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Showing posts from July, 2021

Palace Purple Heuchera micrantha - Planted in July 2021

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I've talked about this before, but mid-Summer 50% off perennial sales are my love language.  That kind of sale typically happens at the big box stores garden centers, but it seems random based on the department manager.  Even at Home Depot - which we have three that I shop from regularly and a fourth that I pop into when I'm going to my parents - I've noticed that some stores do sales differently.  I'm talking hand-written signs vs the normal printed signs that you normally see.   When I come across a hand-written sale sign, I glom on to the stuff.    But, I also was turned on to a whole new thing recently:  Lowes.  We don't have a Lowes close to us, but I took the kids to a batting cage in a town a few over on a recent weekend and discovered that the cages/mini golf place is right behind a huge Lowes.  So, I went in, of course.  And I was surprised.  A step up from Menards, for sure.  The plant material was (mostly) taken care of and not all dried out.  They had a

Pinus Parviflora 'Glauca Nana' - Japanese White Pine Added - July 2021

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One of the things that I had on my 2021 to-do list (#25) was to 'buy a conifer of meaning' .  I feel like I *did that* when I planted the Weeping Nootka Falsecypress that I bought this Spring from Wannemakers.  That was the 55th tree planted in total since we bought the lot and the third of this year.  And after cleaning up the full list this Spring , I had 34 alive.    We then added this Emperor 1 Japanese Maple - bringing total to 56 total, 35 alive.  Fourth tree for the 2021 season. Since then, I planted two Harvest Gold Hargozam crabapple trees as replacements in our Belgian Fence espalier - but I didn't include them in the 'official count'.  So, I'm doing that now.  58 total, 37 alive, six trees for the 2021 season. Which brings me to the tree in this post #59 total, 38 'alive' and seventh tree of the 2021 growing season:  another conifer 'of meaning'.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine.   I've been thinking/dreaming/watching/considering a

Allium Serendipity - Planted in Driveway Bed - July 2021

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Last year, I planted a couple of drifts of Allium angulosum 'Summer Beauty' and I've been really happy with them in our backyard.  I posted recently a look at both sets here .  Over the course of the past few months, I've been looking at them and reading about various hybrids including Millenium.  I think it was on YouTube where someone introduced me to Allium 'Serendipity' and called it "strap-y".  That descriptor stuck with me, so when I came across a trio of these on a big discount this Summer, I plop'd them in my cart and brought them home.  3 for $9.99 for 1# perennials is my love language. I put the three in different, various spots in the backyard and left them there to consider.  Each place I wasn't happy.  They'd work there.  But they weren't right.  I tried maybe four of five spots to place this cluster of three.  The tag lists this as 'FULL Sun/part Shade', so it gave me more options than I normally have with our bac

Front Porch Shade Container - July 2021

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 I don't think I've posted photos of our front porch container in the past here on the blog.  We've done a mix over the years of DIY and even one year Nat had a pro fill our container.  This year, I went to the big box nursery and picked out some shade-loving plants to use including a big, dramatic fern on the left.  Along with some coleus, a purple sweet potato vine and (although they're hard to see, they're there) a few peach-colored Rex Begonias.    The Coleus is putting on a nice show and the vine is beginning to spill out a bit as the container hits its stride in the end of July.   I don't seem to have taken a photo of the tag for the fern, but I think it is a Cinnamon Fern.    Here's a look at the flowers before we planted them below.  The watermelon-striped plant and the Rex Begonias - which were the stunners pre-planting that you see below have been somewhat swallowed-up by everything else. Our front porch gets some early morning sun, then is in deep

