May 15, 2018

May 15, 2018 Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

We skipped Spring all together here in Springfield, Illinois (Zone 5b).  We had a few lovely spring days intermixed with cold and heat, then a swim ch was flipped and we went straight for the heat.
Mother's was in the 90’s.  My clematis vine is growing inches a day, hostas are shooting up and leafing  out  faster than I’ve ever seen.
'Chocolate Chip' Ajuga with Golden Mop False Cypress and tulips Spring 2018
 The Ajuga popped up on schedule and has had a longer bloom time than I remember.  This photo was taken a week ago in the height of the performance.  It has dulled a bit since then, but still displays a carpet of color.  The Golden Mops are a new addition.  I have one more to add, but I did not want to disturb the tulips until they had their run. I'm hoping the Cypress along with the 2 Hollys waiting to get planted will had some stability to the front bed under the Master Bedroom window.

'Chocolate Chip' Ajuga with Golden Mop False Cypress and tulips, Bee Balm and Japanese Maple Spring 2018

Staying out in front, the phlox have been loud and bold this season.

Phlox under a Blue Spruce, Red twig Dogwood in back and 'Magic Carpet' Spirea on the right, Spring 2018
 I thought too long whether I should shave down the 'Magic Carpet' Spireas (i have 3 of this variety).  I enjoyed them so much last year.  Time got away from me and I was afraid of loosing out on Spring flowers.  I regret my hesitation.  Now they are a bit lazy and floppy.
Lesson learned.
Come this fall, they will be getting a Military buzz.
Phlox under a Blue Spruce, Red twig Dogwood in back and Spirea on the right, Spring 2018
My favorite tree.  The State Tree of Oklahoma (yes, I live in Illinois)
Red Bud tree front of house Spring 2018
Last year I did not see any blooms from either of my Bleeding Hearts.  I thought I'd killed them off since I had moved them the summer before (in the heat of the summer).  But I spoke with a few others and they were disappointed with their blooms as well. 
Well, they are back!!!
Bleeding Heart Spring 2018

Bleeding Heart with Hosta
My glorious Ninebark was becoming untamable.  I read an article (or a dozen) that I could chop down to a few feet and it would come back healthy.  I was nervous, but am happy to see this guy happy and bright.  I bet within a year he will fill the corner of the house once again.

The bakers dozen of geraniums I bought last year are doing well.  For some reason I've had ill fated luck with geraniums. This has bothered me greatly.
This time - I won!!  They are filling in nicely around the back of the house.
Geranium with a thoughtful frog and Sedum in the background
Iris - a hijacker on another borrowed plant.  Don't know the variety
Clematis after a hard pruning. Spring 2018

Heuchera and 'Chocolate Chip' Ajuga
The Foxglove in the photo below looks so nice paired with the blue star flowers of the Amsonia.  However, the Foxgloves were purchased and recently planted, so their blooms were greenhouse forced.  This might be the only time they are in bloom together.
'Little Arkansas' Amsonia with foxglove in the back Spring 2018
 Added Dianthus Summer '17
'Fire Witch' Dianthus
Many other plants are leafing out and filling in, but these are the blooms making themselves known as of May Bloom Day.  Thank you May Dreams Gardens Blog for hosting Bloom Day

Jul 10, 2017

Looking Back

I came across a photo, whilst looking for something else entirely, and it made me want to do a before and after edition.

This is June 2014 from the THIS BLOG POST.  The patio had been poured and Hubby trenched the edging for me and my mother and I shopped for the plants and spread the mulch.  I was building 3 gardens at once, so I was buying the smallest, cheapest plants possible. Under the hanging basket, you can see the tiny mound of the Weigela.  Now, it hovers near the edge!
House Bed June 2104
 3 years later...

As much as I move things around, I love looking at these photos to see what I have left alone. The Coreopsis, Weigela, Siberian Iris, Penstemon and clematis have remained.  Everything else has been relocated or did not survive.
Catmint, 'Zagreb' Coreopsis, Speedwell, 'Rubies N' Gold' Weigela, 'Kobold' Liatris July 2017
Same spot July 2017

'Zagreb' Coreopsis and Veronica Speedwell with 'Rubies N' Gold' Weigela in back June 2014
'Zagreb' Coreopsis and Veronica Speedwell June 2014

Siberian Iris and Center Glow Ninebark June 2014
June 2014 Siberian Iris and Center Glow Ninebark. First year

and Now
'Autumn Joy' Sedum, 'Rubies N' Gold' Weigela, Siberian Iris, 'Center Glow Ninebark' w Pots filled with annuals July 2017
'Autumn Joy' Sedum, 'Rubies N' Gold' Weigela, Siberian Iris, 'Center Glow Ninebark' w Pots filled with annuals July 2017
It's nice to see how far this space has come in just 3 years. Gives me hope for the other spots in my gardens that are newer and infant like.  This west facing bed, up against the back of my house is one of my favorite views.  Other than a few naked spots that I've had a hard time filling, this has been the easiest bed to create and maintain.   It has a few Spring pops of color, keeps looking lush throughout the summer then still has some fall punch left.  This was all by accident.  That is what makes me giggle!!!

