Thursday, June 16, 2011


Today I took the day off from brick-laying to run errands and do some laundry. However, the call of outdoor design was too strong for me to avoid running over to Lowes to see what sort of plants they had in stock and on clearance. I hadn't planned on getting my mailbox landscaping finished yet, but that's how these things come about--I see something and think, "Oh, that would be cool!"

Actually, rather, it is all meticulous planning on my part. *cough*

I ended up with day lilies on each side of the mailbox....

And at the back of the mailbox I planted a Japanese silver grass.

I planted them just before the storms tonight, so I will try and get a few pictures tomorrow. The plants are just tiny things, so nothing like the previous two pictures, but I think next year, when they've had a chance to establish and grow, they should look pretty nice.

Over the past year I've planted about a gajjillion (yes, that many--with two "j's") plants. A few of them haven't survived, but most have. I don't have all of them mentioned here, but I did want to share a few of them that have worked out for me (so far):

For example, in my shade garden earlier this year I planted 30 plants, including hostas, lilly of the valley, ferns, and bleeding hearts. All that came up were the hostas.

I gave up and then purchased already-emerging shade plants, which have worked out much better--like this Japanese spurge:

As well as this Palace Purple Coral Bells:

My sister-in-law gave me this plant, which is a lot smaller than this example right now, but will hopefully end up a stunning addition to my front yard in the years to come--a Kaibab spruce.

I did plant one Karl Rosenfield peony root this spring over Stupid's gave and it is doing very well. It probably won't bloom this year, but next year I hope it will look like this:

I was surprised to find a couple of Knockout Roses on the clearance rack! These standard pink ones I planted near the highway to add some color up front. One actually bloomed already!

The other, a yellow, I planted by my veggie garden, but it's still fairly dormant, although it seems to be established now.

On one trip to Lowes I found this very interesting plant and absolutely had to purchase it. It's called a Mountain Fire Pieris.

It is supposed to be cold hearty to zone 4 (I'm in zone 5/borderline 6) and thankfully the chickens don't find this plant very appetizing, so it's done fairly well getting established over the last six weeks or so. It hasn't bloomed (it only blooms in spring) but the new leaves are red and the old ones are bright green, so even without the bell-like blooms it makes for a very interesting plant!

Last fall I got several plants for only a dollar or two each. They were all half-dead and I lost a couple but the two Purpleleaf Sand Cherry Bushes are doing quite well. One is in a shadier place than I intended so I might end up moving it, but both plants are very far from the horse areas (because cherry leaves are quite toxic to horses).

White Pampas Grass is a piece I am trying out by the house. I might end up regretting it, which I realized once I trimmed it up and the blades cut my hands up pretty well. It's another plant I will probably eventually move, but for now the plant is only doing fair so I will wait until it "feels" better to transplant and replace it with something a bit more tame.

Speaking of tame, my wisteria is only doing so-so. Of course its bloom-period is over, but the plant itself doesn't seem to be thriving like I feel like it should. It has some new growth, but considering I hear it thrives on neglect, you'd think it would have taken over the place by now.

I actually read that if your wisteria isn't doing well, you need to ignore it more. The only way I could ignore it more would be to completely forget I have it. Sort of like an ex I guess.

You say tomato, I say see ya later,


Annette said...

I had a wisteria at our previous home and it took forever to get established - and then one day it started to thrive. Maybe yours needs more time to adjust.
I love your last line about ignoring, forgetting and exs. So true! -- made me smile.

Jessie McCandless said...

Thanks, Annette! I am hoping it just needs more time. It's not in bad shape by any means, but I thought it would grow more than it has. I just need to be a little more patient :)

smazourek said...

Your place is going to be paradise when all those plants start growing. Too bad about the lilly-of-the-valley, those smell heavenly.

Nicole said...

my plants this year aren't doing very well... if you figure out the trick please let me know!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Pampas advice (unsolicited, but heartfelt):

Pruning and basically any close contact should take place in the dead of winter, when full sleeves, hats and face masks are in fashion.

A heavy duty hedge trimmer, preferably double sided is the tool of choice, unless of course you're brave enough for a chain saw.

Place clippings on a tarp laying on the ground as you generate them... you can then drag the tarp and flip it to dump. This minimizes contact with the tiny little razors covering the pampas leaves.

Over my landscaping career I have cut back thousands of pampas - I spend every Feb / Mar on that task.

I so enjoy keeping up with your farm improvements - your place is going to be magazine worthy one day!!

Vintage West said...

Lowe's can be a dagerous place, there's always to many good things to be had :)
I hope your wisteria takes off, I'm in love with that stuff but I can't grow it here.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Your place is going to look stunning when everything starts to grow and bloom. Why you'll probably be stopping traffic on the road just so they can see your yard! It's a lot of work but it's worth it.

One of the roses I like the best is the Ragusa? rose hedges. They grow like crazy with no care at all and make a pretty tight hedge and the horses love to eat the rose hips. Check them out.