Mid-Summer Annuals: Lemon Coral Sedum in Front - July 2021

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Earlier this Summer, we planted a mixed border of Lemon Coral Sedum and Red Begonias in front of our boxwoods outside of our front porch.  The inspiration for this pairing was the entrance planting at the Morton Arboretum last year and after growing a variety of annuals in this bed, I thought I'd give the idea of creating a 'carpet' of the sedum a try.    I ended up planting 20 sedum and 24 begonias .  The ones in the inspiration photo are taller begonias than the ones I bought, so I've learned something.  If you go look at this post from when I planted these in early June (scroll all the way down for the initial planting photo), you'll see how this started. Here, below, is how it is going right now.   The sedum has created that carpet and knitted together really well.  It is spreading out upwards - towards the begonias and creeping just a little bit towards the edge.  I'm really happy with the sedum.  The Begonias are doing really well, too.  Nice red flowers

Bald Cypress Summer Foliage - July 2021

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Our little Bald Cypress tree - that is planted 'in between two driveways' is beginning to shine.  It was so small when we planted it and all of last growing season, it was sandwiched up against a chain link construction fence, so I'm not sure we enjoyed it all.  But this year?  It is putting on a thick new coat of needles and as a lot of growth at the tips of the existing limbs.  Here, below, is a look at how the tips are growing thick and lush: I need to get around to doing a caliper measurement on this tree (and all of the trees), but I can tell that this is the 'leap' year in the sleep/creep/leap cycle.  Planted in the Fall of 2018 , we're in the third growing season, so that tracks, right?  Last Summer, it had a nice run that included some growth all the way up until September and was mulched properly this Spring.   We call this tree the "Dinosaur Tree" in our house because of the heritage of the tree going back to the time when dinosaurs roamed t

Jack of Diamonds Brunnera - Added in Shade - July 2021

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Mid-July is when the big box stores start to put some of their perennials on 50% off sales.  They have their trees and shrubs that have been picked over out on pallets with big 50% off signs, but they also begin to put some of the perennials inside the garden center, including shade plants on discounts, too.  On one of my trips to one of the Home Depots near us, I found some of these Jack of Diamonds' Brunnera in 1# nursery pots from Proven Winners that were marked down 66% - making them three for the price of one.   These are the second set of Brunnera that we now have in the yard with the first ones (a trio of three) were these Queen of Hearts ones that I planted in June of this year in the shade of our backyard .  These are new to me this year, but were on the list that Laura from Garden Answer published of her favorite shade perennials.   The Queen of Hearts Brunnera are planted in a border mixed with some hostas and they've done well this first year.  The leaves are getti

Greenspire Lindens Horizontal Cordon Espalier - July 2021

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It has been a while since I posted a full-frontal photo of our pair of Greenspire Little Leaf Linden trees that have been trained into a four-tier horizonatal cordon espalier in our backyard.  These are planted in Zone 5b and trained with wire alongside a six-foot-tall cedar fence.  You can see the top tier is a foot or more above the top of the fence and the root-flare of the trees is BELOW the bottom of the fence.   Thus, These are eight or nine feet tall.    The last time I showed this shot that you see below, was back in September of 2020 - close to 10 months ago .  When I compare the photos, I see a few things: 1.  Tree on the left: The lowest tier has grown out a bit - mostly the right side. 2.  The trunks have thickened up.  I'll have to grab some caliper measurements soon to confirm. 3.  The two little 'scaredy cat' pieces I left on last year are still there on the tree on the left.  Should prune them off soon. 4.  Tree on the right:  the bottom tier has grown out.

Growth Regulator Impact in Year 1 - Mature Trees in Decline - Northern Illinois

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Late last Summer, we had Davey Arborists apply a three-year growth regulator to some of our large, mature trees that appeared to be in decline due to stress .  That stress was due to construction of our house (I believe) and the disturbance of the roots from cutting and such.  After doing some research on growth regulators, I thought it was worth a shot to apply this stuff to some of the large trees in prime locations of our yard.   And, what's happened?  We've seen some pretty incredible improvement in the trees.  They're growing thicker, more-full and darker green leaves all over the main limbs of the trees.  We had this growth regulator applied to both an Oak and a Maple.  The difference in the Oak tree is clear.  Below, you can see what that tree looks like now in 2021 on the left.  And what it looked like a year ago on the right.  More full, more dense growth all over the existing limbs. On the Norway Maple in the front, the growth regulator's impact isn't as