Jul 9, 2017

What was I thinking?

What was I thinking?  Why did I do that?  I put so much thought into what flowers, plants or shrubs will go where. I  imagine, draw out, and research how they will perform and what type of scene they will display.  And after all that, why, a season or two later do I stand back, gazing at the results of my painstaking efforts, scratch my head and think to myself;

'Annabelle' Hydrangea too close to the hose Edgygardener.blogspot
'Annabelle' Hydrangea too close to the hose
"What in the world was I thinking?

For instance - why did I put the side hose so close to the Hydrangea bushes?  They were probably mere twigs when this happened (I dug up 4 puny pieces from a one of my clients' backyards), but I had to know they would grow!

Now it is a constant battle to unwind the hose while trying to NOT decapitate the hydrangea blooms.  I also planted 'Karl Forester' grass in front, obviously I was trying to shield the view of the AC unit which is on the other side of the white fence. The grass is pretty forgiving of the heavy hose plopping down on top of it.  However, it is not thriving in the spot.

1. The partnership of the Annabelle and Karl Forester is not a good one.  Not worthy companions

2. This mostly sunny spot is ideal for Hydrangeas, not grasses

3. Be more thoughtful of my hose access.  Hydrangea needs to be moved. A job for Spring 2018

Not far from this scene is another partnership not working out very well.  Last year I was in Oklahoma with my mother and I bought some Canna's that I could not find in my part of Illinios.  I just liked the name of them (which I have now forgotten).   I planted the bulbs late in the season and did not water them nearly enough.  Assuming they had not survived I did not dig them out in the fall.  This year, they came back.  Surprise! Surprise!  I guess if they are planted close enough to the house foundation I don't need to retrieve them in the fall??  Also, late last summer I chopped down and relocated my Tiger lilies.  Again, I was not sure that they survived my lack of attention.
The Cannas and the lilies came back this year, but they do not compliments each other at all.  Someone has to move.

'Tiger Lily' Lilium lancifolium  and Canna (no name) @ Edgygardener.blogspot
'Tiger Lily' Lilium lancifolium and Canna (no name)
If this is the time of confession, I might as well come clean.  I've killed a beautiful unique Japanese maple.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  I loved this tree.  I bought this directly from a grower at a garden show.  He told me there were very few of these, and they were somewhat new to the market.  'Illinois Sunrise' Japanese maple.  It was lovely.
Dead 'Illinois Sunrise' Japanese Maple and Impatiens with hostas @ Edgygardener.blogspot
Dead 'Illinois Sunrise' Japanese Maple and Impatiens with hostas

 I placed this heavy sucker in my garage over the winter and brought it out again late in the spring, just as instructed.  I put the pretty little Impatiens at the base to help show off it's colors; same thing I did last year.  It was healthy and a perfect addition to my shade garden.
This Spring the leaves started to curl, and within a week it looked like this.
The only thing I can think of is my fertilizer.  I took the liquid Miracle Grow fertilizer and hooked it up to my hose to give the garden a Spring feed. It was shortly after that the leaves started to turn.
I have not read anywhere that a one time feeding of such a basic fertilizer would have such an impact on the maple.  But I don't know what else it could have been.
I was so proud of this find.  I saw a photo of a garden with a Japanese maple in a blue pot, and this was my 'copycat' scene.
I am afraid to buy a replacement because I don't know what I did wrong.  I have not used that feeder since.

