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Showing posts with the label shrubs

Rabbit Pressure On Oakleaf Hydrangeas - January 2024

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I really do NOT like the dang rabbits that live in and around our yard and garden.  I've done my best to protect against their damage, but I didn't do enough this Winter.  With the snow melting, I took one VERY small walk through part of the garden to see how things have fared in the past month-or-so.  I don't want to walk on the wet ground and didn't walk in any of the beds to avoid compaction.   But...from the edge of the beds, I was able to see some serious rabbit damage on a number of my Oakleaf Hydrangeas.  Even on one that I wrapped in Chicken wire.  What the heck!?! Here's a few photos showing the rabbit pressure - and gnawing of the tips - on my SnowQueen and Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas.    The problem is that these flowering shrubs bloom on old wood.  That means...2024 will be a year of limited flowers.  Bummer.   Weather-permitting, I'll go out and grab more photos.  Coming up with a real plan on rabbits feels like a 2024 project.  This aggression will no

2nd Bird's Nest Spruce - In Conifer Garden - November 2023.

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Today marks me getting pretty close to the final conifer that I planted in my Fall Planting Spring of October 2023.  It features a second (new) Bird's Nest Spruce (3rd overall with one in the back) and is planted in the new part of the Conifer Garden down by the sidewalk.  Same story as the previous one - a dwarf, low-to-the-ground conifer that tolerates sun and - when established - is drought tolerant.  This one is a 1# small shrub, like the others have been.   I planted this in mid-October, but posting it in early November 2023. 

Transplanted Bird's Nest Spruce - Backyard - November 2023

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Originally planted in a container (pre-bonsai), then first transplanted into the ground in April of 2022 only to be moved up to the Kitchen window curved bed in May of 2022 , my first Bird's Nest Spruce (dwarf) has not lived a good life.  Then...it was gnawed at by the dang rabbits and fought for life the past two growing seasons. Today?  It has been overtaken by the Oakleaf Hydrangeas that are planted behind this small spruce shrub.  See below for a look at the leaves of the hydrangeas and the spruce, evergreen shrub: That means that this dwarf conifer is looking for its fourth spot in three years.  I dug it up and transplanted it over to the northside of the lot, behind some hostas (that need to be removed) and in front of the Hops vine that is trellis'd up the fence.  See below for the current state of my first Bird's Nest Spruce dwarf conifer: I'm posting this in early November, but I moved this shrub back in early/mid October of 2023. 

Another Matcha Ball Ash Leaf Spirea Shrub Planted - By Astilbes - November 2023

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I posted the details and a photo of planting a Matcha Ball Ash Leaf Spirea shrub in the front porch beds in mid-October .  When I planted that one, I also...planted a second one:  but in back.  I decided to tuck it in the 'kitchen window curved bed', sort-of by where my bird-feeding pole lives.   That bed has some good foliage and good texture contrasts going on - the Amsonia, Oakleaf Hydrangeas and Astilbes create a nice combination.  This small-size (dare I saw dwarf) fern-like shrub adds a pop of color (yellow/chartreuse) and some lightness of foliage to this spot. The shrub is already showing some buds on the limbs - that I presume are set of next year.  But..you never can tell what kind of stress these nursery plants go through that might alter their normal growth cycle.   I planted this in mid-October, but posting it in early November 2023.  

3 Green Velvet Boxwoods Planted - Dogwood Espalier - November 2023

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I added three small Green Velvet Boxwoods to the middle of the pair of recently-espalier'd Dogwood trees along the side of the garage.  The bed has been an afterthought (to date) and features a bunch of random hostas, Ostrich Ferns and a few heucheras.  There were no shrubs.  There wasn't much 'structure' there.  The photo at the top shows the 'after'.  The photo below shows the 'before'. I've moved that big hosta OUT and removed some of the ferns, too.   I planted these in mid-October, but posting it in early November 2023. 

2nd Blue Star Juniper Planted - Disneyland Roses - November 2023

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Yesterday, I posted a photo and details of the first (of two) Blue Star Junipers that I planted next to the back stoop.   Today, is the second of those - this time planted on the north side by the electrical meter, next to one of the Disneyland Roses. You can see it below - this is a spot that gets full sun and little water...so I'm thinking it may be happy here. Posting in November, but planted in mid-October 2023.

Blue Star Juniper Planted - Back Stoop Bed - November 2023

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More dwarf conifers.  That's the story for today (and maybe tomorrow) as I've planted a pair of Blue Star Junipers - Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star' to two different parts of our garden.  The first is pictured above and is in the north-side back stoop bed along with a Spring Grove Ginko, that big flush of Angelina Sedum and a Geranium. My thought here is that by adding some blue - I'd get a nice view of the garden color trinity of green (ginkgo), blue (Blue Star Juniper) and chartreuse (Angelina Sedum) working together.  And...that this Blue Star Juniper might fight back against the sedum and they'd play nice together. What is a Blue Star Juniper?  From NC State : 'Blue Star' Singleseed Juniper is a cultivar that is a dwarf conifer, an evergreen, and slow-growing shrub that may reach from 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 4 feet wide. The shrub forms a compact, dense mound. The leaves are blue-gray, awl-shaped needles with a white band that overlap and are densel

