Last week, I posted some photos and details of the Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses that I divided last Fall and transplanted around the yard with (so far...) success. At that time, I mentioned that I had a few more grasses that I left in place as a sort-of hedge against the division killing all of the grasses. This past weekend, I got around to digging up the remaining grasses and dividing them into new clumps ready for transplant. Starting with the little bed outside our kitchen window, we had (as of this Spring) three large clumps. Now, we're back to five smaller grasses - three in the back, two in the front. See that below: The other grass that was ready to divide was one outside our screened porch. I dug it up and divided it and put one of the divisions back in place - you can see it below. The newly divided grass is on the right along with three other grasses that were planted in subsequent years. Now there are four grasses in this little bed. I'm thinking tha
Showing posts from April, 2022
Last Spring, I planted two pairs of new (to me) ferns in a little bed: Two Shaggy Shield Ferns and two Tassel Ferns . This post is looking at the Tassel Ferns. They're different than what I have in other spots - Ostrich and Autumn Ferns - in a couple of ways: they emerge a little different in that they don't unfurl the same way AND....they don't shed all their prior season foliage. They're also - seemingly - this season the FIRST of the ferns to way up. See below for a photo of the tassels that have emerged along with last season's foliage that is still in place: The 'tassels' that you see in the photo are the reason for the fern's name. They're quite lovely and a welcome sign of Spring in the yard. The photo also is a reminder that I have a bunch of turf removal in the beds to continue to explore as well as finishing up the Spring cleanup to remove the dead foliage and the Oak leaves that are laying about. The other ferns in this area - Sh
The perennial that is the furthest ahead in terms of emergence and showing foliage this Spring? The trio of Queen of Hearts Brunnera that have popped up and begun to show their silvery-spotted leaves in the backyard bed close to the urn and the medium-sized Weeping Nootka Falsecypress tree . I planted these three last Summer - June of 2021 - in a little colony amongst some hostas in the newly defined bed . See below for their current state and how they're beginning to fill in the area with a full set of (as-of-now) small leaves. these had much larger leaves last year, so I'm expecting them to fill out even more as Spring continues ahead.
The multi-trunk Saucer Magnolia tree that we planted in our front yard in 2017 is RIGHT NOW in full bloom showing pink and white flowers all over the tips of the tree. The last time that I checked in on this tree was in mid-February of this year when I looked at the fuzzy cluster of buds on the tips of the limbs that were getting ready to put on the show. The history of the Saucer Magnolia in Northern Illinois - Zone 5b: Summer 2017 : Planted as a small, multi-trunk tree. Early May 2018 : Didn't bloom until early/mid May 2018. 2019: The tree did NOT bloom at all. Early April 2020 : Blooms began the first week of April. Mid-April 2021 : In bloom by mid-month (April). This year - April 2022 - the tree is in full bloom the last week of April: From April 23rd thru (at least) April 27th. See below for this VERY pretty tree: The tree continues to have a good upright shape. Once the blooms fade this Spring, I'll look to try to prune a few of the lower limbs to continue
I was digging around in some of the old landscape design files and I found this sketch of an expanded patio that adds a secondary square onto one of the corners that expands the whole patio, includes a firepit and a seating wall. It appears that we discussed going this route out of the gate, but opted for a smaller, starter patio. That doesn't mean this doesn't have merit - aside from the firepit - and a good reminder of what we *could* do back there with a slightly larger patio. Filing this drawing below for future reference. But, the other reason for this post is to mark an occassion. This is my 4,000th post on the blog. Across 18 years of blogging - since February 2004. More than half of those 4K posts have come in past seven years, so the once-a-day-everyday momentum has pushed the volume up in a big way.
