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Showing posts from September, 2021

Bald Cypress - September Flush of Growth - September 2021

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It seems that September is when we get a big flush of growth on our front yard Bald Cypress tree.  This year is the second year in a row when I've been able to catch (and document) the new, happy feather-like needles that show up in a big, late-Summer blow-up.  Here's last year's post on the same subject .  The last time I posted a photo was from July when this tree had new Summer-time growth . Here - below - is a look at the big, feathery "pom-poms" of growth that are currently sitting on a bunch of the limbs and branches.   I used "pom-poms" because they are sort of little balls of growth on the edges that remind me of pom-poms. And, here below, is a look at the full tree.  It has really grown big and strong this season and comes in close to eight or nine feet tall by my eyeball. I haven't measured the caliper of the trunk, but it is sizable - and way up compared to what I measured 18 months ago when it was less than 1.25" .  I'll get the

Toad Lilies Rabbit Damage - September 2021

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Documenting a bit of pest damage to our Toad Lilies in late Summer/early Fall here with what I think is a rabbit gnawing on these perennials.  See below, for a photo of one of the three Toad Lilies that I planted this year.  This is the one that is closest to the fence and has suffered the most damage.  It is down to a single stalk with one good-sized leaf.  I mentioned in August that we didn't see any flowers on these this year as they were chewed right off by rabbits (I'm guessing) while we were on vacation .  In that post, I talked about having to put up some pest fencing - and I thought that would be a "next year" task.  But, with one of these suffering and me seeing a lot of rabbits around our garden, the time is now to put that fencing up.   I grabbed a little bit of chicken wire and wrapped them in a ring - with the goal of keeping these alive during their last few weeks.  I put the two on the right in one ring.  And the most-damaged one (on the left) in a ring

Abiqua Drinking Gourd Hosta - Three Bought - September 2021

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Last month, I posted about an interesting hosta that I came across at the Growing Place called Brother Stefan hosta.  In that post , I referenced a Rob Zimmer column in the Wisconsin Gardener that highlighted a few OTHER 'interesting' cultivars of hostas that mentioned a hosta that I've seen ALL OVER various big box garden centers and, without much thought, I simply dismissed.  I dismissed it because it seemed very popular.  But, Zimmer calls the Abiqua Drinking Gourd 'One of the true giants'.  Well...that has me interested.   Source via WisFarmer.com So, when I found myself at one of the Home Depots this past weekend, I picked up a trio of Miscanthus sinesis 'Adagio' Maiden Grasses .  I also found these Abiqua Drinking Gourd hostas in the 50% off section.   Well, they *had* to come home with me.  Below, you can see the label: And, here, below, are the trio of these hostas in their nursery containers: What is the description of these?  New Hampshire Host

Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio' - Dwarf Maiden Grasses - September 2021

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Last year, I added a number of new perennials to our garden in late September due to a shopping trip to the Morton Arboretum Fall Plant Sale.  That was, turns out, a one-time event due to COVID cancelling the annual Arbor Day sale.  It ended up working to my benefit because I brought home all sorts of new/interesting material including some new (to me) hostas , a slew of All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses , my first sedges and a Katsura tree .  With no Fall Sale, I'm left to my own devices in terms of shopping for some sales at the garden centers where I am finding some things that fit our plan AND are on sale.  Those are my two criteria for shopping this Fall:  50% off sale + something that fits in our plan or is something I've posted a 'dreaming' post about. I started a few days ago with the pair of Sugar Tyme Crabpple trees - which I'm planning on espalier'ing - in our sideyard .  Today, sharing a couple of photos of a new dwarf Maiden Grass that I bought in a

Karl Foerster Feather Reed Driveway Grasses - September 2021

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Putting this photo in the [ garden diary ] here to show what the trio of Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses look like in late September, 2021.  The formal name for this sport is: C alamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' , so I should start calling them that in these posts, right? Photo below shows all three of them putting on a lovely, golden show with their reeds standing tall and the grass blades turning a bit rusty, but still providing a lot of interest.  These grasses are sandwiched between our driveway, our front way, our front stoop and the front porch. I showed these same grasses in July of this year when they have a lightweight almost-purple look to them  and now have them planted in four spots (two in back, two in front).  Compare that photo above with the photo in this post (that I'll paste below) from early October 2019 - just about 2 years ago.  Source - Same Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses from early October 2019 . They look about the same, right?  Tha

