Posts

Showing posts with the label sideyard

First Cut-And-Come Again Zinnias - July 2024

Image
Cut flower season has arrived with the first Cut-and-Come-Again Zinnias.  These three followed the first Dahlia that I showed yesterday - a Melina Fleur Dahlia .  These were direct sown seeds and are being over-shadowed by what I'm pretty sure is Nicotiana Jasmine stalks.  I might have to thin those out to keep these happy - not to mention the Disneyland Roses that are tucked back in there. I did exactly what their name implies:  cut them.  Here's to...ummm...coming again. These took a little more than four weeks from seeds being sown to the first cut flowers. 

Disneyland Roses Rebound - Late June 2024

Image
What a difference two weeks make.  Earlier this month, I posted about our Disneyland Roses and described them as 'struggling '.  This is the second year where they 'struggled' - including an infestation of Sawfly Larvae.  The three bareroot ones didn't come back this season and I suspect it was the result of the pests.  As I've done in previous years, I've begun to feed the three remaining Floribunda roses with a combo fert + systemic insecticide on the first of the month (May, June).   But, that wasn't enough.  The leaves of the roses were lace-like and the plant seemed to be in decline. That's when I took drastic measures and first sprayed Neem Oil on them every few days follwing by  bombing all three of them with Eight insecticide dust .  The remaining foliage had a ghost-like quality with the white dust clinging to the leaves and stems.  For days and (now) weeks.     These Disneyland roses grow in 'flushes'.  At least that's what I c

Four Cornell Bronze Dahlias Planted - Sideyard + IB2DWs - June 2024

Image
The last of the Dahlia tubers are in the ground:  I planted four Cornell Bronze Dahlias that I bought this past winter from Longfield Gardens.  I started them in nursery pots indoors, then moved those to the patio to get acclimated.    I've put in six Melina Fluer dahlias - three in the sideyard and three in the front porch bed .  Then, I put in four Orange Nugget dahlias in the new sideyard bed .  And, now I've put in four (2 in sideyard and 2 IB2DWs) Cornell Bronze dahlias.  13 total plants for the season.  Cut flower season. These are behind the others, but with a little water and a lot of sun, I'm thinking they'll close the gap quickly. 

Cut and Come Again Zinnia Seeds Direct Sown - June 2024

Image
Day four of Zinnia-mania - but now we move from beyond IB2DWs to the new cut flower bed that I carved out on the side of our house.   For 2024 plantings with Zinnias, I first  posted the details of some common orange Zinnias that I planted as bedding plants .  A day earlier, I planted a larger, further-along  Uproar Rose Zinnia  from the nursery.   Then, yesterday I planted a Zowie Yellow Flame Zinnia in the conifer garden IB2DWs .  I pinched off all the blooms on these to try to get them to grow a bit more bushier.   But, I'm also going full-on Zinnia Chaos Gardener with the new bed on the southside of the house .  I bought a couple of packets of Cut-and-Come-Again Zinnias and decided to direct sow them in the bed.  Did I evenly space them?  No, just kind-of scattered them.  Here's the bed recently planted - you can see anything but loam/dirt/mulch/compost/biosolids of course: I also put some in the Greenstalk tower.   But, that's not all.  Last Fall, I collected some Zin

Feeding Disneyland Roses + First Flush of Blooms - May 2024

Image
This is the second granular feeding of the season for our Disneyland Roses that I've been trying to put down right around the first of the month - so this one is a day early.  See below for a few photos - showing the fertilizer application as well as the state of the three remaining rose bushes with blooms.  The one closest to the fence is having some trouble, so I've been spraying them every week with a Neem Oil brew to help kill whatever pests and/or fungus that is taking over. 

