Thursday, May 09, 2013

Mail order plants

Mail order plants is a new experience for me. I never thought I would need to order a plant sight unseen from a far away nursery when we have so many nurseries in our area, but we needed a lot of shrubs and it was becoming cost prohibitive to buy them large from a nursery. I knew mail order would be smaller less expensive specimens. I would be sacrificing on size but felt confident that our good soil would help them and in a few seasons they would be pretty decent. Plus the small size meant that we wouldn't have to be digging ginormous holes and be less stressed.

I used the website Dave's Garden to research mail order places and felt confident choosing a reputable place -- in the end I used 4 different mail order nurseries for 11 shrubs and 1 tree.

So how do i feel about mail order? Point blank: If instant gratification is your thing, don't do mail order!  Oh my god some of these shrubs were tiny. Almost laughable!

I ordered some dwarf Korean spice viburnums and they came so small a hand spade (or my thumb) could dig the hole. Perennials from the arboretum sale were harder to plant. Oh well. I will enjoy watching them grow as I grow old.

 Can you spot the tiny viburnums??

On the other hand, I ordered a tree (Dwarf River Birch 'Fox Valley') mail order and it came larger than I imagined. You never know what you will get.

So far, my mail order plants that I planted last fall (Nikko deutzias and virginia sweetspire) have survived the winter... and the rabbits! They are still small in size (mostly because 'ol cotton tail nibbled them down) but I'm eager to see how they grow in their first season.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Backyard garden: kitchen window garden plan & planting

I call this the kitchen window garden only for the simple reason that its directly under the kitchen window -- I am oozing creativity.

This garden needed direction. It was just a mass of daylillies (large yellow ones that flopped over and whose foliage needed to be cut back), tall purple bearded irises (gorgeous! But flopped over every season. I divided a few times and then they stopped coming back), sedum (which I planted for late summer foliage). Ho hum boring and fussy.

Here is a picture from a year ago -- this was before we painted the house and got new windows, and you can see our wood porch that was cute and quaint but falling apart.

The plan was to make the bed deeper and give it a shrub border. The shrubs in the plan were -- surprise -- boxwoods. This was the one place where I was okay with planting boring boxwoods. But of course I had to make a change: instead of 5 boxwoods, I did 3 boxwoods and 2 mountain hydrangeas 'tuff stuff'.

The two open areas in front of the shrubs are for perennials and ground covers of my choice. For this year, I replanted my existing sedum to the left and some white impatiens to the right.

The gorgeous red tulips were planted by the previous owner and I love when they come up and brighten up this garden bed. The pretty obelisk is from Terrain.

Looking at these two pictures is hard because it was once so lush and now it seems so puny -- but I know in time the shrubs will fill in nice and will evolve into "my garden."

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

In Bloom: fritillaria meleagris bulbs

These are pretty bulbs that I purchased as part of our sister city exchange -- apparently they grow in the wild in a part of England that we have as a sister city. This is their 2nd year to bloom and I think they are so pretty and delicate in my garden.