Royal Purple Smoke Tree Planted - IB2DWs - October 2023

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I've long admired the Purple Smoke Trees that I see in gardens and landscapes.  I've thought about planting one for a number of years, but each time I come across one, I opt against it.  Until...this week.  When I found a 'Royal Purple' Smoke Tree at the end-of-season sale at the orange big box store.  It was too good of a price and I've been wanting to add some red to contrast the newly planted dwarf conifers in my new IB2DWs Conifer Garden. So, I bought it and stuck it in the ground closer to the sidewalk and pretty far back in the bed.   You can see it in the photo below:  Is this thing a tree?  Or a shrub?  It is referenced either way, but I'm calling it a tree - mostly due to the name.  The tag says 'shrub', but... This becomes the last tree of 2023 and...amazingly...the 21st planted for the year.   As for keeping score on a few fronts, let's first start with the Fall Planting Tally.

Matcha Ball Ash Leaf Spirea Planted - Front Porch Bed - October 2023

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The #FallPlanting beat goes on with a new (to me) shrub that I planted in the front porch bed - sort-of tucked in between the new (this year) Disneyland Roses and the tiny Green Velvet Boxwoods .   Was this in the plan that I had in mind?  Nope. Then...why would it go here? The answer to that is, of course rooted in Fall nursery sales.  But, a good price wouldn't be enough to get me to make the leap.  Nope. What made this all come together is this specific shrub:  A Matcha Ball Ash Leaf Spirea.  Here, below, is the young shrub planted in its spot in my front porch bed: What's so special about this shrub?  Well...you can tell a lot by just looking at it.  Here's what First Editions says about it : Forming a perfect round ball fern-like leaves cover Matcha Ball® in a fresh shade of green, much like Matcha tea. When the leaves first emerge in very early spring, the leaves and petioles have hints of red and orange-peach that ultimately mature to green in the summer and yellow

Green Gem Boxwoods - Two Seasons of Growth - October 2023

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Planted in late October 2021 , the set of three Green Gem Boxwoods planted in the backyard beds have continued to put on some size and seem to have established themselves enough to basically go on auto-pilot from here-on-out.  They were small one gallon plants from the Orange box store that were on the 50% off sale - coming in under $5 a piece.  They're smaller-scale boxwoods and were planted to provide some evergreen structure to a place that is mid-border that is mostly shade. What do they look like today?  Below is a photo showing the three of them that have filled out and grown quite a bit of mass in their two years: Compared to just February of this year, they've put on a bunch of growth this season .  Also, a reminder....that these didn't bronze much over last Winter - and is something that I can watch this year. The Summer Beauty alliums have begun to encroach on them at the top of the photo and the center of the planting is ripe for something to be tucked right in

First Sign Of Fall - Little Henry Sweetspire Turning Red - September 2023

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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.

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas Going Pink - August 2023

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Our front yard hydrangeas have never had a better year than this year.  Full stop.  They are covered with blooms.  And those blooms are big and full.  Leading to the WORST flopping that we've ever hard - even with the large Limelight Hydrangeas that have been the most productive over the years. First...the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas.  They are starting to 'turn' with pink showing up on the flowers - you can see one of them below: I've tracked this 'turning' over the years - in 2017 it started in July , in 2018 it was in September,  same in 2019  and in 2022 (last year), I only documented them when they were in full color - October.   This year it is late August when they're starting to add pink to the big, white mophead blooms. As for the flopping, it appears that the removal of the Norway Maple has changed so much up there and that I'll have to deal with them this Summer (trying to string them up) and that my pruning technique will have to change sta

New Summer Growth on Rhododendrons - August 2023

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I was away from the yard and garden for more than a week recently, so on a recent walkabout, I noticed a few new things - or seemingly new (to me).  One of those new (to me) things was all the Summer growth on the pair of Rhododendrons in our backyard.    There are two of these tropical-looking shrubs that I transplanted from our back stoop to the feet of the Dawn Redwood in the back .  They suffered and struggled in the stoop area for what I think are multiple reasons (the conditions AND the fact that there are Chipmunks eating the roots) and while I didn't want to just toss them out, I didn't have much hope that they'd come back strong. That's why I'm surprised at seeing all this new growth on the tips of these.  Are they (now) thick and full shrubs?  No.  But, are they showing signs of life that is surprising?  Yep.  See the photo at the top of this post that shows off the new five-or-so inches of growth that has pop'd-off on the tips of the branches. There a

Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangea Summer Update - August 2023

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Just a few days ago, I posted photos of three (happy) Little Lime Hydranges in our backyard garden.  They are NOT the only dwarf varieties of hydrangeas that we have planted.  We also have three Oakleaf hydrangeas - Little Honey - that are from the Morton Arboretum plant sale.  I put them in the ground in May of 2022 .  These were gobbled up/gnawed-on by the dang rabbits, so I protected them all Winter. All three re-emerged this year with foliage.  But, suddenly...one of them has taken a turn.  See below for the current state of these three.  Clearly a 'good', 'middle' and 'bad', right? They all appear to be dealing with similar conditions:  light and water.  One of them is a TINY bit closer to a large Black Walnut tree, but I don't think that could be the issue.  Could it? I'll keep an eye on the troubled one, but my hunch is that it may NOT make it through this year.