Do you have those pieces in your garden, that aren't the prettiest thing, but you are so proud of how you found it, you can't part with it?  This is one of mine.  This plant stand is falling apart, but I love it.  The heart wants what the heart wants!  Am I right?  But even though I love it, I can't find the perfect spot for it.  It's falling apart so I'm loathe to try and move it again. I am determined to make it work.......Next year.  This years attempt failed.  The liner is too small and the annuals are all wrong.
This post is to remember what I did wrong, so I can try something new.
Garden plant stand with Coleus and 'Silver Falls' Dichondra
One more item added to the Learned Lesson file.  'Frosty Morn' Sedum.  I love it because it's tall, fall blooming, variegated and not all that common in my area.  I am a bit of a snob when it comes to 'EVERYONE has that one.'
'Frosty Morn' Sedum with 'Rubies & Gold' Weigela @ Edgygardener.blogspot'Frosty Morn' Sedum  @ Edgygardener.blogspot

I have major flopping happening here.  This year year is worst than last.  I even caged them to keep 'em upright, but they are not flourishing.  My guess is not enough sun, even though other "full sun" labeled selections are doing will, my sedum is not.  This is a hybrid, so I realize it may be more sensitive.  I read that it does not like organic material, and if too much mulch gathers around their center, they will flop.  I will cut a few of the stalks, root them and replant, as well as dig up the entire plant and relocate to another sunnier spot.  This is one of my hubby's favorite specimens, and cannot find it locally, so I MUST KEEP IT ALIVE!!

This concludes this edition of things I need to do differently.  I hope to be able to proved before and after photos next year, if I can get it right!!

May 16, 2016


Always a day late for me.....with chasing squirrels off the bird feeders, bunnies off the hostas and chipmunks out of my pots, who has the time?  I'm just thankful my suburban garden does not have deer.
Happy (belated) Bloom Day, everyone!  Here in Central Illinois, zone 5b, the weather has mostly been beautiful.  A nice Spring....until just a few days ago.  We are in the middle of cold snap and back to wearing heavy clothes and cold toes.  We've had a few days of rain, so it is too soggy and cold to plant anything right now.  But, I can admire the colors with a warm cup of coffee.

One of my favorite additions are my 3 Magic Carpet Spireas.  This is my first Spring with them, and I think they are just showing off.

'Magic Carpet 'Spirea with Zebra grass and 'Silver Dragon' Lirirope Muscari May 2016 @
'Magic Carpet 'Spirea with Zebra grass and 'Silver Dragon' Lirirope Muscari May 2016 

Zebra Grass and 'Magic Carpet' Spirea @
Zebra grass and 'Magic Carpet' Spirea

The Flower buds make the leaves look electric

Magic Carpet Spirea May 2016 @
Spirea Flower buds

Mar 15, 2016

GBBD....Things Are Poking Through

I had a perfect morning here in Central Illinois Zone 5b (some say 5 some say 6).  I could not sleep because my daughter announced she is moving out 5 months earlier than expected, so I was up at 5am.  Funny, because the time change happened yesterday, so it still felt like 4.
Actually I don't know what 4am feels like - only that it's wrong.

I got up, made coffee and did hours worth of work when I would normally be blissfully unproductive.  By the time my 'real morning' started, I was a head of the game, and as the sun came up the day meandered in with a misty fog.
Creeping Jenny  in Spring Garden @ edgy
Creeping Jenny
Overly productive + foggy morning = Garden Photos.  And this, the day before Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.

Thank you Jesus.

Through the scattered mulch, leaves and remnants of last years growth I see hints of greenery.  Tulip, Daffodil, Alium, Day Lilly, Iris, Geranium, Clusterd Bellflower, Clematis, Sedum, Elderberry, Fern, Lady's Mantle, Lamium, Achillea, Hellebore, Columbine, Spirea, Clematis, Spirea......they are coming

The thoughts that vexed me throughout the night dissolve when I'm in the garden.  Maybe they don't totally evaporate, but at least they receed giving my mind and emotions some reprieve.  This mental distance then makes room for perspective.

My first daughter is leaving.

I feel as if I'm no longer needed.
This is entirely not fair, because I did the same to my mother and she also, to hers.  We married and moved away.  This should evoke pride and a sense of accomplishment, that I was able to grow something strong and bold, and installed enough strength to take flight.  MY plan was for her to fly across town.  Not another state.  Alas, with my garden and with my daughters, it's never my plan that is carried out.

Tulips, Daffodils and Creeping Jenny  in Spring Garden @ edgy
Tulips, Daffodils and Creeping Jenny
My children,  The Heavens and the furry creatures that roam about have their own agenda, and it is up to me to adapt rather than sulk & wallow in my own passed over plans.  Give me a few days and I will muster the strength to adapt.  Today, I wish to look forward to the change in my garden as well as mourn a little over the change in my life.  Just for today.

Daffodil in Spring Garden @ edgy

Clustered Bellflower in Spring Garden @ edgy
Clusterd BellFLower

Mar 6, 2016

Is Winter Over Yet?

The temperatures are bouncing from the low 70's to the high 20's.  It's a brutal swing.  My hankering for the grip of a trowel is almost unbearable.  I see small hints of tulips, daffodils and sedums poking through.  I have Hellebores about to bloom.  It is my first season with the Hellebore, I am anxious to meet the fella and to find out if the real estate is acceptable.

