Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Just can't resist

I haven't been posting many photos of my yard and garden this year, but sometimes one just can't help oneself.

Last summer, my SO and I attempted to shape the purple leaf smokebush. It doesn't get quite enough sun, so looks rather rangy late in the season. Our efforts paid off. This baby looks almost perfect. We will have to keep up the good work.

The Golden Spirit smokebush isn't smoking much yet, but it looks wonderfully lush. It is in a sunnier location than its cousin, so hopefully will not get so gangly.

I know I have already posted a pic of the Lemony Lace elderberry, but I just can't get over how great it looks this year. It's framed by mugo pine and cotoneaster. Some of my neighbors are probably shaking their heads, imagining my shrubbery as the perfect place for a creep to hide. Quite frankly, if someone manages to get into this shrubbery, I doubt he will be able to get out without a lot of thrashing around.

I forgot I had tucked a couple of extra black hollyhock plants next to the climbing rose. One is languishing - not enough sun - the other surprised me with these blooms, earlier than the ones in the garden proper. The rose is not very prolific this year, probably due to that harsh winter we had.

I'm still struggling a bit with my hip. My GP sent me to an osteo surgeon who had only one solution to offer: replacement. Talk about a one-trick pony! Most days I can walk without much pain, so I'm holding off. I'm following Pete Egoscue's skeletal alignment exercises and self-administering trigger point therapy, practicing some yoga poses and physical therapy exercises I've picked up over the years. So far, so good, although there are days when I wonder if I'm being too stubborn.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Everything is HUGE (including the weeds)

As a rule, I don't water lawn at all, shrubs and in-ground plants only in times of drought. This spring has been wet, wet, wet, and it is amazing what a lot of rain will do. Everything looks ginormous.

'Chicago Lustre' and 'Blue Muffin' viburnum

Wentworth highbush cranberry


I should have included the blue false indigo in the front yard as well. Last year there were loads of volunteer columbine, this year only a few plants. The creeping phlox and cotoneaster both need to be restrained from world domination.

Despite the weeds, perennials transplanted last year are faring well. I couldn't remember if I planted cup plant or compass plant by the back fence. As this photo shows, definitely cup plants.

These blossoms looked like they were on the chokeberry shrub; that's how weedy my yard is. They are a nightshade of some sort (bittersweet?), an invasive. Pretty, though.

Today we've had several downpours between bouts of sunshine, producing a fair amount of humidity. I've been trying to spend at least a little time each day yardening, but family and friends have also need tending recently. Thank goodness for privacy fencing!

Sunday, May 26, 2019


I have never let my rhubarb go to seed, as I was under the suspicion that one should not let one's rhubarb go to seed. This year with the rain and all, I just didn't pay attention to it. So this is what rhubarb looks like when it is allowed to fulfill its genetic destiny:

That is one thing that is going on in the backyard. In the front of the house, the Lemony Lace Elderberry is going to town. Over the winter, it looked dead, dead, dead, with only a few sad looking branches. Once spring (and spring rains) hit, it took off, now overwhelming the mugo pine.

I was recently diagnosed with severe arthritis in one hip, which explains the pain there. I'm talking a prescription strength NSAID now, and wow, do I feel better! I didn't realize how much all over discomfort I was living with until it was gone. Yesterday I went to town with the trimmer, and today my biceps hurt. But it's a good kind of hurt, from labor, not from age. The yardening seems less daunting now.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

No rain!

Today was supposed to be dry. I planned to mow. There are a few outdoor chores I can attend to, like planting the coleus in the flower box on the front porch and weeding between showers. Otherwise, it is yet ANOTHER indoor day.

Here is a pic of my stick-of-a-crabapple tree, Prairie Fire. I'm amazed at its output. (And I see another between-showers chore - cleaning up around the base of the tree.)

The following pic is an "oops". I want to guide the 'Betty Corning' clematis to grow on the redbud trees instead of sprawling across the junipers, but I forgot to move the tuteur on this one before the vine took hold of it. If I like the effect of the clematis blossoms on the redbud, I'll try to do a better job next year... or even move the clematis a bit closer to the redbuds.

