Posts

Showing posts with the label flowers

Indiana Street Iris In Bloom - May 2024

Image
We have a purple bearded Iris planted on the southside of our house, behind the Limelight Hydrangeas and right off the side porch.  I call these our "Indiana Street Iris" because they came from my sister - who lives on Indiana Street.  These Irises are from her neighbor Wes, who moved out and had his hosue torn down.  These were 'rescue irises'.  I planted a small clump in June 2021 - here's a photo that shows how small they were (all foliage) .    They put out a small bloom a few weeks later .   Last year, this bloomed in June and had put on some good size in the two years it has been here .  Below, is the Indiana Street Iris that has a number of shoots pointing upwards that will bloom in the coming weeks.   I haven't divided these, but perhaps this is the year - after they bloom.   These also have me thinking more about Irises - and in particular - an Iris that I came across at the Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale called 'Gerald Darby' Iris - Ir

First Rose Feeding - Granular Fertilizer With Systemic Insect Treatment - May 2024

Image
I'm posting this on May 9th, but these photos date back to May 1st - when I applied the first (monthly) treatment of rose fertilizer and systemic insect treatment.  I have just three Disneyland Roses left after the three that were planted last year failed to survive the Winter.  Roses are 'heavy eaters', so I try to feed them once a month.  I figure...there's no better day than the first of the month to feed them, right?   Below are a couple of photos - first showing the granules that I tossed around the base of the roses.  And then, below, a photo of the container showing the 2-in-1 product:

Nocturne Lilacs - Late Blooms - May 2024

Image
A couple weeks ago, I posted some photos of the (very few) Lilac blooms that we were seeing on our flowering shrubs this year and mentioned that while I had two varieties, one of them - the Nocturne Lilacs - had never bloomed.   Even after being transplanted to a more full-sun location.  So, imagine my delight when I was out in the garden and noticed these dark purple tightly-would flower buds on the tips of some of the Nocturne Lilac tips: These are a couple weeks behind all the other Lilacs in our neighborhood.  But...a quick poke around the Web reveals that the two-week delay is EXACTLY by design .   The late blooming lilacs bloom about two weeks later than the common lilacs and include the Preston hybrids. They are fragrant, robust plants that can be more tree like and resistant to powdery mildew. ‘Nocturne’ is a profuse bloomer with deep violet buds opening to a lilac-pink lightly scented flower. Extending the Lilac season - love that.    "Deep violet buds" reads right,

Potting Up Melina Fleur Dahlia Tubers - May 2024

Image
Back in December, I ordered some Dahlia Tubers from Longfield Gardens and planned to try to both grow them this year AND (importantly) treat them as something that I'll pull out of the ground before the season ends and attempt to over-Winter in my garage.  I bought two varieties - Melina Fleur and Cornel Bronze Dahlias .  They recently arrived and I decided to start some of them indoors.  The Melina Fleur tubers come two-to-a-pack, so I grabbed six one-gallon nursery containers that I had laying around and filled them with a sandy homebrewed potting mix.  It is a mix of sand + potting mix that I normally use for succulents.  Here, below, is a photo of the Longfield Gardens dahlia tuber packaging that lists some specs (18" apart, 32" tall). After potting them up, I brought them down to the basement in the window well.  This is south-facing and while it *is* the basement, they get good light down there.  I put them on some trays that I had laying around and watered them in.

Bloodroot - A Native Spring Ephemeral Returns - April 2024

Image
Last Spring, my neighbor to the south shared a couple of native Spring Ephemerals that live in her garden - Virginia Bluebells and Bloodroot - or Sanguinaria canadensis .  They grow in a woodland part of her backyard garden and arrive in early Spring and depart before everything else comes alive.  She gave me a clump of each and I dug them into the bed that is right across the fence from where they came from - my thought was if they were happy on one side of the fence, they'll be happy on the other.  The conditions are virtually identical. The Virginia Bluebells came back earlier this month.  That's nice to see.  But, the Bloodroot just arrived.  See below for a look at the current state of this native Spring ephemeral: Nice to see this one come back for another year - as the transplanting process last year was stressful. These naturalize and spread out to create a little colony or drift (if conditions are right).  The idea of " Spring ephemerals " is something that

