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Showing posts from August, 2021

Another Belgian Fence (Maybe) - Defining the Patio Space, Entrance and Screening

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Yesterday, I posted a new photo of a Belgian Fence espalier that sits on the side of the Main Street USA train station at Disneyland Park in California and mentioned that I can learn something about spacing by looking at how they put their (non-tree) Belgian fence together to get a 4-wide x 2-tall diamond pattern.  I also posted earlier this month a 'progress shot' of my mixed apple (fruit and crab) Belgian Fence that is in the second growing season .   I was recently reading this piece on espalier design and usage where I came across this little note that made me think (again) about a second Belgian Fence.  From the post :   "Consider using a Belgian Fence to create outdoor rooms. Their design will impress year-round and provide a wall-like privacy when in bloom. During the holidays, they are prime candidates for Christmas lights." What's that you say? Outdoor room.  Hmmm....Interesting. Privacy wall.  Tell me more.   Christmas lights....well... I've spent

Diamond Pattern Espalier at Disneyland Resort - Belgian Fence - Summer 2021

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One of the things that I'm always struck by during our visits to the Disneyland Resort is the Disney horticulture .  I guess that I always look at a 'place's' horticulture, but when I'm at Disneyland, I always come away thinking how great of a job they do - AND - how foreign it is to me being a Zone 5b Northern climate gardener.   I've posted a bunch of photos over the years from our trips here on the blog including some photos of the Disneyland Roses , some crazy cubed shrubs near Small World  and a few times about some Belgian Fence espaliers that they have in the parks.  I first posted a photo of this Belgian Fence in January of 2019 .  Then, I posted about Disneyland's Belgian Fences later that same year.    Below, you'll see a new photo of what I think is the 'matching pair' to the espalier that I've posted about before.  This one is on the City Hall side of the train station - just as you go under the sign that reads:  "Here you l

Resurrection Lily Appears - August 2021

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Well, well, well.  Looks like we have a Magic Lily.  Or a Surprise Lily.  Or...what I think they call a Resurrection Lily (around here) in our backyard.  See below for the photo of a single Lily with six or seven flowers on it popping up in between our Oakleaf Hydrangeas in the south bed/border.  I don't seem to have documented this in the garden diary over the years, so I'm uncertain as to when it arrived or what it really is in terms of sport.  This post says that it is part of the amaryllis family - and I know I've grown those - but I'm not sure that I ever stuck one in the ground. But, sure enough.... *someone* planted this thing.  Either it came in with the mulch or it was planted in the beds at some point.  Kinda neat, right?  A surprise, indeed.  In fact, I'm putting this down in the [ garden surprise ] category.

Bressingham Blue Hostas - Update - August 2021

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Yesterday, I started a study or inventory of some potential hostas to think about digging up, dividing and transplanting during the month of September.  There are a bunch of candidates to think about in the backyard, but there are some that are most certainly on the no-dig, no-divide list.  At least this Fall.  I'm talking about some of the bareroot hostas that I planted earlier this Spring.  S tarting with these (below) Bressingham Blue hostas that I planted back in late April .  That post lists eight in the planting. But, today?  I see seven total plants that have withstood the Summer heat.  Two in the bac krow and five across the front of the border.  Below you can see the different sizes of the various Bressingham Blue hostas that have survived: Some are, clearly, larger and most established than others.  I've babied these with water for most of the Summer, as they're planted adjacent to one of our new trees.  I'm thinking that seeing these grow up and out is a goo

Dividing Hostas - An Inventory of Prospects - Late Summer 2021

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 One of the items on my early Fall garden task list is to divide up some of my hostas.  I usually do this in Spring and I think that causes many of them to be delayed a bit and not reach their potential in the growing season.  I've read around and it seems that there's mixed views :  some divide in Fall.  Some in Spring.  So, that's what I'm going to do:  divide some in the Fall.  After having divided a lot in the Spring.  Seems like the month of September is the month to divide.  I figure I'll give these a go right after Labor Day.  Cooling temperatures, but still enough time to establish themselves before going dormant with Winter. Here, below, is an inventory of some of the hostas that I think are ready to be divided.  By my count, there are 9 eligible specimens.  Dividing these will give me nine new plants to add to the beds.  For no cost and just a little bit of effort.  What's not to love about that?  Oh...transplant shock, you say?  I suppose there's

