Thursday, December 26, 2013

Summer (and fall) project Part 3

The last project I needed to finish for 2013 was far less fun, more stressful, and way more time consuming than the other two.  In May we had 70 mph + winds.  I pulled into the nursery to find this:

Where the plants are sitting in the first picture is where the hoop-house was.  The north end got picked up and moved about 20'.  In addition to the physical damage, May was very cold, wet, and windy this past spring; and we had two events in June to vend at.  While our plants didn't look as good as I'd hoped for those events, they looked better than I'd imagined.

Despite this being a royal PITA, we were lucky with a few things.  Neither the clear poly or the shade cloth ripped.  Also, despite how mangled the structure itself looks, there was very little damage.  The purlin sections (the pipe that runs the whole length of the house down the center) were only slightly warped, and only one hoop was bent and only enough to be an inconvenience when putting plastic on.

Step 1 to fix this catastrophe had to be finished that night (after an already 10 hour day at work, why am I involved in two nursery businesses?), removal of the poly and the shade cloth.  The pics were taken after most of the poly was removed.  I had to cut down a small tree that the house was resting on to do so.

Step 2 was moving all of the plants home where we could take better care of them and keep them out of frost.  This meant a few trips back and forth as well as a month of moving plants in and out of a three-season room.  There was little damage or loss of the plants themselves, but they did not grow as fast as they should have and therefore weren't as lush as they could have been.

Structure is up
Eventually (after our vending events and the busy summer were over) we needed to actually disassemble the structure, this is when I found out that there was little damage.  We also decided to move the house to a new location on the property and use ground-sleeves instead of regular ground anchors.  They allow more stability of the house and a lower likelihood of this happening again.  This meant drilling 42 3' deep holes in hard-packed clay.  The auger we rented could barely do it and it took 3 hours to do 12 holes.  We found that using old fashioned hand augers was far easier and faster.  So much for modern technology being better.

Another piece of the puzzle was uncooperative weather in the fall.  Once the house was up, we needed to cover it.  My days off to do so were mostly met with wind, rain, or both.  I finally got it covered much later than normal, in mid-November.  Everything is now put away for the winter and hopefully we don't have to deal with this again!

This project took up A LOT of time and meant very little propagation of new plants and pretty much no time for hybridizing.  This was also one of the reasons for my other 2 projects; it meant getting a lot more plants in the ground and out of pots.  Less for me to take care of and worry about and less to put away in fall.

Ready for winter. It snowed a few days later.

Cloth is on!

Next year (after our vending events!) we will be adding gravel, there just wasn't time this year.  The new location has easier access for us, more even ground with less mud, and is easier to mow around.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Summer Project: Part 2

This is actually where my summer project started: the north side of my house.  This is a difficult area to photograph, as it's very narrow and long.  Basically this garden is a foundation planting, I have only about 8' from my house to the end of my property.  While it does get some late western sun, it is very shady.  Which makes it about perfect since shade is my favorite place to garden!  

A lot of the plants in this garden I've had for a few years, but for various reasons they've been in pots since day 1.  Only a few hostas were moved from another garden or potted last year.  The Rhododendrons were sad looking work rescues planted last year and are recovering beautifully.  And the Polygonatum humile was the last remnant of the garden that was here up until last spring.  Despite how narrow this area is, it's long which has allowed a plant selection equally as diverse and numerous as my larger front sunny garden.  Lots of Hostas of course, but a diverse selection of others as well:

Aquilegia mix
Aralia cordata 'Sun King'
Aster macrophylla 'Alba'
Athyrium 'Ghost'
Atractylodes japonica
Atractylodes ovata
Chelonopsis yagiharana
Clematis virginiana
Eleuthrococcus sieboldianus 'Variegatus'
Enkianthus campanulatus
Fagus sylvatica 'Aurea Pendula'
Geranium maculataum
Geranium 'Perfect Storm'
Hosta 'Awakening Angel'
Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'
Hosta 'Bridal Falls'
Hosta 'Cutting Edge'
Hosta 'Dixie Cups'
Hosta 'Dragon's Eye'
Hosta 'Earth Angel'
Hosta 'El Nino'
Hosta 'Fallen Angel'
Hosta 'Foxfire Irish Moon'
Hosta 'Irish Luck'
Hosta 'Key West'
Hosta 'Lime Smoothie'
Hosta 'Paradise Tritone'
Hosta 'Potomac Pride' sport
Hosta 'Queen of the Seas'
Hosta 'Remember Me'
Hosta 'Ringtail'
Hosta 'Sea Gulf Stream'
Hosta 'Stir It Up'
Hosta ventricosa 'Aureomarginata'
Hydrangea anomala var. petiolaris 'Early Light'
Hydrangea arborescens 'Bella Anna'
Hydrangea arborescens 'Invincibelle Spirit'
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever Together'
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Wedding Ring'
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'
Hydrangea serrata 'Tuff Stuff'
Kirengeshoma palmata 'Magic Touch'
Lamium orvala 'Alba'
Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Gold Angel'
Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Mountain Madness'
Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Silver Angel'
Lonicera 'Harlequin'
Lonicera villosa
Oxalis crassipes
Rhododendron 'Roseum Elegans'
Taxus baccatta 'Amersfoort'
Thalictrum 'Black Stockings'
Tiarella 'Oregon Trail'
Tiarella 'Spring Symphony'
Tricyrtis 'Golden Gleam'
Tricyrtis 'Golden Glory'

