One little section of the backyard garden where we have (what I would consider) 'good' layering going-on is in the curve under the tree-swing tree that features a mix of grasses, shrubs and trees. The standouts are clearly the Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' Japanese Forest Grasses that sit near the border and hug the curve. I first bought a dozen of them at the Covid-year Morton Sale . There are seven remaining here. (I think there are five IB2DWs.) See below for a photo of this curved section - as it stands in early September, 2023: There were these same seven Japanese forest grasses back in August of 2021 and while the growth has been pretty slow, if I look back at them from two seasons ago , I can notice that they've put on some mass. The blades are more-full and seemingly longer as these are (now) showing a more cascading-look than they were back a few years. There are a few more things going on in this little section that you can (if you looked hard enough
Showing posts with the label garden design
I had to pick up one of the kids at the Morton Arboretum recently had had a little bit of time to get some steps in and decided to go see the Fragrance Garden up by the Thornhill Center on the West side of the Arboretum . It is a spot where you can park pretty close and get to see some beds and containers on a quick little, easy walk. A couple of years ago, I was in this same garden and posted some thoughts and photos here . At that time, I was struck by the bedding plants and combinations they had in what felt like a very shady garden (which...is a lot like our own garden). It was from that experience that I said (to myself) that I needed to think about using annuals beyond the container - as bedding plants - in the shade. In fact....that was one of my 2023 to-do items and the push behind all of the annuals that I planted this year including some Lobelia, Begonias, Impatiens, Polka Dot Plants . The beds at the Morton Arboretum have inspired me prior to that shade garden visit.
Yesterday, I posted details of how I had to move a small Tuff Stuff Red Mountain Hydrangea to make room for some new Oakleaf Hydrangeas. I had been holding a few spots for some shade-tolerant Hydrangeas (per our plan) that extend the row of Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas from our kitchen window bed all the way back to the south Oak tree. The plan calls for a mix of Oakleaf and Tardiva Hydrangeas - both shade-tolerant flowering shrubs - to fill in the remaining space. I was on a trip to Menards and came across a pair of Oakleaf Hydrangeas that weren't on my radar: Snowqueen Oakleaf Hydrangeas. Here's the tag on the shrub: And, here below is the full tag: That idea of Winter protection for the first year is new (to me). Maybe I can do leaf mulch with these, too? The Missouri Botanical Garden has this page up with this description that had me at the word 'upright': SNOW QUEEN has an upright broad, rounded habit and typically grows 4-6' tall. Features elongated, c
I'm nothing if not a gardener who keeps learning with every shovelful of dirt and every keystroke digging around the Web. And, I'm also guilty of calling things the wrong name from time-to-time. Part of what I've tried to do is to learn the actual plant names (genus species) vs. the trade names. But, I've also thrown around the terms 'variety' and 'cultivar' and 'sport' all over the place and NOT really learned when/where to use each one. What prompted me to think about the terms was an email from Gardeners Supply where they showed some 'common gardening terms' including Variety and Cultivar. Here's a landing page they have of those and other gardening terms like hybrid, heirloom and open-pollinated. A couple of nuggets from that page : Many commonly available plants are varieties or cultivars, with interesting features that make them more desirable than the straight species. Some cultivars are patented, making it illegal to propa
Trends come and go, right? In fashion. In food. In living. Feels like you have to kind of pick your spots in all things trendy, right? Can't be too on trend. But, you still want to show how you're a little contemporary, right? Trends in the garden are something that I've unpacked over the year. Here's a trends post that I did very early this past year - January 2022 . And I did the same thing in 2019 and 2020 . I came across a recent 2023 Garden Trends list from Garden Design email newsletter and thought it was worth kicking-the-tires on the items they included. Here's their list . Below is a screenshot showing the nine items that they think will breakthrough and show up in gardens this growing season: There are a few - what I'll call - 'narrow' items on their list. And others that are way more 'broad' in nature. Let's start with the more 'broad' category items. Why? Because they're A LOT less interesting to me.