Planting Six Melina Fleur Dahlia Tubers In the Beds - May 2024

Image
I'm moving onto the 'in ground' phase of my 2024 dahlia journey.    Three weeks ago, I potted-up my six Melina Fleur dahlia tubers into one-gallon nursery pots and started them indoors .  After they sprouted, I began to move them outside and did a little bit of hardening-off by putting them out in the shade for a few hours during the days and bringing them in at night.  Eventually....I just started leaving them outside overnight and they all seemed to be fine.  Here, below, is what they look like now:  about six-inches of foliage on each one: I put three of them on the southside of the house - where I get full sun.  Tucked in/out of the Disneyland Roses along the foundation bed.    Below is one in front of the gas meter, one in front of the power meter and one tucked close to the gate, between a Karl Foerster Grass and the last Disneyland Rose.   Speaking of Disneyland Roses...I now can (sadly) say that the three from 2023 all died.  Didn't come back this Spring.  Bumme

Transplanted Cat's Pajamas Nepeta - from Back to Sideyard - May 2024

Image
As part of a larger " Garden Edit " to the "kitchen curved bed" in the backyard, I needed to move a few things OUT to make room for what I'd like to install.  Hence the notion of an 'edit'.    One of those edits is a Cat's Pajamas Nepeta that needs to get out of there.  I moved it here last Fall when I noticed it wasn't thriving in the shade .  Little did I know that I'd move it twice in six months.   The good news is that the Nepeta 'came back' this Spring.  Here, below is what the young plant looked like before I dug it up: Below is a little bit more context - showing the Nepeta vs some of the peonies: A few years ago, I posted about how Nepeta is listed as one of the Disneyland Rose 'companion plants', so it was a natural move to trasnplant it right in that long, foundation bed.  Below, you can see the tiny plant tucked in next to a Summer Beauty Allium:

New Bed for Cut Flowers - South Sideyard - May 2024

Image
The southside sideyard of our property is like most suburban sideyards.  Long and narrow.  It is also one of the very few areas outside of our front yard where we get A LOT of sun.  Over the years, I've planted some things over there including three Disneyland Roses , a pair of espaliered Sugar Tyme Crabapple trees , some Summer Beauty Allium, Karl Foerster Grasses, a few various allium bulbs, our Indiana Street Iris  and last Fall I added a small Blue Star Juniper .  Closer to the front of the house, we have a pair of Limelight Hydrangeas that are adjacent to the porch. The bed along this side of the house has been the same size since we moved in:  long and thin and hugging the foundation.  Something about 18" wide.  Below is a photo showing the bed as it looked before I started this new bed project.  One other note (to future Jake) - the orange spray paint shows where the cable line is buried.   I've been talking about growing flowers since last Fall - and pushed myself

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

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.

River Rock To Control Downspout Surface Drain Erosion - April 2024

Image
Yesterday, I posted some photos showing how I used the "Lasagna Method" to smother some grass with cardboard and top-it with mulch to improve a foundation-adjacent garden bed on the side of our house.  The goal was to raise up the soil level, smother out grass and improve the area looks-wise.   But, that wasn't the only recent improvement that I completed over on that side of the house.  While I was using gravel and river rock to level-out the pizza oven site, I decided to take a couple of bags of the River Rock to put to work by the downspout surface drain outlet.   I've been wrasslin' with surface water on this side of my house for years - here's a post from 2020 where I talk about 'floating mulch' due to the downspout release .  Over the years, I've seen the area erode and this Spring, I've attempted to address it in a few ways.  First, by hauling over some of the excavated material from the pizza oven project to 'fill in' some low

Smothering Grass With Cardboard To Rebuild Foundation Bed - April 2024

Image
Last Fall, when I was digging up/out the (extended) IB2DWs bed for the small conifer garden along the property line, I turned to a mix of grass-removal techniques.  The whole area was turf, so I did three things:  Dug it out, smothered it/covered it up and flipped it over (and smothered it).   For the material that I excavated, I brought most of it over to the southside of the house and used it to fill in the little gully/swale on the side of the house.  And, I tucked in a bunch of it (flipped over) along the side of the porch where I'd seen some erosion over the years.  On this side of the house, we have just ONE downspout that handles a big portion of the roof and when it gets clogged up, that gutter 'tops'.  That's one source of the erosion.  The other is the downspout outlet.  Whatever *does* get down the downspout, comes out one of those surface drains.    That 'flipped' turf was a way to raise the ground-level here.  And, like a bunch of the areas that I w

