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Showing posts from May, 2022

Crabapple Palmette Verrier Espalier Beginnings - Spring 2022

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Earlier this week, I showed off a couple of photos that featured the pair of Sugar Tyme Crabapple trees that were in (what I then called) a pre-espalier form .  These were planted last Fall along the southside of our house, in front of our gate.   Since they had already bloomed, I thought it was time to take out the pruners and remove all the non-necessary limbs to allow the trees to focus growth on the limbs that I cared most about.  I started with a top haircut - pruning off the apical meristem or leader on both.  That usually has a strong impact on the tree where it signals a bunch of NEW growth.  I used the siding boards to get them the same height.  From there, I went two siding boards down and removed all the little, starting limbs in between those two segments.  Then, again two boards down.  And so forth.   I still am not sure what form these will take, but - for now - I'm training them horizontally.  See below for what are (now) four-level horizontal cordon espaliered craba

Late Starter: Totem Pole Switch Grass - Mid-May 2022

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Most all of our other grasses have woken up already.  But, up until the last few days, I was worried that we had lost the one Prairie Winds Totem Pole Switchgrass that we have planted in our front yard.  It is kind of 'behind' the Norway Maple.  I bought it from the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale last Spring .   By early August, it was putting on some growth, but certainly didn't live up to its billing:  super tall .   Later in the month, it was able to withstand the heat of August and be in fine shape .   But, all Spring, there was NO Activity.  Not a single blade.  And then...we had a heat wave.  Last week, the temperatures were in the 90's all week.  And guess what?  That pushed everything along.  Including this Totem Pole Switchgrass.  See below for how it looks in mid-May: Oh...and see that Lemon Coral Sedum?  It is back for another season.  Groundcover is on my 2022 list , so I should think about more of this, right?

Three New Ivory Prince Hellebores Planted - May 2022

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I brought home three Ivory Prince Hellebores from the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale and was able to get them into the ground in the border that held our lone ( previously purchased ) Hellebore.  You can see them in the photo below:   the three Ivory Prince Lenten Roses / Hellebores are now planted in a triangular shape *around* the existing Sally's Shell (now planted in the middle).  This area is bordered by a large/mature Catalpa tree (you can see a peek at the trunk on the far left of this photo below). In the coming days/weeks, I'll mulch these in and have the edge of the bed cleaned up.  With four (now) in this spot, I'm hoping for some self-sowing (according to the Web...that's a thing.  But, it hasn't happened for me just yet) and spreading.  This area calls for ten total Hellebores , so we're getting close to half-way there.  

Crabapple Pre-Espalier Trees in Bloom - May 2022

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Last Summer, we planted a pair of Sugar Tyme Crabapple trees on the side of our house - the south side that gets a lot of sun - right up against the foundation.   I watered them in a bit, but we were (mostly) past the heavy heat of the Summer (mid-September is when they went in), so I kind of let the trees just figure things out on their own.  I didn't train these very hard last Fall because of that.  I left them as is and didn't prune anything off of them.  I did, however, put a couple of limbs out horizontally with some light bamboo poles, but otherwise didn't touch them. Earlier this Spring, there was a peek at one of them (naked) in this Disneyland Rose protection post from mid-March .   What happened this Spring?   They woke up.  And put on a really nice show.  Pink buds opened up to white flowers with pink centers clustered all over both trees.  See below for a pair of pre-espalier crabapple (Sugar Tyme - Malus 'Sutyzam') trees . This post is going up on May

