My local gardening center has now started reducing some of their inventory to 75% off, in addition to the buy 2, get one free special that they continue to have on trees and shrubs. DANGEROUS for the plantaholic. But, super fun! It has enabled me to work on my goal of adding conifers to my garden. The first round that I purchased were 3 "Sungold Threaded Cypress." They went into the bed to the right of the front steps. For some reason, I have really struggled with the best things to put here. I used to try to do a lot of annuals, for some color right by the door. But, I have grown tired of the cost and upkeep required for a successful annual bed. Other things have found there way into this bed at some point or another as well: trumpet trees, roses, grasses, hyacinth bean vines, moon vines, basil, etc.... What has ended up staying there for the past few years is a wild bunch of yellow iris. It looks really nice when it blooms in early spring, but then after that it just becomes a mess of dying foliage. So - in went the cypress, and out came a majority of the iris.
While I was at the nursery getting these guys, I was so overwhelmed with all of the other great sales, but couldn't think straight with 2 toddlers in tow - so, when hubby came home, back to the nursery I went!
That time I came home with 3 small-medium sized blue cypress and a "Purple Pixie Loropetalum." The loro found its way into the above bed. The lime green with the purple is so fun:
The tag said this variety will get 1-2 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide.
One of the cypress is a "Baby Blue Sawara Cypress" that found its way along the chain link fence where the neighbor cleared out. This should grow to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, according to the tag. Should provide a nice screen there: (This guy was originally $39, but I got him for $9!)
The other 2 cypress are "Chamaecyparis obtusa Blue Feathers, Dwarf Blue Hinoki Cypress." The first one found its home in place of the massive overgrown and somewhat odd weeping pussy willow. About 6 years ago, I bought one of those adorable miniature weeping pussy willows at Easter time from the local grocery store. Well, the tag said it was hardy here, so I stuck it in the ground - not at all expecting for it to do much. Well, here it is today:
See that massive ball ish looking thing? That is it! Every year, I have tried to prune it into something - and it just always looks this way. The weird thing is that since it is a grafted tree, the trunk is only about 10-12 inches high, then the graft is a giant bulbous looking thing with the unruly weeping shoots coming out in a tangled mass. See photo here: (this is the whole hubby had to cut to be able to access the root ball)
The neat thing though, is that it is nice in the winter to have the pussy willows when they bloom. So, dear hubby dug it up for me and in the place of it went the first aforementioned Cypress:
Loo ks a bit puny now, but tag says it will get 5-8 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.Should be a nice size for this spot and the blue will be a nice contrast against all the green in this part of the bed. This is the bed that is right by the street.
The massive pussy willow got transplanted to the creek edge. It may not make it as this is the worst time to transplant such a massive shrub, but I will do my best to keep it watered and hope for the best:
As you can see from the picts - this project went well into the evening!
On the other side of the driveway in the front, we put the other one of the same kind of cypress, behind the miscanthus:
See it? Nestled in with the daturas? When they get nice and big, the symmetry on either side of the drive will create a nice informal formality - i hope!
AND, if that wasn't enough - there is another location of this local nursery in another part of town, so I made a third trip to see what kind of sales they had going on. Turns out, in addition to the great sale items, they also had a much more diverse selection of conifers. So, I picked up another variety of blue cypress: "Falsecypress Boulevard." This guy found his way into the front window seat bed. I have been wanting to shove something in the already full bed for winter interest as right now the majority of it is a japanese maple and lots of perennials. SO, this little guy found his way smack in the middle of the solidago, in front of the sculpture. Here is a before picture:
And there he is:
I am already dreaming of when he gets to his promised 4 feet of height, that the yellow blooms of the solidago will just glow against his blue!
I may have to make another trip tomorrow for that dwarf mugo pine that i wished I had bought! See, DANGEROUS! :)
Well, yesterday we had snow all day...with accumulation, which is very unusual for us here! Of course b/c of snow...I am sure you can all imagine that it was quite cold! This means my plans for more creek clean up were put to a rest for this weekend at least. But, it did give me a good chance to get some things done inside the house. I worked on painting the nursery for the little one to come and I spent some time tootling around on various gardening websites. But, most exciting of all is that I got all of my past blog entries printed out and put in a 3 ring binder. I had NO idea how much I had written! I have enjoyed and found it very helpful in the past to look over my old entries. Now that they are all on paper...I have a great essay of the garden for most of last season and I can write notes in the margins and highlight and it will be just a great resource for future garden planning. It ended up being over 300 pages of blog entries! Now, I will try to maintain the discipline of printing out my blog on a monthly basis so that I always have it up to date.
One thing that I have found most helpful with it right now is looking back on the creek project and the progress. I am really starting to plan what to plant in that area as it is almost cleared out....but, since everything is dormant right now, looking back at old entries has really helped me notice where I still need to clean out and areas of sun and shade.
