Today, September 23rd is the first, official day of Fall. And I'm also seeing the first signs of foliage turning seasonal red with the clump of three Little Henry Sweetspires out front showing red at the tips. See below for a photo showing this set of shrubs (it really is one shrub at this point, right?) Supplementing this shrub - with groundcover and/or layered plantings should be something I consider for 2024 as this area has been left as-is since the day we moved in.
Showing posts with the label fall
At the beginning of the month, I posted a couple of photos showing off the pair of VERY SMALL Ginkgo trees that we planted this Fall . The reason we planted TWO of these trees was because the first one that was delivered 1 was damaged and basically cracked in half. In that post, I talked about how the damaged tree was aging different from the replacement tree that I planted in front . The one in front (which wasn't damaged) had leaves that were turning yellow (like Ginkos are known to do), while the damaged tree in back was drooping and had more brownish leaves. My belief then - and still today - is that the damaged tree in back is unlikely to make it and leaf-out next Spring. But....but...but...what do I see on the tree this week? It appears that this tiny, thin Ginkgo tree has set some buds as it headed to dormancy. See below for a peek at one of the buds that is near the top of the small tree. These are kind of interesting shaped - almost cone-like. The bud is set on
In late September, I brought home a trio of Abiqua Drinking Gourd Hostas and planted them near our new (this year) firepit area. After seeing them on the racks for a couple of seasons, I finally 'got to know' them and learned that they're some of the largest hosta varieties . Placing this photo below into the garden diary as way to show them right as they head into dormancy. A note: they're haven't been eaten one bit by the rabbits while other varieties have been mowed off at the ground. These also are doing better after the first couple of frosts than other varieties. I'm looking forward to these coming back next Spring and filling in the spaces in between each other during the growing season.
This dwarf Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea - planted in our backyard - is putting on quite a Fall show. Deep red, almost purple leaves covering the whole shrub. Interestingly...it is doing this show by itself - meaning the matching pair is still green. One of the larger ones - behind this one - is partially red (you can see part of it at the top of the photo below), but otherwise, the balance of the Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea quercifolias aren't/haven't gone red just yet. These are planted in a bed that we can see from our kitchen windows - so for that reason (being able to enjoy this Fall show), I'm really happy with this late-season delight. Also...of note....I recently covered these hydrangeas when I talked about having to move them to make room for an upright Hicks Yew behind them .
Things aren't looking good for the Pinus Parviflora 'Glauca Nana' - the dwarf Japanese White Pine tree that I picked up at Home Depot in mid-Summer after it had lingered in the lot for quite some time . I was really excited about the tree and hopeful that it would put down some roots and establish itself this Summer. But, unfortunately, it seems that it is fading. And fast. Here's what it looks like right now - in the photo below. It is brown, orange and certainly NOT green. But, when I inspect the tree closer, I see tips that are *still* green with small needles. Like the section you see below: And, using the old 'tree health test' of scraping away some bark with a fingernail to see if the limbs are green underneath reveals (at least *some*) sign(s) of life. See below for a little spec of green that I revealed under the bark: Could this be normal behavior? I'm pretty SURE it is not normal and this tree is in decline and will not be green come Spring
Two years ago, I posted - with some alarm - that one of our Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam trees had suddenly dropped all of its leaves while the other seven clung to their fall leaves vis foliar marcescence. That post was back in November of 2018 can be found here . If you look at that post, you'll note that it was the fourth tree from the left. Today - I'm sharing this photo of the stand of columnar hornbeams above and you'll notice that....wait for it....the SAME tree (fourth from the left) has done the same thing again this year. It has shed most of its leaves. Below is a different angle of these same hornbeam trees where you can see all eight of them. And, here, below, is an even closer look at the difference between some of the trees and #4 - the tree that has lost leaves. This is when the [ garden diary ] pays off for me. I would normally be very concerned about this tree - was it stressed? Was it dying? Do I need to be worried about it coming back in t
A couple of weekends back, we took the kids to Richardson Adventure Farm up near the Illinois/Wisconsin border for some - you know - "Fall Fun". This place has pig races, corn cannons, jumpy houses, zip lines, little rides and...the "World's Largest Corn Maze". This year's theme is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program. We decided to try one of the smallest sections with the kids and they provided us a tip: "take every left turn". We did that and ended up at the exit in short order. How do they make these mazes? Sounds like there's a technology-enabled GPS way . And a different, more old-fashioned way . The Richardson folks also run a tree farm that we visited to check out as a potential option for trees this year. More on that in another post.