Little Lime Hydrangeas - Summer Bloom Time - August 2023

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Last Summer (June 2022), I bought three Little Lime Hydrangea (a dwarf cultivar of Limelight ) and planted them in front of the Belgian Fence of Apple trees.  They were small, but produced a handful of blooms in late July that first growing season . Fast-forward a year and these three flowering shrubs have changed quite a bit.  They're thicker, more full and...FULL of blooms this year.  See below for a photo of their current (mid-August) state: These are a really good solve for this spot - they're at the back of the bed, but with the Belgian Fence behind, I couldn't use a full-height shrub here as they'd obscure the espalier.  So, this dwarf version is perfect.   It also has me thinking about how I could re-use these in other spots that are mid-bed.  Further back on this same northside of the backyard, there are spots.  And, maybe even IB2DWS?

Firepit Border Hicks Yews - August 2023

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I don't seem to have documented the planting of these two, small Hicks upright Yews, but I wanted to document their current, Summer 2023 status in the [garden diary].  They are planted between the firepit and the side fence.  With the three Peachberry Ice Heucheras planted in front of them. These were planted as 1-gallon evergreen shrubs.  And while they haven't put on a ton of size, they're certainly grown.  See below for a photo showing the two, upright Yews spread apart. With some time, they'll fill in and fill-up to create an evergreen vertical screen.  I don't expect them to grow together, but I will add something-else evergreen in between them down the road. How about the color change on those Heucheras, huh?   

Climbing Hydrangea Aerial Roots - First Year - August 2023

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100-or-so days after planting a 5-gallon Climbing Hydrangea ( Hydrangea anomala petiolaris ) back by the firepit, we're seeing some real upwards leader growth.  Or...what I plantsmen call "aerial rootlets".   We have this climbing, flowering vine going up a Hackberry tree and the R O U G H bark sure seems to be helpful in giving those aerial roots something to grab on-to. See below for the current mid-Summer form of our Climbing Hydrangea:  There are a few, sparse blooms on it this year, too.  So, that's kinda nice, right?   I'm hoping that this will wrap around (and not injure) the tree, so that it can be viewed from all angles. This also has me wondering:  where else could I plant one?  I've long talked about espalier'd trees along the garage, but maybe this is a better answer there, too?  Or...what about both? Last year, I saw one of these at 50% off the end-of-year sale at the Growing Place .  I'll have to pop back over there again this year. 

Pruning Boxwoods and Yews - July 2023

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Adding evergreens was #1 on my 2023 list and I've put in a series of Boxwoods in the front and back.  And those were added to the existing stands of Boxwoods around the garden.  Most of them are small, but a few of them have grown in size and have a number of seasons growing.  I also had a run with Hicks Yews the past few seasons, where I added quite a few of them around the backyard - starting all the way back in 2019 .   I've TOTALLY left them unpruned to date.  Why?  Pruning evergreen shrubs and boxwoods in particular is an art.  Something that I have little experience with as a gardener.  I've *mostly* left my Boxwoods grow wild and shaggy - allowing them to put on some size.   But...  pruning shrubs as a 'seasonal project' on my 2023 to-do list .  So, it was time to take a look at some of the evergreen shrubs. #22 on my 2022 to-do list was to 'upgrade my garden tools '.  I did that a little bit by adding a Dutch push/pull hoe .  I also did that by gett

Two Green Mountain Boxwoods Planted - Firepit - July 2023

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After the mass boxwood planting under the Linden trees earlier this Summer , I ended up with two very small (1#) Green Mountain Boxwoods that were leftover from the project.  When I started with that mass planting, I was using a mix of Green Mountain and Green Velvet.  After some hemming-and-hawing, I ended up planting only Green Velvet - mostly due to their smaller mature size. So, these two Green Mountain boxwoods have been siting around and I was able to get to planting them in the border around the fire pit in back.  See below for their location. A few notes on these - in relation to my task list for the growing season: 1.  #1 on my 2023 to-do list was to focus on evergreens .  Add two more to the planting list.  I planted five new evergreens in front .   A columnar Scotch Pine in back .  And now 13 more ( 11 + 2) Boxwoods.  That's 18 evergreen shrubs and one tree - 19 in total.  Pretty good. 2.  #15 on my 2023 to-do list was to 'upgrade the fire pit area' .  These tw

Chicago Lustre Viburnum - July 2023

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We have a pair of Chicago Lustre Arrowwood Viburnum shrubs that I planted in the Fall of 2021 .  These were part of the layout of of our original plan - in fact the plan called for even more of these, but I've opted to replace some of them with the Doublefile Viburnum that I found in treeform.   But, back to these.  They were feasted-on by the dang rabbits that first year.  And, they lost ALL of their size.  Last year, I used Chicken Wire rings to protect them.  And, these are the ONLY ones that I've left in the rings.    Without the rabbit pressure, these shrubs have put on some new growth and are looking good.  See below for a photo of their current state in early July 2023: