The end of November

11-23-13 shed & plantings6Got (almost) the last of the bulbs planted today.  I think today was the last big Fall push in the new ‘shed gardens’.  Planted 50 drumstick alliums, 8 little crocus chrysanthus (maybe Goldilocks – yellow w/deep maroon stripes), and another pot of 12 red/yellow tulips.  Still can’t find the bag of daff bulbs that is in the garage somewhere…  will look again tomorrow, but it’s really getting too late to plant.  Going down to 21F tonight.  Brrrr!  I just have to face it – what’s not done yet is gonna stay ‘not done’ for this gardening season.

The area around the shed looks really strange (see below).  Sorta polka-dotted.  Everywhere I’ve planted in this new area, I’ve also put down Preen mulch.  It was a way to keep track of where I planted things and where there were still ‘vacancies’ for things yet to be planted.  And Preen because I’ve got 4 trucks-full of fresh topsoil & compost (a 1.3 ratio), and also stirred up the dirt in that area when the stump grinding was done.  Goodness knows what’ll sprout, but you can be pretty sure it won’t be things I’ll be happy about!

The installation of the rain barrels is completed and I’m pleased with it.  Two barrels may look too ambitious for that little patch of roof, but one heavy rain comes close to filling one of them.  I intend to capture as much rainfall (aka – free water) as I can.  The paths in this large garden are emerging as I walk through it, over and over.  Already I’ve got a ‘mistake’ – the path leading up to the shed door is gravel.  NOT a good choice.  Can’t push the mower through it, or the wheelbarrow.  So, come spring, the gravel will come out and pavers will go down.  Live and learn.  I don’t know if it’s just too deep or what?

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Lots still just staged and waiting its turn (below)

  1. The pallets (5 of them) will be formed into double compost bins at the back right side  of the shed
  2. Pavers, wall stones, and mulch, waiting for their spot
  3. The holding spot for all the old daylilies I saved
  4. All the German Irises, waiting for a permanent home

11-23-13 shed & plantings411-23-13 shed & plantingsThe sweet pink Knockout rose (above), placed at the left front corner of the shed, still has buds.  But I think the cold temps tonight will end that.  I’m really looking forward to it in that spot.  I gave it plenty of room to grow & fill up that corner.  In the front of it I’ve planted a handful of snow crocuses (mixed) and behind is a clump of 15 Narcissus ‘Thalia’.

Below is my ‘infant’ red twig dogwood (cornus sericea, seems to be the native in Wisconsin).  I grew it over the summer from two twigs I snipped when I was in Wisconsin in early April this year.  It was the only color in the late winter landscape and it was everywhere!  I brought them home in my suitcase, kept them in water for a few weeks on the kitchen windowsill, then, with a bit of rooting hormone on the stems, I potted the twigs, which had sprouted tiny leaves.  I put a plastic bag greenhouse over them.  Kept them in a pot all summer and now they’ve moved into their permanent garden spot.  I was pleased to see they were root bound when I dumped them out of the gallon pot.  Hoping they survive the winter.  I look forward to their winter color a year from now.

11-23-13 shed & plantings3I’ve spent most all of my time working in the new beds out back.  Raking, which is always a last choice for me, was really let go this year.  Below, on the left, is my yard covered in leaves.  And on the right is my neighbor’s pristine grass, not a leaf in sight.  I feel bad when the wind blows south and sends all my leaves into his yard.  When I apologize, he says it works both ways…  he’s right tolerant.  One day I said, “Mike, why not get a chair, sit out back, and enjoy all the gorgeous yellow maple leaves drifting down and decorating your lawn”.  But that’s not his thing.  Different strokes.  His thing is raking daily, sometimes two or three times daily.  He’s retired, I’m not.

11-23-13 shed & plantings2I did mow the front yard one last time last Wednesday, so all those leaves are gone now.  Shredded, gulped up into the mower bag, and then added to the compost pile.  I can hardly wait til the compost bins are built.

My Christmas cactus has become a Veteran’s Day cactus.  It looked dreadful this spring, so I threw a little fresh dirt on it with some Osmocote, and put it on the side porch for the summer.  It put out SO much new growth I was amazed.  When I brought it back inside a few weeks back, it promptly budded up (over 30 buds).  The first one opened for Vet’s Day.  It’s still looking lovely and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

11-23-13 shed & plantings5Today I also emptied all the various outdoor planters/pots and got them ready for winter storage.  Tomorrow I’ll rake leaves…  It’s almost done, almost…

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Failure to read the plant tag!

When choosing new plants, it’s important to fully read the plant tag, duh!  When you buy your plant at the garden center, it’s going to be smaller than the adult version.  In order to place it properly in the garden, you need to know how tall it’s going to be when it grows up.  And what it’s other requirements are.  In the case of Henry Eilers Rudbeckia, this is a back of the border treasure.  But I planted mine at the front, at the edge of the path – failure to read the tag.  Buyer beware, make sure you know what you’re buying and that you have the right place for it.

None-the-less, Henry (Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers‘), at 5+ feet tall, doesn’t know he’s in the wrong place and is starting to bloom, beautifully!  I love the little ‘shovels’ at the end of each petal 😉

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Do you ever make mistakes like that?  Henry will be moved in the fall to a better location.