn't know anything about them, but they caught my eye.  From the Missouri Botanic Garden comes this listing  that mentions they are native to Japan: Dryopteris cycadina, commonly called wood fern or shaggy wood fern, is native to

7 Guacamole Hostas - Planted in Priority Area #2 - May 2021

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The area that (earlier this Spring), I labeled " Priority Area #2 " has begun to be addressed this Spring ahead of the mulch being applied.  Last year, I planted three Guacamole Hostas in this area that calls for nine total Guacamole Hostas and after I increased the bed size, it was time to add even more to get this area filled out.  Of the three that I planted last year, one of them has been having some trouble (with the cold weather + drought), so I decided to plant seven new ones - to bring the total to ten.  Nine + one troubled one.  Here (below) is the layout of these new Guacamole hostas in their nursery containers.  Four one gallon pots and three quart pots with smaller ones. And, here below, is an annotated version of that same photo.   Red circle = 2020 planted hostas. Green circle = new 2021 Guacamole hostas.  The four larger ones came from Hinsdale Nursery.  The smaller ones from Johannsen Farms in Bolingbrook. Purple circle = one of the Praying Hands hosta. Blue

Backyard Fire Pit + Path Inspiration - May 2021

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Last month, I posted some photos showing off the new shape of our backyard beds - in a curvilinear form - and talked about how these were the 'final form' of the beds.  The idea that this was the final shape/form of the beds lasted about three weeks.  We decided we need to add another area and cut out even more turf.  Before we talk about what we're doing, let's first understand the backstory, current state and a little bit of inspiration that Nat found that we're trying to bring to life. We've had a sort-of DIY firepit area in the far backyard that was made up of wood chips that I picked up from the Village Mulch Pit and bricks that we scavenged from our neighbor's house when they tore it down.  You can kind of see that area in this post about some hostas and this post where I showed off the latest firewood rack back there .   That is in one back corner.  And the kids' trampoline is in the other back corner.  We also have a gate in one corner that the

Amsonia Butterscotch - Three Planted - May 2021

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 This is the third post showing off a newly acquired plant from this Spring's Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - the first two were when I added three more All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses and two Amber Queen Barrenworts .  Both of those were additional plants that I bought last year and added more this year.  I also bought a couple of plants that are net new to me:  both the type and the particular cultivar.  I'll also admit that this particular plant is OFF plan, but I saw it on one of Erin the Impatient Gardener's Instagram posts and added it to my list.  She talked about how it puts on a really nice Fall show and while it flowers, she grows it mostly for the foliage.  Here's one of her posts showing this off below: View this post on Instagram A post shared by ERIN 🌿 The Impatient Gardener (@impatientgardener) So, when I saw a version of it at the Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Sale, I bought a couple.  With the newly expanded beds and the "moved

Waterslide Hosta - First Spring - May 2021

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Last Fall, I bought my first ruffled hosta - a Waterslide Hosta - from the Morton Arboretum Fall Plant Sale.  At that time, I hadn't really come across ruffled hostas, but was struck by this one.  Unfortunately, I made a very common gardening mistake ; I bought just one of them. I planted it in the canopy of the Japanese Kanzan Flowering Cherry tree and the green foliage lasted a few weeks before going into dormancy for Winter.  This Spring, this Waterslide Hosta has come back and is quite healthy and full.  This growing season, I've had my eyes on finding a few more of this cultivar, but so far no such luck.  The Morton Arboretum Spring Plant Sale was sold out.  And I haven't seen them at various growing centers.  There are LOTS of Whee hostas (which are VERY similar, but not quite the same) at Home Depot, but so far, I've resisted buying those.  I'd like to add a few more of these to a drift or ruffled hosta colony. In terms of hosta cultivars, here's what I

New Soaker Hoses Under Hornbeams - May 2021

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This post is simply an entry in the diary to ensure that I track progress against my 2021 to-do list out in the back/front yards .   Number 5 on the 2021 to-do list: " Lay down a new Soaker Hose under the Hornbeams ".  I went out there to try to remember WHY I needed to do this.  Once I turned the hose on, I quickly realized that the hose had deteriorated and had sprung some HUGE holes near the beginning.  That meant that the trees at the beginning were getting watered, but less-so as the run went.  Here's one of the leaks: And, to check the box, here's the new pair of soaker hoses that are now laying down on top of the hornbeam beds: After I run water through them a few times they'll lay down flatter.  then, I'll get mulch applied on top of them and you'll never know they were even there. Crossing #5 off my list.  

Weeping Nootka Falsecypress - Planted May 2021

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This month, we added a large tree that checks A LOT of boxes.  This is the third tree of this growing season - with the small Japanese Maple Tamukayama and the bareroot Shagbark Hickory coming before this one. I say "this month" because I'm posting this in mid/late May, but I put it in the ground right at the beginning of May.   But, back to those 'boxes' that this checks.  This is the Weeping Nootka Falsecypress. Weeping. Check. Conifer. Check. Tolerates part shade.  Check. Narrow.  (kinda) Check. Focal.  Check. Nook.  Check. Horticulture Magazine describes it like this : The weeping Nootka cypress (Cupressusnootkatensis ‘Pendula’) is an evergreen tree with lots of personality, thanks to its draping, drooping branches that would fit right into a Dr. Seuss book. This award-winning conifer makes a dramatic addition to the garden where it can add valuable winter interest. Here is the tree that we bought - in the photo below - planted in the new north bed curve.  I

Two More Amber Queen Barrenwort - May 2021

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 Last year, I bought three Amber Queen Barrenwort plants from the Morton Arboretum Fall Plant Sale.  I ended up planting them around one of the Catalpa trees in the north bed.  They tolerate shade, so that seemed like a good spot.  At this Spring's plant sale at the Morton Arboretum, I tried to buy even MORE of the same stuff that I bought last year.  On these Amber Queen Barrenworts, I was successful.  I bought TWO more - and planted them in the same area.  The drift is now five.  Fall plantings are the three on the left.  The new ones are the two on the right.  They'll get mulched in soon. I mulched these in last Fall using arborist wood chips from the Downers Grove 'mulch pit'.  Interesting to note the decomposition that has taken place over the past six or so months.  

Cleaning Up The Tree Planting List - May 2021

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Earlier this month, I posted some photos about our first Japanese Maple tree - a Tamukeyama Maple - and mentioned that it was the 54th tree that I've planted over the five growing/planting seasons we've been in Downers Grove.  I also mentioned that I wasn't sure my math was totally right.  We had have some trees die that I don't think I've posted updates on.  This post is my attempt to get current with the situation we have as of May 2021. First, I CAN say that I've planted 54 trees. 2017: 9 trees 2018: 17 trees 2019: 9 trees 2020: 17 trees 2021: 2 trees I've also documented 12 trees that failed. 3 Planted in 2017: Chanticleer Pear, Dawn Redwood, Corkscrew Willow 3 Planted in 2018: Weeping Cedar, Fraser Fir, Canadian Hemlock 4 Planted in 2019: Three of the six Canadian Hemlocks, Dappled Willow 2 Planted in 2020: Lombardy Popular, Horstman Recursive Larch. That would mean that we have 42 trees alive and well.  But, there are even more that have died t

Synthethic Weed and Feed - Applied to Backyard - May 2021

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For the past few years, I've put nothing but organic/natural products down on the yard to control weeds, feed the turf and improve the soil.  But, this year, I skipped the application of a pre-emergent and I'm dealing with A LOT more weeds in the backyard than I normally have at this time of year.  I don't know if skipping the pre-emergent has to do with the weeds or if it is just a coincidence. But, I needed to take some action.  I bought a concentrate to spray the weeds and applied that a couple of weeks ago.  It worked - in spots - but wasn't enough.   So, I went with what I consider a drastic measure:  I bought a bag of Weed and Feed from Menards and threw it down in the backyard .  I looked around for a weed control ONLY granular product, but didn't see something that would work, so I decided to use this combination product.  Here's a look at the bag: Here's a closer look (below) at the makeup of the herbicide product including Dimethylamine Salt, Propi

Four Ostrich Ferns Transplanted by Oak Tree Swing - May 2021

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Yesterday, I posted a photo of some transplanted Ostrich Ferns in the south bed .  Today, I'm sharing a photo of some of those same, harvested Ostrich Ferns in the north bed - just past the Oak Tree with the swing.   I transplanted the four ferns you see along the border in front.  One of them is large - and came from the north side of the garage.  The other three came from around the Dawn Redwood. Also, in the photo below, you can see three or four other ferns - a little further back in the bed.  Those are a few of the ten that I put in this area last year .  It seems like NOT all ten of them made it.  But, this little section should fill in with Ostrich Ferns in the coming growing seasons. 

Five Ostrich Ferns Transplanted to South Bed - May 2021

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I recently planted our first Japanese Maple Tree (Tamukeyama) and a trio of Autumn Brillance Ferns in the newly expanded south bed.  The plan in this area called for Ostrich Ferns, so I was able to scavenge five of them from the north bed - around the Dawn Redwood - and transplanted them in a little drift or colony to the east of the Maple.   You can see this little fern section come to life below.  Autumn ferns in the middle.  Ostrich Ferns on the left.  These are survivor ferns as I've not bought Ostrich Ferns in Downers Grove.  These came with the lot and even after being cut back and buried under sod, they...ummm...survived.   They spread out, so I'm hoping that these five make it through this growing season and (if they do), that means we'll have more than five here next year.  

Three More All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses In Curved Border - May 2021

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I added three new All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses to this little curve in our backyard bringing the border total to six with three more in the back.  Back on May 9th, I posted a photo showing how I moved three of these to the edge of the new bed .  These three new ones are from the Arbor Day Plant Sale from the Morton Arboretum.   Here's what the sign looked like at this most recent sale - where they were asking $18.95 each. I bought eleven (11) of these last Fall at the Morton Arboretum Fall Plant sale for $16 each .  That means that I now have nine of these back in this spot and five up front - in between two driveways.  I have these planted by themselves in a border, but seeing them now I think I should move the back three a little closer to these front three to make more of a drift.  This pdf describes a drift as 'a colony' and I kind of like that description.   Here's what I'm thinking in terms of some transplanting in this area with last year's grasses i