Watch This! It’s not spam I swear.
You’d never know it from this picture but I just sprayed round up in the area where my first new plantings are going! For those who haven’t figured out, this is my new back yard. It’s currently…sad. We got the patio spruced up (stained the benches, washed the concrete, etc) but the yard has just kind of been ignored. I did spray round up on all the creeping bellflower I could find before it got too out of control but that’s about it. Not anymore! I sprayed kind of a rounded kidney bean shaped bed that encompasses all the trees because lord knows I don’t want to mow around trees. I don’t have much to go in the bed yet, but what I do have I’m really excited about. I have a Horstmanns Silberlocke Korean fir (Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’), European Ironwood (Ostrya carpinifolia), two Golden Lights Azaelas, Darmera peltata, Thujopsis dolobrata ‘Variegata’, Schisandra chinensis to cover the fence, and a Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’ to fill in the back corner. My mom brought me some assorted plants from the yard in Minnesota and I’m also going to dig up all the hostas along the fence and divide them up to cover ground until more interesting things can happen.
In not-really-yard news, I finally got the variegated angels trumpet of my dreams! And it was 50% off! I doubt I’ve ever mentioned this but I’ve wanted one of these for yearssssssssss. For $10 I couldn’t say no.
Also it turns out my “dead” bamboo wasn’t dead after all. Apparently some tropical things can survive 20º and no water for 4 months and still sprout again. I can’t complain!
So I’ll post this before and after set of pictures of our patio benches.
You can see that they were in need of some refinishing. Like pretty much everything in our house, the previous owner never really bothered to perform even the most basic of cleaning on it. We had our vents cleaned out by a professional about a week ago and he said that we were the only house he’s ever worked on that had enough dust and hair to fill two filter boxes to the top. For comparison, last year when his company cleaned out Terminal 3 at O’Hare airport for the first time in 5 years they filled up on and a half. Our little 1100 square foot rambler had more dust than the largest terminal at one of the worlds busiest airports. ::sigh::. I tell ya, the air conditioning is working 100% better now!
As you can see from the above picture we do have a smallish back yard. The two skinny spruce (middle two) are going to be removed because they’re ugly and have no branches for 20 feet. The birch is staying and the white pine is staying (even though the birch has a giant axe chunk taken out of it due to the stupid teenagers that lived here before us) and the white pine also has no branches for almost 15 feet. The white pine is the one and only dark green, healthy looking white pine in Illinois that I’ve ever seen so I really can’t get rid of it, can I? I’m going to replace the spruce with a single Horstmann’s Silberlocke Korean fir and also design a perennial bed to fill in around it and make the yard look less lawny. There is also a nice big area that I’m going to make into a dedicated edible garden since it’s the lone sunny spot so weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (I’m really excited). Sorry I’ve been so not here lately, I only had 4 days off during the month of June and July is shaping up to be more of the same (plus we moved in June and we’re trying to fix this place up in July) so I might not be the most online person for a bit. I’ll try to post some more pictures, I swear!
Tom (and Michael) bought this:
! We’re quite excited. It’s our first house after all. It’s taking a lot of work to get it painted and everything so I haven’t even had a chance to touch the yard (as evidenced by all those weeds). I’m so excited about the house that I haven’t even bothered to post about the 6 blooms my epiphyllum had last week! I suppose this means the blog will probably be getting less houseplanty and more yard planty. But in the mean time ahhhhhhhhhhhhh house!!!
So it seems like at some point this spring everyone (1,2) who I read (and lives in the west coast) has blogged about their Echium plants being all showy and hardy and giant and wonderful and blah blah blah….I don’t sound jealous do I? Oops. Well, not to be out done, let me show you my Echium amoenum ‘Red Feathers’!
It survived a rather harsh winter completely unscathed! I planted it last spring fully expecting it to not overwinter due to Echium’s pesky tendency to be monocarpic. Sure, it’s only about 1.25 feet tall but it’s an Echium AND it survived the Chicago winter unscathed planted in wet clay so dense that I can mold it into figurines if I had any artistic talent. Ok, I know it’s not really all that exciting of a plant but when you live in somewhere so tundra-y you take what you can get, right?
