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Showing posts with the label conifer garden

Nicotiana alata 'Perfume Deep Purple' Planted IB2DWs - June 2024

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More flowers.  That's a big breakthrough for me as a gardener in 2024.  Last week, I posted photos of the Zinnias and Dahlias that I planted IB2DWs and in the new seed bed.  Today, I'm sharing the details of another new (to me) flower:  Nicotiana 'Perfume Deep Purple'.  I bought just one and planted it in the conifer garden - IB2DWs.  Below is the sign from The Growing Place that talks about the dark purple blooms and the smells that come with this flower: I've had Nicotiana Jasmine before , but it didn't reseed.    This new one is purple (vs white) and it is also in full sun.  Below is what it looks like at the time of planting: Below is a photo that provides a little context - this is in the new (as of last Fall) conifer garden.  

Planting A Zowie Yellow Flame Zinnia IB2DWs - June 2024

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Day three of Zinnia-mania IB2DWs.  Yesterday, I posted the details of some common orange Zinnias that I planted as bedding plants .  A day earlier, I planted a larger, further-along Uproar Rose Zinnia from the nursery.   I have been trying to push myself past the discomfort around flowers and this new Zinnia from The Growing Place certainly is there: out of my comfort zone.   As I walked around the nursery, this Zinnia jumped off the bench.  Zowie Yellow Flame Zinnia.  See below for the sign.  It reads: "This stunning cultivar will stand out in any setting with its 3' - 4' bicolor blooms of golden yellow and magenta orange."   This was the MOST expensive Zinnia that I have bought, but it was a 6.5" nursery pot: And, that meant that I really bought TWO zinnias.  After having them sit on the driveway for a couple of days, I noticed the foliage was drooping.  That evening - after work - I dug them in to the conifer garden.  Below you can see the immediate look - wi

Penstemon Midnight Masquerade In Bloom - Early June 2024

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Last Fall, I planted a three-pack of Penstemon Midnight Masquerade in the conifer garden IB2DWs and talked about how I needed to keep going (out of my comfort zone) with flowers.  There was a lot to like about these perennials - they're drought tolerant, can handle heat and humidity, full of dark foliage and bloom purple and white flowers.  When I bought them, they were past bloom-time, so that flower part was taken on faith. This Spring, I marked their reemergence for their first Spring in early April when new foliage clumps came back from dormancy .   I topped this part of the bed with some big box mulch (not leaf mulch...) and mostly moved on in the gardening season.  Until this week.  When these things started to bloom.   Have a look at my three one-year-old Midnight Masquerade Penstemons ( or Beardtongue ) with their showy light purple and white clusters of flowers: This spot is full sun and is part of what I've always called the 'hard to grow' section.  The thick

First Real Mulch Cap In Conifer Garden - April 2024

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Last Fall, I extended (what I call) the IB2DWs (In Between Two Driveways) bed to reach down along the property line, all the way to connect to the small sidewalk-adjacent bed.  In it, I planted a number of conifers ( Conifers Should Come First) , transplanted a few divisions (Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass and Serendipity Allium ) and tucked in a few other things.  When I made that bed, I was converting it from turf and that meant that I used a combination of techniques:  removing the turf, smothering the turf with cardboard and just leaving some of it in place.  I planted everything in biosolids and then topped the bed with even more biosolids.   But...I mostly focused on the planting.  And left the bed in a not-so-finished state.  That meant that grass was poking through in spots, the edges weren't clean and I applied arborist wood chips.  The chips were intended as an initial attempt to both retain moisture and (hopefully) improve the soil.  This area is hard-to-grow and liv

Red Cones on Weeping Norway Spruce in Spring - April 2024

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This Spring is full of new garden experiences for me.  That's all thanks to the big "Fall Planting" sprint that I ran through in October of 2023, when I tucked in dozens of new things including the creation of the small, linear dwarf conifer garden IB2DWs.  I found a pair of Weeping Norway Spruces that were labeled 'pendula'.   I put one up closer to the garage and the other one further down closer to the sidewalk .  I staked them both up and hoped for the best.   They both handled the winter just fine (as expected) and are starting to put on a little spring flush of needle growth.  But, one of them is also showing some cones.  That's nice.  But, even nicer?  They're red raspberry-colored cones.  Small ones, but certainly raspberry-colored cones.  See below for a couple of photos. What is interesting (to me, at least) is that there's not any mention online of these Weeping Norway Spruces producing red cones.  Other spruces - like Picea abies 'Acro

Cardboard To Smother TurfGrass in New Mulch IB2DWs Bed - March 2024

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Earlier in March, I posted the details of a partial project in our front-porch bed that included the application of some cardboard to smother turfgrass that has crept into the bed .  I laid down cardboard, the topped with with a mix of clay, topsoil and biosolids.  I still need to finish the rest of that bed. But, in the meantime, I also applied the same treatment to a couple of spots in the expanded IB2DWs bed.  Last Fall, I carved out some new beds and removed SOME turf.  Turns out, I left behind A LOT of it, so...cardboard was the play here.   I did this in two spots - closer to the Bald Cypress - 'above' the first Baby Blue Spruce.  Then, again, closer to the sidewalk by the other Baby Blue Spruce tree.   Below are a some photos showing the post-cardboard + top soil + biosolids application.  There's still more grass to smother in this bed, but this is a good start: I used topsoil, clay and then a big batch of biosolids.  In an attempt to mix those biosolids with even mo

