This is a record of my journey in our garden.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Snow Dusting in April.

Its April 18th and we woke up to snow here in Chicago land. Just a dusting, it melted by midmorning. I was off today so I went out and took some shots. Brrrrrr.... it definitely feels more like March.

Slushy Bird Bath
looks inviting.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Miniature Rose 'Santa Claus'

This is a miniature rose called 'Santa Claus'. It is a Weeks (own root) Rose bought at a local nursery 2006. I have come to learn that own root (not grafted) can be important in a cold climate. This was an impulse purchase and I must say, one of my better ones. This is a very hardy little rose, the last two winters it was not covered at all and come through just fine. When I saw miniature on the tag I thought this shrub would be small, under 2 ft. (Tag: MINIATURE 12-16 inches/Rounded   Large Double Blooms   Show form best in cold weather  Resistant to powdery mildew). So tags are a general guide (I know this),  this little rose gets at least 3 almost 4 feet. Its  a little taller than I wanted for this spot, 2 ft. would have been perfect. For two years I kept saying I was going to move it, but the view of this lovely little rose out my kitchen window changes my mind every year.

It has been hard to get a good picture,  its either too bright or to dark. I so need a better camera.
Santa Claus Miniature Rose
Two ft. would have fit the scale so much better.
My neighbor asked how I get a rose to bloom in the shade because the large Pin Oak in the front yard appears to shade the front of the house. After we moved in my husband had the Pin Oak trimmed up, removing some of the lower branches. This lets in more light and air circulation better for a wood house (Johns concern) and better for the garden. 

You can not tell the size of the bud from this picture but the buds are tiny little gems. I love how the sepals open like a platform highlighting the delicate rose bud. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Japanese Maple 'Fire Glow'

In the Front Entrance bed is my first Japanese Maple 'Fire Glow' purchased in the spring of 2008. After a trip to the library and two books on Japanese Maples, I was obsessed. I just had to have one, but not all are hardy to zone 5. After much research, planning and shopping both on line and at locale nurseries I found this little gem at Home Depot for 35.00 ......SOLD! This little tree should get about    6-10 ft tall and according to what I have read, growth can be controlled by keeping it potted. The leafs bud out red, turn darker more maroon in the summer, then brilliant red in the fall. Fire glow has a thin leaf that appears to 'GLOW' when back lit by the sun.

I love looking out my kitchen window at my little JM, and the leaves really do glow when the sun light is at a certain angle.
The bright fall color.
I kept it in this small cedar pot for two year, keeping it in the garage over the winter. 
Spring color 2009. We had planted red & white tulips around the base of the pot. The red tulips turned out mororange than red and the white only came up the first year. 
Spring 2010 we moved the orange tulips and added more daffodils. Then, do to my husbands persistence Fire Glow was planted it in the ground. I hope it does not get to big now that it's in the ground. We will keep it trimmed and see how it grows.
 I have not been able to get a good picture of the leaves glowing but if you click on this picture you can kind of see it.
Fall 2010 was a dry fall and that seemed to affect the color.
Well I would not call this fire glow but the leaves are definitely glowing. Below are two links for more information regarding Japanese Maples.


Friday, April 1, 2011

The Narrow Strip Bed

Along the front sidewalk, next to the house is a narrow strip  that is mostly shade. We tried a few different things in this bed, impatiens, new guinea impatience and corral bells, nothing did very well. In the end we planted optical grass in a pot, a mini hosta, 3 astilbes close together and moved the corral bell to the end where the Japanese Painted Fern is. The red switch grass that we had added earlier was replaced with a potted red lace leaf Japanese Maple that was recovered from the back yard.

My mother-in-law gave me this mini host after I admired it so much. She did not remember the name  so I have no idea. I love the bright green leaves and so do the slugs. It was planted late in 2009 and the slug ate it down to the ground, luckily it came back.
Optical grass in the pot.

 I believe the Astilbe are 'Fanal'. I save tags and found tags for 'Fanal' and 'Montgomery'. They are both reds, close in size although 'Montgomery' is slightly larger. I now keep a garden log so I know exactly what is where. A third astilbe was added to the two above in 2010. Now the three have filled out nicely.
Its a little hard to see the red switch grass that was planted about 2006. This little grouping at the end gets a few hours of direct sun but not enough for the switch grass to do well (what was I thinking)  so out it came. The coral bell  or heurchera is 'Palace Purple' and seems very happy here.

This is a Red Lace Leaf Japanese Maple 'Tamukeyama' recovered from the back yard. It was purchased in the fall of 2008 when my youngest left for college. A consolation  gift to myselfIt was 4 ft tall at that time and planted in late fall with a heavy mulching to over winter. In the spring (2009) it was full of buds ready to leaf out and then the rain started. It was a very cold and wet spring and I neglected to pull back the winter mulch. To much rain, to much mulch, the buds never opened. The stem was greenish, but the whole top was dead so we cut the top off and waited. It recovered but my lovely 4 ft. tree is now about 20 inches tall. Last year 2010 it was dug up, potted and tucked it with the Japanese Painted Fern and Palace Purple Coral Bell.
The Japanese Painted Fern is special to me. I bought this fern about 11 years ago. Shortly after  it was purchased we ended up moving. Since it was still in the pot, the fern moved with us. Then 4 years later when we moved to this house, we dug it up and here it is.
The narrow bed strip.
My lovely fern and little maple.


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