Saturday, March 22, 2008

Callicarpa japonica dichotoma

Last Fall when I took my first Plants class, we spent the last class in a group dissecting plants.

My group got this Callicarpa japonica dichotoma (Japanese Purple Beautyberry). After we tore the entire thing apart -- roots and all -- we were just going to leave it. That was when I had my Charlie Brown's Christmas moment and I just had to take it home to nurture it.

Matt calls it the dead twig plant. I told him it's just dormant cause it knows it's winter, but honestly I have no idea what I'm doing or if this plant could survive. I just knew it had a better chance here than in the Arboretum's garbage.Side Note: In another class, a nursury owner was teaching us about trees and he commented how he prefers women over men when gardening because we're more meticulous and careful. But what's our downfall? We want to save everything! Especially the weaklings which should be discarded ... Alright, this is totally me. Here I am saving this plant from class, as well as saving every tiny hosta and coralbell babies I find in my walkway. I can't help it. If it wants to die on it's own, fine, but I won't be responsible!
Now it's four months later, and my Callicarpa is still in my laundry room. I took a look at it today and I found -- amongst some crackly twigs -- green buds (see above circled green buds!). So maybe it's not dead after all. I don't know much about this plant so I'm not sure if it should be pruned, or if I should plant it as is in April. But that's the plan...

It's new home will be where we took down the apple tree out front -- without that tree, it's a full sun area now. Everytime I plant a plant, I imagine it singing the song from Annie "I think I'm gonna like it here."

Let's hope he does.

Springtime snow

On the 15th, I posted a somewhat brownish-green garden... 6 days later, we got a snowstorm. Welcome to March in Chicago. You'll never know what you get. Two years ago, it snowed the end of March too, but not as bad.

In fact, according to weather records, only July and August have been snow free months. Every other month has gotten snow in weather history. We're a hardy folk!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - March 15

I last posted on Bloom Day in October 2007, and now I am back.

Welcome to my very brown garden --with some patches of snow!
All I found outside that resembled green were ... snowbells

...and the first signs of what will be daffodils and hyacinths.Hope it's more green where you are!

**Thanks to Carol @ May Dreams Gardens for initiating Bloom Day

Bulb Watch 2008 - March 15

The first of the new bulbs I plants last Fall are emerging! SUCCESS!

So far I spotted 3 plants emerging through the matted leaves where I planted a whole bunch of bulbs last Fall. In this area I know I planted tulips and hyacinths of varying bloom times; I even experimented with layering them in the same hole. I have a feeling these will be the hyacinths. Kate commented about squirrels ferreting away bulbs and eating them ... I had no idea they do this, but I have a feeling that they ate some of my bulbs because I noticed some "holes" where I had planted them.
March 14 - the first shoot

And bulb shoots aren't the only thing I found out there ...
There is more rabbit crap out in my gardens than ever before. It's pretty disgusting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The moment of truth

I have been waiting for this moment for 6 months ... in a few weeks, I will find out if I have any skill at all in "bulb planting." (or sooner, my blog posting has shown my first bulbs come up around March 25th).

Will I be seeing more of these this Spring?

Last fall, I planted bulbs for the first time, figuring after 3 years of gardening it was time to do more than just manage the troops. I put the bulbs all over the yard: front and back, by the fence and in a garden bed. I planted 3-4 different types of bulbs. I figured all of this variation has to UP my chance for at least 1 little guy to poke through, greet me with a pretty flower, and boost my ego.

I marked where I planted all the bulbs so I could have my own "Bulb Watch 2008." Whether they bloom or not, it'll be quite a show (i.e. pretty bulbs or me with a sad face).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I spent some time reading my old garden posts and I learned a lot. For instance, I learned that I was a lot funnier when I didn't know a lot about gardening.

I could crack a joke with just about anything I did outside. Now that I'm coming into my 4th year of gardening (well, maybe 3, I can't count that first year where I was gardening with blinders on), can I still call my monstrous clematis Jumanji? Can I joke yet again about the Native Plant sale and it's eerie similarity to the Filene's Basement Wedding Dress Sale? And we're running out of things to demolish so I can write about my grandpa.

But I shouldn't react too soon. It's the beginning of a new season and who knows the sorts of shenanigans (to quote Juno) that I can get into. After all, I do have a watering fountain to set up and lord knows I have no idea how to do that.

I'm hoping for a productive, yet entertaining season.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Someplace to sit my butt down...and more gearing up for Spring

So remember when I was mad at Smith n' Hawken for raising their prices? Well, now their benches are 20% off ... so maybe someone there read my blog (ha!)

Anyway, I'm through lusting over that Panisse bench. I just got a Horticulture magazine from the library and they listed a bunch of benches and I found a new one.

This one is so close to that Panisse bench and moreover, it's like $200 cheaper.

And then I got so inspired by Annie's fountain making (although I don't feel like "making" a fountain -- not to mention, so you see any SNOW in Annie's photos?), that I used my gift card from my aunt & uncle to get this cool fountain.
So... a bench, a fountain, a dogwood pagoda ... I am also picking up from the Plant Sale...
I think this a great start to a Spring that has not come yet... not at all.