Primulas In Bloom - Early Spring - April 2024

Image
Last Spring, I took a shot on a couple of primroses at an early-in-the-season garden show.  I was pretty unfamiliar with them - hence this post titled: " Giving Primrose A Shot " from March 2023 where I figured I was lulled into a false belief that these early-blooming flowers would work in our Zone 5b (at that time, now Zone 6a) garden. We're suckers for blue blooms and the three Primula belarina 'Blue Champion' that I bought were pretty close to blue.  I seem to have ONLY posted about the blue ones, but if you look back at the photos in this post , you can clearly see that we brought home four Primulas that day;  three blue and one white one.   They went in and seemed to manage their first growing season without much drama.  By the very early days of 2024, I posted about seeing some of their foliage - despite the harsh Winter temps in the garden.   Today - about 90 days since then, they're in bloom.  And they're quite nice.  Below is the 'Blue Cha

Parkway Tulips Spring Show - April 2024

Image
The pink tulip bulbs that are planted down close to the sidewalk IB2DWs are up and showing out this week with blooms that are opening up.  This area was grass until September of 2021, when I declared this a 'hard-to-grow' spot that wasn't supporting turf.  Between the poor soil conditions (clay + gravel from the driveway and sidewalk installation) plus the heat that radiates from those during the Summer made this an inhospitable spot that held Kentucky Bluegrass turf that ALWAYS went dormant during the heat of the Summer.  Look back here for a photo of this section when it was grass .  In the Fall of 2021, I planted a number of tulip bulbs down by the sidewalk and they had their first Spring in 2022 .  That makes this (2024), their third year of blooms. That same Fall (2021), I added an ornamental grass - Panicum Shaenandoah Red Switchgrass in that same bed that has come back each season.  Last Fall, I planted a pair of variegated sedums - Sedum Kamtschaticum Variegatum

Penstemon Midnight Masquerade - Three IB2DWs - First Spring - April 2024

Image
One of the hidden gems from last Fall's planting sprint is going to be the three Midnight Masquerade Penstemons that I bought at the big box nursery end-of-season sale.  I tucked them into the IB2DWs Conifer garden - along the property line.  And, they didn't do much last year before going dormant.  But, they appear to be semi-evergreen with the foliage sticking around in some form all Winter.  This Spring, they have put on some new growth that is purple and green.  See below for the current state of these three natives:  This spot is loaded with biosolids, so I'll need to top the bed off with mulch this Spring to avoid some of that turf from coming back and/or to suppress weed pressure.  And, cleanup the back edge of that bed while I'm at it.   I'll also be watching these for height - with their plant tag saying they'll get 36 to 40 inches tall, so that back-of-bed location might be perfect. 

Epcot Flower and Garden Show Bedding Plant Inspiration - April 2024

Image
The EPCOT Center annual Flower and Garden Festival is headlined by character topiaries and food booths.  Those are both just lovely.  But, in each of the last few visits we've made down there during the festival, the star(s) of the show (for me) are the bedding annuals that the horticulture team at Disney plant in large, colorful masses all around the park.  Here, below are a few of my favorite views of annual flowers in/around the World Showcase. First is a trio of purple, red and white - all planted in their own colonies: Closer to the Butterfly room, they have this colorful combo: SunPatiens made a big splash: This bed below is mixed with a number of flowering annuals all about the same height: Of course, I couldn't include a roundup of the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival beds without a look at the UK Pavilion.  I included a similar look from 3 years ago ( 2021 Festival) where they planted a similar red/yellow/purple mixed bed .   These below are my favorite of the set: As

Orange Nugget Dahlia Tubers - March 2024

Image
2024 is the year when I need to continue to remind myself to get more comfortable with flowers.  By that, I mean...I'm a gardener.  But, I'm a foliage gardener.  Because of my full-shade backyard, I've opted for focusing on foliage gardens - ferns, astilbes, shrubs, trees.   Last Fall, I bought a couple of late-season flowering perennials and decided that I needed to do more - specifically in the new IB2DWs (extended) bed that is a conifer garden.  At the end of last growing season (2023), I ran through my normal 'to-do list' grades, but I also wrote up some 'lessons learned' that included 10 things that I wanted to keep in mind including #6 :   6. Flowers continue to be a little bit outside my comfort zone. Change that. I started this Fall, but plenty more room to grow/go. Countertop arrangements need flowers. Try some dahlias, too. I've started down that path - at least in theory.   Back in December, I ordered some Dahlia tubers from Longfield Ga