In other, marginally more exciting news I’m sure you all remember my Epiphyllum. Well, I have now found SIX more buds on it. Which hopefully means I’ll be getting six more blooms off of it. I’m only marginally hopeful because they’re probably going to try and bloom just as we’re trying to move (more on that in mid June) and I seem to recall epi’s having a love of aborting buds at the slightest provocation. Stay tuned!
::looks in the general direction of Mr. Subjunctive:: Ok so he had a very good point when he said “but we only get one picture” in his comment but in my defense it was night time, it was past my bed time (yes I know I posted it at like 9:20…but I wake up at 5am and I really like to sleep so don’t judge!) and really since it was dark I could only get one picture. Anyways, since they were requested here are a couple more shots of it in the day time (because holy crap it actually stayed open til I got home from work! It wasn’t purely night blooming after all!!!!). In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, go see the previous post.
As Mr. S suggested, KILL THE FATTED CALF AND CELEBRATE!!!
This maturely titled post is because this happened:
OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD MY EPIPHYLLUM FINALLY BLOOMED AND THIS MEANS THAT I CANNOT USE LOWERCASE LETTERS BECAUSE I’M SO EXCITED!!!! Sure it’s only one bloom but it’s nearly 8″ across and it’s taken me 5 years to get that one bloom so I think I’m allowed to be overly excited by it. Right? Right? Yes. I think I’m going to stay awake all night and stare at it now, just in case it’s one of the ones that only lasts one day.
Well this is it. The one single plant blooming in my apartment on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Sure there are things blooming in the hall (which I’ll show later) and yes those are my plants but it is a little silly that I only have one flower right now.
That being said I have this to look forward to (unless it aborts…):
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before I’ve had this thing for almost 5 years and it has never done ANYTHING (except become gigantic). And now I get a bud! I really hope it doesn’t abort, I’ve been ridiculously excited about it ever since I noticed it a few weeks ago.
As I mentioned I do have a couple things blooming in the hallway. First up we have Hippeastrum ‘Red Pearl’. This one is probably my favorite amaryllis in my collection. The wilted flower is the result of me trying to cross it with Hippeastrum ‘Garden Supreme’ and another two flowers have been crossed with an unknown mini red and white. We’ll see if any of them take.
And last but not least we have my random home depot Calceolaria that almost doesn’t count since I bought it in flower but it’s too fun not to show.
I do have other stuff blooming outdoors but I just don’t really care about it right now so I’m not going to bother with it!
Make sure to head over to May Dreams Gardens to see more GBBD posts!
On a side note I just realized this is my 200th post. Yay, my blog made it to 200 posts (I was doubtful I’d make it past 100…). Lets see if we can make it to 300!
Ok maybe not everywhere but at least there are a couple…
This container sits by the back door…It seems kinda cramped now but I think as the plants grow a wee bit it ooze over the edge and look a little less squished.
This guy…I’m not sure how I feel about this guy. I’m not even sure why I own it. I got the tubers for $3 at Home Depot last year…I knew what I was getting into but I still did it anyways. It’s a corpse flower. It’s not the super gigantic ones (Amorphophallus titanium) but it still has the lovely smell of poo and dead things. So why did I buy it? Well… I actually really love the foliage. Last year I cut the flowers off, this year I want to actually see them (since I can leave it outside and not worry about smelling up the house). So yeah…here goes something.
These containers look a lot nicer in person. The violas actually stand out really well and the blue of the spruce contrasts really nicely with the tan of the apartment building. Now that they’ve been established for about a week they’re looking even better, the violas are starting to trail and they’re just smothered in blooms.
And last but not least we have this Calceolaria that I got at Home Depot of all places. I normally HATE Calceolaria but I liked how this one had the flowers held high on long stems instead of the typical blob right near the center of the plant. It made the plant look much more distinctive than the typical orange or yellow pile of ugly. Besides, this one came in my favorite color combination so how could I resist???