Menards Halloween is Up - August 2021

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The team at the Bolingbrook Menards has begun to transition away from Summer/camping/back-to-school in the seasonal section to the best part of the year:  early Halloween - which gives way to early Christmas.  That means they have inflatables, window clings, a small amount of generic "fall" stuff (you know...it says things like 'give thanks' and what-have-you) and their spooky village.   Here, below, you can see some of the inflatables they have this year.  They're also adding some non-inflatable "creatures".  Dragons and such that are meant for the front yard and have some motorized movements, but not inflatable.    This row of inflatables features just one licensed Halloween inflatable:  a Frankenstein Minion halloween inflatable.  The rest are Menards house-brand, something called "Pumpkin Hallow".  They have this skeleton popping out of a jack-o-lantern, the dragon (you can see part of him on the right) and something they call "4'

Totem Pole Switchgrass - Late Summer Update - August 2021

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 I planted this grass in our front bed earlier this Spring after bringing it home from the Morton Arboretum Spring sale.  It is called the Totem Pole Switchgrass.  Named: Panicum virgatum Prairie Winds.  And, I broke the rule of buying just one of anything , but since this thing was billed to be SO BIG (6' tall) and I wasn't sure where it was going to go, I brought home just one.  I ended up sticking it behind the Norway Maple in our front bed.  And, that tree has been killing EVERYTHING in sight, so I wasn't sure how this particular grass would do in this spot.  I've lost hostas, ligularias and even a hydrangea in this area.  So, my fingers were crossed that this would provide a little bit of vertical interest and survive the shallow roots from the tree that seem to out-compete everything else around the tree.  Here, below, is a look at this grass after being in the ground all Summer.  It is about three-and-a-half-feet tall and doing decently well.  It has put up the

Compost Bin Layering Using Alfalfa Cubes - Late Summer - 2021

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Over the weekend, I posted a couple of photos that showed the latest turn in our two-bin and one tumbler compost setup in our backyard .  Since last Summer, I had one bin (the one on the right as you face it) in 'cooking' mode.  That one has some pvc pipes installed for passive aeration and was (mostly) the right mix of greens and browns.  The second bin (on the left) has been my storage, inactive bin.  I almost everything in there that I had collected since last Fall.  That means, once the bin on the right was full of the final grass and leaves combo from early Fall, I started to put in everything on the left. In the post from a few days ago , I showed how I had emptied out the active bin and took the (mostly) finished compost and moved it to my tumbler for a final few months of cooking.  My plan is use that compost come Spring time and will use the rest of the Summer and Fall to get it finished.  I also took the rest of the (not quite finished) material from the active bin (t

My Biggest Elephant Ear Leaf - Colocasia esculenta - Container Grown - August 2021

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Back in Spring, I planted a bunch of Colocasia esculenta corns in containers and even one in the patio-adjacent bed in our backyard.  I've grown them a number of times and I like the tropical vibe they lend to some of our larger containers.  Here's some from 2018 .  Some from 2019 .  I've also remarked about their trippy, almost hallucinogenic pattern on the top-side of the leaves .   This year, I think I've grown my largest plant that I've ever had in our containers.  Below, you can see the size of one of the leaves - my hand for reference.  Note:  I don't have tiny hands like our former president.  I *think* mine are normal.  I have to do more reading up on tropicals (and sub-tropicals) in containers - because every time I use one like these, I like it in our patio containers.  More to come on that - and something that I think I should put on my 2022 to-do list :  using more tropicals and sub-tropicals in my garden.

Late Summer Compost Bin Update - August 2021

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The last time I posted about our compost bins was back in mid-July when I measured the temperature right at/below the 'cooking' zone .  Since then, we've had the hottest weather of the year and that means that we had some 'action' in our bins.  Below, you can see in the photo what our two-bin setup looks like right now.  On the right, an empty bin.  On the right, a (mostly) full bin.   Compare these with what the same thing looked like in May of this year when both bins were (mostly) full:  This photo above is from May of 2021. Where did all that material go?  Well...the good news is that the bottom of the bin on the right looked like this below: Lovely stuff.  Black gold?  Almost. But, no smell.  No mud.  Just kinda feels great in your hand.   Where did this stuff go?  Into our compost tumbler - to be finished for next Spring.  My plan now is to run a three-bin setup that uses two large storage bins and our tumbler for finishing.   Below, you can see in the photo w