Backyard Peonies Are Back - March 2024

Image
Over the years, we've had a tough go-of-it with peonies in our yard.  I suppose you can say that we were totally spoiled when we lived in Elmhurst.  We had a number of peony plants that were very productive.  But, in Downers?  Not a lot of luck.   I have long suspect that was a result of too-much shade, so that lead me to a number of years of moving them around.  From the far back to near(er) to the house.  And then, in 2022, I moved a couple of them out to the IB2DWS bed.   And guess what happened?  We got our first peony bloom in 2023.   Or, should I say 'blooms'.  The IB2DWs peony produced a number of blooms.  And, so too, did the ones by our curved-kitchen-window bed .   Each year, they emerge in late Winter/early Spring with their redish-purple tips.  Here's the 2023 version when they showed-up in early April .   Last year, because of the production, I decided to leave them as they were - a mix of front and backyards.  I'm now re-thinking that and have some ear

Dahlia Tubers @ Home Depot - February 2024

Image
Last year, I started to learn how to put together cuttings from our garden into countertop arrangements .  I made a number of them from late Summer to Fall that were primarily anchored by the Disneyland Floribunda roses.   By the end of the season, I came the conclusion that I needed to get outside of my foliage-gardening 'comfort zone' and start to add some flowers.    On a late-season whim (sale), I planted a few new (to me) flowering perennials including May Night salvia , coneflowers and some Agastache 'Blue Fortune' to the front IB2DWs beds.   I also pulled the trigger on a small dahlia tuber order from Longfield - where I pre-ordered some Melina Fleur (Decorative) and Cornel Bronze (Pompon) tubers .  My (current) plan is to put those in by the Disneyland Roses on the side of the house.    I also bought some Cut-and-Come-Again Zinnia seeds that I'd like to start inside and move to my containers in the back  - to replicate the look of a  combo of Zinnias and E

Parkway Tulip Tips Shoot Up - February 2024

Image
We've had a VERY mild Winter.  There was a span of about three weeks when it was brutally cold and it seemed like it snowed every.single.day.  But, overall...it was mild.  And that's likely turned a number of gardening variables on their ears.  Emergence.  Bloom time.  Exposure to late Frosts.  And, more, I'm sure. One of the 'mild Winter' related change that I saw VERY early in January was that the tulip bulbs that I had planted around the parkway tree had ALREADY come up, out of the mulch.  By January 5th.   J A N U A R Y. That seems VERY early.  It was BEFORE that three-week spell of 'brutally cold' weather that I mentioned above.  But, tulips being tulips, the foliage didn't mind the weather.  (or...the snow blanket was sufficient insulation.) I'm *very* aware of mulch volcanoes around trees and worry that every year - when we add another layer of mulch - that I'm burying things and creating problems.  Everyone says that you're supposed t

Cut and Come Again Zinnia Seeds - For Sowing Indoors - January 2024

Image
I've said it before:  I'm a foliage gardener.  I'm most comfortable talking about, working on, planting foliage plants.  I'm also a shade gardener, so that's (kinda) why I'm a foliage gardener.  Last Fall, I began to address a significant garden deficit:  conifers .  Via CSCF. Conifers Should Come First .  Those conifers came in a flurry in the late Fall. But, so too, did something else:  flowers.  I planted some new (to me) perennial flowers: Midnight Masquerade Pentsemon , a Pow Wow Wildberry Echinacea and some May Night Salvias - all in the IB2DWs extended bed.  I also tucked in a pair of Stachys monieri Hummelos (Betony) on the other side of the driveway that has upright, purple flowers.   In my 2023 recap post , I included a mixed list of lessons learned/things to think about going forward and included on that list:  plant more flowers.   Get out of my comfort zone and think about adding flowers to a combo bed and cut garden.   I started the 2024 season

