Monday, July 4, 2022

I've Got a Dozen Under My Belt, On To Thirteen

Time sure flies! In 2010 we moved to South Carolina from Virginia. If I were to have to guess, I would say it was only 5 or 6 years! Wow. I hadn't done a yearly review of the yard/gardens for a couple years. Here are a few links to previous posts with photos of progress. I will just share this year's photos today.

Over the years we added a dry creek bed through the backyard, I highly recommend one if you have run-off in your yard that you want to direct. I added a short dry creek bed in the front yard to help with the mulch getting washed downhill. Our lake front area is a mess. I had it redone a few years ago with Hayscented ferns Dennstaedtia punctiloba, Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah', and four Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Pringles Dwarf'. The ferns needed more water in some areas, the grasses didn't thrive like they should and the Pringles were eaten by the deer. The irrigation wasn't working like it should have. I had it set to go off in the wee hours of dawn, only to find an error code for valve one- the largest section of the yard. Now I manually start the sprinklers and they work fine. Not sure what the issue was. Finally, there was also a tree that fell onto the bank- crushing some of the grasses and ferns. I won't share that area today... maybe another time.

Front garden

The front garden is filled with four Drift Roses 'Popcorn', one Loropetalum 'Purple Pixie', Cercis canadensis 'Ruby Falls' Redbud. Multiple Calla lilies, Zantedeschia albomaculata, have reseeded, a volunteer fern, Thelypteris normalis, popped up by the downspout pop-up and there's plenty of Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' and Dianthus 'Firewitch' spreading along the sidewalk. 
The shed is almost hidden because of all the shrub growth. At the corner of the shed is a large Tea Olive, Osmanthus fragrans

The front yard from the other direction. In the small garden, in the photo above is Prunus mume 'Hokkia-bungo' which just shines in December and January. On a warm day the honey bees are all over the blooms, happy to have something blooming at that time of year. Groundcover along the driveway in that garden is Hypericum caylcinum 'Brigadoon'. In the photo below, you can get a better view of the newest garden. A few years ago I decided to mulch the center of the front yard and put in a pollinator garden. The armadillo population and I have a running battle with the plants in that garden. I say they should stay, the armadillo thinks there might be good eats under those plants. To protect the center of the garden I have a small garden fence/edging. In this mulched area I have four Japanese maples- Red Dragon, Butterfly, Virdis, and Crimson Queen. Inside the almost invisible barrier is a selection of Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Iris, Asclepias, Stokesia aster, Cranesbill Geranium, Vernonia, Penstemon, and Agastache. Anchoring the center of the large garden is Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'. After being hit by a falling pine in a ice storm it has rebounded nicely. 

When I put in this large mulched bed, I had a washout of mulch. I finally ended up digging a trench and making my little dry creek bed. Hardwood mulch washes downhill too easily, so I changed it to be a pine straw mulch. Part way down the hill, in the bed, is a Crypotmeria globosa 'Nana', a really nice evergreen. Dotted along the edge of the rocks of the creek bed I planted a few Pitcher plants, Sarracenia flava. The one at the top of the hill I put a berm behind it to keep water at the plant's roots for a bit longer than if there was no berm. I have had success with them in the garden so I am going to get some of the other species. 

From the front yard we will walk around the house on the low side to the back. It is almost like tunnel to get to the back. The wax myrtles, Morella cerifera,  are now small trees. They needed to be limbed up or given a rejuvenating cut (to the ground). I like the small fruit available for the birds, so they got limbed up. On left as we walk through the tunnel is a nice sized blue hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla, the deer seem to leave this one alone. shhhh, don't tell them it is here. In the lower left corner is a Swamp Sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius still small, thanks to the deer. Behind the sunflower is my very tall Calycanthus sp. I would call it a small tree, not a shrub!

The backyard--
from below- Looking back up to the house. This is the garden area that lacked water last year, so I have some replanting to do both this fall and next spring. These mature trees soak up all the available water. 
You can see the dry creek bed cut across the lawn area. It curves around the gardens and works well. 

Turning around to the lake you see my biggest stand of mountain mint, Pycnanthemum muticum. The pollinators love it. All day long it is covered with various bees and wasps as well as butterflies. It is a mint, so it needs to be kept in bounds. In this garden it competes with ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, who will win?

The backyard from the deck- views from above. In the photo below, the lower left corner of the photo is the Japanese maple 'Garnet', going strong. To the left of the maple is Amsonia x 'Seaford Skies'. I have sporadically cut it back over the years, after it blooms, to keep it from reseeding. Note to self- cut it back soon! 

The garden has so many mature trees, mostly oaks and hickory. I was challenged by some fellow gardeners at the Fling to count my trees. Maybe that will be a winter project. 

 Going along the side of the house on the higher side of the property is where I play with the dog. She loves to fetch. In the winter the water runs down through the yard, making it tough for the grass to grow. Maybe by fall the grass will have filled in. The shrubs along the house include a nice stand of Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko', three Camellias and a couple hydrangeas. The deer know these hydrangeas quite well. We had a late freeze this year and knocked back all the Deutzia blooms.  The garden that borders the woods has four or more St. John's Wort, Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst', it reseeds a bit and I have replanted those tiny seedlings further along the garden.  

From the driveway looking down the side yard, the Edgeworthia chrysantha is quite large.

