From gifted gardener & photographer Marvel, in mid-January:
We’re enjoying a mild-but-wet Winter these past few weeks. Luckily, the rainy days are often punctuated with splendid blocks of clear, sunny hours (kind of an All Is Forgiven moment).
The Lenten Roses are starting to wake up. They’re so lovely…it’s just one more thing I love about Oregon (I killed oh! so many Hellebores back when we lived in the Bay Area — they really like the cooler weather here).
Thank you, Marvel!
Not gonna be any cheerful color around these parts for a few weeks — the long-established daffodils in the most sheltered south-facing spot by the doorstep are sprouting, but they normally get blasted at least once when they risk showing up so early.
But surely some of you guys have pictures you can share of garden triumphs past?
What’s going on in your garden (planning) this week?
Those are lovely. I only discovered hellebores last year.
I adore Lenten Roses, and made a friend tradition out of buying them for a friend with a perfect place for them, until it was all filled up!
I have a dappled shade backyard. When, how and where do I plant these guys to make them thrive?
Good Morning, Everyone ???
@Sab: ask and ye shall receive!
@rikyrah: Good morning ?
[email protected]: your gardens and your photography are always an inspiration.
@rikyrah: Good morning.
Blech. Rain. Snow. More rain. More snow. Blech. I’m ready to get busy.
The smoker is almost finished now, which is good. I’ve got a slab of pork belly curing now. Should be ready for smoking by Wednesday. There is yet one more in the freezer, a couple jowls and some hocks. I also have 2 big hams to do. I hope I can get them all done before it gets too warm.
Meanwhile, I am chomping at the bit to get busy on this spring’s garden projects. I want get 2 hugelkultur beds built. I want to get started on the next stage of the Zen garden. At some point 250 seedlings are going to show up courtesy of the MO Dept of Conservation and I’ll have to get them stuck in the ground. And more. There is always more.
Nice hellebores Marvel. I’ve thought of trying them but I think it just gets too hot in the summer here.
@OzarkHillbilly: what kinds of seedlings from the MO DOC ?
Last dry day here for a while. I am going to plant some onion sets and sets from 3 garlic bulbs.
Hellebores are also easy to divide and replant.
I just realized that I have no thoughts of spring. I’m just head down enduring winter (shoveled again on Friday and Saturday with another three inches forecast for coming midweek) and ill health (got The Cough, etc. on Dec. 14). I’ve been rocking the baby this week as she is sick and she was diagnosed with type A influenza on Friday. I hope my flu shot works, though she had one.
My mother had a great variety of irises in her garden…their scent and the scent of peonies and lilacs are heaven to me. By the time we left the place we lived the longest, I had about 20 peony plants and a lot of iris. Two huge lilac bushes. I have to start over this spring here in Iowa. I want to pit in good bushes for birds. Suggestions?
We’ve got a winter storm advisory from about ten this morning to 7 tonight. Ice and snow but fast moving so lower visibility. I have to get air in a tire and gas before it hits. It’s the frustrating time of year for me gardenwise because it’s weeks too soon to start veggie garden seedlings and too wet and cold to do any garden bed cleanup. But cabin fever starts to set in now.
@satby: DOH! 150, not 250… I feel a little better now. 100 Eastern red cedar (for a natural screen along the road, one that gives us cover in the winter). 25 Redbuds (I don’t have near as many as I’d like) and 25 deciduous Holly (birds love the red berries in winter) I had wanted to get some hazelnuts and some more shortleaf pine but they were out of them.
I really have no idea what kind of a success rate I should expect, 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year. A lot of different factors at play.
Most of what MDC sells seems inappropriate for our bit of ridgetop and holler. I am probably a little too conservative in that regard considering the costs involved.
ETA just found a separate receipt for 50 shortleaf pine. 200 seedlings.
@Nelle: the flu shot this year was only partially protective, so I hope you don’t catch it. Your poor little tyke!
I don’t know how long you’ll stay in Iowa but for quick garden enjoyment I would do flats of annuals this year while you decide on what longer term perennials you may want. And order spring blooming bulbs for next year in the fall. If you’ll be there for enough years to establish peonies or hydrangea those could be rewarding, iris too but they’re so expensive! And unless you move somewhere you can’t take them, you can dig up the irises, any spring bulbs, and divide the shrubs to take with you next time.