Last Fall, I went around and started to divide up a bunch of Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses that were either suffering from some 'center rot' or simply just large enough clumps to warrant division. There were two sets: one in between our driveway and front stoop that had three and another set out of our kitchen window that had five. As I look around the yard today, I have good news: All of the divisions were successful and the grasses have come back for Spring. For now. First, let's start with the kitchen window grasses. I hedged a little bit and decided to dig up and divide just TWO of the five. I left the back three in place. Below, you can see those three remaining and in front of them a couple of divots where the other two came out. Where did I put them? I divided both of them into three new grass clumps. I put the first three on the corner of our patio - you can see below. These three are happy and green. The other one that was divided up into thirds was
On my 2022 to-do list there's a couple of items that have what I'm calling 'crossover appeal'; meaning that there's some intersection between the activities of one item that pay off a second item. In particular, I'm looking at #7 and #10. #7 on the list talks about "working trees three ways" - that include planting, measuring and seedlings. #10 in the list talks about my desire to press ahead with some 'seasonal projects' that includes collecting tree seed pods and attempting to propagate them into seedlings. Last year, I came across some Kentucky Coffee Tree seed pods at one of the kid's practices. After bringing them home, soaking them and getting them started , I ended up with some seedlings. At the end of the season, I decided to dig the seedling tray into the ground in an attempt to overwinter them . As of today, they haven't leaf'd out just yet and so I've just left them be in the ground. I'll dislodge the tra
One of the best features of our garden back in Elmhurst were our peonies. We had well-established and productive peony plants that produced a ton of blooms. When we moved to Downers, we inherited one, but it was planted back in the shade and never really did anything . I planted a couple and transplanted a couple from some teardowns , but they were all clustered in the back with not a ton of sun exposure. Until last year. When I expanded the beds closer to our patio and moved three of them there and one to the front yard - IB2DWs area. I also planted a new white one - Duchesse de Nemours white . If you look at the photo in this post , it looks like I had FOUR peony plants in this area last year. When I go to look at that spot, there's good news and bad news. Good news first: I see some of those tell-tale red tips emerging from the soil. If you look closely at this photo below, you can spot them: Now...the bad news: I only count three. See below for an annotated v
Earlier this week, we had some snow fall overnight. And flurries flew during the day. It didn't last long, but the temperatures have hovered around freezing all week and I keep hearing people talk about how we're experiencing a "late Spring" this year. The grass has green'd up, some of our ornamental grasses (the feather reed grasses) are up, tulips have pushed foliage (but no flowers) and I'm seeing some buds swell on our shrubs. And, I keep going outside to do little garden tasks, but I haven't taken on any large scale ones. Planting a few things, cleaning some parts of the garden up. But, mostly....waiting. Waiting for the weather. Some of our perennials are moving ahead - despite the temperatures. I see hosta tips (some cultivars), Brunnera tips and (as I posted yesterday) even peonies. But the trees? They're still bare. I wasn't sure how *normal* this is: to have no leaves at all on any of our trees in mid/late April. I don't
I've talked about how our yard, beds and even view of our house from the street has changed since we moved in back in 2017. At that time, we had a house next door (to the north) that was sitting closer (than our house setback-wise) to the street and had a driveway that wasn't right on the property line. With our new neighbors building and moving in a couple of years back, that changed. They upgraded the property and house in a MASSIVE way. And...they're just good neighbors and nice people. But, they did upgrade the property in so many ways. In doing so, they built their new house a bit further back from where the old, smaller house was situated. As a result, that 'view from the street' that I mentioned changed a little bit. It changed when you are coming south on our street/sidewalk and 'see' our house. What used to be hidden (mostly) due to landscaping and the old house was the side of our garage. It is a big, mass of wall with no windows. Here
We brought home four treeform DoubleFile Viburum a couple of weeks ago and once the Green Giant Thuja planting project (and Lilac transplanting), I got busy digging these Virurnum in the ground. Two went in along the north side fence, one went in back the fire pit and one is going in (not yet) in the front yard bed in front of our porch. Last Fall, I planted two Arrowwood Viburnum along the fenceline after finding them on an end-of-season close-out . The plan calls for a number of them, but four in a line where I've planted two (meaning...two more) and a few more along the back - some of which I've sub'd out (for now) for Lilacs. Starting out with the two additional ones along the north side fence ( see this post showing the location ), I needed to put in a pair between the two existing and the spot where the Canadian Hemlocks (which....are TINY, still) will grow. Like in the Lilac transplant landing zone, there was a scrub shrub standing which needed to come out s