Getting To Know Rudbeckia Black Beauty - January 2024

Image
I was nosing around on a bulb and seed site recently and came across a new (to me) perennial:  Rudbeckia Black Beauty.  Rudbeckia is something that I've heard (and seen) from Roy Diblik on YouTube and at his nursery (Northwind Perennial Farm) in Wisconsin.  But, this particular variety is something that I don't think I've come across.  Visually, it is quite different (at least to me - the novice when it comes to Rudbeckias).  Check out the photo below of Rudbeckia Black Beauty from DutchGrown.com :   Photo Source - Dutch Grown dot com .  This is *not* my photo.   What does that photo show?  For me...it shows a lack of petals.  This looks (to me) to be a flower that has already bloomed and drop all of its petals, doesn't it?   But that's not what is going on here; rather this is a (dare I say) unique coneflower that doesn't have any petals.   From Heritage Perennials comes this description : This is an unusual and bizarre selection of Coneflower, the flower heads

Confirmed: Sawfly Larvae on Disneyland Roses. Treatments and Planning - December 2023

Image
Earlier this growing season, I discovered that most of our Disneyland Roses were having their foliage destroyed by someone or something.  The leaves were spotted and some of them were eaten-up and looked like lace.  Here's a post from June 2023 that shows one of those eaten-up leaves .   I applied a granular fertilizer all season - starting in early Spring - and I wasn't sure if the foliage damage was a result of the granules clinging to wet leaves, but it seemed far-fetched.   The foliage-eating continued all season, but by July, I decided to take some action and switched from just straight Rose Fertilizer to a 2-in-1 feed and care product from BioAdvance .  My hunch was that SOMETHING was eating the leaves and the 2-in-1 is a 'systemic' product. That means it isn't something that takes root immediately and eliminates the pests.  Rather, it feeds the roses and - via the roots - takes up the insecticide and carries it to all the plant material.  I've used a simi

Dahlia Tubers Ordered - Milena Fleur and Cornel Bronze Ball - December 2023

Image
In my 2023 recap post, I included a list of ten 'lessons learned' or takeaways from the year .  They were a mix of looking back and a few looking ahead.  One of them was about flowers.  I wrote that " Flowers continue to be a little bit outside my comfort zone. Change that. I started this Fall, but plenty more room to grow/go. Countertop arrangements need flowers. Try some dahlias, too. " When I said that I 'started', that meant the late-season plantings like the Blue Fortune Agastache , a Pow Wow Wildberry coneflower , a pair of May Night Salvias and some purple foliage Pentstemons (all IB2DWS).    And, I've had a lot of fun with the Disneyland Roses - including in arrangements.   I've also done a little bit of dabbling with Dahlias over the years.  But, I've always treated them as annuals and haven't invested much in the tubers.  I grew Night Queens .  And some orange ones.  And Cactus dahlias, too .     Over the years, I've kept a

Hellebores - Planting in December in Zone 6a? December 2023

Image
I went to the orange big box store to look for a Winter Rose Pointsettia this weekend and while I didn't find any of those (they had just the traditional pointsettia), I did find a large rack of Hellebores.  They're all white ones that are in quart nursery containers.  They were (originally) listed for $9.98 and now have been marked down to $4.99.  They're an all white-turning-to-light-green flower variety.  See below for the hellebores: I'm wondering to myself....can these be planted in December?  I mean...the ground isn't QUITE frozen yet and they ARE hardy to our zone.  Would they survive?  Or, could I just keep them alive as houseplants until Spring?   A quick search on the Web turns up answers like this : Container-grown hellebores can be used as houseplants. They prefer to be grown in garden soil but will survive indoors. Give them plenty of light during the winter months and indirect light in the summer. This action will mimic their natural environment of be

Winter Protection for Roses - Mounding Biosolids on Crowns - December 2023

Image
Every Fall, I've gone about protecting our Disneyland Roses (Floribunda Roses) from Winter using an insulation method of laying Fall leaves around the bush.  Typically, I take a small ring of chicken wire and create a ring.  Anchored by a bamboo pole, I erect the chicken wire ring around the rose and fill the center with leaves that I pick up off the lawn.  Some of those leaves are chopped up with the mower, some are just raked up and piled in there. This post from November 2022 shows how I set up that Winter Protection for roses last year .   H ere's another post showing Fall 2020 that shows similar chicken wire rings and leaves that I used to overwinter the crowns of our Disneyland Roses. That system seemed to work just fine.  It wasn't elegant, but (*knock on wood*) I haven't lost a Disneyland Rose yet.  But, my roses are starting to get large and unwieldy.  That has made the chicken wire rings more challenging every year.  So, I went off on the Web to see if there