Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth day - April 21st check in

Despite drought conditions things are greening up quickly in part due to unseasonable warm temps. It seems we're about 2 weeks ahead of normal growth rates. Earlier in the week I received a number of shrubs that I'd ordered in the gloom of winter, and so - Surprise! - added/widened a few beds to make space. I also took some photos of the first bloom on the crabapple we put in last Spring. The crouter plum in the shot at right finished blooming last week.

The front yard photo includes expanded beds in the front and two new flowering pear trees - they put on a foot in the first year - I bought them on Mother's day last year - happy Mom's day to me!

Also, we took down two trees after the Halloween storm and now the front is even more sunny. Like Arizona sunny. Time to think about replacement options. The novelty of full full sun has fled.

On that note, I added a new shade bed on the side of the house and moved just about every valiant hosta that was in the front yard to it. Poor things gave it a go, but they weren't going to outlast the desert conditions of the border.

So the crabapple 'Profusion' is in the back - here's a closer shot. It's darker than I expected, but very pretty with a light fragrance.
Definitely need to mulch these beds, I think a call to Pepperell DPW is in order. Time to break out the wheelbarrows!

What 419 bulbs looks like

Not so impressive, right? Well, the proof is in the pricing I think. Referencing the post describing what I put in ( Not one of the narcissus came up, but the white tulips did very well, and the pink are pretty - see above close ups. I don't have a pic of the orangey red by the walk, because they were blooming and done before I could lay hands on a camera. I think they lasted a week. As for the 296 near the neighbor's drive - pbhht. They barely bloomed. I'm sticking with white flower farm in the future.
So I just need more, right? ha. To be fair, they got pretty scorched. It hasn't rained here in over a month, and we had been away on vacation, so no water for them. Phooey.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

August 2011 - First day of school

I was looking back through some photos from this Summer and found this; photos taken while waiting for the bus on the first day of school. I love how excited my boy is about it. And the garden doesn't look half bad either.

In an earlier post, I talked about weigela - I had just gotten a sport of Wine and Roses, which just left me wanting more. I bought the one below, think it's French Lace, as well as a dwarf variety; my Monet. I placed my Monet next to Midnight wine, another dwarf. French Lace is no dwarf. The photo below gives a sense of its size. In the photo, my daughter is about 40". I swear the plant in its second season is 6' at its longest and growing. Weigela bloom on old wood and this season they were amazing.

In the foreground there is a cleome that I got at a Mother's day $2/per 6-pack of annuals sale at the local Market Basket. It was 5 feet tall and it leaning into D. Clearly, worth the $$. The daylily at right was a bonus plant, 'Persian Market', included for free in an Oakes daylily order. Love them - see the color in bloom at right. Rounding out the left of the frame is a plantain lily I got from my sister (now on its 3rd split).

419 Bulbs (give or take)

So after the freak October 30th snowstorm came through, I was freaked out almost more than the snow (I mean this is New England) by the possibility that I had missed the opportunity to plant bulbs.

I had a small representation of narcissus from the White Flower Farm (The works) and had been planning on doing it up this year. Hubbs had asked about color aka tulips, so I was determined.

After finding motivation, I went out and snagged end of season sale bulbs from Super Walmart, up the street in Amherst NH - Tax free. I figure bulbs are bulbs, but time will tell I suppose.

I put the tulips in 3 places. On the right of the house near the neighbor's driveway, I put a pastel mix, blending into a mix of bright yellow and bright red. Now that I type it, I'm not sure that's a great combination, but we shall see. In the 3' strip against the walk (which is begging to be lengthened, but that's another blog) I added 45 orange red blend tulips. Up by the porch corner garden I added a low border of white tulips, followed by a hot pink/purple double early called margarita (see a stock photo below) and in the back, a white and hot pink/purple blended variety. I also bulked up the narcissus area with 24 white daffodils. All in all, a lot of flowers. I can't wait for Spring and its just November 6th.

So then energized by how good the raked gardens were looking, I tackled cutting back the grasses, which had been squashed flat by the storm's 12" of heavy cement-like snow. It was very sad, the grasses are mature 6' varieties of witches broom, a varigated miscanthus, and a zebra grass. They were in full 'bloom' with large seed tails which is when they are most interesting. So fun...sigh.

Planted near porch:
48 white tulips 12" tall
36 Dk Pink 'Margarita' Tulips 18-20"
38 Pink and White Tulips 20-22" tall
24 Narcissus

Planted near daisies:
45 orange red 20-22"

Planted near neighbor's drive:
76 pastel blend 20-22"
76 yellow 18-20"
76 red 20-22"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weigela Envy

My Mom has a variegated Weigela that has to be 5 years old if its a day, and despite its Sun/part shade position and never having been pruned, it is gorgeous - just loaded with bright pink sweet smelling tubular flowers. A showstopper. My husband, who generally is appreciative, but silent on my gardening efforts, handed me a bloom during a recent visit, and said, "We gotta get one of these! Or a few!" That's about the incentive I needed to stop at the garden center.

