Monday, June 23, 2014

A New Tree

Well a command decision was made and the Coral Bark Japanese Maple was removed. It was a very hard to make the decision, but after a good honest conversation from one of the garden center employees, he told me that none of those ever seem to do well up here and that was all I needed to confirm my decision.

This is the tree a couple of years ago- it was a nice specimen tree

This was it as of yesterday.  After taking a good look at it and realizing that even if I trimmed it I'd have a stub of a tree and at the ultra slow rate it's been growing it would be years before it would amount to anything so out it went!

I think this is a result of getting a tree that is zoned for zone 5 and above.  It was supposed to also have variegated leaves but they stayed more of a solid green and coral bark often looked gray rather than coral.  So enough of that and on to it's replacement.  I looked up some information on the tree and I read a couple of forums and a lot of people complained about this tree.  I guess it's just a delicate species.

I spotted this Dwarf Birch tree (Betula Nana) at the garden center and decided that it was what I wanted.  I've always loved Birch trees, but the regular Birch trees are too tall and wouldn't have the right look for this area anyway.  I fell for this little guy immediately.

We picked up two bags of composted manure and two bags of a blend that was recommended for trees and shrubs.  We also added some of our composted material from out back where the leaves go every fall  so it's going to be spreading it's roots in some real good stuff!

The ugly process of pulling back the (darn) lava that we put down in the 90's was no fun.  I would never put it down again for two reasons- 1) it's horrible to try and walk on when you have to get around  it to trim shrubs and 2) it's the worst to dig around or remove!  It's breaking down a bit as you can see the soil has a red cast to it, at least at the top layer.

 Dan decided it was too hot and there was no air flow so he went off to get a fan and I took a couple of pictures of the island out front.  Those blue spruces have grown so much I am just amazed.  

My peonies are in full bloom right now. Many other plants are coming up and should be blooming soon.  The Delphinium on the left are going to be huge again this year!

The lighter pink and white ones are flopped over on the other side.  There are shasta daisies that should be blooming before long in the forefront.

There was some old black landscape fabric that he had to work to get through and the hole got wider and deeper as he went along.  This area has some crappy dirt.  When they built this house we think they pushed in some cheap fill dirt because it's a mix of sand, gravel and rocks.  Way down lower it gets back to some good quality soil.  Anyway, lots of digging and then finally it was planted.   I was the official gofer (go for this, go for that) hole filler and waterer!  

 This looks a bit lackluster because the shrubs need trimming and the tree is short.  It will only grow to 10-12' tall but it will take a while for it to get there.  My main goal for putting a tree in this area is to improve on the look of the corner where the addition meets the original house. It needs some height and width, but it can't be too big.  I'll take  picture after I get the shrubs trimmed, but the Spireas are about to bloom and I try to wait until they're done.  I have some ornamental grass there too that looks out of place now… always something!

I was trying to rake out the hidden oak leaves I found hiding under the Spireas- they stick to that lava like fly paper!  My plants all look off center now too.  Now I want another Van Houtteis Spiraea to go on the left to match the one on the right that's near the window.  I believe the bright green Spirea's are called Lemon Princess.  I am not positive on the little one in the center, but it stays nice and compact.  Spireas perform well here so I don't mind using them.

Other than that it was an average weekend!  How about you- did you get any projects done?


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Monday, June 16, 2014

Pathway Fairy Garden

I've been working on a new fairy garden.

 This is the area I've taken over for my new fairy garden.  Last year i had placed this large granite stone at the corner of the pathway to the patio and added a few sedum plants.  This past winter was so harsh that my boxwoods you see on the left were bascially ruined so I removed them.

As you can see the little sedum lants have grown a lot.
I still have my other fairy garden, but it's a little ways out back and this one I can view from the deck and my kitchen window. 

The inspiration for this garden came from this cottage styled house I found at a garden center.  I've layered in some stones, more plants, mushrooms and accents.

I wanted a little more color so a few pieces I already owned were updated.  That little tiny bird bath actually got visited by a robin the other day.  Too funny to see her sipping water from it!

To the left is this partial tree stump I  brought in.  I noticed it on our wood pile out back and liked the texture and movement in the piece.  I got this idea to put the little dining set up on top but knew it was going to fall off easily, especially with wind or when the chipmunks and squirrels visit, so staples were added to keep it from being knocked off.  Of course this will all look so much more interesting later this summer when the plants have expanded.

The stump even has dried mushrooms on it, which I thought was quite perfect for my fairy garden.

In the forefront is this cute little foot bridge.
I'm still forming ideas for it...

Behind the cottage house are some Irish Moss I added.  It likes shade so I gave it a home in the back to protect it.  I hope it really takes off and fills in.

