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 garden diary
The biggest, most-interesting, focal-point conifer in our backyard is a small Weeping Nootka Cypress tree that I planted in late May of 2021 in one of the big, swooping curves along the north side of the beds about 2/3rds of the way back. It has now been 28 months (May 2021 --> September 2023) since this was planted and although I was quite concerned about this thing surviving, I can report that the tree has not only survived, but has been putting on a small amount of growth. Below is a photo showing the current shape and size of this focal-point evergreen tree: It isn't super easy to tell, but when I compare the photos over the years, I can see that it has put on height from the leader (apical meristem) and all of the limbs have extended with new, pendulous growth. The 'skirt' from the lowest limbs has grown, too. But, I haven't touched this with a pruner since it went in and I think that's the right move. My plan is to keep watering this in until the fir
The three Autumn Ferns that have changed everything I think about ferns in the garden are at their peak pre-color-change right now - mid-September. They are full, lush and alive with fronds the reach up and out and curl ever-so-slightly in this shade bed. Photo of the 'original three' below: Last Fall, I planted a number of small Autumn Ferns, but it appears that just six of them came back and made it this year . There are a couple of plants that I'm going to seek out at the big box store end-of-season sales: These Autumn Ferns and Ajuga Chocolate Chip for groundcover .
Last Fall, I bought and planted two (at that time) new (to me) Heucheras: Dolce Silver Gumdrops. They were at Lowe's end-of-the-season sale and I said that I was going to plant them in over by the Guacamole Hostas . Today, there's just one of them. And, I don't really see *where* I could have planted the other one as there isn't a ton of empty space around. But that one? It is showing up well right now - Late Summer/Early Fall with silver foliage and tiny pink blooms about to arrive. See below for a photo of the current state of this Silver Gumdrop Coral Bells: I've had mixed results with Heucheras over the years. Some that I've neglected have done great. Others that I've baby'd have perished. This one is small, but that's by design. The listing talks about this Heuchera's size this way : Silver Gumdrop’ is a smaller scale Heuchera, the perfect size for a container. Growers and gardeners alike will be pleased that it is a vigorous gro
Fall planting is here. At least...for me it is. I have two real gardening/planting seasons: Spring - when I can't help myself and get busy in the garden/at the garden center/at the Morton Sale. And then Fall - when I divide and transplant and buy things that go on end-of-season sales. This is the first planting of that 'fall planting' period and is something that I've been thinking about for years. And, finally did something about it. I'm talking about the northside of our garage, where we get full shade and have a narrow, foundation bed that borders the bluestone chip path that leads to our backyard. All the way back in 2018, I started posting about what to do with this area in terms of trees and shrubs. There are really two parts that *could* be addressed. First..against the house to sort-of soften-up the large, white, blank wall. And, then (potentially) against the property line to provide a sense of 'privacy' or screening from the driveway nex
Earlier this year (May), I planted a pair of dwarf Ginkgo trees - Spring Grove Ginkgos - on either side of our back stoop . I was planning on planting *something new* here, but I didn't plan on these - rather, I just came across them and decided to go this route. I posted about them one-month-post-planting and they seemed to be doing well and getting established . But...I knew the hard, hot, dry part of the Summer was coming and I wanted to be sure these dwarf trees were set up to succeed. We were gone for a large part of the Summer, so I decided to set up a some timed irrigation and then covered these in shade cloth. Yeah...I covered them for months at a time to keep them from drying out and burning. I recently took the shade cloths off - thinking the heat of the Summer is behind us. What happened under the shade cloth was quite A LOT of new growth. But, that new growth was *very* tender because it was being protected from the sun. When I first took the shade cloth off
I recently posted an update on the grown-from-seed tree seedlings that I've been nurturing for the past few years and included the oak trees that are from acorns that I collected last Fall . Last year, I collected a variety of tree species - various oaks, chestnuts and even an Illinois Pecan and stashed them in the fridge to cold stratify. That lead me to what I'd describe as 'mixed' results. I have had quite a few seeds turn into seedlings, but because it was a mixed-bag, I am (somewhat) guessing on the variety of the tree and where I picked it from (a park? Our block? Up in Wisconsin?) when I took the acorns. But, I've enjoyed that seedling-growing process. So, this year, I'm simplifying things. I'm only going to keep ONE variety of acorns over winter. What tree is that, you might be asking? The answer is: I'm not sure. But, I do, indeed, know that it is a columnar oak tree that is planted along Maple Avenue near downtown Downers Grove.
A brief, visual update on a few of the Elephant Ear bulbs that I planted in the landscape as bedding plants - lending a tropical vibe to the garden (underneath the kitchen windows). I last posted about these in July when the foliage was just showing up and unfurling . Here, below is what they look like currently - in early/mid September. Some of the leaves are REALLY big. Are they the largest leaves we've ever had? I'm not sure, but they sure look like the largest - compared to these previous giants . The bulbs in the corner container are growing big leaves, too. See below: Next year, I'd like to try the black-stemmed version that I spotted at the Morton Arboretum earlier this Summer, but if I can't find those, I'll still turn to these traditional Esculentas as I've made them a 'seasonal' addition to our garden - in both containers and in the ground. Maybe next year they'll go over by the Disneyland Roses to fill in some of those gaps, too.
We have a few large, mature Northern Catalpa trees in our yard that I've really grown to appreciate over the years. They're native trees that have H U G E leaves, put out a really nice set of interesting, white flower blooms on the trees in early Summer , and have a little Fall-show in them with a turn to golden yellow before dropping their large leaves. They leave behind long, lean seed pods that I've tried to grow into seedlings , but I don't think that I've ever successfully sowed a Northern Catalpa tree on my own. But...they also produce quite a few volunteer trees. In the Fall of 2022, I dug up and transplanted one of those volunteer seedlings and moved it into the little, corner bed of our back patio; tucked in between the Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses. I watered it to get it established and then left it alone. Two years later, what does that little volunteer (transplanted) tree look like? See below for the current state of the tree. It has grown
I planted a 1# Cascade Hops Vine in early Summer 2021 that I bought at The Growing Place (Aurora Location). At that time, the plant was pretty mature; based on the bulging, root-bound container. So, it wasn't a surprise that I saw hops (fruits) that first season . Then, in year two (2022), I was surprised to see that the very same vine that fruited so easily produce no hops in the following year. Here's the vine a year ago - with no hops on it anywhere. This year, we're back in the hops-producing mode as the vine has some larger, mature hops and some tiny, small ones. Before I show the hops, let's talk about the vine. I created a wire (attached to the fence) trellis a few years back , but I believe that hops vines want to REALLY CLIMB. This goes to six-feet-tall and appears to have been cut-back at the top. My hunch is that I didn't manage the vine enough and it started to climb over the fence and the neighbor trimmed it back. The vine is also climbing