Last Fall, I planted a number of small containers of Ajuga Chocolate Chips that I brought home from Lowes and their year-end sale. I put some in the back and stuck three of these groundcover plants into the little island bed that is tucked in between our driveway and front walk/stairs/porch. I don't seem to have posted any photos in the garden diary, but I ended up taking one. But, in the photo I have from late October 2022 (below), there's only two Ajuga Chocolate Chip in this bed. You can see that they were pretty small and green. That was very late October. So, what do this groundcover look like nine-months later? See below for an update. And.....surprise! There's three of them. (I guess that I ended up planting a third here???) They've spread out and filled in some of that space. They're doing exactly what they're supposed to do: fill out that bed, cover up the mulch to make more of a 'living mulch', reduce the number of footcandles so t
Showing posts with the label mulch
Last week, I shared the 14 plugs of Ajuga Chocolate Chip that I planted around the backyard as groundcover near the border of some of the beds. In that post, I talked about how I had grown in my appreciation of Ajuga Chocolate Chip (and groundcover writ large). I came across it first from Erin the Impatient Gardener and her talk with Roy Diblik. I bought the first few containers last Fall . I recently came across a second Ajuga variety: Bronze Beauty. Same deal from Home Depot: Six-pack of them. Of note, this Bronze Beauty has a purple handle - and says it is designed for SHADE. I decided to give it a try in two different situations: First...tucked in between (and at the feet) of some established hostas. See below for those hostas and Ajuga Bronze Beauty together: And, I put the other three right along the fire pit metal border - you can see those below. #17 on my to-do list was to 'keep going with groundcover' - and I now have put in 20 Ajuga plants. Pretty go
Another day, another post in the garden diary to note the spring foliage emergence. This time...it is one of the Ligularia that are planted in our backyard - in a shady spot mixed in amongst hostas. I don't seem to have posted about planting these, but I'm pretty sure that I planted three of them - from Roy Diblik's nursery in Wisconsin. They seem to struggle, so I'm not sure if they'll be back or not and if they'll thrive. At least one of them is going to give it a go this Spring - see below: My experience with these is that they're pretty sensitive to water, so I'll try to stay on them. And...maybe even give them another shot up front in the new bed.
When I was just starting to garden, one of the first things that I was able to document in my garden diary was the annual emergence of peonies. Nat's Mom planted them for us in our house. And, those red tips were one of my earliest lessons in the garden. I've documented the Peonies being 'back' almost every year. Here's the 'back' post from 2021 . And 2023 is no different. Below are a few photos of the early, red growth from these tuber-based flowers that are planted near our kitchen windows. I moved most of our peonies HERE because it is just about the *most* sunny spot in our yard. Besides next to the patio (hey! That gives me an idea). I'm not CERTAIN how many are here - at one point there were four including a white one . These photos are from a week ago (April 6) and I see two so far:
I wandered around the beds for the first time in a week recently and noticed a few things have come back for the 2023 growing season and wanted to document them - and their timing - here in my garden diary. I'll do that over a few posts in the coming days. First up? Three Jack of Diamonds Brunnera that are planted in the southside backyard bed . Below, you'll see the early, curly foliage that is coming up front the hardwood mulch: I planted these three in Summer of 2021 , so this will be their third growing season in our garden. Here, below, is a wider-angle look at the three of these shade-tolerant perennials. They're pretty hard to see in that pic...so....below is an annotated versions;
I wrote about how I was seeing some Wild Onions appear and looked at the soil temperature tool to find out that the soil temp currently in my Zone 5b is higher than the historical averages. I also showed how I was seeing the Daffodils emerge this past week, too. Those seem normal. Or close to their history in my garden diary. But, an Allium showing up this early? Last year (2022), I was documenting the tips of Allium bulbs emerging in early April . This year? See below for a look at some of them that sit on the side of the hosue at the feet of the SugarTyme Crabapple Trees: Now, these were planted in 2021, so last Spring (2022), was their first shot at growth. Perhaps they were just delayed. I'll have to get out and have a better look around to see if other Allium bulbs are emerging early, too.