One Hakonechloa macra All Gold Grass - In Decline - August 2021

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I bought a bunch of All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses - Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' last Fall and then bought a few more this Spring - both times at the Morton Arboretum plant sale.   I planted six in the back and then after extending my beds dug many of them up and transplanted some to new spots .    After a Spring drought and a tough Summer, below is what this area looks like now.  The front row has six (photo only shows five) and back row now has just two.  Here, below, is a similar shot showing all nine back in May .  Green circles are the grasses.  I transplanted the back three closer it seems. The one that is dead?  (or in severe decline). The back row, furthest to the left.   See below - the red circle shows the placement.  What's the grass look like in that circle?  This - below.  Just one tiny shoot.  I'll baby it, but I think this thing is gone. I have another one of these out front that hasn't really sprung up too much.  For now, I'm calling these thi

Frans Fontaine Hornbeam Trees - Fourth Growing Season Summer Update - August 2021

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A few days ago, I received a new comment from a reader of my garden diary on this post all the way back in late May 2018 titled: " Frans Fontaine Hornbeam Planted - Hedgerow Spring 2018 ".  That post shows the eight columnar European Hornbeam trees that had been delivered and were being planted in our back and side yard to create (at that time, what I hoped to be) a privacy screen.  The comment - from JennyW - is here below: I've talked this before, but I write this daily online diary because I get joy out of doing it. I don't run advertisements.  I don't run sponsored content.  I also write for a pretty narrow audience - mostly myself.  I also look at the analytics data and know that there are really three audiences - in declining size order:   1.  The largest part of the audience: (mostly) one-time search readers (they search for something, click on the link and end up at my blog).   2.  Second biggest audience:  Referral.  This means that people are reading so

Belgian Fence Apple Update - One Tree Lost - August 2021

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Back in the dark, stay-at-home days of early COVID, I bought a series of eight tiny, various apple trees and proceeded to plant them 24" apart and lop them off at 18" tall .  Hoping that I'd - one day - have a diamond-pattern Belgian Fence espalier along the northern side of our property (facing south on the fence, though).  By August of that same year (2020), three of the trees had been lost .  And there was VERY little sense of the diamond pattern showing up just yet.   This Spring, I came across two suitable crabapple trees (I needed three!) and planted them.  Suitable in this case means:  on the Honeycrisp pollinator list, cost less than $10 a piece and disease resistant or recommended.  They went into the #1 slot on the left.  And the #6 slot from the left .  Leaving slot #5 open.   I have spent a little time out there pruning up the trees and wiring up the new growth this Summer.  The last time I posted a photo of this set of trees was mid-July when they were *START

Cascade Hops Fruit In First Growing Season - August 2021

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I added a Cascade Hops vine (Humulus lupulus) to our backyard earlier this Summer when I bought what seemed like a very mature (root bound) 1# nursery container at the nursery.  I had an existing (small) trellis and figured that I didn't need anything more significant this year.  That plant had a rough transition and suffered from some transplant stress because I beat up the roots pretty good.  But, it recovered by July and started to grow up and out . So, imagine my delight when I went out to the garden this week and saw that that this vine had fruited and we have some hops in this - our first growing season.    Why am I surprised? I've grown hops before.  Back in 2012, I planted a similar sport of hops vine - Golden (vs Cascade this time) back in Elmhurst.  And, according to this 2013 post , it didn't produce any fruit that first year.   And, didn't get any fruit in the 2nd growing season (2013) according to this post from 2014 .   It took the third growing season to

Plant Dreaming: Epimedium wushanense 'Sandy Claws'

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Yesterday, I posted a [plant dreaming] post about a 'stunning' Hosta:  Brother Stefan - that I came across at the local nursery.  Today, I'm sharing another plant that found on that same shopping trip that has some congruency to the Brother Stefan hosta.  First...like hostas, I *have* a few different cultivars of this plant.  And second, it is a show-boat when it comes to foliage.  I'm talking about Epimedium wushanense 'Sandy Claws'.  Here, below, are a couple of photos from the plants at The Growing Place.  First, the foliage.  And second, the sign.  I have five (currently) Epimedium Amber Queen(s) planted already - hence thinking about this particular sport as a new (potential) addition.  I put in three last Fall and two this Spring and - so far - they're pretty slow to grow.  They're about the same size as they were when I put them in.  And, based on what I've read, that's pretty normal.  They are 'slow to establish' plants.   If yo