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Showing posts with the label conifers

A Look At Some Backyard Conifers - Junipers, Hemlocks and Mugo Pine

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Conifers should come first.  That's advice that I've (now) adopted.  But, I'm seven-years down the gardening path and it is too late.  But...looking around, I *did* get it right - somewhat.  I planted some tiny Canadian Hemlocks, some creeping Junipers and a tiny Mugo Pine in the 'understory bed' over the years.   Below are a few photos that show how they're doing.  First, is a Youngstown Juniper amongst some hostas and a look at the bottom of one of the Hemlocks.  The juniper was planted in Fall 2019. These Hemlocks started out as 12" tall trees.  Now they're six-feet tall and growing.  Pretty great to see: Below is another creeping Juniper - that's smaller than the first.   And here, below, is the Mugo Pine.  Planted as a tiny one-gallon evergreen shrub in the Fall of 2021 .  It was ravaged by the dang rabbits, but has since rebounded - thanks to some wintertime chicken wire.  This is its third growing season in the garden and is now about 12&quo

Wiring Up Weeping Norway Spruce Leader - IB2DWs - May 2024

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Both of the small, weeping Norway Spruce trees that we planted last Fall have put on spring growth.  New, bright-green needles and weeping limbs have appeared.  That includes the leaders - especially on the tree closer to the house.  It has seen a bunch of top growth - see below.  I trained these small trees up on poles last Fall and from what I've read, you have to keep training the leader up, or else...it will become a 'spreader' vs a more upright tree.   This leader needed a taller pole, so I grabbed one and wired it up to get the leader more vertical and upright.  See below for the 'after' of this Weeping Norway Spruce: I'll watch the top of this spruce and think about pruning back some of the lateral branches to reduce competition for the top.  

New Conifer Growth - Lime Green Tips - May 2024

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Some of our conifers are putting on a two-toned needle show right now.  The new growth on both our Weeping White Spruce and Weeping Norway Spruce emerge in a neon-green color that contrasts with the older, darker-green needles on the main part of the trees.  The new growth brightens up the garden and makes the trees standout a little bit. Below are a couple of photos - first one of the Weeping Norway Spruce that is planted IB2DWs.  There are two of these that went in last Fall, but the one in the photo is the tree that is planted closer to the house than the sidewalk .    And, the second photo is the Weeping White Spruce that lost its leader a number of years ago and has NOT grown up at all.    Here's a post from early June 2023 that shows this same Weeping White Spruce tree with big, blue-ish swollen tips of new needles after the flush grew out.   I mentioned that this tree lost its leader and it hasn't grown at all height-wise for a few years, but now that I'm looking at

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

Green Giant Thuja - Northside Evergreen - On Decline Watch - February 2024

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Coming up on two years ago (April 2022), I planted six Green Giant Thujas in two spots .  Three evergreen trees in a row on the southside of the backyard and three on the northside.    Here's a post showing the three on the north side that included transplanting some Lilac shrubs along the fenceline.   By December 2022 - 7ish months later - two of them were in trouble.  Here's a look at how one of them had 'browned out' during the Winter dormancy period .  By the following Spring (May 2023), another one was gone.  Two down, one remaining on the north side .   The three on the southside have survived just fine.  Here's a look at those three last September - 17 months after being planted - and they looked good .  Right now, in Winter they look *different* than they do during their growing season: darker, less shine and a little unhappy.  But, I'm pretty sure those three are going to be fine come Spring. The remaining one on the north side, however, is....well, I&

Rabbit Damage On Gold Cone Junipers - February 2024

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Last week, I posted some photos of the (dang!) rabbit damage on our Oakleaf Hydrangeas that occured over the past few months .  I attempted to protect some things in the garden from the rabbits using Chicken Wire cages, but I must not have done enough this year.  The hydrangeas only bloom on 'old wood', so that means that 2024 will be the year of fewer Oakleaf Hydrangea blooms.   But, the rabbits also went ham on other things in the garden.  And in particular...devoured the Gold Cone Junipers.   Some of the earliest shrubs that I installed, the three Gold Cone Junipers have seen highs and lows since 2019 .    They've experienced some stress (at times), but also put on a spectacular show come Spring .   By the Fall of 2021, the bottoms of these upright shrubs had emptied out.  Between rabbit pressure and natural decline, the bottom third was (mostly) bare .  But, they were still distinctly 'multi-stemmed' at the time.   Now, thanks to the rabbits, you might consider

