Monday, September 26, 2011

A Change in the Air

the winter look with the pine, the spruce and the Mayday.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
What a difference a day makes. When two large trees in the front yard in Red Deer outgrew their space, they had to go.  Both trees were around 30 years old.  The 30 foot May Day had developed black knot as well as a secondary fungus.  It had grown so large that it had invaded the 50 foot spruce that was front and center.   Despite lots of creative brainstorming and advice from experts the trees could not be saved and the forest hideaway became a prairiescape in a day.  Stay tuned for further updates.

The MayDay and the Spruce gone, the new sidewalk and Quarry patio stones in..........
Waiting for the next step......

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rose of Sharon

USDA hardiness zones 5-9
Hibiscus syriacus

This Rose of Sharon bush grows in sandy soil in Lansing, New York in a northwest corner bed.  Sitting in the sunroom you can look out the window to see the pinkish lavendar blossoms. The shrub was in full bloom when we arrived back from holidays in late August.

The Rose of Sharon is a deciduous flowering shrub.  This shrub presently measures about 2 feet tall.  It can grow to a height of 8 to 10 feet with a spread of 4 to 6 feet.  The blooms can be red, lavendar, white or blue. 

The Rose of Sharon is a multi-stemmed bush but can be pruned in late winter into one stem to resemble a more tree like plant.  This should be begun in it's first two seasons.  This bush prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

"Miscanthus" Central Park Grass/"Pennisetum"Red Head Grass

USDA hardiness zones 5-9
Miscanthus sinensis/Pennisetum

These two grasses were planted this year (2011) in early September in a new bed with sandy, rocky soil in Lansing, New York.  The soil was good quality despite many rocks and only peat moss was added to freshen it.  The Red Head was planted between two Central Park plants.

The Central Park variety grows best in full sun, is deer resistant, and easy to grow in average, well drained soil.  The blades are fairly wide with a rich green colour and a silver midrib.  Miscanthus grows 4 to 5 feet high and has eye-catching, fluffy plumes that open in late October. Miscanthus is unrivaled in the diversit and beauty of its flowers, foliage, autumn colours and winter presence. 

The Red Head is a showy ornamental grass for the sun garden that does not seed like many other grasses.  It's huge, 10 inch long smoky purple flowers start to flower already in summer where most pennisetums flower in early fall.  Pennisetums thrive in full sun and well drained soil.  In fall the green foliage turns a straw colored gold.  It will grow to 48 inches high and 36 inches wide.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

"Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer'
USDA Cold hardiness Zone 4 to 9

These Hydrangea were planted in early September 2011, in a raised bed bordering a driveway in Lansing, New York on a hillside lot overlooking Cayuga Lake.  The bed with sandy soil was freshened with topsoil and peatmoss.  Mulch was spread over the area.

This plant is the first repeat blooming mop-head Hydrangea to be developed.  Spent flowers should be removed to maintain blooms from spring to fall.  Cut the emerging spring growth back to half to increase the number of blooms.  The color will vary from blue (acidic) to pink (alkaline) depending on the soil. The shrub will reach 3-5 feet tall and wide.  Water regularly, when the top 3 inches of soil is dry.  Filtered sun is best.  During the first growing season follow a regular watering schedule to establish a deep, extensive root system.  Provide well-drained soil, rich in organic matter.  Feed with an acid fertilizer before spring growth.  Prune to shape after flowering.  
August 2013
Plant about two feet tall

'Black Sprite' cornflower

USDA hardiness zones 3-9
Centaura montana
Centaura montana

This perennial grows in a bed bordering the front porch in sandy soil in Lansing, New York. Two plants were put in.  It is deer resistant and an old fashioned favorite that can  be used for cut flowers or in dried arrangements.  This hybrid (new this year) has purplish black flowers that bloom July to August on plants growing up to 14 inches tall.  The centaurea is also available with white, pink, yellow or blue flowers.
In 2012, the first full growing season, the plants bloomed at the beginning of June.
The  plants are about 10 inches tall.

Crimson King Norway Maple Tree/Erable

USDA hardiness zones: 3B through 7
This showy tree is the  feature tree in a front yard in Lansing, New York.   The Crimson King Norway Maple grows to a height of 35 to 45 feet with a spread of about 25 to 30 feet.  It is popular for its purple-green foliage throughout the summer and its dark maroon or bronze colour in the fall.  It is the most commonly planted street tree in the U.S.  It is shade tolerant and deer resistant.  The oval to rounded crown has  maroon-yellow flowers in the spring.  It is native to Europe and was introduced in Philadelphia in 1792 as an ornamental street tree. 

Acer platenoides "Crimson King"

The Maple Tree Swing May 2012

Tide Hill Boxwood

"buxus miccrophylla"  
Cold hardy to Zone 5
This low growing evergreen shrub  grows alongside other perennials in a bed bordering the front porch in Lansing, New York. There are four plants, spaced among several hostas, bordered by rocks and covered with mulch.  These plants are young and right now measure about 8" high and 8" wide but should grow to about 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.  They should be fertilized each spring.  Their small oval leaves retain their dark green colour throughout the year.  The plant is known to be hardy, easy to grow and deer resistant. 
August 203
About 12 inches high