Monday, October 31, 2011

October Snow? WTF?

Silver maple limbs crunched my chairs

We hadn't even had a killing frost when we got hit with heavy, wet snow on Saturday.  With its leaves still on, the huge maple in our backyard dropped a lot of branches and limbs.  I was working in the back garden during the heaviest of the snow, desperately trying to tie up a couple shrubs that were in danger of breaking, when the limbs started coming down.  There would be a big CRACK! and then the slow motion whooshing sound as the limb fell.  All around us the neighbors' trees were doing the same. I got the heck out the yard quickly.  I looked back to see the Adirondack chairs that I built in 2006 take a direct hit.  I wanted to retrieve them but thought better of it.  

Maple mess

A four foot tall hydrangea reduced to a ground cover in the front yard

This hydrangea rebounded stem by stem as it shed the snow

Hyacinth beans with snow?  What a weird sight.

The mums didn't seem to care

 The birds love the new brushpile under the bird feeder.  I'll get it all to the township recycling center, where it will be ground into mulch, sometime soon.  Can we get a break from the extreme weather, please?  I'd like to plant my bulbs before the next calamity.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Millenium Park Chicago

Lurie Garden, Millenium Park

Snapshots of me visiting my old friend, the city of Chicago (thanks Andrew).  I lived there for four years in the early 90's and in some ways I'll always love Chicago.  It was the first big city that I ever lived in and the sense of freedom and possibility was totally new to me.  Seeing the improvements to Grant Park and the city in general, after being away for so long, was like seeing a long lost friend and realizing that she's really become something great.

Reflection in Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Early Autumn

The patio behind the garage can be enjoyed once again now that the cooler weather has slowed the mosquitos down to a harmless nuisance.  Yeah, the doublefile viburnum needs to be pruned, the potentilla groundcover needs to be controlled, and the Salmon Dawn rose lost all its leaves to black what.  It still feels great to sit on a cool bench and just take it in.  Next year I'll try again to get it right.

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Troughs and Plants

September and October have been moist and a bit cooler, perfect weather for making troughs.  I think I've made ten or so since Labor Day, including these two Helsinki troughs.  I'd like to make a grouping of them in my yard for planting in the spring.  I sold these two yesterday at our local rock garden club meeting so I'll be making more in November.

sedum hispanicum var. minor

sedum sieboldii getting ready to bloom

Frankenia laevis, a new plant for me this year.  I love its delicate reddish coloring this time of year.  It should spread next year to make a cascading mat with white or pink flowers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two Trough Designs

 Above photo is from last week.  It's a variation on a trough that I made in June (photo below) using a solid foam inner core and no outer mold.  The first planter looked a little lumpen and boring to me so last month I cast it again, but this time with a lip.  Initially I was excited by the newer, fancier design, but as I looked at them side by side I realized I liked the humbleness of the original.  It feels like an old boot or something.  It's not trying to be anything other than what it is.  It won't try to upstage the plants.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Best Foot, I mean Face, Forward

Front yard.  Tiny, but packed.  Zinnias, mums and asters carrying it now.

View from the other corner.  I like the pink mum with the silver lambs ear.

pennisetum alopecuroides with dark ajuga

unknown aster thru calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Forester'

Home Depot mum from a couple years ago.  I pinched it back ruthlessly all summer to prevent it from flowering in early August.

Annual yellow milkweed sown from last year's saved seed

Love this combo of harsh yellow marigold and blue car.  Too bad it doesn't park in front of our house all the time.  Since I planted the curb strip I sort of feel bad for passengers that have to get out in front since there's little room to step.  Then I get over it.

Zinnias in all their grandmotherly glory.

Another mum from Home Depot a few years ago. 

The front yard is sort of a mish-mash of things to ensure that we always have something blooming.  The passersby, neighbors (Frankie, at least), and butterflies seem to enjoy it.  I felt a small burst of pride last fall when I saw a woman walk by and surreptitiously snip off a dried zinnia flower.  Aha, I thought, another gardener thinking about next year.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumn Beauties

gentiana scabra autumn gentian

 aster ericoides white heath aster

 rosularia sedoides var. alba

sedum cauticola again

a pass-along toad lily from Brooklyn

ilex verticillata 'Spriber'