The patch of yellow Daffodils are back and are certainly a sign of Spring in our backyard. These sit under the canopy of a large Red Oak on the south side and were Spring ephemeral flower bulbs that I inherited from the previous property owners. Without any help at all, they keep coming back year-after-year. They flowered just once - in 2021 - but maybe they'll bloom again this year. Here's how they look right now - tips of green foliage peeking through the mulch:
Just a few days ago, I posted photos of what I think is the earliest emergence of the tips of Hellebores in our backyard and talked about how I'm not sure what is driving this early Spring . When I was out front, I noticed that there are other things *already* moving in the garden. Specifically...some tulips. Down in the little bed wedged in between the sidewalk, our driveway and the property line are some tulips that were planted in Fall of 2021. Last year was their first season and I noted their emergence in early March . So - just like with the Hellebores - this is about three weeks earlier than last year. Here, below, is a peek at some of the tulip foliage that has sprung up. H ere's a look at where these bloomed last season . These are MOST LIKELY going to need a little protection from getting trampled by the kids and neighbors and their dogs. I looked in a few other spots - around the parkway tree and underneath the Triumph Elm that we planted last year and I d
Last year, I bought three Japanese Forest Grasses - Hakonechloa Macra Hakone Grass - from Northwind up in Wisconsin and planted them right at the base of the big Northern Red Oak tree - the tree swing tree amongst some hostas. These grasses are similar to the All Gold variety that I have in a few places, but these aren't as 'lime green' color, but rather a darker green. They're also (per the signage) more vigorous. This is their first Spring and all three of them have emerged from the mulch. You can see them (below) tucked into the border with some hostas (Frances Williams and others) above them. My plan is to let all of these things come up and then decide if I need to transplant a few things around. The bare root hostas are starting to get to a more-mature size and as they fill in, I think there might be a few more than necessary here.
While I can't get started with Spring clean-up just yet, the warm(er) temperatures have me wanting to be outside in the garden working on things that I'd like to get done this season. One of the projects that has been on my mind since last Summer is thinking about a plan to address the hydrophobic mulch that is present in a few spots - but specifically under the Norway Maple outside of our Front Porch. I don't think (I can't find) that I've posted specifically about hydrophobic mulch. And the problem that it creates. It is something that I'm dealing with in a couple of spots, but as I've gotten to learn more about it, I'm still trying to figure out both what CAUSED it and how to address it. One of the VERY COMMON reasons for hydrophobic mulch is that it was applied too thickly. That's true for me. Especially under the Norway Maple. I've had a lot of trouble growing under that tree - h ere's a whole post on the topic - so I'm no
I planted a (new-to-me) variety of Allium last Summer with Serendipity Allium in the IB2DWs bed - in a little colony of three plants . I've had a lot of luck with Allium Summer Beauty and these are similar, but are a little bit more 'strap-y' in their foliage, so when I found them, I knew I could put them to work in the garden. When I was out looking for tulip tips coming out of the mulch, I came across some green shoots - from these Allium. See below, a photo showing the little green foliage that has emerged for the first Spring on these in this bed next to our driveway . This past weekend, we had what is known (around here) as False Spring. Where we get temperatures up in the seventies. That makes gardeners like me what to get out and start Spring clean-up. But, I also know that we'll get more snow (and we did...on Monday). So, you have to resist the temptation to pull any of last year's dead material away from these tender, green shoots.
We had 15 steaming yards of mulch delivered in May - and at the time - I knew I needed more, but the truck only held 15 yards. Here, below, is a photo showing off the next eight yards delivered on the driveway. Taking me to 23 total yards for the front and backyard. This was delivered in the beginning of June, but I'm posting this at the end of June. Turns out, I'm a few yards short of what I really needed and should have bought ten to twelve yards instead of eight. I laid it on VERY thick in many spots - in an attempt to make up for some of the deficiency last year. 23 total yards - for this year - wasn't enough.
Last year, I had 12 yards of mulch delivered on the driveway. And it wasn't enough. This year, I expanded the beds in the back and knew I needed more than 12 yards. I was planning on ordering 20 yards, but the delivery truck can only hold 15 yards. So, that's what I ordered - thinking that I'd start with 15 and order 5-10 more after I spread it to see what was needed. This is what 15 yards of hardwood mulch looks like below: And here's a video of the delivery being dumped on the driveway: I've done these videos a few times. Here's a video from 2020 showing 12 yards. Here's a video from 2011 showing 10 yards . I had a couple of my nephews come over to help me haul the mulch to the backyard in an attempt to save my back from the pain I had in 2020. We were able to get all 15 yards put out in the backyard in just one day and there is quite a bit of more bed coverage needed, so I'm going to try to measure the space left and calculate how much mu
The tulip bulbs that I planted last Fall in the front yard ( I planted 57 of them last Fall ) have really come up this Spring. I'll take a proper photo of all of them - from the front - when they are all flowering. But, for now, I wanted to document the location of the bulbs and where I can add even more this Fall. From the front porch, this is the view of the stand of tulips around the Norway Maple tree: I wanted to post this on the blog in the Garden Diary so I remember WHERE to plant this Fall's bulbs to really fill in this area with tulips - so I circled these areas in the photo below. I can see surrounding this tree with even more bulbs. I've posted about these tulips this Spring - first when they came up . And then again, when they were covered in snow .