When I had to move from all the gardens I had planted in MI, I took as many of the iris and peonies I could, and took cuttings of the shrubs (only 1 of those actually grew). It broke my heart to leave my many lilacs behind, plus the other flowering trees, but I had gotten most of them from arborday.org for a very modest donation, so I did that again when I moved here. I gave away the tree seedlings I couldn’t use.
@OzarkHillbilly: you inspired me to go look, but IN doesn’t seem to have a DoC, only a DNR, and they’re mostly concerned with hunting and camping ?.
I’m at my limit for trees in my yard without encroaching on my own gardens, but I’m going to commandeer the strip of land between my fence and the fence of the vacant lot south of me for a pollinator and sunflower garden. If I choose carefuly, a couple of smaller trees will fit nicely without shading my sunny flower beds.
@Nelle: Winter holly? I think the official name is ilex verticillata. They produce edible berries.
@Sab: they are exactly right for dappled shade, or even more shade, at least in northern Illinois! We had them in our shade garden and they did very well for all the time we were in our previous home. (Past tense is because we moved last fall.). We will be looking for a place to put them here. Also, crucially for our last home, they are deer-resistant.
I only found out they are hellebores this year. I also only found out a couple of years ago that those plants they sell around Saint Patrick’s Day with the leaves that look like shamrocks are a form of oxalis, which I love ad an outside plant.
@OzarkHillbilly: it gets pretty hot in northern Illinois in the summer and our Lenten roses did fine. They bloom in the spring and then it’s just interesting leaves. As I said above, ours were in our shade garden.
@Nelle: we had boxwoods near our deerproof bird feeder and the smaller birds loved to hide in them in the winter. They have to be in a sheltered place, though. The polar freeze last year killed or severely damaged several categories of plants, including boxwoods and Japanese maples, all over northern Illinois, so I would think Iowa might be similar. We had to cut ours nearly to the ground but they were coming back.
@dnfree: Boxwoods have shallow roots and work well as foundation plants, which also gives them a sheltered position.
@satby: not sure about the digging up when you move? If it would drastically change the way the place looks, the new owners expect plants to stay. I remember many years ago a coworker bought a home with extensive newer landscaping, part of the reason they chose that house. They arrived for the walkthrough before closing and found the departing owners had dug it all up to take with them. They had to put it back.
Jackpot! Found this Berry Heavy Winterberry which only grows 6-8 feet high, and it’s pollinator plant Mr Poppins winterberry which is even shorter. I’ve been wanting bird food and habitat shrubs that wouldn’t get tall and wouldn’t spread a million invasive seedlings like wild cherry does.
@satby: We have 2 separate depts responsible for different aspects of the environment. MDC covers hunting and fishing, wildlife management in all it’s aspects (everything from the Tumbling Creek Cave Snail to bats to songbirds to minnows to gamefish to waterfowl to elk to bears to even mountain lions when they show up)(we once had a wandering moose travel thru MO, they tracked it) maintaining and expansion of state forests and conservation areas, fish hatcheries and tree farms (where I got my seedlings from). They do a lot of public/private partnership conservation work as well as US/MO and MO/neighboring state and MO/local municipality projects. And more, I’m sure. They do a pretty good job of it all too, my one major complaint is too many of their forestry management consists of leading edge practices from the 1950s.
The 2nd Agency is the Dept of Natural Resources which is mostly concerned with regulating industries, particularly the polluting ones, but also administers the MO state parks. (what else they are be involved in I am ignorant of).
DNR is widely influenced by state politics where as MDC is mostly insulated from them by it’s charter.
@dnfree: Any plants that were large or well established stayed, that’s why I attempted cuttings. I surrendered my smooshed by a tree home to the mortgage company, because it had been listed for a short sale until the huge sugar maple landed on it. They didn’t know about or care about the spring bulbs or peony or iris plants. And the jerks who bought the place from HUD cut down six lilacs, a dogwood, and a redbud to put a veggie garden closer to the house (the trees were over the graves of my dogs); and cut down a new sugar maple that was well away from the house to put in a pool bizarrely far from the house and deck. It breaks my heart to drive by.