I have also been making a lot of mental to do lists for future garden projects. I think I ought to get them down on "paper":
Work on Hosta/Hydrangea Bed
-I already transplanted the Hydrangeas to better locations, now I need to top dress with compost in the spring, then divide and transplant any hostas that need help. I also hope to add some new varieties of hostas. I am thinking I would also like to add some fatsia japonicas in the back to help hide the chain link fence.
I also have many plants that I would like to divide and move around the garden:
-Vinca Minor and Vinca Major
I also have a list of plants I would like to add to the garden this year (don't we all!):
- New sunny bed where we took out the maple: 3 or 5 false threaded cypress, Some fun varieties of conifers, possibly the tree peonie that I just ordered and maybe the hardy fuchsias as well.
-New Porch Bed that I just created and got ready for planting: Sweet Pea VInes, Sunflowers, Bells of Ireland and something low growing for the front.
-For the New Arbor that I am awaiting in the mail: It will go in the side yard on the right side of the house and I will plant a deciduous honeysuckle vine on the left side and I will put miniature ornamental gourd seeds on the other side. I am thinking the gourds will look so cools hanging there in the winter!
-For the Never Ending Creek Project: Great Gunnera on bank side. 3 Green Giant Arborvities on property line to hide neighbors, Weeping willow tree on bank to prevent erosion problem. Lots of woodland fern varieties...and next fall I will add some bulbs to it as well! I would also like to add an arbor at the gate entrance and grow a Joseph's Coat Rose on it.
-Veggie Garden: I am going to plant mostly plants this year from the local nursery so that if we are still in a level 4 drought, I will have a better chance at success...I plan to do: cherry tomatoes, pole beans and sugar snaps, Sweet Potatoes (purchased the starts already from Burpee), Spinach, Purple Brussle Sprouts, Asparagus and Artichokes (that I will purchase from Territorial Seed Company), and whatever else looks fun from the nursery. I will be doing a lot of companion planting as well so that means lots of: asters, dill, coriander, cosmos, basil, garlic, dill, basil and radishes...oh and onions too! I hope to have a couple more raised beds built so I will have lots of room for all this!
-I also would like to beef up the shade bed where the azalea bed is. I haven't really ever done much with this for many reasons: Its in the back yard, so it is just now starting to get the attention it deserves, azaleas really are not my favorite things, but they are in good shape and they were here when we moved in, because they are not what I would have chosen, I think I have a hard time envisioning what else to do there. Also, it is one of the only deeply shaded spots in my yard, so I haven't learned a lot yet about shade gardening. I did plant a lot of daffodils there this fall , so I know that will be nice in early spring. I want to make it super pretty b/c it is my view out the kitchen window and I see it very regularly when I do the dishes.
- I want to get some more knock out roses to plant at the base of my new sculpture in the front window seat bed.
- And finally, I would like to add more flowering evergreen vines to my chain link fence in the ongoing effort to cover it up. The carolina jessamine and honeysuckles have done particularlily well, so I think I will get some of those.
-I am sure that, in reality, only about half of this will get done, but I will end up doing a million other things that weren't even on my list. Thats always how it goes...but thats the fun of it! There is always something unexpected and tempting at the nursery that must be taken home :)
Whew....now that I got that out of my system!
It will be great to look back on this and see what ends up getting done! LOL
I had another great weekend in the garden. Got LOTS done as I am taking advantage of the warm daytime temps we have been having lately. I spent so much time on the front yard this past growing season, that now I am excited to get more work done in the back. I have been doing things such as defining the beds and putting in paths. I ordered another load of the free woodchips from the city and got busy spreading it:
I laid down a path in between the beds leading to the back. The bed to the left contains hydrangeas and hostas. I just transplanted all the hydrangeas to a better layout and added 2 variegated hydrangeas on either side of the sweet gum tree - I am looking forward to seeing how it looks come spring.
Here is the same path, from the back view:
My husband cut down the remainder of the trunk of the tree we took out last weekend. He was excited, because this meant he got to buy an electric chain saw. He always loves getting new toys...as you can see it definately did the trick:
I also transplanted the nandinas that were in the front of this tree over to another space so that now I have room to put in a nice conifer garden :) I also finished spreading all the pine straw (this helped to define the beds and create some new planting areas in the back yard. Here is a good shot of the back yard as of today:
The creek area even got some attention this weekend. Once I finish dragging the brush to the curb, it will be all cleared and ready to plant up with ground covers and ferns. I also plan to put an arbor at the gate with a nice vine on it and an outdoor hammock so that the area can be fully enjoyed!
I am interested to see what survived out of my bargain fern purchases that I planted back here in late summer. Once the drought hit, they began to suffer...so we will see. The creeping euonymous is doing well, however :)
On the list for this week: finish spreading wood chip pile and dragging creek brush to curb!