Saturday, May 13, 2017

The fun stuff

I spent a good part of yesterday weeding while waiting on the underground utility guy to show up (he never did). By midafternoon, I was bushed. By evening I could barely move. My gardening muscles have certainly atrophied over the winter. If my SO was not scheduled to come help me today, I might have laid on the couch watching golf with my eyes closed. But he came and we worked. But it was mostly fun stuff.

One task that definitely took two was installing a Coolaroo sun shade over the pergola. But first I tended to the pergola planters: coir liners, potting soil, and Margarita sweet potato plants (Ipomoea batatas). Last year's effort to grow something that would shade the deck was a big FAIL. I think these vines will work better, but we added the sun shade as insurance.

We noticed the difference the sun shade made almost immediately. Purchased at Costco, it's 7'x13' while my pergola is about 10'x10'. The sun shade fits between the main cross pieces, then hangs over one side, the side the sun will be on later this summer. I'm looking forward to enjoying late afternoon iced tea on the "veranda".

Even though the underground utility guy didn't come to mark the electrical and FIOS, the gas guy did show up on Wednesday, so I was able to plant the black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) and smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) shrubs I purchased earlier this spring.

I didn't take photos, but I also planted two more rattlesnake masters (Eryngium yuccifolium) in this corner of the yard. If I can ever get the creeping charlie under control, I think this area will be real purty someday.

I also didn't take photos of the madder (Rubia tinctoria) plant (the roots are used for dyeing fiber), nor did I document the removal of the yarrow from the native sampler bed on the south side of the house. My SO took one yarrow clump while I transferred the other to a raised bed where it presumably can't wander hither and yon. I moved what I presume to be a 'Husker Red' Penstemon into one of the yarrow holes.

I thought I had killed off all the Husker Red (by accident) a few years ago, but this one popped up in the sampler bed.

I know I said NO NEW BEDS in my last post, but I don't think this one really counts. Leftover lumber had been piled next to the deck, but that was not stopping the iris from trying to spread. We cleared it out and threw down a couple of delineating timbers. I'm not sure what I will do with this area other than reset some of the iris rhizomes come August. Daylilies? Sunflowers?

Elsewhere around the yard, the trees I planted last year are doing well, the Triumph Elm (Ulmus 'Morton Glossy') in the back and a hawthorn (Crataegus viridis 'Winter King') in the front.

I forgot that the hawthorn blooms. Pretty, but also pretty stinky. I don't care for the fragrance.

I need to mind the thorns when I mow around it. Yikes!

The tulip tree has been here since 2009 (?). It looks a little sparse in part because I have not yet lopped off the lower branches that the sparrows killed last year by stripping the bark for their nests. Actually, I blame the blue jays because they would wipe their beaks on the limbs, presumably damaging the tender bark. This spring the sparrows tried to pull off more bark but appeared to be unsuccessful. I also took a hiatus on feeding the birds; the jays can get their whole peanuts somewhere else.

Of greater concern is what I think is a weather crack. I first noticed this last summer. I'm hoping it does not prove to be fatal.

I wish I were better able to capture how bright and shiny the barberry is this year, a nice contrast with the gold mop. There used to be a burning bush where the flamingo is, on the left. You can't tell from this photo, but I cut out one of the barberry too. My hope is the gold mop will fill in the spaces.

I wasn't sure how the hostas would survive the fence installation last year, but I lucked out and two of them are on one side and the rest on the other side are just fine. There is a bit of volunteer rudbeckia growing around the 'Love Pat' on the right. The other hosta is a mystery.

I think this hosta is 'Golden Tiara' and I was afraid it was going to peter out a couple of years ago, the victim of home improvement. I shoveled some homemade compost on it a year (or two?) ago and it looks like it is recovering. I like it because of the small leaves.

There is still more planting to do, and some plant moving, which is almost as much fun as planting. Then it is back to the weeding and mulching.


Jason said...

I love Hawthorns, though I don't have one. They are common in Chicago parks. Have you considered growing grapes on your pergola?

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

Your yard looks very nice. I bet you'll enjoy the shade on the pergola.