 I added a couple of mushrooms and flowers.  I also took come cuttings from the sedum and look forward to seeing it spread. (You can see one of them on the lower left)

To the right of the cottage is this arbor where Julia my little garden fairy works to keep things growing!  We had a good rain last night and I jumped out early to take some pictures before it all dried.

 You may have noticed the "rock" wall I added.  I decided to create a border around the fairy garden.  Judia's sister's are here to greet you and guide you on a tour through the garden.

This is one of my favorite things...I half buried this clay pot and planted some Virginia Creeper next to it.  I hope the Virginia Creeper will be hardy enough to come back.  In warmer climates I guess it can be quite prolific!

I'm having fun with it and I hope you enjoyed it too!  

I'm joining 
Fishtail Garden for 2014 Garden Party #7


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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Iris and Rainy Day Pictures

My first Dutch Iris blooms!
This purple one was a new one I brought in last summer.  I'm pleased that it doubled up in size already!

These will be orange.  I moved the columbine plant to the corner of the deck and steps.  It was nice to have it as a surprise in the garden but the location wasn't where I'd have planted it.

I saw these at Lowe's and couldn't leave without a couple of them.  All the other lilies in this garden are some form of pink and I think these will look pretty with them.  It will take until next year for them to be in sink with the pink ones and hopefully bloom at the same time.

I added some Yellow Dutch Iris that are just in front of the little girl statue. I hope next year all three of the Iris will bloom at the same time.  Some Alyssum has made it's way down to the edge from last year which is fine with me! It should be blooming before long.

I relocated this Autumn Joy Sedum to make room for one of those new Dutch Iris.

I love this Dwarf Nikko Deutzia.  It's taken it a lot longer than I expected to fill out but it's finally looking nice and I love the pretty white flowers.  

Looking up the steps you can see my hydrangeas are coming along nicely.  My garden mascot the flying pig is posted on the corner.  I have a thing for flying pigs- it's all about optimism!

The purple supertunias are starting to branch out- I hope it turns into something great before long!  Our weather has been moderate- we need warmer temps to boost things along more.

The plants are all encroaching on the pathway, but that's okay I like it.  I'll trim up the Goldflame Spiraea's (Spirea) after they bloom.  The topiary lilac is blooming but the flowers are mostly hidden by the tree's new growth.  I'm debating on whether I'm going to keep it here.  It needs more sun.

They smell heavenly!

I moved the dove statue over here a few weeks back.  In the past it has sat on the pedestal where the flying pig is right now.  

Everything is looking healthy.  These have gotten much larger - I should consider splitting them because before long it will look like one large plant instead of two.  These are called Blazing Saddles and they're working their way into my Captain Kirk that you can barely see between them and the little tree.

So far this is growing great.  I gave all the annuals a shot of liquid fertilizer yesterday.

 Turning around from that planter- a view to the fountain.

A view a couple of days ago in the early morning...  

Dan got a chance to clean up the patio last weekend.  We had an overgrowth of weeds and grass coming up.  The stuff we put in for grout is brushed in and wasn't supposed to grow anything, but moss came all by itself and eventually little bits of grass and weeds.

I love how the Creeping Jenny grows around things.   I got the garden bench last year from a local place that has their own molds and produces lots of cement objects like these.  The little pedestal and planters next to it came from there some years ago.

Dan got the fountain running this past weekend too.  The pump needed some TLC to get it to work this year so we're on the hunt for a new one.

The planters are filling out nicely.
The hostas the frame the outer ring are called Bright Lights.  The year we put in the fountain I started when they were barely out of the ground, dug them and split them and spread them around the outer ring.  I was so happy how well they grew even that year and they've been getting bigger each year.  They don't seem to be bothered by slugs either, so that's a good thing.  

The Hosta hill has come alive!

Another view of the same area with the morning sun a couple of days back…

The Siberian Iris are just starting to bloom here too.  

I dug out these plant stands and potted up some remaining impatiens into these rusty buckets.  They're really crusty inside so I put a plastic bag in there with a few holes  in the bottom in hopes that it will slow down the process of their demise.

A quick shot of my first fairy garden.  I haven't done a thing with it since last year except to pull out some little tree starters that were growing.  I put in some Dwarf Solomon's Seal last year and they've come up nicely.  Cute plant- I'm glad I discovered them- you can spot them next to the wood stump and in a few more spots.  I'm going to straighten up the stones and I may steal the little copper fence and put it over with my new fairy garden and the little bridge.
I've been working on the other garden but I'll show you that another time.

I'm joining
Fishtail Cottage for
2014 Cottage Garden Party


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