@dnfree: I can’t speak much to N IL, but N MO is a lot different than S MO, temp wise, environmentally, etc. Where we on the south side of the Missouri river might dance around100 degrees for a week or more at a time, it is rare once one gets within an hour or 2 of the Iowa border. I’m on the northern edge of the Ozarks and our summers have a lot more in common with Arkansas than they ever will with Iowa. Every time I drive to MSP for a visit I am struck by how much cooler things are upstate.
You guys can get high temps but they aren’t near as relentless as what we get..
@satby: Going by the old homestead is sure to disappoint one. Once my folks died and I saw the monstrosity that had been erected in place of their house I stopped wondering how the old neighborhood was fairing. It wasn’t the old neighborhood any longer.
ETA: I sometimes wonder what will become of this place when we are gone but it really doesn’t matter, does it?
@dnfree: Bulbs and thing like that need to be divided anyway, so you take a few from big clumps. I solved a lot of issues by digging and dividing before listing for sale. In Florida, the law is what was there when being shown has to stay, but that doesn’t apply to potted plants. People who garden pot up what they want to keep and set them somewhere to the side. I’ve seen obvious small collections when house hunting. I chose to stash them at my mothers so there was no question. I was selling a house when a hurricane came through after contract. A tree came down and had to be cut up, but apparently the law has no problem with that.
I was out walking last Sunday and saw snowdrops popping up in a few yards. It was the most hopeful thing I’ve seen in a while.
@satby: Looks good but there seems to be a caveat:
@satby: Thanks. We have to dig beds and places to put bushes to begin everything. I suspect that underground wiring is going to force some adjustments to my plans. Mr. Frugal ( husband) won’t want to hire it out but I think will cooperate if I note that all that digging will cut into flying time (he flies with Civil Air Patrol). And he’s going to be 76 this week.
I totally got blindsided by early cold and snow this past autumn here in Iowa and didn’t get any bulbs planted. One March, in London, I loved all the bulbs planted under bushes. They were sprightly and glorious under and in the bare branching and by the time the daffodils got scraggly, the bushes hid them in new leafing out. That’s my intention for landscaping here.
@OzarkHillbilly: in Florida at a previous house with good shade I grew hellebores from seed. Best luck was the corsicus species and the lividus species not the standard species. They are the two most souther species. I got them from seed exchanges. The H. Corsicus had glossy green foliage with white veins. I just looked and apparently it is now called H argutifolius
The h. lividus is a subspecies. I was also growing some of the regular type from seed. They were doing ok so I don’t think they would have a problem with your area if they were in shade.
@Gvg: Thanx, I’m looking into them now.
@OzarkHillbilly: that’s why I would also get the other one, that’s the male plant ?
@Nelle: then you may want to also look at weigela shrubs too. Mostly spring bloomers but several also have varigated leaves and a long bloom season, plus they really attracted hummingbirds and butterflies. Once they get established they’re pretty.
@satby: I didn’t see another one. Where is…. DOH!!! Reading is fundamental. The other one in your comment.
I’d like to blame my brain fart on a lack of coffee but I can’t.
@satby: sigh, “male” plant. Kindle is becoming insistent on fixing my typing by putting in the wrong words ?, which is my sign to go plug it in to recharge. Have a good day everyone!
@Nelle: My grandson got it in October and I along with the other grandmother sat. I got my flu shot the day before as did the other gran and we did fine. Now he did get the stomach one and gave it to his mom who gave it to us. Hope the little one is feeling better soon.
@satby: Oh, satby, that’s heartbreaking
edit; one of the people who worked for me at the university bought a house with a beautifully landscaped yard and he dug it all up and changed it to all grass, everywhere. He had two young boys and he wanted them to be able to run around. I get why he did it, but so sad.
Marvel, your garden is your nymsake. Everything you plant is so beautiful.
Everything here is coated with ice. The trees look like glass sculptures. It’s very pretty, but treacherous. I’m staying in again today. My son and I have been watching Disney movies. They bring back so many memories.
I’m on my second duck scarf. This one is for Maddie. My kid picked out the colors. He told me he thought blue would go best with Mabel’s tail feathers and then said that was a sentence he never through he’d say. You never know where balloon-juice will take you.
Yesterday morning it snowed and my company was ecstatic. My niece and her hubby are from NYC and brother from Houston. NYC hasn’t seen a lot of snow this year so they had a good time texting friends pictures of snow from the Atlanta burbs. They came to help celebrate the little grand imps first birthday and I have to say a good time was had by all.