66 varieties of plants, 22 of which are Hosta varieties.  You'll notice some other repetitions in Genus names here too, This garden is home to some of my other "collections" of plants.  Hydrangea, Leucosceptrum, Lonicera, and Polygonatum are all top notch shade plants and I'll be adding more to the gardens.  With the exception of Hydrangea, all of those deserve more use.  Tiarella also deserves more popularity (at least around here) and I have room for more of those in this garden and will add more varieties in time.  

I do still have room for a few smaller plants in this garden, and definitely have room for some groundcovers.  Also, this garden will wrap around to the East side of the house next year which has more space and already has some shrubs in place.  That area would be planted as well, except it's full of potted plants that SHOULD be at the nursery location.  More on that in part 3.

Rhododendrons, hostas, and Miscellany
Aster divaricatus 'Eastern Star' - Every shade garden NEEDS this plant!

Geranium 'Perfect Storm'

Pulmonaria 'Pink Twilight'
Pulmonaria 'Pink Twilight' taken today - NO MILDEW!

Enkianthus campanulatus

Hydrangea anomala var petiolaris 'Early Light'

Hosta 'Gemstone'

Taxus 'Amersfoort'

Hosta 'Remember Me'

Hosta 'Dixie Cups'

Hosta 'El Nino'

Tricyrtis 'Golden Gleam'

Solidago flexicaulis 'Variegata'

Oxalis crassipes

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Visit to Rotary Botanic Gardens

Last Wednesday my friend and fellow plant geek Jess and I traveled to Rotary Botanic Gardens in Janesville, WI.  While she'd been there a number of times, this was my first time.  I was thoroughly impressed at how great the gardens looked, even this late in the season.  I'm not putting a lot of words into this one, just LOTS of images:

I was super excited to see Colocasia 'Black Coral' in person

Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies' looking great!

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' has been on my wishlist for awhile.

Pinus strobus 'Mini Twists'

Phlox 'Betty Blake'

Taxodium ascendens 'Debonair'

Hosta 'Guardian Angel'

Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa Gracilis'

Acer pseudoplatanus 'Variegata'

'Lacinato' Kale

Lycoris - either radiata or sanguinea

Ammobium alatum 'Bikini'

Basil 'Pasta Perpetuo' hedge

Pennisetum 'Ginger Love' is now on the wishlist.

Chasmanthium latifolium 'River Mist'

An unknown variegated shrub.  Nope I couldn't ID it, but it's probably one of those easy things.

Another Acer pseudoplatanus 'Variegata'

Acer pseudosieboldianum

Acer pseudosieboldianum

Experimenting with pallet walls.  I don't like the Gaillardia, at least not by itself.  I may try this concept.

Gaillardia 'Punch Bowl' I think this one is an annual

Zinnias were covered with mildew, but the flowers were still beautiful.

Neat culvert planters.

Petunia Sophistica Blackberry

A number of Acer japonicum 'Green Cascade' were in the garden

Taxodium distichum

Zelkova serrata 'Variegata'

Pennisetum 'Cherry Sparkler'

Pepper 'Purple Flash'

Sambucus nigra 'Linearis'

Sambucus nigra 'Linearis'

Emilia japonica 'Irish Poet'

Heuchera 'Big Top Gold'

One of the COOLEST Amaranth plants ever echoed the following sculpture

After we were done at Rotary, we headed to Stoughton to do some shopping at The Flower Factory.  We ran into Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens who was also doing some shopping and had a short chat.  No pictures, but a few things followed me home:
Achillea ageratifolia
Achillea x wilczeckii
Chelonopsis yagiharana
Clematis hexapetala 'Mongolian Stars'
Iris sauveolens
Liatris microcephala
Oxalis crassipes
Rabdosia longituba
Salvia pachyphylla