Last Spring - May of 2021 - I bought and planted three lime green heucheras named Dolce Apple Twist and planted them along the border in the south beds of our backyard. I quickly transplanted some found hostas around them, filled them with ferns and a few months later added three companion (yet contrasting) purple heucheras named Palace Purple . I interplanted these two by alternating the Apple Twist and Palace Purple. That meant that last year....there were six coral bells (or Heucheras) in a little cluster. This post is about the Dolce Apple Twist varieties. These were from Proven Winners and bought at the orange big box nursery. And, you can see in the photo below that there's just ONE left. That means two have died and are gone. I've long thought about doing an 'In Memoriam' post at the beginning of every Spring that lists everything that didn't make it. I should add these to the list. Heck...maybe I need to do a list like that in the Fall, too.
Showing posts from August, 2022
Last week, I shared here on my lawn diary a little breakthrough. For the past 18-or-so months, I've been watching a grassy weed creep along and begin to migrate from my far backyard to closer to our patio. And, after reading about various grassy weeds, I came to the (initial) conclusion that I was dealing with Poa Annua - or an annual Bluegrass. It was showing some of the signs like being lime green. But, after observing the lawn this Spring, I noticed that the parts affected green'd up later and seemed to handle the Summer better than the balance of my Bluegrass. I was planning on doing a complete renovation in the back by killing EVERYTHING off and starting from scratch with a new layer of seed this Fall. As I prepared for that, I went in to see if I could learn more about what was back there and how much I *really* needed to kill off vs. just overseed. When I went in and pulled a mature stalk of grass, I discovered it had this sort of horizontal branching structure.
We have two Praying Hands hostas in our backyard shade garden. They are both planted close to each other in the hosta bed underneath the large Northern Red Oak tree swing tree and tucked in amongst some other known varieties like Frances Williams and Christmas Tree as well as a bunch of other, unknown varieties - some variegated, some not. I planted the first one of these in Fall of 2020 . At some point, I acquired a second one. I don't seem to have posted about this second planting, nor how I transplanted the first one, but those two things did, indeed happen. I originally planted this back by the colony of Guacamole Hostas, but I moved it because there's a little path to a kids picnic table there and this was going to be trampled. Here, below, is a look at both of them. First, the larger of the two. I'm thinking this is the 2020 version below. You can see ferns and other hostas in the photo. As well as the tray of Kentucky Coffee tree seedlings that I have tuck
The last time I posted photos of the tray of Kentucky Coffee Tree Seedlings was in May of this year when they were just emerging from Winter dormancy and putting on some leaflets . I overwintered this tray of native tree seedlings by digging them in the ground and wrapping chicken wire around the base to protect them from the dang rabbits. That seemed to work. I've kept all of the seedlings in their original small (quart) nursery containers so far and have put the tray underneath a large Oak tree to provide filtered light. And...get them watered when I water the perennials in the area. Here, below, is what the tray of seedlings look like in mid-August 2022: By my count, I see eleven small KCT seedlings. And one Elm tree. And some other weed. This is their second full growing season and they've all had their stems/trunks put on real wood. They're all very small, still. And...they seem to have outgrown their containers and have roots emerging from the bottom. He
Yesterday, I posted a photo and an update on the line of three Hakonechloa Macra Hakone Japanese Forest Grasses that I have planted as a border under the tree swing Northern Red Oak tree in our backyard and remarked at how much size they had put on in just one year. While I was over in that section of the garden, I grabbed a photo to document in the [ garden diary ] the current mid-Summer state of the stand of Hakonechloa macra All Gold Grasses that are planted right around 'the corner' from the other grasses. The last time that I posted a peek at these grasses was in this post about my Drumstick Allium . But...the last time I posted the details of these grasses was just a week more than a year ago - August 2021 . And... before that was when I planted three additional grasses in May of 2021 . At that point, there were nine of these grasses planted in this slice of the garden. By August, I had noted that there was one in decline and had eight remaining . What do these