Serendipity Allium After Dividing - March 2024

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Last year, I discovered that our Serendipity Alliums were out-performing our Summer Beauty Alliums in terms of bloom time and WHEN they bloomed ( Serendipity bloomed later ).   I've added a number of Summer Beauty via divisions over the years, but I had - until last Fall - not divided the pair of Serendipity Alliums that were IB2DWs.   I originally planted three of them the middle of the Summer 2021, but only two survived.  (Should have known planting a new perennial in the heat of Summer was unwise.) Last Fall, I took the two existing clumps and divided them up into five plants.  From two-to-five = net of three new plants .  This Spring, all five have come back - for now.  Below is a look at the three in the original IB2DWs bed - close to the driveway: And below is a look at the other two - in the new conifer garden - they can be seen on the left side of the photo.   I'm thinking that I'll see how these do and perhaps in next year, we'll have even more ready for dividi

Imagining A Front Yard Conifer Garden With Miegakaure - February 2024

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a pretty lengthy garden diary post that outlined some of the inspiration and design ideas that I've been cataloging for the front yard .  I also posted this conifer inspo of three blue junipers (upright) in a mixed perennial bed .  What would it look like?  Ideally... something like this house .  But, that's not realistic - just yet.   In that post, I talked about doing a 'phase 1', but doing it with an eye for the entire design.  What's the key, defining characteristic of the 'entire design'?  I think it is centered on three things: 1. A path. 2. A bern. 3. ...and some miegakure. I was out front - taking the garbage cans out - this past week and because there was some frost on the front lawn, I thought I could (sort-of) shuffle my feet through the grass and leave a mark of what feels natural in terms of a front-yard path.  See below for my winding, curved (potential) garden path.  It starts closer to the driveway, winds *b

Snow Piled High IB2DWs - January 2024

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As I've done a few times, I wanted to document a few looks at the snow bank that has been created IB2DWs.  This is an area where both me AND my neighbor pile driveway snow, so it gets higher/taller than the rest of our front yard.   Here's a look at the snow level in 2021 .  And here's a look at the snow level in 2022 .  Looking at the photos below, there are of course some changes.  The conifers added this past Fall give a different look at the depth.  But, the Red Fox Katsura and Bald Cypress are there all the way back in 2021.  Naturally...the trees have grown, so it isn't super easy to compare.  Based on the branching on the Katsura, I'm thinking that 2023/2024 snow pile is in between the two other recorded.  2022 was deeper.  2021 was less snow.  Just an eyeball guess. Below is an early morning look:

Front Yard Conifer Combo Inspiration - Blue Needles and Purple Perennials - January 2024

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Yesterday, I created and published a lengthy - and winding - post about a potential front-yard garden transformation that is anchored in conifers and contains a potential 'path' through the middle.  In that post, I talked about using a berm in part to create some elevation change and I also sort-of came to the conclusion that I would certainly NEED to start in phases as the project is a multi-year planting (at least for me).  In that post, I concluded that based on some inspiration, I could (in theory) start down by the sidewalk with a small bed and expand from there.   One of the dependencies is the creation of the berm and the location for said berm.  My current thinking is that the berm is created if-and-only-if, I do some excavation for the pizza oven.  I would haul the material that I excavated from the back out to the front and build up a little berm on the driveway side of the front yard, down near the sidewalk.  I bring this all up, because I recently came across a pho

Getting To Know North Light Dawn Redwood - January 2024

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I have been spending some time tool'ing around the Conifer Kingdom website recently as I try to think about adding dwarf conifers to our garden this season.  I have a full post that I should do that details a bunch of what I've found interesting (so far), but there's one tree that (at this point) warranted a 'getting to know' post:  The North Light Dawn Redwood.  Or the 'Schirrmann’s Nordlicht' Dawn Redwood. Metasequoia glyptostroboides.  The Conifer Kingdom listing for the tree is here .   The guys over at Mr. Maple have the tree listed there , too.  And they do a good job with their description (screenshot below).  The image at the top of this post is also from Mr. Maple ( source ).   Here's how they talk about the Nordlicht Dawn Redwood: Via Mr. Maple What's not to like about what they say about the North Light Dawn Redwood.   It is a dwarf.   Has spectacular foliage. Compact habit. Winter interest. Award winning. Yes, please.  But, tell me about