It appears that we have a confused rhododendron in our backyard. Nat told me that one of our two rhododendrons were flowering out back and I didn't believe her. Wrong time of year. I went back there - and sure enough - she was right. A small purple flower had emerged from one of the buds that the shrub has been setting as it heads into dormancy. This same thing happened last year with our Chanticleer Pear flowering tree out front - it flowered in early November . Back to the rhododendron, it appears (for now) that there's just one flower, so I'm not concerned. This story claims that it isn't that rare for them to flower in the Autumn. I'll return to these shrubs before the Winter sets in with a Wilt-Pruf application like I've did last year .
Back in May of this year, we planted a hedge of seven Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam trees along the fenceline on the northside of our property right outside of our screened porch. These are trees that I had researched and dreamed about since we moved in . Prior to their installation, I documented what the 'view' was like of the space where they were going in April (when there was still a little bit of snow on the ground) and then again in late May , right before they were planted. I tried to baby them all Summer and with the help of a couple of soaker hoses, I tried to keep them happy and hydrated. I most recently visited these trees in late August when I posted this photo of the 'late Summer' view of the hedge. I've noticed that all seven of the trees have handled their transplant differently. Some of them have done just fine. A few have even shot up leaders at the top. One of them seems to be growing wider at the top than others, which is intere
Back on Earth Day of this year, we planted a few trees including this Red Maple "Sun Valley" tree that is maybe 3/4" caliper. Here's the photo of that tree when it went in - before it leafed out this Spring/Summer . By June, it had leafed out and grew a bit - topping out at 96" tall in our tree inventory . The top continued to grow up and now I am thinking it is taller than 96". But it also is starting to show it's fall colors. If you look closely at this photo above that I took a few weeks back, you'll see some reds/oranges starting to emerge on the leaves. This Fall has been funny with leaves - as we didn't get a ton of colors (yet?), but plenty of leaves have fallen. I'll keep an eye on this one and see if it shows off it's full fall spendor with a red/orange show. More importantly, I'm thinking that this thing as established itself enough with some new branching that it has a good shot at surviving the winter and comin
Like most 'basic' suburban folks who drive a minivan and have a massive Park District 'activity' bill, we normally doll-up our front porch in the fall with Mums. Costco has those big ones and Nat usually just makes the move for mums on her own. They're easy to tend to, usually put on a good show and feel quite seasonal for the fall these days, right? I'm sure that we'll do them soon. But I also called an audible and picked up an annual on a whim: these Celosia Intenz. I had a couple of plastic pots laying around (I think from Mums last year!?!) and planted a pair of these in the pots and put them on the front porch. Also, for those wanting to dig through the archives, I've posted about mums here on the blog over the years. Last year, I gave a 'pro-tip' to tie your mums up . Also, I guess our mums from the Fall of 2011 survived the winter and I ended up planting them in the ground in the Spring of 2012 and *like magic*, they did w
One morning in the past few weeks, I witnessed this weird event: a tree in the front yard was shedding all of it's leaves at once. Check out what seems like a shower of leaves falling. One right after the other. You can see from the pattern on the ground that this tree was dropping them all in a matter of minutes while the other trees still are holding on to theirs. You can also notice that there's frost on the roof across the street from us and I *think* that this might have been the first frost? Could that have set off this reaction?
Back in July, we added a Crimson King Maple tree to one of the far back corners of our #newoldbackyard after finding it on sale at Menards. It was the ninth tree we planted this season and the final one added to the arboretum before the summer heat hit. I planted this one pretty late - in mid-July - and then we were hit with a pretty severe drought through most of August and September. The Crimson King is a purple-leafed Maple tree with shallow roots that doesn't give much of a show in the fall, but in exchange, gives a nice contrasting color most of the summer. Nat's folks have a big one up on Twin Lakes that I've admired and that's part of the reason why we planted this one back here. I'm posting this photo so I can revisit this tree in the Spring when it *hopefully* comes back to life with some new leaf buds. This is now located kind of behind the big trampoline that Nat bought for the kids, so it has been somewhat out of sight, out of mind. But,
We marked the evening fall temperatures lately with the maiden fire in our new fireplace recently. I posted photos of this fireplace being built earlier on the blog back in March of this year, so you can see the location of this fireplace in that post. I've posted a bunch of pieces on our various fireplaces over time that you can check out here . We loved our outdoor fireplace back in Elmhurst - especially during the fall - when we broke out the s'mores, so I'm thinking we'll get a lot of use out of this new one. Here's a photo from seven years ago showing the kid's cousins toasting their marshmallows . We didn't do any toasting this time, but there's still plenty of fall left, right? And in this one? We have a gas burner, so I don't have to round up kindling and work to get it started each time.