Arborvitaes and Mr Bowling Balls covered in snow @
Arborvitaes and Mr Bowling Ball evergreens covered in snow 
I have tried to keep busy looking through catalogs, reading blogs and making garden designs on graph paper, but I've had just about enough.  I need green. And I need it now!!
These photos are from a few weeks ago.  It is early March in Illinois and we have not seen snow this month, but I am not convinced it has run it's course.

Inside the garden trellis under the snow, Arborvitae, Mr Bowling Ball, 'Halfway to Arkansas' Amsonia, 'Vanilla Strawberry' Hydrangea and Obediant plant

I added a small number of Evergreens last year so they would hold the snow on days just like this one.  With out some mishappen shapes and void of any color I can forget what lies dormant.  Everything I seem to choose is slow growing, so, other than the Arbs, the others aren't doing much to create a scene.  They were too puny to even dress with Christmas lights.  I'll give them time and more friends.

Mar 5, 2016

Garden Walk: Rockford, Il (Post 5)

It's March...which to very far from May.
It was almost 60 degrees out last week and now the fever is high and I am eager to get my hands dirty.
During the unexpected heat wave I cleaned my tools, pruned some hydrangeas and group 2 clematis's.  I never really know if I'm doing it right.  Once it was too windy to function, I came in to look at photos and plan my Spring chores.
I have a lot of design work to do this year, so I wanted to re visit one of the Garden walks last summer that I never posted.    Actually, whenever I was working with the photos to post, I put my face as close to the computer screen as I could and was studying every minute detail.  And then I would just get lost.......This was my favorite spot of the Rockford, IL Garden tour.  I did not want to leave this home.
I must have walked through 3 times, seeing new vignettes each time.
I wish I could have met the homeowner.  I might have thrown her in the back of the car and whisked her 4 hours south, plopped her down in my backyard and said; "Ok.  Do it again - HERE."
Luckily, for her, I couldn't find her.
This is the Sunquist Garden in Rockford on Carmella.  The creative gardener has lived in her home for 25 years and when she started, there was nothing but a creek in the backyard.

Takeaway #1: You can have more than one trellis.  You can have more than one EVEN if they are in view of one another. YAY!!!!  This opened up a lot of options for me.

Takeaway #2: Different ways to use edging and boulders.  The beds' boundaries seem to be made of a number of different materials.  I liked it.  Boulders would be placed at the base of a structure, as an edging, or to show off a plant or pot...

Oct 14, 2015

Autumnal Pinks in the West Bed

The summer pinks that pull me in and beg for me to take them home are now responding to the chill by going deeper into their hue.  I enjoy the bright crisp of yellow, orange, red and rust of the fall trees and potted mums, but the soft pinks and rose colors are still where my eyes happily rest.

Frosty Morn Sedum Hybrid flower in the fall
'Frosty Morn' Sedum Hybrid
The variegated leaves and tall stature of this Sedum has been a joy all year.  I did have to pull a few stems that were solid green to avoid the entire plant reverting to its original color.  One of the plants split in the middle and the long stems were close to the ground, only because I didn't get to it soon enough to correct the issue.
NOTE TO SELF: Keep it growing upright by trimming back anything that grows sideways instead of upright.

Frosty Morn Sedum Hybrid
'Frosty Morn' Sedum Hybrid
The Sedum Hybrid sits behind my Weigela.  And this is the first rush of blooms I've had on these shrubs.  I had a few flowers over the summer, but nothing like this display.  My only complaint is that they are floppy.  I would like to contain them a bit more - starting with some pruning in the Spring.

Rubies and Gold Weigela in the fall
'Rubies & Gold' Weigela
No complaints about the cute little flowers that pack a punch

Aug 8, 2015

Garden Walk: Rockford, IL (Post 4)

I went on this garden walk waaay over a month ago, and I loved it.  I just had no time to finish th post.  It's been so long now, half my brain says "Who cares." But the other half is bothered by it being unfinished and that I didn't even get to my favorite spot!  So, I'm determined to wrap it up and finish, then get back to my own garden. I've misplaced the booklet, so I can't name the gardens.  When I find it, I'll edit the post.

This was a very creative spot.  They did a great job of hiding their pool among the garden beds.  I really felt the pool was there to show off the greens instead of the other way around. If you were to float in the pool facing away from the house, you may be tricked into feeling you are far far away from the state of Illinois.

Theme of the day, once again...weeping evergreens.