Spring and Summer Drought Impact on Trees in Zone 5b - Weeping White Spruce

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For the better part of the Spring and beginning of Summer, our area was in a drought.  We had very little rain.  Then, starting about three or four weeks ago, we had TONS of rain.  The problem is that the drought we experienced was hard on a lot of our garden and yard.  I kept up on watering as best that I could, but since we don't have built-in irrigation, I was bound to miss some things.   One of the trees that has suffered from the lack of water this year is our little Weeping White Spruce.  Here, below, is a photo showing how it has dropped a bunch of needles and has a lot of brown on it.  I'm very concerned about it not being able to recover and is on the way towards browning out completely.   I noticed it browning out when we came back from a week in Wisconsin and since then, I've tried to baby it with water - every few days a direct watering from the hose. This story from the University of Minnesota Extension office talks about the drought and watering of trees  and

Mickey Mouse Topiary - 3 Months In - Creeping Fig Vine - July 2021

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Earlier this Spring, we came home with a Standing Micky Mouse metal wire topiary frame from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and I went ahead figuring out how to acquire the material, stuff the thing, wire it up and plant it with a creeping Fig Vine.  Here's that post from April that shows the steps I took to get it set up initially.   Mickey Mouse topiary spent the first few months of its life on our counter top in the kitchen sitting in a bowl.  I tried to keep it pretty wet and the vine grew just a little bit.  Then, I had a setback with some dieback on the tips of the vine.  I think I let it dry out too much.  Around the beginning of June, I decided to try to move it outside on our back stoop and patio.  After a few days of trying to harden the vine off (I put it out in the shade for a few hours, then brought it back in.  Repeat that process over the course of a week or so, each day adding a little bit of time.), I decided to give it a little bit of assistance in terms of

Humulus lupulus 'Cascade' Hops Vine Stretch Upward - July 2021

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Earlier this Summer - in early June - I planted a Humulus Iupulus 'Cascade' Hops vine in a sunny spot of our backyard.  I posted about it in July and mentioned that it was a very mature vine that was 'bulging' in the container that I bought from The Growing Place.  It suffered some tremendous transplant shock, but with a little bit of attention (and water), it recovered.  The photo below shows what it looks like mid-Summer - just about 40 days or so after planting it.  You can see that one of the vines is edging over the six-foot-tall fence. I put up a small, thin metal trellis that I found on our lot when we moved in, but you can quickly sense that it needs more.  Back in Elmhurst, I had these wooden trellises attached to our fence that I think would be worth exploring in this spot next year.  I'll have to put - adding a real trellis or vine system - to my 2022 to-do list.  For now, I'm thinking I'm going to drive a couple of screws into the fence to giv

ZZ Plant Root Bound and Divided - July 2021

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Nat has a couple of house plants around the house that she tends to with feeding and watering and general upkeep. One of those is a ZZ plant that lives in our bathroom upstairs. It doesn't get a lot of light, but for the past few years, it seemed to just truck on and put up shoots. Until recently. When it seemed to be in decline. There was a bunch of yellowing and not a lot of new growth. Here, below, is what it looked like when I decided to take action: It looks really crowded, doesn't it?  I figured it just needed to repotted, but I also researched if it could be divided.  Sure enough, there's plenty of posts about dividing a ZZ plant.  So, that was the path I took:  divide and repot to create two plants. First things first, though:  to remove the plant form the current container.  Turns out, it was inside a little nursery pot inside that larger container.  When I dug it out, the roots were curled out from under the nursery container and were wrapping around each ot