I didn't tell him that we already have a Weigela Midnight Wine cultivar in our landscape. Midnight Wine is a dwarf of Wine and Roses, and I have used mine for its interesting foliage. Though it does bloom hot pink, it hasn't been a great bloomer for me. The lack of blooms could be because I've moved it twice in 3 years and still haven't found the ideal spot for it. It still gets too much shade.
But as I mentioned, I was given permission - no, instructed - to purchase one of these things. So off I went. Though I didn't find the 'Variegata' that my mum has, I did find two plants that looked really healthy; Weigela Dark Horse (below from Planthaven's website) and Shining Sensation (above photo from Novalis' flickr site). Dark Horse has almost maroon foliage, with striking lighter green veins while Shining Sensation's foliage starts green, and matures to a dark red. Its leaves have a polished leathery sheen hence the 'shining' in the name.
I plunked the Shining Sensation in a key spot at the top of the deck - I'm hoping at maturity that it will offer some screening. Its from Novalis' "Plants that Work" line and it claims to 'work' in the shade. The deck is the shade, so we'll see. The Dark Horse, a relative dwarf compared to the Sensation, is offering a nice color contrast to the Quick Fire Hydrangea in the new back garden.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mystery Plant

Ok, so I was snookered, I'll admit it, by the garden club member who told me, 'it's pink blooms will sway in the breeze after all the other perennials are done.' All she had to tell me was that it will extend my growing season an itsy bit more into September, and my fingers were on their way to my wallet, but then she said into October... and I said "SOLD!" My caish plunked down based mainly on the lure of a longer growing season. Now that the hot moment has passed, I am the proud owner of not 1, not 2, but 3 (!) plants whose name I don't know or can't remember (possibly early stage Alzheimers -- I'm 36 -- or lack of sleep is at play, I'm not sure which). What I do know is that it blooms in part shade in September and grows to about 2 feet tall, has pink blooms, and reproduces via runners. I was told it isn't invasive, and liked the acidic soil that she had it planted in - it came with pine needle compost. She might have called it Oriental ivy, but I can't find anything like that on the web. Here's a photo of my plant. It seems to like its new home in my new back garden. Anyone know what the mystery plant is? I'd like to know what I bought...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Surprises and New Adventures

First off, I have to say things seem to be moving slowly this year. We've had a fairly mild spring with a few exceptions, and so without a burst of heat, outside of the iris and azalea, things have been slow to bloom. However, there are some things that are now starting to pop.

Surprise! My blanket flower (gaillardia) is back. Initially, I thought it might be random Coreopsis - had to wait for a bloom to see what it was - when it popped red, knew it was the blanketflower. I think it is the 'burgundy' strain, but am not sure. I planted it two years ago, but it didn't return last year. At all. I didn't even list it in the plant file because I thought it had been frosted to death since it's out in the front unprotected from wind -- and it wouldn't be the first thing that didn't come back from a New England Winter. This plant pretty much took over my garden the first year I planted it, with hundreds of red blooms from planting through frost. So much so that my sister made me cut it back -- too crazy she said. Anyhow, here it is just blooming - Welcome back.

New adventures - I have a few to share. First, foxglove. Swampgardener gave me a seedling last year. I didn't think much of it - but this year it has been a strong grower. It is now in full bloom - see right. At 4 feet tall, I think it has a bit of Venus Fly Trap sense to it - and I'm constantly chasing my 16 month old away from it. So pretty, and yet so menacing. Did I mention it's poisonous?

I am trying out a couple of fuzzy foliage plants. Rose Campion, the pink variety, was one of my Garden Club purchases. A $3 bargain, it seems to have taken hold, though this is what is will look like (left - from Univ of Ill. Website) and this is what mine looks like now (below right) cross fingers. Around for hundreds of years, the rose campion is hardy to zone 3 and likes moist soil. Though it apparently is a reseeder, folks online are recommending staking (yuck) and oh yeah, it needs to be cut back for reblooming. I gots me a bargain! It's in the new back garden - where, after failing with the veggies last year, I decided I wasn't quite ready to relinquish the spot to the pachysandra. I've tried to find some things that work well in part shade; in addition to the RC, I added some variegated Hosta, Siberian Iris, a mystery plant (whole separate post) and a new 'Quick Fire' Hydrangea. See image below. I couldn't resist it in a troll through a new found local garden center. It was a "proven winner" variety, which I find consistent, and it already has bunches of blooms. Here is what it will look like in a few weeks (hey, I can dream!) courtesy of WFF.

I also put some lambs ear - looks very similar to the rose campion - out front after a mis-planting in deep shade - thanks Sis! It is perking up a bit, and from what I read, it can be an invasive speader, so I'll keep an eye on it.

I also planted the border around the deck - with a goal to hide the side of the rectangle that is our deck -- with some hosta, impatiens, and coleus for some mid-Summer color. Here's the view from the ground.

So my last add to this post is a question - more a call for advice - this hosta (strain unknown) was doing wonderfully in the sunny front yard until this year when something (!) started eating it from the bottom up. I'm not talkin' bugs, I'm talkin' beastie. Here's what it looks like now, and what it can look like - this healthy one is half a yard away in an area close to the house. I'm tempted to use moth balls to deter the bugger, but I'm not sure the plant will ever be the same. Any suggestions are welcome - short of a shotgun.

Local Nurseries I've used