Another experiment I am attempting is growing Lonicera 'Clay Hills' in containers on the deck, so they can eventually cover the pergola. Finding appropriate containers has not been very successful, so I planted them in old-but-very-sturdy-and-no-longer-used recycling bins. I plan to surround the bins with bales of straw over winter. If the vines survive, I'll invest in more attractive containers.

It looks like my new neighbor behind me has taken it upon himself to mow "no man's land" between his privet and my privacy fence. Whoo hoo! I wonder if I can talk him into pruning and shaping the privet, too.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Not so weather-proof

I'm one of those odd people who think sunshine is overrated. Gray skies are my skies. Consequently, I thought I could easily live somewhere like Portland OR or Vancouver. But this spring we had days and DAYS of rain - ugh! I prefer my gray skies to keep the rain to themselves.

I haven't been taking many photos lately because, frankly, how many pics of daffodils does one need to see? But I wanted to showcase my little Prairie Fire crabapple tree. What started out looking like a stick is full of blossoms. Unfortunately, today is gray but very windy. Maybe I'll get a decent pic before the flowers fall.

Still no sign of life from the Rose of Sharon, although there is a maple tree volunteer growing there now. I am 99% sure it is a silver maple, so it will not be allowed to continue. Silver maples are native to Indiana, but I despise them.

It looks like none of the so-called hardy hibiscus 'Luna Red' made it through the winter. Ditto the crocosmia 'Lucifer' that I planted in pots but neglected to move into the garage. That darn polar vortex!

Despite the FAILs, my yard produces a nice progression of spring blooms: crocus (until the rabbits find them), daffodils, service berry, hyacinth, red bud trees, flowering crabs, grape hyacinth, purple sandcherry (smells so sweet!), bleeding heart, creeping phlox, chokeberry, etc. Columbine and hawthorn tree blossoms are next. Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Not much to report... yet

Spring has sprung, but since I decided to downsize the yardening, my spring activities have been rather curtailed. Last night my SO and I did visit Home Depot and Lowe's, to check out big pots, but so far I have spent very little money on plants and such. That is a BIG difference from previous years.

I also did not start any plants inside, although I kept the seeds and may return to that activity in future years, depending on how the raised beds shake out. The one exception is rooting cuttings from my coleus mother plant. This variety is still my favorite, although I plan to add a yellow one this summer, to accent the purple smoke bush.

(The cuttings are in the dish drainer in the kitchen sink, to protect them from Beau the Feline Destroyer of All Things Nice. This was a lesson learned after finding a broken glass on the kitchen floor one morning.)

There has been some puttering in the yard, though. I am eliminating some plants that just never did well, moving other plants into the subsequent holes, edging this and that, etc. Nothing very exciting.

This afternoon, I decided to mow the yard, as it is looking rather scraggly with its spring growth. But alas, the mower would not start. After spending thousands of dollars on a zero-turn riding mower and hundreds of dollars having it serviced, it won't go. Very aggravating. It's stuff like this that pushes me toward just hiring someone to do the mowing.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Green! Yellow! Pink!

After months of gray and tan, the green, green lawn seems amazing. And there are cheerful yellow daffodils and perky pink hyacinth, too. If it weren't raining/sleeting, I would go outside and take some pix.

The fall cleanup is basically done. Since the honeysuckle vine had invaded the neighbor's yard, I pruned that back. A quick inspection of the shrubs and trees shows nothing died over the polar vortex winter we had, although the jury is still out regarding the Rose of Sharon - it is always the last thing to show signs of life, but last year was looking rather peaked. We'll see if it comes back.

Since I am not growing food anymore, there are areas of the yard that no longer need to be in full sun. So I am contemplating adding a couple of trees in back. Of course, it will be decades before they cast any meaningful shade, but still. One must plan ahead.

Hope spring is brightening your days!