Using Boulders In My Garden - December 2023

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One of the things that I've been thinking about is boulders.  How to use them.  Where to use them.  Why to use them.  In my garden.  That's because (mostly) my new conifer garden. But, also...because of my dream of a pond.   Like most things, you can wander around the Web and find all sorts of tips/tricks/inspiration for how/when/why to use boulders.  Like this post from Nelson Landscaping in Oklahoma where they  give a few ideas, including: Highlight a single boulder as a focal point. Group boulders together to create a cohesive and natural look. Incorporate boulders into your patio design to add texture and visual interest. Use rocks and boulders to add height and dimension to your front or backyard. Surround boulders with pebbles and gravel to create a cohesive look. Everybody is talking about large boulders.  That's what the pros use.  When I say 'large', I mean HUGE.  Boulders that you need heavy equipment to move around. I don't have heavy equipment. But,

First Snow on the New Conifer Garden - December 2023

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I've mentioned that I failed/made a big gardening mistake when it comes to conifers.  The rule of: "Conifers Should Come First" is something that I wasn't aware of, until this Fall.  That's when I went about a dizzy'ing spring of planting my own conifer garden IB2DWs.  What's so great about conifers?  Texture and structure are a couple of big reasons to believe in conifers.  But, four-season gardening is (maybe?) the biggest for this Zone 5b (Now Zone 6a!!!) gardener.   Everything around here goes dormant.  Some perennials like hostas just totally disappear.  Grasses hang around all Winter.  Decidious trees go bare.  But, conifers?  They stand tall and proud during the Winter.   This past week, we had our first real snow fall of the year.  And, the dwarf conifer garden was a new highlight.  Below are a few photos showing some of the conifers covered in snow:

2nd Bird's Nest Spruce - In Conifer Garden - November 2023.

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Today marks me getting pretty close to the final conifer that I planted in my Fall Planting Spring of October 2023.  It features a second (new) Bird's Nest Spruce (3rd overall with one in the back) and is planted in the new part of the Conifer Garden down by the sidewalk.  Same story as the previous one - a dwarf, low-to-the-ground conifer that tolerates sun and - when established - is drought tolerant.  This one is a 1# small shrub, like the others have been.   I planted this in mid-October, but posting it in early November 2023. 

Two May Night Salvias Planted IB2DWS - November 2023

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What's something that is pretty common in gardens around here that I've lacked?  Salvia.  I've picked-up-and-put-down dozens of Salvias over the years.  Why?  Because I wasn't sure.  Wasn't sure about anything Salvia-related.  Size?  Will they flop?  Are they too tall?  And more questions like that. But, when I found a couple of containers of May Night Salvia at the end-of-season sale at the orange store, I whipped out my phone. What did I find? From Monrovia : Tall spikes of indigo blue flowers top compact mounds of soft, green foliage. This showy perennial is excellent for mixed borders, flower beds and patio containers. From Walters Garden : This award winning salvia is a top performer in the landscape. Dense spikes of deep violet-purple flowers are produced in early summer and will continue longer if deadheaded. Bluestone Perennials says : 1997 PPA Plant of the YearOne of our favorite Salvia. Spikes of the deepest blue begin in late May and continue through th

Fall Dividing Allium Serendipity - November 2023

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A couple of seasons ago (Summer 2021), I planted three Allium Serendipity in the IB2DWs bed after being influenced by Erin the Impatient Gardener .  I've had Allium Summer Beauty in the garden since the beginning and Serendipity felt like a nice improvement - at the time.  I mostly just ignored them.  Until this Summer.   When I noticed that they were, indeed, an improvement over Summer Beauty. Why? They bloomed a little bit later.  And for MUCH LONGER .   Fall is the season for dividing perennials, so I picked up my shovel and got busy. Here's the before - two nice-sized clumps of Allium Serendipity: I took those two and made five total plants.  Why five?  A hedge, of course.  I split one in two - in the hopes that those two larger clumps had a better chance of survival.  If I killed the smaller clumps by dividing them too late, or not watering them in enough, or having them heave this Winter...at least I still had what I started with:  two clumps.   I put three of the Allium

Golden Mop False Cypress Planted - Conifer Garden IB2DWs - October 2023

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Last Fall, I planted a singular cypress conifer called Lemon Thread False Cypress in the backyard by the Hornbeam trees .  It has mostly just gotten along without much attention, so I decided to add something similar to the front yard - IB2DWs - Conifer Garden:  a Golden Mop False Cypress.  Chamaecyparis pisifera.  They're similar...but I'm learning they're different in some ways.  From Oregon State  University, I'm seeing that Golden Mop is a 'true dwarf' : ‘Golden Mop’ - it is a mutation of ‘Filifera Aurea’ and a true dwarf, to 1 m, with more intense yellow. I've planted in a full sun, so I'm sure hoping that we get some of that 'intense yellow' and based on what I'm reading (below) in Midwest Garden Tips, I think we have a winner with Golden Mop.  From MGT: The dramatic foliage of the ‘Golden Mop’ is bright yellow green with a feathery, almost stringy appearance. The glowing gold foliage creates a lovely accent to deeper green conifers.