Transplanted Lemon Coral Sedum to New Sidewalk Bed - September 2021

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A week ago, I finally had enough with a 'tough-to-grow-grass spot' in our front yard .  It a little section sandwiched on the ' in between two driveways ' island and right up against the sidewalk.  My thought was that part of the reason that the turf goes dormant here every Summer is because the heat radiates off the concrete on two sides and just dries the area out.  And, that's certainly part of it.  Not to mention that I don't water it enough.  But, last week, when I cut this new little bed in , I also discovered that there isn't much soil here.  Just a little bit of top soil - like an inch or two - followed by mostly gravel.   After I cut out the edge of this little bed and removed the turf, I ended up dumping a few bags of compost in the area to thicken up the area and provide a bit more organic material to allow for things to root in and (hopefully) grow.   I then looked around to see if I had any plant material on hand that I could transplant into thi

New Garden Spade - My First Sneeboer - September 2021

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What an upgrade.  Or, at least it SEEMS like an upgrade vs my normal small spade.  This was a gift (birthday), but since COVID, the folks at Sneeboer were behind. I have just learned about their tools this season and have quickly become enamored with their garden tools.  Why?  Here's what Garden Tools Co has to say about Sneeboer : Sneeboer hand forged Dutch garden tools have been handcrafted in Holland since 1913 and are considered the finest quality garden tools available anywhere in the world. Sneeboer...the best garden tools you'll ever own! Where did I come across Sneeboer?  Consider me 'influenced' by the Impatient Gardener.  Erin, in this post, calls this shovel the "tool that changed everything about gardening for me."   Big boast, right?  You can go read her whole post to learn about how she noticed in British gardening shows use a tool that doesn't look like our traditional gardening spade that we have here in the US.   Here, below, is mine: The

Two Malus 'Sutyzam' - Sugar Tyme Crabapple Trees Planted - Pre-Espalier - September 2021

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This past weekend, our next door neighbors had a party on their back patio.  It was a really nice time (aside from a sting...) with a lot of great people.  At the party, I found myself sitting in one of their Adirondack chairs and facing my own house.  And I couldn't help but be struck by this big, blank wall staring back at me: This is part of the south side of our house that has a little sideyard that we've (mostly) neglected.  I have three Disneyland Roses over there - you can see two of them in the photo above.  But, there's just a linear, foundation-hugging border and some ratty turf.  Based on how the Village of Downers Grove mandates the grading, there's also a little ditch 1   but other than that, nothing much to see here.   I've long thought about converting all of this side yard into a bed; it gets a lot of sun, the grass doesn't do much for me and it would be a little bonus garden.  The downside is that nobody really sees it - including us.  But, th

Plant Dreaming: Virginia BlueBells - Yes?

Despite it being September, my brain is already thinking ahead to Spring.  That (for me), normally means bulbs.  And I'm working on that - as I type.  But, it also has me thinking about something else - that is new to me:  Spring ephemerals.   One of them that I'm most interested in - after seeing them LIVE in person at Northwind Perennial Farm - is Mertensia virginica - or Virginia Bluebells. View this post on Instagram A post shared by E R I N🌿The Impatient Gardener (@impatientgardener) That post, above, is from Erin the Impatient Gardener.  I've told you how much I like her garden - as she's in my zone.  I don't have many "Spring Ephemerals" that aren't Fall-planted bulbs and this one feels like a good add to my garden.  Here's a document from the Wisconsin Horticulture Department Extension office that talks all about them . A few things jump out to me - see for snippets below : Virginia bluebells can be used in borders or

Undulating Yew Hedge - Update and Inspiration - September 2021

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I planted some tiny, upright Yews back in the Summer of 2019 in hopes that they'd, one day, form a cool hedge near the rear of our property.  They made it through the first couple of growing seasons and by last October, I could *start* to envision the future when I looked at the area .  My original inspiration for the wavy or curved hedge came via this post where I referenced a Bunny Williams garden that was, in turn, inspired by a Jacques Wirtz garden in Belgium.    This year, some of the yews have put on new growth - adding height and filling out.  Here, below, is a look at one of the tallest and the new growth from this season.  I planted a few of the (initally) taller ones together in hopes that I could get that undulating look earlier by engineering some selective height pattern.  Seems to be working in that the grouping of tall ones continue to lead the pack.   Below, is another look at the hedge from the side.  They need to keep growing both up and out - to close the gaps b