I've been giving the " in between two driveways " strip some thinking lately - how to edge it ( boulders ), how to extend the beds to have them make more sense, looking at what worked/didn't work there since last year and what a color palette for this area could/should be. Frankly....I don't have a TON of flowers in any of my beds - as I've been MOSTLY a foliage gardener up there up to this point. It is #4 on my 2022 to-do list: "Enhance the IB2DWs Strip" . I already have some purples with the Serendipity Allium and the five BIG Pinball Wizard bulbs that I planted last year . And, taking what I've learned from Amy at Pretty Purple Door about color combinations, one path forward is what she calls an 'analogous color scheme' - that includes three adjacent colors on the color wheel. In this case, it would be using the three colors of: purple, violet and blue in those front beds. And, maybe beyond - like under the Norway Maple -
Last Summer, we had a Rabbit create a little baby bunny burrow right on the edge of our patio . While it sure was fun for the kids, it created some problems with the dog. Frankly... as I said back then : it was a bad spot for stashing some tiny bunnies. All Winter long, we've had rabbit damage, so they're not on the top of my 'invite list' when I think about critters making a home in our yard. But...I have to remind myself that one of the criteria for a "Certified Wildlife Habitat" is having 'places to raise young' . So, I suppose having our yard used for a second-straight year as a place to raise tiny bunnies speaks to the conditions. I said second-straight year. Yep. They're back. But, this time, the Mamma Rabbit picked a MUCH better spot: tucked in against the house, behind our air conditioners. Here (below), you can see the little fur she's provided as a blanket in the corner and how she puts the leaves and other landscape materi
Earlier this month, as part of a series of garden bed 'slices', I did some shrub exploration posts including the 'Lilac Replacement' section and the ' Northside Mixed Bed ' that kind of worked together. They both required some upright evergreens, but the Lilacs needed to be transplanted from one section to the other. Earlier this week, I got started by planting the upright evergreens - three Green Giant Thujas - in each section. From there, I dug up and transplanted the four Lilac shrubs (2 Nocture, 2 Common) in the Northside bed. Before I did the planting, I removed some of the lower, but still large limbs on the Hackberry tree to make sure these were getting the most sun they could get in this spot. Below is a look at the couple of cuts I made with my extension saw: Here's what the newly planted area looks like with three evergreens, four flowering shrubs, an existing scrub shrub and a small London Planetree (below): And, here's an annotated versi
A few seasons ago, I planted a juniper shrub in the nursery pot IN the ground in an attempt to begin to grow some 'pre-bonsai' material . I planted one that way and one directly in the ground. Turns out, the one in the ground has grown quite a bit while the one in the nursery container has suffered. Earlier this Spring, I decided to abanondon that pre-bonsai idea and just DIRECTLY plant the evergreen shrubs in the beds - that includes this Bird's Nest Spruce that I need to do the same way . While I was out planting the Green Giant Thujas, I decided to deal with the juniper -which...at the time I didn't know the species. I dug up the can and found this label that reads: Juniper Pfitzeriana Aurea . Here (below) is a look at the one that I left in the ground and the hole from this juniper shrub: And, here (below) is where I transplanted it: next to the urn in the northside bed - which moved it a bit closer to the front/middle of the bed where it can provide some f
This is just year two of the set of Cascade Hops vine that I have growing in our backyard, but that's a little like providing ages for some of the kids in the Little League World Series. I'm not sure it is accurate. That's because I bought a SUPER root-bound plant that was more mature than traditional nursery stock, so I'm thinking that it is one year older than I 'consider' it to be. Besides the container it came in, what's another indicator of the REAL age? It fruited last year - in year one - of being in the ground . As I wandered around the beds peeking at what is coming to life this Spring, I noticed the tips of the vine emerging from the mulch and was surprised by the color: they're purple. See below: Feels like I'm NOW on-the-clock with a portion of #6 on my 2022 to-do list: install a proper trellis for the Hops vine . Need to find one and bring it home BEFORE the vine takes off this season.
The season has begun. With planting. And, we're off to a strong start with six new trees going in: Green Giant Thujas - Thuja standishii plicata. Are these really trees? According to the tag, they're categorized as trees, not shrubs (see the bottom photo for the tag), so I'm counting these as trees. I put in three on the northside, three on the southside - all in the back. Here are the three on the southside: And, here (below) are the three on the northside. I also transplanted the four lilacs over here, so you can see those in the photo below. More on that in a separate post. Thuja standishii plicata - Arborvitae Green Giant. These are the first trees of the season with the last ones planted last Fall being the three London Planetrees that I intend to try to pleach . I haven't done a full accounting of what survived/didn't survive just yet, so I'm counting these as the: 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd and 74th trees that we've planted across six growin