Ground Prep For Sinking Gravel Walkway - March 2024

Image
This past Winter, I identified that we were experiencing some 'sinking' in the gravel walkway on the side of our house .  I put it together using Bluestone Chips and some metal edging, but starting last year, I noticed that the 'level' of gravel seemed to be going DOWN with time.  Looking back, when I installed the path in 2021, I went pretty 'thin' with the Bluestone chips on the path - because I used MOST of them back by the firepit.   Last Summer, I made a couple of trips to the landscape supply yard and brought home 50 gallons of stone that I applied to the firepit area and the side path.  I thought that'd be enough to raise the level of the stone.  But, alas...it still felt like it was sinking. So, fixing this 'sinking' gravel on the path is something I want to take-on in 2024.  I even included it in my 'early look' at 2024 projects .    There are a number of (potential) methods that one could use to try to keep the gravel from sinking

Pruning Disneyland Roses (Floribunda Roses) in Late Winter - March 2024

Image
This past season, I opted for a different method of winter crown protection for our Disneyland Roses (Floribunda Roses) than I've used in previous years.  In each of the past few Falls, I have set up a ring of chicken wire and filled it with chopped-up fallen tree leaves to serve as insulation on the crown of the rose bush.  This year, I opted for mounding of biosolids .  A 'hilling up' in the traditional way, but using municipal biosolids vs something like compost.  As Winter started to fade away, I went out and inspected the roses and discovered a good part of the canes were still green - so that means that the combination of a mild Winter, their protected location and the mounding of biosolids did their job.   That also meant that it was time to get out there and do an annual pruning of the roses - part of my 'seasonal tasks' that I keep-up on in each of my annual to-do lists. (This year will be no different.) I've done this each of the past-few late Winters/

SugarTyme Crabapple Leaf's Out - March 2024

Image
Just about a month ago (mid-February), I gave the pair of SugarTyme Crabapple trees a dormant pruning to remove some waterspouts, shorten the length of some branching and clean the two trees up .  They're being trained in espalier into (what I hope to become) a Palmette Verrier.  In looking around the yard, it appears that these two trees are the furthest ahead and have leaves opening up from the buds all along the branching.  See below for the current state of the tiny, green foliage: This *should* be the growing season when I can begin to 'turn up' the tips of a couple of these layers to begin to form the Palmette Verrier espalier shape.  If you go to this post (and scroll down), you can see what I'm thinking for shape .  Of note....these two Sugar Tyme crabapple trees are south-facing and are COMPLETELY protected from any northern cold fronts.  They're right up against the house - a white house - that reflects the sun's heat.  I suspect that the placement and

Dormant Pruning Crabapple Espalier Trees - Palmette Verrier - February 2024

Image
The pair of SugarTyme Crabapple trees that are planted on the southside of our house - up against the house via esapalier - are now entering their fourth growing season.  Planted in Fall 2021 , they've now been through three Winters and are beginning to be in a position to LOOK more like a tree being espalier'ed.   They flowered in their first Spring (May 2022 ) and I have SLOWLY pruned them into what I *HOPE* will be their final form:  Palmette Verrier Espalier.  That is a form that has horizontal branching that turns UP at the tips with the lowest branching being the longest.  The last time that I worked these trees was May of 2023 when I pruned/wired up the branches .     I've begun to adopt a pattern of dormant pruning on my espaliers including the Greenspire Lindens and these crabapples.   Here, below, is what they look like coming out of Winter.  These were untouched since last May: Below is a closer look at the tree on the left - closer to the back gate: And here, be