Jul 2, 2015

Garden Walk: Rockford, IL (Post 3)

Our 3rd stop on the Garden Walk was the Benedict Garden.  This was more my style and more similar to the space I have to work with.  Many of the flowers and plants were shade tolerant selections.  Our 1st 2 stops were Chateau Neuf de Fleuve and the Durkee Gardens.
Here was the write up in our guide.

'Whether large or small, ornate or simple, a garden calms one.  Ten years ago the owner began creating a garden along an old fence line filled with garlic mustard, wild flowers and weed trees. The plan focused on a low budget, sweat equity, no design help and favorite plants.  The shade garden features a wide variety of plants including hostas, ferns, heucheras, hydrangeas and hemlocks along a winding path for easy viewing.  The grandchildren enjoy playing in the garden as it highlights a piece of garden are for each.  Later, garden areas were added for sun perennials, dry microclimate and a small spot for tomatoes and herbs.  Today the garden requires little work as the perennials are compact and unless dry, watering in not required."

Garden in shade and and sun

 This was the only garden I've visited that has that 6 foot wooden fence to soften and somewhat hide dilemma.  The fact that they have ALLL that down to pretty much water free and little work is absolutely amazing!!

The driveway entrance is colorful and interesting.  Another weeping evergreen was spotted!  I don't know if I only notice them once I decide I want one or they are really as unique as I hoped they were and it's just a fluke that 3 out of 3 gardens had one. Hmmm...
Notice the purple combinations.

Blood grass, Salvia, bell flower (I think) and the weeping evergreen

I liked the way the fenced was planted then the back of the property was dissected by a host island with paths on either side.  Very peaceful place

Jun 30, 2015

Garden Walk: Rockford, IL (Post 2)

The 2nd Garden Mom and I visited was the Durkee Garden in Rockford, IL (see our first stop at Chateau Neuf de Fleuve here)

This was the write up in our guide:
"Come experience this backyard oasis!  This English garden has the inmate appeal of an island.   One you've entered through the arbor you will be surrounded by beds of culinary, medical and ornamental herbs.  Stroll along stone paths that lead to a perennial border, dry stream, woodland, garden, bird sanctuary, can container garden.  Sit awhile in one of two patio areas and enjoy the sights and smells of an herb garden grown entirely in baskets.  Or wander to the pond in hops of viewing our resident blue heron."

Takeaway #1 - Yes. Yes Yes.  I truly, madly and deeply love Arbor entrances.

Lovely Arbor entrance to Durkee Garden, Rockford IL

Takeaway #2 - Further confirmation that metal accents and plant labels make a huge difference.  
I fuss and fret over where to put my accents and what kind of labels will look the best (and hold up to my midwest winters), but I've gleamed from the days explorations that where ever I put a piece of art in the garden -it will look like it was meant to be there - because who else will know all the choices I had?  I think too much
IDEA - hang baskets on metal fences (Love It)

Metal art and plant labels 

The pretty salvia 'cage', the hanging candle, the metal flower suet feeder...useful AND crafty

Jun 28, 2015

Garden Walk: Rockford, IL (Post 1)

My mom called to let me know she had found a Garden Walk in Rockford, Illinois.   She lives just over an hour away from Rockford, so I drove up to meet her.  Mom was not feeling very good, but she was a trooper the whole day and barley winced.  Come to find out she had had a misplaced rib poking her lung!!  I think she's pretty tough!

With all that she walked and enjoyed the different scenes for their creativeness, serenity and even some innovation.

First stop: Greenlee Gardens, or Chateau Neuf de Fleuve
    I was so very impressed with these gardens for so many reasons, and the very first one was the giant etched namesake! I could blab for miles regaling my contemplations, emotions and inspriations, but I'll try and say very little (except when I'm making myself notes) and concentrate on my takeaways. 'Chateau Neuf de Fleuve'  translates from French to 'New House on the Little River.  This garden is 8 years old!! That piece of info is very important to me because it gives me hope while I stare and my evergreen only ankle high!!

This Garden in Belvedere, IL has a primary objective of using indigenous species and having something in bloom from early Spring to late fall while maintaining asymmetry and a variety of textures throughout. The abundance of deer in the area influence plant selection.
(That's what the write up says) 

The beds are tightly packed with robust plantings.  Lots and lots of textures.  And really a small variety of plants used in very large numbers.  The front pond and waterfall begs you to stop along the driveway and peek into all the happenings in the water.    This place was a fern paradise!  The middle bottom photo is there because I like the spirea with the mugo pine and ajuga.  I'm always looking to see where I can put more evergreens.  Mugo Pine is on my list, as well as, in the photo below the weeping Lerch (or weeping Norway....I don't know which one she/he has)