Yesterday, I shared a post talking about the concept of creating curvilinear flower beds in landscape design and how one of my initial backyard projects is to move towards a final shape with our beds. That requires us to carve up a bunch of the current lawn and creating new beds that jut out into the grass. But, before I can even begin to think about how to make those swoop'ing, curved beds, there is some thinking that I have to do in in order to get both ready for the days of sod removal AND what has to happen AFTER the creation of the new beds to get them ready and dressed for the season. To arrange my thinking - and to pressure test on what I want to do - I thought I'd create an individual (for me) order of operations document that details the steps in the order I need to take in order to make this all work. So, let's go. 1. Remove our Automower wire. Around the entire perimeter of our backyard, we have a low-voltage green wire buried about 3" or so from th
Just about one year ago, I posted a photo here on the blog showing our first tulip bulb tip that had emerged from the mulch and signaled that Spring was this/close. Today, I'm posting a similar photo of a tulip bulb tip in our front yard/front porch beds. Last Fall, I planted 57 additional tulip bulbs - adding 28 yellow, 15 orange and 14 white flowers to our bed where we had our original 50 bulbs. That makes the full count 107 bulbs, but we've certainly lost some to rot, critters or they have exhausted themselves. The photo below, is taken a little bit away from the base of the Norway Maple where our legacy bulbs have historically been planted , so I'm thinking this is one of the newly planted ones. If you've been following along over the years, you'll notice two additional things in the photo above. First, the mulch. It is Cocoa Bean Hull mulch from the Hull Farm in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin . I first picked up the idea at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris w
Last month, I began to prep some parts of our yard for winter with the addition of chicken wire protection to keep the rabbits away from nibbling on the evergreens all Winter. I started with the Canadian Hemlocks and also wrapped our Weeping White Spruce columnar tree , too. In those posts, I mentioned that I was planning on trying to protect a couple of our Disneyland Roses using a similar technique - wrapping a ring of poultry netting around them - but this time, filling them with mass to protect from winter frosts. Below are a couple of photos that show the currents state of our two sideyard Disneyland roses. First, the eastern-most one. The chicken wire is wrapped around the rose and filled with mulched/chopped-up fall leaves to provide mulching protection. I also threw down wood chips around the bottom to keep critters from getting inside: The more western one - below - is the larger of the Disneyland roses. This one, too, was wrapped in chicken wire and mulched from the b
Back in April, I posted about how I had started to go over to the Downers "mulch pit" with some buckets and my pitchfork and bringing home about 1/3rd of a yard of arborist wood chips a couple of times per week. At that time, I was mostly stuck at home due to COVID, so I had the time. And, I had a huge part of our far backyard that I had never mulched. These wood chips seemed like a good idea to cover some of that soil, provide a little bit of mulch and potentially create a base upon which I could cover with higher quality mulch. I ended up doing a big section across the back of my yard, but after getting that *mostly* done, Spring had arrived and I switched my attention to other parts of the yard. I also had 12 yards of hardwood fines premium mulch delivered that covered the rest of my yard. (Note to self: 12 yards wasn't enough for my yard.) Well...guess what? COVID is still here. And I'm still *mostly* stuck around the house with time. For me, A
Back in the end of June, I planted eight additional Summer Beauty Ornament Onion (allium) on the south side of our property in the bed that runs from east to west. We picked them up (or...had someone picked them up) from Hinsdale Nursery and I put seven of them in a staggered planting. When they went in, they were just green foliage, but today - if you look at the photo at the top of this post - you'll notice that they're all flowering some lovely purple sphere-shaped flowers. Each of them have multiple flowers, but ALL of them are leaning to the East. Looking at this photo, one thing that I'm noticing is that the mulch that I put down (delivered in mid-April this year) has already broken down quite a bit. This area - and these Allium could use a mulch refresh. That leads me to ask a question: do gardeners mulch twice a year? This post recommends both a Spring and Fall mulch ? You should add mulch whenever layers thin out for any reason. You’ll also want
A couple of days ago, I posted a before/after photo of our Magnolia tree and the cocoa bean shell mulch that I added and mentioned that I had brought home just 10 bags of cocoa bean hull mulch from Lake Geneva. Today, you can see our front bed with the balance of the bags laid down. I was able to add mulch from the front of the bed to around and *just* behind the boxwoods. We have three Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas behind the boxwoods that I didn't have enough mulch in the bags to cover at this point. From this point of view - and down lower near the sidewalk, you can't see *behind* the boxwoods, so it kind of looks finished despite about 50% of the bed not being freshly mulched. When we go back up to Wisconsin in the coming weeks/months when we drive two cars, I'll head over to the Hull Farm and pick up ten more bags of the stuff to finish off the bed. On the far left of the photo, you can see one of the limestone blocks that I installed to create that '