Right around Labor Day last year (2021), I planted a little cluster of three Hakonechloa Macra Hakone Grasses that I bought at Northwind in Wisconsin . These were planted on the border of the north bed right around the Tree Swing Northern Red Oak tree. They seemed to do fine during the Fall last year and then went dormant for the season. This Spring, I marked their reemergence in May of this year and was happy to see them come back for their first true growing season in the garden. What do they look like 11 months after their initial planting? Here, below, is a photo showing how they've all put on size and are doing well in their spot. The one furthest to the right is the smallest and is currently competing with a bunch of small Frances Williams hostas . I'm really liking these and think I can see even more of these repeated in a few spots. They prefer shade, so I can't put them close to the house, but in the beds in the back, there's tons of room for a little p
I've grown my lawn care practice in various ways over the years based on things I've learned from the Web (mostly YouTubers) including how I (now) cut my lawn pretty high (5 on the mower), have added Tall Fescue to our KBG lawn to try to provide it more heat resistance and even using a blue pattern spray in my herbicide treatments to 'see' where I've sprayed . My most recent project is focused on controlling a new (to me) warm season weed grass called Nimblewill. In order to do that, I'm going to use a selective herbicide named Tenacity. Tenacity seems like pretty great stuff and can be applied as either a pre-emergent or a post-emergent. The difference is that you have to also use a surfactant if you're going the post-emergent route. For this Nimblewill control project, we're talking post-emergent and actively growing grass. That meant that I had to go find a surfactant. The most readily available one was this Liquid Harvest version available on Am
Yesterday, I posted about the lawn care breakthrough that I had in properly identifying and diagnosing our lawn with hosting a warm-season bent grass weed called Nimblewill . In that post, I talked about trying to work my way through a process to both treat the Nimblewill, help some of our other tough spots and overseed the backyard this late Summer/early Fall. Back in March of this year, I posted my 2022 lawn care schedule and included the idea of a renovation in the back. Turns out...(if you read yesterday's post on Nimblewill ), I don't have Poa and don't need a renovation. I just need to remove the Nimblewill and overseed. Here's how I'm approaching the process below. My plan starts with controlling the Nimblewill through a herbicide application. Followed by aeration to part of my lawn then overseeding and finally amending parts of the backyard with compost to help improve the conditions. I touched on some of this in my 2022 lawn schedule post from this S
I had a little lawn care breakthrough this past week. Turns out....I don't have Poa in our lawn. We have a bent grass called Nimblewill . Since last Fall, I've talked about how I needed a plan to deal with what I thought was Poa Annua in our backyard . I s ketched out the notion of a full back renovation and even included the idea in my 2022 to-do list. But, as I was thinking about the timing of killing that (presumed Poa), I started to dig a little deeper on the Web. I pulled a blade of my invasive grass and compared it to what I found on the Web. It wasn't looking like Poa. Then...I found this page from Purdue's Turf Science Department that talks about Nimblewill . Purdue describes Nimblewill thusly : Nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi) is a warm-season perennial grass found throughout the northeast, southeast, and Midwestern United States. ...It grows well in moist, shady areas but it is also found in dry, sunny areas. Nimblewill spreads vegetatively t
Last year, I bought and planted a small, native Pagoda Dogwood tree in our backyard close-to/near our firepit area. It was tucked in right on the curve that transitions from our Hicks Yew hedge (in formation) and the firepit border and I thought (at the time) that it would provide a nice little focal point there - and grow up/over the Hicks Yew hedge to both provide screening and a little sense of placemaking by the firepit. The small tree managed through the Winter (I protected it from the dang rabbits with a Chicken Wire hoop) and leaf'd out this year. The leaves are quite nice and interesting . It has put on growth - a little up, but plenty out. That means that - for now - it is crowding out the Hicks Yews and the hosta that are planted close to it. Here, below, is a look at the situation. Pagoda Dogwood in the middle. Hosta of some unknown variety on the left. Small (but growing) Hicks upright Yews on the right. As the Dogwood has spread out, it starts to 'c
I haven't an update on our standing Mickey Mouse Creeping Fig Vine (stuffed) topiary in a while. Last September, I showed the (then) current state with the vine doing well and overtaking even more of the frame . Creeping Fig vine is a tropical, so I had a little trouble navigating Winter with it being inside where it is very dry here in Northern Illinois. With Summer here, I wanted to show the new growth that has occurred since we moved it outside earlier this year. This year, it is living (for now) on our front porch. See below for the current state: There are a number of new shoots that need to be pinned down, but I think it is plain to see that - overall - this topiary is progressing in terms of coverage. I mean...compare the photo above with the one in THIS POST from less than 13 months ago . Big change. My plan is to get out there soon and pin down the new shoots and try to cover even more of the frame before we have to bring it in at the end of the season.