Dorothy A. Winsor
My SIL and her husband in Fla are digging all the grass out of their front and back yards and putting in native plants. They knew they were probably horrifying the neighbors so they held a yard party, invited the native plant association and also everyone on their street to explain what they were doing.
The next person who buys that house is sure to tear all those bushes out. But it’s a good thought.
Conformity is a powerful drug.
Oregon has a Beach Day today — sunny, calm, high about 50 — and we are heading out shortly to Cannon Beach, about an 80-minute drive from Portland. As we usually do, we’ll hike in the morning through a Sitka spruce forest up to Tillamook Head, 1,200 feet above the water, then back down to an afternoon of sitting on the beach just above the high tide mark. Even in the winter there will be surfers out. Then to a little restaurant in town called Ecola Seafood, where the owners own a commercial fishing boat and the fare is all fresh caught. Salmon fish and chips, yum.
What is MSP in Missouri? Or are you referring to Minneapolis? Kind of threw me with “upstate.”
I’ve never planted hellebores. I haven’t seen them except in catalogues where they looked kind of meh. These are amazing & it’s time foe me to invest in some.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: There should be a special hell for the person who decided we should all have grass everywhere, that needs to be maintained and mowed, week after week after week, for months.
On second thought, they can share the special hell for the person who invented pantyhose and high heels.
On the other hand, the grass is a lovely contrast to the flower gardens, and I guess if we didn’t have grass we couldn’t have lovely flowing contours where are flower gardens meet the grass.
Still, what a pain in the butt grass is.
To go with our hellebore in the upper left, we’ve got hardy cyclamen. We’ve both coum and hederifolium so get both fall and winter / spring bloom, in both white to the full range of pinks. They really play well underneath the hellebore and are popping up elsewhere as very welcome easter eggs. Deer don’t bother them. These are the hardy sort, not the bigger florist cyclamen, but well worth the zing in the garden.
info link one
and another link
I adore hellebores! The trick with them is to pick the right varieties. At least here in the PNW, certain varieties are very prone to botrytis. I’ve had very good luck with the “Gold Collection” varieties, such as the Ice Breakers, and also the new “Ice Breaker” varieties. (I’m a landscaper). Not so much with ‘Ivory Prince’ and ‘Cinnamon Snow’ which are sold a lot. Also, it is very important to remove the older foliage and spent flowers in the spring, so they don’t get infested with aphids. Otherwise they are super easy and wonderful for color in the winter.
@satby: so sorry, that is a heartbreaker, and glad you were able to keep some of your plantings. We had done extensive landscaping on the house we left in 2005 and so far two sets of new owners have maintained them. We hope the people at the house with the Lenten roses and other beautiful plants that we just moved from will do the same but we have no control.
once we bid on a house that was so immaculate inside and out that the basement was painted white. We didn’t get that house but wound up a few doors down, so unfortunately saw it fall into disrepair in just three years. It takes so long to improve and keep something up, and not long at all to make it look like it never happened.
J R in WV
This!! I hate mowing grass, so when we decided to build a home to our specs, we put it in the woods. Granted, we had to spring to have a huge beech tree taken out last year, but I haven’t started a lawn mower since around 1993 or ’94.
Being in the woods, we have to plant stuff that’s OK with lots of shade, and hellebores fit that. One downside, we planted all the hellebores in a bed surrounded by a stone border and gravel pathways. Nevertheless, now we have them spreading out into the woods.
Garden books didn’t talk about their going to seed, although we should have expected it with all those great flowers. We don’t trim ours back, they are allowed to just be wild, so the foliage leaves interfere a little bit with the blooming. I expect to be using Roundup to cut back on the hellebore moving into the woods, they can choke out now growing wild flowers in the forest floor.
But they are a welcome green flowering plant this time of year!
@J R in WV:
I am green with envy!
Yeah, I am getting more brutal in my garden, with even flowers that I love, when they start taking out other stuff that I love. The year that I had my broken ankle, the black-eyed susans took hold and spread way beyond what they normally do, and took out a bunch of stuff i love.
So last fall I pulled a bunch of them out, and this year I will have to replace a bunch of stuff that was lost.
@J R in WV:
Please, no Roundup.