Monday, November 17, 2014

Bulbs and More

This fall I planted lots of bulbs and a few other things too. Here's what I put in:

In October I finally got all 100 daffodil bulbs planted on the back hill and among the spruces on the berm.

I added more Gladiator, Mt. Everest and Stratos big globe alliums to the driveway garden. There should be a decent display of these dramatic onions marching in a big line up the side of the driveway next spring.

I planted Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum) bulbs randomly in the Birch Garden, Meadow's Edge and the Blueberry Garden. I loved the way they looked in mid June at Katherine's, popping up all over her gardens. I hope I get the same effect.

They are listed as aggressive / invasive spreaders and MoBot warns about them taking over in garden beds. Will I have a problem? (Evening primrose was also an aggressive spreader and mine did nothing and have now disappeared.) Meadow's Edge has such competition from the maple that I don't think Ornithogalums will spread, but the other two gardens are wetter and richer.

I put drumstick alliums in all along the patio wall. None of mine around the gravel garden or in Meadow's Edge did anything last summer. They sprouted and then laid down in piles of dry hay. Too little water at the wrong time I think. But in prior years I loved these little pom poms, so I had to have more and try again.

I planted a small (dwarf?) Styrax japonicus under the guest room window. This snowbell is called 'Evening Light' and is advertised to grow to about 8 feet, much smaller than the species. It has dark foliage, green tinged purple, which should be interesting when the little white bells bloom against it in spring.

My original styrax, planted last year by the gravel garden, was pretty its first spring but gone the next. It did not survive the winter. Hoping for better with this one.

I put in a 'Lemon Candy' physocarpus where one of the panicle hydrangeas had been removed along the driveway.  It too is much smaller than the usual big ninebarks are. It has bright foliage that I think will light up the middle of this long bed between the massively dark Norway maple and the darkly purple full size 'Summer Wine' ninebark.

There is a great article about UConn's research on ninebarks here. Most cultivars are susceptible to deforming powdery mildew. Summer Wine is not much affected, and Lemon Candy was too new to evaluate but holds promise. I'll have to watch it and check for mildew susceptibility.

Two new little dwarf 'Northcountry' blueberries were added to the existing one in the Blueberry Garden where I had expanded it under the clematis tower. These are not for fruit, but rather to repeat the look (and red fall foliage) of the taller ones in the middle. But almost immediately something snapped off one -- a rabbit? It is now just a toothpick twig with no branches. It may not survive.

I expanded the area under the flowering dogwood again, moving it down the edge of the driveway a little more (small adjustment but it involved hauling away two cartloads of removed sod strips). I then added more 'Frohnleitien' epimediums to spread out there.

I got more iris reticulata bulbs to plant by the front walk. These are 'Gordon'. It's hard to tell from online photos, but I think these are more purple than blue. I like the lighter, bluer ones I originally planted better, but the ones I put in last year were dark purple, and now these will likely be a deeper color too, so there will be a mix of darker and lighter little irises.

But I can't put them in until we remove the cotoneaster shrubs. They must go -- they are crowding the walk and the spruce tree, and they are weed magnets. The congested arching branches harbor grass and weeds that I can't get to.

Jim and I tried cutting back the woody cotoneaster branches and then prying the rootball up one by one, but the job is too much. So we asked Peter to come with his tools and strong men and he agreed to stop by between other jobs in the neighborhood. But . . . we won't see him for a long time, I'm sure. Meanwhile the bulbs need to go in. Might not happen.

Why is fall so short? Why didn't I get more done? When will Peter come to take the cotoneasters out?

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