Container Juniper in Zone 6A - Winter Bronzing With Silver Tips - January 2024

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Planted all the way back in 2019, we have a Juniper shrub planted in a large yellow, upright container on our patio.  It has been there for five (19, 20, 21, 22, 23) growing seasons and is something that just sort-of exists on the patio.  At least...that's the way I think about it - meaning...that I do virtually NOTHING to it all year long. Here's what it looked like in the Fall of 2020 - when it was green and the tips of the juniper were emerging around the edge of the container, but not by much.  All Summer and Fall, it is a nice green color.   But, come Winter...something happens to this shrub that (at first...) I thought was decline.  It turns an almost rusty-red color.  The first time that happened - in 2020 - I figured the shrub was done .  But, come Spring...it green'd right up. In every subsequent Winter, it has done the same.  Green in Summer and Fall.  Rusty-red in Winter.   Here's what it looked like a little over a year ago - December 2022 .  In that photo,

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

Front Yard Garden Design - Inspiration, Ideas and A Starting Point - January 2024

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Beyond the pizza-oven build, my mind has been thinking about the front yard for 2024.  I went ham on the IB2DWs extended bed last Fall with my new conifer garden , but I've been reading and watching things on the Web that have me thinking about the rest of our yard.   If I'm being honest, our front yard isn't bad. Not at all.  It is, however...traditional.  It is what everybody in the suburbs has: a foundation bed with a corner tree and a stretch of front lawn from that bed down to the sidewalk.  Followed by a turf parkway between the sidewalk and street.  Over the years, I've done a few things:  planned for some tree planting .  Tucked a Saratoga Ginkgo , some Stachys Hummelo and Sesleria Greenlees into the small island bed by the driveway.  And extended the front porch bed a bit this past year .   The rest is a blank canvas.   Some of the things that I've come across/influenced me a bit include this piece from Garden Design focused on curb appeal  that talks thr

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

Winter Interest Around The Backyard - January 2024

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This morning, we're getting walloped by a big snow storm, which will leave behind six-or-so inches of new, fresh white snow.  Yesterday, before that arrived, I walked our kitchen compost out to the bins (and of course, dumped it in the active compost collection bin with the "Feed Me" sign hanging on it ), figuring that it might be a couple of days before I was going to get back there.   On my way back to the house, I was struck by some of the 'winter interest' that I came across in the garden.  Most of the time, it sure feels like when I read about 'winter interest' that they're mostly talking about evergreens.  Shrubs, trees, etc.  And, those surely provide interest during the winter.  But, as I've posted about (and have some regret about), I've made a long-term mistake by neglecting conifers as a key part of our garden and rather focused on deciduous trees and perennials.    I've begun to address that conifer situation and will continue

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:

Lost: Columnar Scotch Pine Tree - November 2023

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Planted early this year - with MUCH fanfare - my Columnar Scotch Pine tree is dead.  I yanked it out and returned it for a store credit.   Earlier this Fall, I noticed that it was *really* struggling, so I decided to do something pretty drastic:  transplanting it.   I also decided - as part of the transplant process - to lop-off all the dead parts.  I thought that maybe it wanted more sun, so I put it by the boardwalk.  Here's what it looked like when I transplanted it in September:  some green needles, but not doing well: Six weeks later, it was gone.  Below is what it looked like before I dug it out:  no more green needles. I've talked about how I haven't, historically done enough with conifers.  But, part of the reason for that negligence is because I've had such bad luck with them.  This is another lost conifer in a long-line of them.  Have I made up for things with my new Conifer Garden?  Maybe.  But, might they all end up like this columnar Scotch Pine?  Maybe, t

Transplanted Bird's Nest Spruce - Backyard - November 2023

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Originally planted in a container (pre-bonsai), then first transplanted into the ground in April of 2022 only to be moved up to the Kitchen window curved bed in May of 2022 , my first Bird's Nest Spruce (dwarf) has not lived a good life.  Then...it was gnawed at by the dang rabbits and fought for life the past two growing seasons. Today?  It has been overtaken by the Oakleaf Hydrangeas that are planted behind this small spruce shrub.  See below for a look at the leaves of the hydrangeas and the spruce, evergreen shrub: That means that this dwarf conifer is looking for its fourth spot in three years.  I dug it up and transplanted it over to the northside of the lot, behind some hostas (that need to be removed) and in front of the Hops vine that is trellis'd up the fence.  See below for the current state of my first Bird's Nest Spruce dwarf conifer: I'm posting this in early November, but I moved this shrub back in early/mid October of 2023.