A few days ago, I posted a photo of our lone Christmas Tree hosta in our backyard and talked about how it appeared ready for division . I thought that - like last year - I could do a roundup of some other potential hosta division candidates. I've had the most success in dividing hostas (or...frankly...anything) when I do it in the Fall. I'm talking late September/early October. Last Summer (end of August), I compiled a list of eight-or-so candidates . I'm actually NOT sure which of those I actually moved on, but just a quick glance tells me there were a few that were dug up, divided and transplanted. But, what about this year? In addition to the Christmas Tree sport, here's a few ideas below. First, the Bressingham Blue hostas next to our screened porch. Here (below) are two views of them. They're big and crowding out a painted fern. At least two of these can be divided. Further down that same path is this hosta (below). This can be divided: Some of the
It seems that I've stumbled across a groundcover that works for me in areas of deep shade and places that I'll neglect. That's the situation on the north side of our house - along the gravel path. I have never watered this area. But, I stuck a Creeping Jenny Moneywort out there after I dug it out of our Front Porch Container and it has...ummm...taken. Last October, I showed a photo of this ground cover and it was just getting started here . What's it look like today? See below for how it has spread out and is thriving: I like how it is spilling out onto the path. And how it has filled in a huge section of this long, linear bed. With this kind of growth, you have to wonder if this is an invasive, right? University of Wisconsin says that it isn't . But...I'm not sure. Despite adding some ground cover being one of my 2022 to-do items, I'm not going to fly out and buy a bunch of plugs of this stuff. At least...not yet. But, this passage makes me w
That (above) is our front porch seasonal flower container for Summer 2022. Earlier this Spring, we planted this long, rectangular container with pansies that were cold-hardy. Last month, I finally got around to planting this with Summer annuals. Last year, we went with a more bold and wild container , so this year, I went a little more subdued. I don't love pink flowers in my garden, but when I was the Big Box nursery, I found a few pink things that I thought might work in our front porch box. This is a pretty shady spot - it gets a tiny bit of morning sun, but is in the shade for 98% of the day. What's in here? First...there are a pair of Fiber Optic grasses. I dug those out of the back patio container since they were being swallowed up by the Petunias . They won't be missed. Then there's a purple Sweet Potato vine, some simple shade Begonias and pink Polka Dot plants. All the containers are below. The Polka Dot plants are something that I've wante
First planted as a tiny nursery hosta (from Menards) in 2018, we have a lone Christmas Tree Hosta in our backyard, under the Northern Red Oak tree swing tree . That means this hosta is in its fifth growing season. I posted a photo of it in August of 2020 - right about two years ago. Check it out here . Last August (2021), I included an inventory of some (potential) division candidates and included this hosta . Finally... last Fall (2021), I included a photo of its yellow foliage right as it was heading towards dormancy . So...what does it look like today? See below for the current state: It has continued to put on more size and mass. That means...it should go on my Fall 2022 division candidate list. Earlier this Summer, I mentioned that some of the bare root Frances Williams hostas need to be relocated . They're in the same bed as this one. Add these all to the list along with the purple Astilbes that I posted about last week . Here's the [ Fall 2022 ] task l
Last Summer, I added six Brunnera plants to the garden. Three on one side, three on the other. First...I started with a variety called Queen of Hearts. Those were planted on the northside in a little cluster amongst some various hostas. Here's the post showing their initial planting . They seemed to do just fine last year and appear to have established themselves. Below, you can see how they look today - with about a year of growing and putting down roots: All are doing well and if you look closely, you'll see some spent flower stalks emerging from the crown. Each of these had some nice blue-ish flowers that bloomed on their tips. If I'm looking at adding more shade-tolerant perennials to the backyard and I come across even more Brunnera on sale, it is a no-brainer to pick them up. They are simply performing for me. They also can use a focal plant that sits right in the middle of these three, right?
Last last Fall (October), I bought and planted a small 1# Mugo Pine in our backyard garden - in the north side beds between the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree and our Weeping Nootka Cypress tree. I posted the details of the Mugo Pine and how it was doing over Winter here in early January . Fast forward seven months and what does it look like during its first true growing season? See below for the new growth and size that it has put on this Summer: I haven't paid particular attention to it, but since it is located in this bed, it has been sprinkler watered along with everything else. There are some brown needles along the interior, but I'm seeing a lot of bottle-brush-like growth on all the tips. Good growing - so far. And...the rabbits don't have any interest in it. Again...so far.
Back at the end of February, I started to explore how to mount Staghorn Ferns to boards and even gave a few away as gifts. I ended up keeping a few for myself and I wanted to put in an entry in the Staghorn Diary on the current state. Below, you can see a photo of the one, larger Staghorn that is mounted to a flat board: Notably....it is NOT happy. It is NOT thriving. But, it is alive. And has survived a battle with MOLD and moisture. It has lost fronds. Most of the tips have browned-up and curled. But...we might have turned a corner. We *might* have new growth emerging. I dreamed of a life of Staghorn Ferns in our screened porch. And this first year? It has been rough. The interesting part is that the Staghorn that I gave my Mom? It is thriving. She has it laying on its back in a sunny, Western-exposure window. I had a second, mounted fern (tiny) that has totally died. I'm now left with two ferns in containers (left as a sort-of hedge) that I think I should try to