Last week’s wind and rain had the locust leaves coming down like snow.
Sunday, October 6:
Sunday, October 6
Wednesday, October 9: Mark took advantage of a break in the weather on Tuesday to turn the garden pots upside down to let the rainwater drain away. Another inch of rain fell the next day so it was perfect timing.
Perfect timing for the pots but the rain overflowed the gutters which told us they were stuffed with leaves. You can clearly see the line in the leaves where the water came over the gutters. Mark typically gets up on the roof to clean the gutters a few times in the fall but the rain has kept things too wet to do that.
Sunday, October 14: No denying the season anymore. Note how much more the deck is awash in little golden Locust leaves.
The ground under and near the biggest Locust tree is covered in leaves.
Since it had been dry for a few days and rain was again predicted for Sunday night, Mark got up on the roof to blow down the leaves and scoop out the ones in the gutters. The view before he started.
You can see the problem!
Once the deck was buried in all those additional Locust leaves, I told Mark that I would deal with them.
He blew them into a great mass which I then attacked with a broom, a rake, a huge dust pan and big plastic contractor's bags.
Once the garden dies back and I clean everything up, then I will take my bags of Locust leaves and put them down on the garden as fall mulch.
I don't usually put down a fall mulch on the assumption that the snow will be the protective cover. But last winter's lack of snow suggests that I should not count on snow to do the job. I'm not taking any chances this year.
I generally have good luck with Heucheras. I learned that they frequently need to be re-seated, that is dug in deeper as the thick stem pushes itself out of the ground. If that happens the plant will get spindly. I also know that 'villosa' hybrids work especially well in our climate where summers can be humid. But getting the light conditions just right in order to get that beautifully colored foliage is my big problem with this plant.
This is Heuchera villosa 'Lava Lamp' in both pictures. According to Klehm's Song Sparrow Nursery it can take everything from full sun to full shade. The plant above is in full sun. The one below in more shade, though it gets some late afternoon sun.
My complaint is that the catalog photos always show these kind of plants with colorful foliage looking perfect — and with only one color of foliage visible on the plant. Mine always seem to have leaves coming and going that are dramatically different colors. That variation takes away from the look of the plant to my eye.
Obviously the solution is to trim off that less attractive foliage. But what is the point of having to constantly maintain a low-maintenance plant? Some of my Heucheras, like 'Caramel' and 'Pinot Gris', have variation among their leaves but not such a wide range. In those cases, that change in color enhances the plant. In this case, not so much.
Am I missing some critical information to getting my 'Lava Lamp' leaves all one color all at the same time?
When I visited Olbrich Botanical Gardens last month, I was completely charmed by this piece of art in the center of their Herb Garden. I checked with the garden to find the name of the artist who created it.
Turns out it was the work of Erin Presley, one of Olbrich's horticulturalists who works in the Herb, Wildflower and Pond gardens and is also a mapping specialist. She told me via email that the tree is a 'King Arthur' crabapple that is showing its age.
She noted that some of the tree's large branches had been dying off intermittently over the past few years. After they lost a large section this past winter, the choice was made to remove the smaller twigs and branches, leaving most of the main branch structure intact.
Erin noted the clay balls had been around the garden for a while and the copper balls were remnants of an art installation at the gardens several years ago.
She said — and I completely agree — that "they provide a playful foil to the strong architecture of the remaining trunk and branches." At the moment, Olbrich is having their annual exhibit featuring local, national and international artists creating light-based installations throughout the outdoor gardens.
Called "GLEAM, Art in a New Light," this art extravaganza runs until Oct. 27th. Complete details are here, including times and admission information. While those night-time art installations are quite dramatic and eye-catching, don't miss Erin Presley's daytime delight in the Herb Garden.
Next year this area will look completely different because Olbrich will be moving the vegetable plot for the Herb Garden into this space. About this change, Erin says she's "looking forward to growing vining plants on the tree; can’t you just see gourds and pole beans dangling off of there?!" Make a note on your calendar right now to visit Olbrich's Herb Garden next summer to see Erin's whimsical re-do of this old crabapple tree.
I don't know about you but this looks like a boxwood with a creamy edge or variegation to me. When I saw a group of these beauties on display at a local nursery, I instantly fell prey to temptation and brought this one home with me. The tag gave its name as 'Glencoe,' one of the Chicagoland Growers series.
All of the many boxwoods we grow in our garden are from the Chicagoland series. We've never lost one, no matter how cold or fierce the winter. The only time we've lost boxwoods was a nameless pair foolishly purchased on sale at Home Depot.
Here's my problem: When I went online looking for more information on 'Glencoe' all I could find were solid color boxwoods with nary a mention of a creamy margin. I couldn't find any variegated boxwood listed as part of the Chicagoland series. So something is not right.
The nursery where I bought the plant is now closed for the season. I will check in with them next spring, but in the meantime, is anyone growing 'Glencoe' boxwood or one that looks like this? I'd love to hear from you if you are.
We had our first frost warning of the season Friday night. The temps got colder than I thought they would here in our urban garden. We went down to 34 degrees F. (1.11 C.), just two degrees above freezing. But I decided I was not going to take a chance that all my late bloomers would come through unscathed. I went out Friday afternoon to cut the first toad lilies (Tricyrtis) that had opened.
I divided and moved my clump of this toad lily — Tricyrtis hirta 'Lemon Twist' — in August. This variety only gets about 18 inches tall (45.72 cm.), has large yellow flowers and gray dots on the leaves. But as a result of moving it, I am not getting many flowers. I am, however, finding scorched leaves. Thus another move is probably on the list of early spring tasks. I added a few fronds of Adiantum venustum and a sprig of the last Thalictrum 'Splendide' flowers.
The Thalictrum sprig started out in this arrangement of Tricyrtis and Cimicifuga. I have a number of clumps of Cimicifuga; all of them dark-leaved varieties as each newer and darker variety was introduced. But for this bouquet, I stripped off all the chocolate-colored leaves.
Tricyrtis myazaki grows in quite a horizontal fashion. They are planted under a pine tree and growing out over our stream. Both conditions make them hard to get at for cutting but they always are the first group to come into flower. After I took these photos I decided I did not like that little spring of Thalictrum, so I pulled it out and added it to the yellow toad lily vase.
As I was wandering the garden to see what was in bloom to cut for a Monday bouquet before this potential frost, I came across this stem of Epimedium 'Waterfall' foliage.
The striking red veins on the yellow leaves seemed like the perfect partner for the drying flowers of Sedum 'Matrona.'