Trees Breaking Bud Timing - Spring 2022

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Last week, I posted a couple of photos showing the timing of the Cherry Blossoms in our backyard on on small Kwanzan Flowering Cherry Tree .  This was the fifth of six growing seasons where we able to experience Cherry Blossom season.  Kinda nice.    Before we get too far into the Summer, I wanted to post a few photos in the [ tree diary ] showing the timing of some of our trees breaking bud this year.  These photos were all taken on Monday, May 9th.  So, we can call that early/mid May, right? First up - Dawn Redwood.  By May 9th this year, the needles were beginning to show up.  See below: Here's another look at the Kwanzan Flowering Cherry Tree.  Leaves and flowers by early/mid May: Below is the "Grampy Tree" - the first London Planetree in the far back of the yard .   The three smaller ones I planted at the end of last season that I'm planning on PLEACHING aren't this far advanced.  That has me a bit concerned.  Below is the small Pagoda Dogwood tree that we a

Hakonechloa Macra Hakone Grass Back For First Spring - May 2022

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Last year, I bought three Japanese Forest Grasses - Hakonechloa Macra Hakone Grass - from Northwind up in Wisconsin and planted them right at the base of the big Northern Red Oak tree - the tree swing tree amongst some hostas.  These grasses are similar to the All Gold variety that I have in a few places, but these aren't as 'lime green' color, but rather a darker green.  They're also (per the signage) more vigorous.   This is their first Spring and all three of them have emerged from the mulch.  You can see them (below) tucked into the border with some hostas (Frances Williams and others) above them.   My plan is to let all of these things come up and then decide if I need to transplant a few things around.   The bare root hostas are starting to get to a more-mature size and as they fill in, I think there might be a few more than necessary here.  

Carex Pensylvanica Black Seed Heads - May 2022

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Last year, I planted a few Carex Pensylvanica in our backyard (under the Frans Fontain European Hornbeam trees) that I brought home from Northwinds Perennial Farm up in Wisconsin.  It doesn't look like I planted anything about these being in the garden last growing season.  These were the the pilot plantings of Carex under these trees and they seemed to do fine last year.   Carex Pennsylvania can be planted as close as 1' centers where they'll knit together to create a carpet.  Mine are planted 10-plus feet apart, so there's, ummm, no 'knitting' going on.   But what *is* going on?  A really lovely Spring seed head show.  See below for a look at one of these Carex showing off dark colored, almost-black, seed heads with the flush of new Spring growth. I've taken different approaches with all three of these sedges in terms of Spring cleanup.  This one (above), I've left as-is.  No trimming at all.  One of the other ones I ran over with the lawn mower and

Kwanzan Cherry Tree Blossoms - May 2022

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The Cherry Blossoms are in bloom.  At least in our backyard.  The photos below show our Kwanzan Flowering Cherry Tree in bloom with pink flowers and red-to-maroon foliage.  Those leaves turn out ordinary - green-colored - as the Spring and Summer wears on.   This tree was bought in Mid-May in 2017 as we were still building our new house.  We planted this ahead of our occupancy and had to baby it as the heat of Summer arrived .   For the full tale of the tape, here's the history of this tree below.  It has bloomed five of six years with 2019 being the only year we saw no flowers.   2017: Bloomed (when purchased) in mid-May . 2018: Bloomed that first Spring after being planted in mid-May . 2019: No blooms. Looked like it wanted to in mid-May . 2020: Bloomed (during the pandemic) in early May . 2021: Bloomed in late April (photos in this post were taken on April 28, 2021) 2022:  Bloomed in mid-May. (photos taken on May 11). 2021 was the earliest (late April), but the other four

Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangeas - Planted in Back - May 2022

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Yesterday, I posted a couple of photos showing the location of the Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangeas that we bought at the Morton Arboretum and planted in the backyard (southside bed, understory of the secondary Northern Red Oak tree).   I also bought two MORE Oakleaf Hydrangeas from the sale - Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangeas - that are also planted (now) in our backyard.  This time, however, they are in the northside bed.  These Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangas  (Hydrangea Quercifolia) are MUCH darker green than the Little Honey variety, but like the Little Honey, these maintain a compact form of under five feet tall .   Last year, when I moved the Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas out from the fence, I moved ONE of them over to the south bed - in between the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree and the Weeping Nootka Falsecypress tree .   The plan calls for three flowering shrubs planted in a cluster here and that's why I brought home two Ruby Slippers shrubs from the Morton Arboretum Sale.  

Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangeas Planted - May 2022

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A week ago, I started posting a series of photos of the plant material that we brought home from the annual Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale.  The first of those posts were these three Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangeas that are bright chartreuse in color and are dwarf (under 5' tall) in stature.  The plan called for three Little Lime Hydrangeas, but because this spot is deeper into the shade than it used to be (when the plan was built/drafted), I decided to call the audible and move to an Oakleaf variety.   I tucked these three into the area just to the West of where I dug out the Lilacs.  They get four feet tall and four feet wide, so when mature, they'll (hopefully) fill in the current spacing.  You can see the three Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangeas standing OUT in the landscape below: Here, below, is an annotated version of that same photo showing where these are located - understory of the flowering Kwanzan Cherry tree and bordered by the Everillo Sedges and one (of th

Prairie Dropseed from Morton Arboretum - May 2022

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When I did the series of posts showing off the various plant materials that I brought home from the annual Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale, I forgot to include a couple of plants that I bought.  I showed the Little Honey Hydrangeas , Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangeas and the three Ivory Prince Hellebores .  But, I also brought home two grasses:  Prairie dropseed - Sporobolus heterolepis.  Here (below) is a look at the two grasses: And, here below, is the sign from the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale where they describe Prairie Dropseed - Sporobolus heterolepis as "Prairie native grasss that is extremely tough. Makes a great natural addition to the home landscape with beautiful, dense and arching clumps of fine textured leaves.  Flowers have a unique fragrance." The University of Wisconsin Horticulture Extension Office has a page on Prairie Dropseed that provides a few more details : It was was named a Plant of Merit by the Missouri Botanical Garden in 2005 and was selected

All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses In Spring - May 2022

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This Spring, the backyard bed (under the tree swing) is showing eight All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses that have emerged from the mulch.  These are notorious slow-starters (for me), so I'm happy to see that all eight (from last Fall) have come back.  Here's last year's Fall look .   That's down one from Spring when I had nine in this bed.    You can see this area in the photo below with the grasses near the border of the curve in the bed: There's a lot going on in that photo.  Tulips glowing up in the background and more.  So....Below is an annotated version of the same photo showing the eight All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses.  In the back (in the blue circles) are three Miscanthus sinesis 'Adagio' that I planted last Fall .  In the orange circle is the lone  Green Mountain Boxwood from 2021  that is a pyramidal form.  For some of these, this will be the third growing season, while for others this will be the second - which I'm hoping means they're

Front Yard Ornamental Grasses Divided and Transplanted - May 2022

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I've posted a series of times about the Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses that we have in our landscape and how I've been digging them up, dividing them and transplanting them to various spots of our beds to provide that notion of a cohesive design with repeating patterns of specific plants.  I started doing this last Fall and then did even more this Spring after realizing that the ones I divided last Fall were just fine.   Last week, I showed how I made eight new divisions in the backyard and planted them in various places in the backyard.  The final Karl Foerster grass that I needed to dig up and divide was this large one in between our driveway and front walk stoop.  It was left there as a hedge - but is suffering from some center rot.  It needed to be divided.  See below for the 'before'.  The two further back were divisions from last Fall and are showing some new green tips this Spring: After digging that one out and dividing it up, I put one of the segments back

Ivory Prince Hellebores - Morton Arboretum Sale - May 2022

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Day three of running through what I brought home from the annual Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale last weekend.  Started with talking about how I prioritized shrubs and came home (first) with three Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangeas and two Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangeas . #2 on my 2022 to-do list was to try to add perennials that had four-season appeal and I mentioned, specifically that I needed to buy more Hellebores .  Thanks to drafting a plan and bringing it to the sale, I'm really glad that I was able to prioritize both flowering shrubs and....able to fit in three Hellebores into the budget.   Our plan calls for twenty (20) Hellebores (Lenten Roses) in two different colonies .  Listen...I really LOVE Hellebores.  But, they're ALWAYS so expensive.  I'm talking $20+ for each one.  And, the big box nurseries never carry them.  But, I needed to - as I said - 'bite the bullet' and buy some.   We have just ONE Hellebores - Sally's Shell - that we bought in

Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangeas - Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - May 22

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 Yesterday, I started with the first set of plants that I picked up at the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale:  three Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangea .  In that post, I talked about the sale (it is really great) and how I went in with a plan (shrubs first, others second).  I was able to (mostly) stick to my plan and brought home a total of five flowering shrubs - three Little Honey - and two Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangeas.  Again....I'll mention:  #1 on my 2022 to-do list was to focus on shrubs .  And, these two Ruby Slippers pays that off.  In my 'shrubs' post where I listed out needs, I talked about five Oakleaf Hydrangeas .  Turns out, I *think* that I really need either eight (three more) or (maybe) just five, but three more of SOME OTHER kind of dwarf flowering shrub.   Before we talk about placement, let's look at Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'.  Below are the two that I brought home: Below is the sign at the Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale.  It des

Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangea - Morton Arboretum Sale - May 2022

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This past weekend was the annual Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale.  I've gone the past couple of years and always have such a nice time and bring home really interesting plants that you just can't find at big box nurseries.  And, their prices are pretty fair.   Over the years, I've bought grasses ( All Gold Japanese Forest Grasses , Karl Foerster Grasses, Totem Pole grass ), trees ( a cool red Katsura and an Emperor 1 Japanese Maple ), ferns ( Ghost Ferns and others), sedges and both Epimedium and Pulmonaria.   Last year, I went in with a 'loose plan' and came home with a variety of plants that I really liked that work in our (mostly-shade) garden.   If you've never been, I'll tell you:  it is REALLY HARD to focus and prioritize.  Every table has something that is interesting and unique.  And, it is REALLY EASY to just start putting stuff in your box to bring home.  Soon, the total adds up and you're buying stuff that you are drawn to but...mayb

Doublefile Viburnum Treeform Planted Out Front Porch Bed - May 2022

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Our plan for the year called for a focus on shrubs .  Shrubs in the backyard, mostly.  But, also shrubs in the front yard.  In my post outlining the list of shrubs that are called for in the plan, I mentioned needing to replace one of the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas that are sitting in front of our front porch out front.  It started to decline last year and despite watering, it withered and died last Summer.  A couple of factors came in play (I'm pretty sure) that caused the hydrangea to die:  the surface root mat from the Norway Maple tree outcompeting the hydrangea COUPLED with the hydrophobic mulch that was taking place and not allowing the watering that I *was* providing to get down to the rootball.   I found four treeform Viburnum - Doublefile - at Menards and brought them home with the goal of adding them to our yard - mostly in the backyard.  Our plan called for eight additional Viburnum (Arrowwood Chicago Lustre) around the border of our yard that would complement the

Twinkle Toes Pulmonaria - Spotted Foliage - May 2022

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There are some plants that I've bought at various nurseries that seem to have done well and others that don't make it.  Then, there are the plants and perennials that I've bought at the Morton Arboretum plant sales.  I'm pretty sure that aside from some Huecheras that I planted in full Sun and were trampled by workers building the house next door, just about everything that I've brought home has worked out well.  The first time I went to the Morton sale was in the Fall of 2020 - they had a Fall Sale due to COVID - and I brought home some new-to-me perennials.  The first of those were three Twinkle Toes Pulmonaria - or Lungwort - that I planted in our backyard in late September 2020 .  They survived their first Winter and emerged for their first Spring a year ago - in mid-March 2021 .   Ever since, they've just performed and had some nice growth along the way.    The last time that I showed these were in Fall of last year when they put on some new, post-Summer g