Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Chore List

* Plant this year's frahillion bulbs (Thxgiving weekend, probably)
* Move peony and teasing georgia rose from backyard side bed to front yard
* Fall landscaping project: finish edging front yard with riverwash stone this end, need to
- do some weeding and final grading
- procure landscape fabric and pins
- obtain rocks, with the help of mom's trailer
Should also finish edging the patio in the back and deploy landscape fabric and stone there too.
* Get in touch with landscaping lady re installing curb edging for the front yard
* Clean up the damn throughway and the shed, since I have shelves that should help tame the chaos

Monday, September 12, 2011

My mom and I went to Ritchie's to check out their bulbs before making a catalogue order. Holy crap. Rows upon rows upon shelves upon shelves stocked with every tulip imagineable and loads of other goodies besides. Prices were much better than the catalogues to boot, and no shipping charges to pay. We both went a little crazy.

The spoils:

* a sack of 50 assorted single tulips for the backyard
* for the front yard, assorted black (well, dark purple really) white and pink single and double tulips, including the Black Hero tulips of awesomeness from last year
* 60 crocuses to scatter around everywhere, since flowers at the beginning of April will make me smile even if they're in dirt instead of grass
* assorted alliums - more drumstick, more blue, more purple sensation, an interesting new white one called "graceful", and atropurpureum, since it has a different shape
* eremurus himalaicus and robustus, which are the real monsters of their kind (can get to be 6' tall) - a third of the catalogue price, but probably not the same quality, so we'll see how they do
* a pot of lamb's ears for the front yard
* a couple 4" pots of dark red sweet william, because it was half price

Now all I have to order in are the clematises (clemati?) I've had my eye on, since nobody else seems to carry them, to the tune of an additional $40. Sweeeeeeeet.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A couple more shrubs to covet, possibly for the dividing line between me and the neighbour, since they grow ~6-8' tall but only a couple feet wide:

"Fine Line" buckthorn

"Helmond Pillar" barberry - ooooo, purple!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

After a rough night of little sleep I decided to treat myself to a plant binge yesterday in compensation. The spoils:

* Three pots of Munstead lavender (as per previous shopping list ruminations)

* Penstemon "Dark Towers", which is drought tolerant and likes full sun - therefore a good candidate for the front yard, I think! Plus it has the nice purple foliage I am so charmed by, in addition to pink flowers.

* Creeping speedwell, which has nice silvery foliage and promises to be quite striking when in bloom.

* Gas plants (aka Dittany), one pink and one white, which I've been reading about forever in garden magazines as this beautiful classic cottage garden plant but was never able to find.

* "Jade Frost" sea holly, since I'm not sure if the bareroot ones I planted managed to survive, and since it has funky variegated foliage to boot.

* "Ozawa" chives (to plant with some of the roses) which bloom nowish, for a bonus.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Plants to covet

For the front yard, mostly:

Texas Scarlet Quince - Brilliant orange-red flowers in May bloom before the leaves appear. Shiny green foliage and a mounded shape make this a great accent plant for smaller areas or in front of taller shrubs. It's apparently only 2' tall, so could go well in front of the roses, maybe.

I thought some columnar juniper - in a nice silver blue, of course - would be a good addition, but these all seem to get 10-20' tall and reach that height relatively quickly. Nonetheless, tempted to try a Blue Arrow in place of the scraggly old mockorange beside the window out front.

The only one that's a little smaller (3') seems to be Juniperus communis 'Miniature'. At that height I could use it for an accent just about anywhere.

The hunt for the columnar juniper took me to the Rideau Woodland Ramble catalogue, where I found a bunch of intriguing items:

* I'm not usually keen on spreading/groundcover evergreens, but Picea Mariana Ericoides is pretty cool:

* As an alternative to a Blue Globe Spruce, Picea pungens 'St. Mary's Broom' is pretty gorgeous.

'Sester Dwarf' is also cute, although I'm not usually too keen on that super-pyramidal shape.

* Loving the texture on Pinus leucodermis 'Smidtii' and Pinus strobus 'Blue Shag'.

Would need to check if these are vulnerable to those goddamn sawflies, though...and yep, the intarwebs indicate that those little bastards like all kinds of pine, and given that these are dwarf white pines especially, either of them would probably be heartache waiting to happen. Sigh.

Summersweet (clethra) - especially Sixteen Candles and Ruby Spice - is also very pretty, although largeish; not sure if I could squeeze it in.

...and a little more googling reveals that summersweet needs consistently moist soil - so much for that idea!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You'd think I would learn...


Note to self, AGAIN: midsummer is NOT the time to plant shrubs. Or dwarf trees for that matter. Sigh. Cooler weather seems to be on its way, so maybe I'll try again in the next month or two. At least the smokebush is still looking good.

Got the trellis up for the John Davis rose to climb on. It looks kind of more imposing than I expected, but as things start to fill up and out it should start to look more balanced.




My other problem is that I don't think it's anchored very well, despite the 4" or 5" spikes on the bottom of the feet. In clay it might work better, but in the sand I've got, you can pull the whole thing over way too easily. Not sure how to fix this. The feet are too small to weigh down with bricks or rocks, and sinking the feet in concrete would be an awfully permanent setup. Maybe I could use the flat feet instead of the spikes, screw them to a board, and then bury the board a few inches deep?

Another noteworthy thing in these pictures is the canna lilies, which are pretty astonishing in their gorgeousness. The flowers are OK - a little ratty because I'm not sure whether/how to deadhead the things - but the purple foliage is awesome, and it's tall to boot. I'll try to remember to lift these in the fall, but if not, Lindenberg's prices on them are reasonable enough that I could treat them as annuals.

The butterfly bush is verrrry slowly getting around to blooming, and is still pretty shrimpy - maybe 1' tall with a few stalks on it. I remain skeptical about this thing; if it's going to die back to the ground every year, how is it going to manage to get any bigger than this? Maybe it will grow faster as its root system expands?

Not much new in the backyard. Phlox needs hoops next year, it flopped all over the place. I could pinch it, but don't know that I'd want it flowering much later. A couple of the sedums are floppy too, weirdly far as I knew, floppy sedums meant too-rich soil, and since when is that a problem in my yard? The internets should know whether I should pinch them back next year...ah, yes, as quoted on GardenWeb: Plants can be cut back to 4 in. when they are about 8 in. tall, normally in early June. They could also be pinched at this time. Many gardeners prefer the results obtained from pinching as compared to cutting back, claiming that cutting back causes the plant to callus and break off in winter weather, whereas pinching does not. Awesome. If that doesn't work I'll try moving them, apparently part shade can have this effect.