Doc and Marty - BTTF Playmobil Toys

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These are a couple of the KotBT's toys (that thanks to my BTTF-loving spouse) exist in our house. They're sitting in his room right next to my vintage wrasslers .   There's a WHOLE LINE of these from Playmobil including the Delorean, Marty's pickup, the hoverboard scene and (apparently?!?) an Advent Calendar.  Go here to see all the sets . All that we have is Marty with his guitar and Doc Brown with his brown gloves and a copy of the Save the Clocktower flyer.  They're super cute, right?   And...just to be clear: while these are supposed to be kid toys, they're clearly aimed at suckers like me, right?  I mean...just look at the detail on the back of the flyer (below) showing what Jennifer wrote to Marty in the movie: Feels like once these go thru the normal kid play cycle and they get shelved, I'll glom on to them and keep them on my desk.  That's the right thing to do, isn't it? I mean...I did go to the 25th anniversary showing of the film and post

Disney's Bar Riva Coaster - #38 in Collection/#14 Disney

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A couple of months ago, I posted some new coasters for the collection that were from Oga's Cantina in Black Spire Outpost in Disney's Hollywood Studios .  Those were the 37th coasters and 13th Disney-specific coasters.  I mentioned that the rise of parks ephemera in the form of drink coasters is a really nice trend. Today's post is featuring a new Disney coaster from their new (at least to us) resort called Disney's Riviera Resort.  On the ground floor, near the pool, there's a great lounge called Bar Riva .  It is like eating indoors outdoors.  Or, eating outdoors indoors.  The food was good, the place looks great.  And...they have custom coasters that are oval and include this RR-logo that you can find in various places around the resort . This makes 14 Disney coaster sets (thanks, Lamplight Lounge and Oga's Cantina for having to say 'sets') that I've documented on the blog for the collection. The full Disney list includes: 1. The standard one yo

Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas Blooming - July 2021

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Last Summer, I planted a series of seven Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas .  Two dwarf versions and five normal ones.  These were contemplated as part of our existing landscape plan and I planted them along the fence on the southside in the bed closest to the kitchen nook window.   Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas are officially named Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice' (thanks Roy Diblik) is described by NC State Extension office as a shrub that puts on a white flower show that fade to pink.  From their post : Oakleaf Hydrangea 'Alice' is an erect rounded decidous shrub with showy white flowers that appear in early to mid-summer. As the flowers age they fade to pink. This shrub will reach a height of 5 to 8 feet tall and wide at maturity. Plant 'Alice' in the full sun to partial shade in moist well-drained soil. Mulch this plant in the summer to conserve soil moisture.   Like all hydrangeas, it needs to be pruned immediately after flowering as flower buds are produced on sec

New Lower Trunk Growth - Dwarf Umbrella Plant - July 2021

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We have a pair of dwarf Umbrella container plants that Nat has had around the house for a couple of years.  One of them had prime placement on our kitchen table.  The other was neglected up in our spare bedroom between last Summer (2020) and this Winter (Jan/Feb 2021).  The one on our kitchen counter has been something we look at all the time, so I've been pruning it pretty regularly by lop'ing off the tips to try to push some new side growth.  Properly known as Schefflera arboricola ,  that particular Umbrella plant is thick and full from a few inches off the soil all the way to the top.  The pruning has worked.   The other one - the neglected one - was shaped like a lollipop.   It was angled and top-heavy.  The first thing I did was to dig it up, transplant it and straighten it out.  Then, I began to prune it.  All from the top, hoping that it would push out some new growth further down the trunk. Here's a post in mid-Feb where I did the first top-prune . And, just a week

Allium angulosum Summer Beauty - July 2021 Flowering Update

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We have twelve clumps of Summer Beauty Allium ( Allium angulosum 'Summer Beauty' ) in our backyard that were planted in 2020.  In two batches:  first a group of four , then eight more .  They're now placed in a colony of five and a colony of seven.  Odd numbers is what other gardeners always recommend. All of them have done well this year and I'm happy to see them about to burst open and put on their mid-Summer show.  They disappear over Winter, but put out this lovely dark green foliage that stays green at the tips.  Here's a look at them emerging from the mulch in late March of this year .   The drift of five is planted at the base of the Greenspire Linden horizontal cordon espalier - you can see them below.  The photo looks like there is four, but there's one behind #3 (from the left) in the back row against the fence.  Head here and scroll to the bottom of the post to see the original four plantings with one kind of 'behind' the others.  In the pho