On Friday, I posted a look at my initial attempts to divide some of our existing Summer Beauty Allium clumps in our backyard to create more new, 'free' plants. As of that post, I was up to 27 'free plants' created through division. Pretty good. But, I had time and knew I had a few more viable Summer Beauty Ornamental Onion plants that were large enough to divide. I also knew that I had a spot around the front of the Tree Swing Oak tree that is currently planted with hostas, but gets more shade than hostas typically like. So, I dug those out and relocated them back into the understory garden bed. And, I dug up some Summer Beauty Allium from the southside beds , divided them and relocated some smaller plants to around the Tree Swing Oak tree. Here, below, is the 'before' look - before I started to divide these. My shovel is right in front of one of the clumps I divided. I added some of these divisions right next to the existing colony. See below for a pee
One of the projects in the backyard that I've been eying since we arrived home from vacation is to clean up and shape the boxwoods that we have close to our patio in back. They're pretty shaggy right now and have grown together a bit after being in the ground for four growing seasons. You can see their current state as shaggy boxwoods below: A little history - these were planted in 2018. And I pruned them for the first time in Spring of 2019 . I haven't touched them since. Why? Because I found some inspiration both on the Web and in person. First... these Jacques Wirtz cloud hedges that have grown together and are shaped in one big mass. And then this mass of boxwoods that are in Memphis at the FedEx Worldwide Headquarters . The Fall of 2019, they started to put on some size . And a year later - Fall 2020 - they had grown even closer together . It seems that the time has come to shape these, but (right now), I don't have shears. Seems there are a couple
What do they say about being 'on trend'? Something like....if you stick to something LONG ENOUGH, it will eventually come back to being 'on trend'. Like clothes. If you loved wearing flannel shirts and Doc Martin boots back in the 1990's and you kept wearing them ever since? Good news. You're back on trend twenty-plus years later. With that idea, I suppose it is worth thinking about trends in gardening. I've posted about trends in the past - here's a 2019 post about how gabion-style walls were on trend that year . And in 2020 how creating little 'nooks ' was on trend. There are various times when trends in gardening come out. The first is typically during the Chelsea Flower show that takes place annual in London . This year, the show was moved (Thanks, COVID.), but some trends continued to emerge - mostly related to the changing dynamics COVID has brought to our lives. Something that seemed to percolate out of Chelsea this year was the
I recently came across some #1 Hicks Yews on a massive sale (these were sub $5 each), so I grabbed seven of them (and some other items) you can see below. These seven join the other ones that I already have in as a hedge across the back and the recently planted pair that I'm trying to grow into a topiary . I've had good luck with all of the previously planted Hicks upright yews not having too much trouble with drought, but they've had a little bit of rabbit damage over the years. I took six of these upright yews and put them into a hedge that will span the back of this bed to the front and - when it grows - will be shaped into that 'swooping' profile that I'm chasing . My thought is that this new section of swooping hedge will evoke the same feeling as the one in back and work to tie the garden together by repeating the look with upright yews. Here, below, you can see some of the yews set up for placement below: For record-keeping purposes, here (below) is t
September is a good time to divide some perennials in our growing zone - 5b - due to the cooler temperatures, the little bit of rain we get and the warm soil temperatures. I have a few plants in our garden that were planted in 2017 that haven't been divided to date - so that's five growing seasons without dividing. And, when it comes to some ornamental grasses, it seems that they do BEST when you divide them every three or four years. My Fall dividing plan starts with these Karl Foerster grasses that were planted next to our driveway and our front way. I just posted a photo of these grasses last week showing the trio of them being full and wide . That's about their total, mature size. Coupled with the fact that I noticed some 'center rot' this Spring , I knew it was time to dig these out and divide. I started with the grass closest to our garage - you can see it on the right in the photo below: I dug it up and divided it into quarters - with four sections t
I planted some tiny, upright Yews back in the Summer of 2019 in hopes that they'd, one day, form a cool hedge near the rear of our property. They made it through the first couple of growing seasons and by last October, I could *start* to envision the future when I looked at the area . My original inspiration for the wavy or curved hedge came via this post where I referenced a Bunny Williams garden that was, in turn, inspired by a Jacques Wirtz garden in Belgium. This year, some of the yews have put on new growth - adding height and filling out. Here, below, is a look at one of the tallest and the new growth from this season. I planted a few of the (initally) taller ones together in hopes that I could get that undulating look earlier by engineering some selective height pattern. Seems to be working in that the grouping of tall ones continue to lead the pack. Below, is another look at the hedge from the side. They need to keep growing both up and out - to close the gaps b
Our backyard is mostly shade. And, because of that, I'm a shade gardener and have been focused on adding shade plants to our yard over the past couple of years. But, I haven't strayed too far from Hostas and Ferns. I recently came this list of Shade plants that includes foliage and flowering sub-lists that I've been reading to get acquainted with some new ideas. We also spent some time over the past few weeks at the Morton Arboretum walking the paths and looking at some of the gardens. In particular, we spent an overcast morning puttering around the Fragrance Garden seeking inspiration based on seeing what they have planted in some of the shady spots. Here's a few shots that include a mix of shade-tolerant perennials and annuals below. This is where that list from Garden Design linked above comes in handy - for identification. First up, a mix of some All Gold Hakonechloa macra grasses planted with (what I think are) Hypoestes (polka dot plant) and some bego
Here I was...thinking I'm writing a post that is going to knock a HUGE item off my 2021 to-do list in the yard. But, when I went to go look up what number "cutting new, larger curvilinear beds" was on the list...imagine my disappointment that it isn't one of the 25 things. Womp, womp. But, it is still a big deal for me and a big milestone for the yard. First, a review of a few things: Starting with curvilinear bed design . I covered where I wanted to go with our bed layout and how we had a bunch of "little" curves/bumps in our current beds - while the ideal state is very few, larger, swooping edges. As Sue from Not Another Gardening Blog pointed out, these big, swooping curves are hard to pull off . I went through three colors of spray paint trying to get the curves right. And, I think I got them like 90% there - with just a little bit of cleanup having to come in the next few seasons. Second: a note about the "order of operations" I