Last but not least is the garden up by the road. Two springs ago I installed irrigation to this garden. It has been growing in size, any gardener worth their salt will expand gardens to the space available! The Gaillardia is sprinkled throughout this garden. Front right corner is a Black Diamond Crepe Myrtle. Lagerstroemia indica 'Black Diamond Best Red'. Waving in the breeze is Stipa tenuissima 'Ponytails' grass. 

Thanks for joining me on a walk around the yard after twelve years in one place. Additions and subtractions will be coming in the following year(s). 

©Copyright 2022 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Back to Flings- Let's Start with Trees

Our recent Garden Blogger Fling was held in Madison Wisconsin. We had a beautiful weekend to explore both public and private gardens, all set up by our Madison bloggers, Beth Stetenfeld and Anneliese Valdes. Our bus rides took us both through Madison and across the local countryside. Views out the windows were great- those quintessential farms dotted the landscape.

We were able to see some remarkable trees both in the private gardens as well as in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and Olbrich Botanical Garden.  One of the stops on our first day was a private garden with lovely gardens. There was a majestic Weeping Willow.  Salix babylonica
This large tree shades the garden and creates a great spot for all those shade loving hostas. The gardeners wandering about the garden give you a sense of size. 

 Many of the gardens were well treed, with pines, oaks, and serviceberries, to name just a few. In future posts more of the private gardens will be shared. 
The Olbrich Botanical Garden had a couple trees that I had to stop and photograph. One was the largest Cottonwood, Populus deltoides, I think I have ever seen. I asked fellow blogger, Lisa Wagner, to stand next to it for size reference. 

Look at that bark!

It looks big, but without a person in the photo, you can't be sure how big.

Cottonwood with Lisa for scale

Also in the Botanical garden is a large Sycamore. I saw a larger one in the James Madison Arboretum in Harrisonburg, VA but this one was pretty amazing. 

Here is the Sycamore in Madison, I love the white mottled bark, always so striking.

Onward to the UW-Madison Arboretum, there were a number of great trees. Near the entrance to the main building is a State Champion Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica. Our guide, David Stevens was talking about the stunning fall color of this specimen.  During the summer growing season it is hard to get a good photo of this champ. If you can visit the UW-Madison Arboretum in the fall, be sure to look to the left of the building for an incredible show!
Black Gum

There were a number of Bottlebrush Buckeyes, Aesculus parviflora, both in the Arboretum and the Botanical garden. It is a great medium tree/large shrub. When in bloom the pollinators have a feast. In the photo below you can see all the flower stalks, ready to bloom.

Aesculus parviflora

A tree that I was not familiar with is the Fernleaf Elm. It is a large specimen, great branching and lovely glossy green leaves.  Ulmus 'Crispa'. It pays to have a guided tour of the Arboretum. He had so many stories about the history of the studies of various Crabapples, introductions of new Birch, a good specimen of a Polish Larch and if there had been time, our guide could have talked about each and every tree on the grounds. Had we not had the guide, the Elm might have been missed. 

Check out these wavy leaves!

A view from the back of the Fernleaf Elm

The trees that were spotlighted by our guide were amazing. On the grounds of this Arboretum, there are four mature American Chestnut, Castanea dentata. We all know about the loss of the Chestnut due to Chestnut blight across its native range where it was approximately 25% of the forest. Before the blight the Chestnut was widely planted both for its shade as well as lumber uses and seed production. Wisconsin is not in its native range. In the 1800-early 1900's Chestnuts were planted in Wisconsin as well as Minnesota. According to a study paper I read the theory for its success in these areas were both the isolation of these trees from the ones in the Appalachian mountain range and the Westerly winds. The study was written in 1975, so some of the data is not up to date. There was a National Champion Chestnut tree in Trempealeau county in Wisconsin on the Lunde farm. In 1960 this giant of a tree measured 11 feet circumference at 4.5 feet high, was 67 feet tall, and had a canopy spread of 55 feet. In 1975 it was superceded by a tree in Oregon City, Oregon that was measured at 15 ft. 8 in. circumference, 90 ft. tall, and a spread of 64 ft. 
The Chestnut trees in the UW-Madison Arboretum were presented to the arboretum by H. D. Tiemann, Forest Products Laboratory Director, however the date is not known. According to our guide, they were donated in the 1950's and planted in the Arboretum in the 1960's. (Had I had a pen that worked in hand my information would be more exact. I tried to find the information the guide told us, to no avail.) There were four Chestnuts planted and in 1974 were measured. The largest one was 15 ft. tall, 8.5 inches in circumference, and had an 8 foot spread. 
The stand of the four American Chestnuts really stood out as they were all in bloom! It was gorgeous! 

The Chestnut has both male and female flowers on one tree, monoecious. The long stalks are the male flowers. Their pollen is spread by wind and some pollinators.

Below is a photo of the Allegheny Chestnut, Castanea pumila, which was growing near the American Chestnuts. You can easily see the male and female flowers.

The American Chestnut seeds/nuts are edible- think Nat King Cole singing 'Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire'. Their hull is spiny. In the Arboretum many of the turkeys and deer enjoy eating these nuts. The leftover hulls are under the tree.

Wish we had more time in the Arboretum, there were so many great trees to see. Onward to more Fling posts...stay tuned.

©Copyright 2022 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.