I went out in the #newoldbackyard to check on some of the trees we had planted this year recently and was surprised that MOST of them were doing just fine despite the almost drought-like conditions. But the Dawn Redwood seems like it might be in trouble. That's it above where you can see a lot of brown, yellow'd needles that have dropped off. But, many of the 'tips' of the limbs are still green - see the photo below: See the green needles on the far edges of the limbs? So, there is *some* life in this thing, but did the drought get to the rest? I've seen another of these (or perhaps it was a Bald Cypress??) in the neighborhood that had all of it's needles drop, so while I'm concerned that the drought affected my dear Dawn Redwood, maybe it will be fine? I'll be watching this one bud out early in the Spring and will - of course - report back on it here.
A few days ago, I posted some photos of a handful of Purple Sensation Allium bulbs that we did a fall bulb planting with around one of the big oak trees in our #newoldbackyard. Photos here . I mentioned that we also planted some tulips on that same day. Today's post shows off the bulbs of the two varieties that we put down. I picked up 2 15 packs of tulip bulbs at Menards that were on sale (they also had the 11% rebate thing going on...which....seems right now to be an almost constant thing??). The first set was 15 Darwin Hybrid Tulips in orange. You can see the packaging below: According to Longfield Gardens , Darwin Tulips have some special characteristics: Darwin hybrids produce big, showy flowers with a classic tulip shape: broad at the base and slightly narrower at the top. They come in a rainbow of rich, saturated colors that range from white through yellow, orange, red and pink, including several lovely bi-colors. Darwin hybrids are reliable performer
Down in the bowels of Union Station these days you'll find this hourglass and floor/wall takeover from Travel Wisconsin encouraging all of us to get up to 'see the fall color before the leaves fall' . The hourglass is clever and in terms of size it is pretty big and grabs your attention as you leave the Great Hall and head to your platforms, so it seems like a nice placement. Really seems like Wisconsin is trying to horn in on the whole Pure Michigan thing, right? Now that I'm not a Michigander any longer (or Michigander by lake house), I'm rooting for Wisconsin. Cute campaign all around
Everyday for the past week or so, we've had this Black Squirrel visiting our yard where he is gorging himself on the acorns from our Oak trees and the big green/black walnuts from our Walnut trees. He usually isn't alone so when you see him in contrast to the normal grey squirrels, he really stands out. Grey Squirrels I see all over. But a Black Squirrel? From Wikipedia: The overall population of black squirrels is small when compared to that of the gray squirrel. The black fur color can occur naturally as a mutation in populations of gray squirrels, but it is rare. The rarity of the black squirrel has caused many people to admire them, and the black squirrels enjoy great affection in some places as mascots. According to this story on DNAinfo , they're about 1 in 10,000. I also just submitted an observation to ProjectSquirrel.org and noted all the nut-bearing trees we have on the property. Right now, Black Squirrel...we're cool. But Halloween is com
No, I'm not talking about New York City. I'm talking about "Big Apple". As in..."big pharma" or "big tobacco" or even the recently-coined "Big Uni" by the guys at Uni-Watch . That's the best way to describe Apple Holler in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. We've been to a bunch of these apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Apple Holler is a combination of those two experiences and it is - based on how crowded it was when we went - quite popular. So, why is it, exactly, "Big Apple"? Well, let's start with the parking. It costs you $5 to park your car. Then, if you want to go pick apples, they charge each person $20 to go in the orchard. Yep....$20. Sure, they give you a little tiny bag that can hold like a dozen apples. But, every person that goes in, it is $20. Kids, too! That means, for us it was going to be $80 just to pick some apples. No thanks. We went up there with some friends, so it was great to