Late Blooming Perennials - Missing From Our Garden - September 2021

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I was reading this post about what Margaret Roach from A Way To Garden includes in her September gardening chores each year and I was struck by one item:  she takes an inventory of late-blooming perennials as part of her critical look at the garden .  That made me pause.  And think about my garden.  And...what's in bloom?  The answer:  nothing. We're just BARELY holding on in lots of places.  But, not blooming.   Her post talks about thalictrums among others - that (now) have my interest.  One that wasn't mentioned was something that I, frankly, was unaware of until this past weekend.  I was also at Northwind Perennial Farm up in Wisconsin recently and came across this pink flowering perennial named Pink Turtlehead - Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' that I *SHOULD* have bought when we were there.  Alas, I passed on them because I didn't know where to put them in our garden.  This is a late-blooming perennial that has the added bonus of being able to tolerate a little

Juniper in a Wooden Tree Box - DIY Project Idea

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I have an idea for a garden-related project that has been knocking around my head for a number of years.  Well...there are tons of those kind of projects, frankly.  But, for this post, I'm talking about one of them specifically.  This one...involves trees.  And...I haven't moved on it - for a variety of reasons including shifting priorities, lack of need, the right nursery stock and the opportunity.   It starts with this post about Hollywood Junipers in 2018 where I posted a photo of a tree in a wooden box for a container .  And, was likely rekindled during one of my trips to Tokyo where I saw all sorts of container'd conifers.  Like this one from House of Bonsai below: Via House of Bonsai . This is not my photo. And, even more recently, I came across a couple of striking conifer trees by the bus stops down at Disney Springs.  They were relatively new (newly planted) and still had their tags on them. Here's a shot of them below: And, below, is a look at the tag reveali

Shagbark Hickory Seedling Update - September 2021

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Back on Earth Day this Spring, the kids and I went over to Benet Academy and picked up a free native tree seedling from their Environmental Club.  The tree was very small - a little trunk - and a lot of roots.  It was a Shagbark Hickory and I planted it in the backyard .  I then, promptly, forgot about the tree.  I figured it was dead.  Or never alive.  There were a couple of buds on the tree seedling, but I wasn't positive it had any life in it to begin with when I planted it in May. The tree has done nothing.  The buds didn't open.  The tree didn't leaf out at all.  Here is a look at the tree in the photo below: The photo isn't great because it is hard to get my phone to focus on the tiny, thin trunk.  Here's an annotated photo (below) with a red line showing the trunk and a few branches up top.  Again...no leaves at all on this tree. It is dead, right?  At least, that's what I assumed.  But, when I did the whole 'fingernail trick' on the trunk of the

New Bed Near Sidewalk - Trouble Spot - September 2021

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A few days ago, I posted (once again) about the 'in between two driveways' part of our yard and talked about how the hot, Summer sun beats down part of the area so much so that I've had the grass go dormant every year.  In that post, I talked about taking on just a PART of the area - down by the sidewalk - which is the worst-hit portion of the turf each year.  My thinking was to convert this section to a bed and plant it with something a bit more drought-tolerant.    My longer-term thinking is to convert much of this section 'in between two driveways' to a long, linear bed with just a little bit of turf .  But, that's a big project requiring quite a bit of turf removal AND a lot of planting.   That means I'm going to start with a smaller section right now - and I started to carve out the bed last night.  Just to get the contours of the area that I want to transform, I removed the edge and will follow with removing the (now dormant) turf in the coming days.

Tuff Stuff and Everlasting Revolution Hydrangeas - September 2021

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We have a pair of hydrangeas that are what I'd consider somewhat exotic.  I say that because they're not something you'd come across at your normal Big Box nursery - like Limelights or what-have-you.  These were given to us by Nat's Mom as an anniversary gift back in 2017 - our first late Summer/early Fall in our house.  The two of them are a Tuff Stuff Mountain Hydrangea .  And an Everlasting Revolution Hydrangea .  They were both planted in 2017.  And I've posted about them over the years - where they've grown a bit, have survived, but NEVER produced any flowers.  I recently transplanted the smaller one - Everlasting Revolution - to be closer to the front of the bed due to its small size. Tuff Stuff Mountain Hydrangea - Has never flowered.  Always a bit bigger than the Revolution. Planted October 2017 June 2018 - first Summer .  Appeared to grow on both new and old wood. August 2018 - survived the first heat wave during the first Summer. September 2019 - end