16 November 2016

new yard plants

Fall is the best time to plant shrubs. And plants are often discounted at the nurseries which are trying to move stock before winter. So for my birthday (last month) I splurged on a bunch of plants for the yard. Some I had always wanted to get- others were a bit of an impulse buy. We've seen how well that goes in the past! haha.
I always wanted to put some rhododendrons in front of the back fence. And now I did. I bought three specimens of 'roseum elegans' which is supposed to be a real tough variety, with pale lavender colored flowers.
Two of them had rather leggy spread, and were difficult to get out of their pots, the roots were so cramped in there.
But the third, to my surprise although it has nice-looking compact growth,
it practically fell out of the pot when I tipped it and gave a tug. The roots were very short, not even a fourth the depth of the pot. Ugh, I found the potting soil full of japanese beetle grubs. I bet they ate all the roots of this poor plant. I loosened all the soil off the roots in search of more, and gave it an extra helping of vermicompost in the ground. Then carefully sifted through all the potting dirt and squished to death every grub. There were over a dozen. Well the rhodies look natural, like they belong back there- but I am not sure if this last one will be healthy. I hope for it.
Summersweet- I don't know much about this plant but the leaves are pretty, it likes shade and dampness, and won't get too big. Well I have a shady spot that is continually damp in the spring and late fall- where our yard slopes down before a storm drain thing in the neighboring backyard. This one is the 'vanilla spice' variety and I am looking forward to its flowers (although they are white) because I love the scent of vanilla. Also, it is a native plant which is a plus.
I am not terribly fond of hydrangeas. I have never wanted to put one in my yard because honestly, I think their round masses of blooms look kinda silly, like giant colored poofballs on a shrub. But I discovered there are hydrangeas with 'panicle' style flowers, which I like better so I decided to try some. Plus their leaves looked nice and healthy with attractive reddish petioles, and they were on sale. The one in front here is 'pinky winky'
and this one is 'quick fire'.
I do think they will be nice- although these pictures were taken a month ago. Now they look rather sad with all the leaves turning color and falling off.
I bought two nandina, or 'heavenly bamboo'. I like the lacy foliage, and it's supposed to grow six feet which will help fill in some space on the side of the house I don't want to have to mow anymore. But it will take a bit of management- it can be invasive and I will have to cut off the berries each fall to prevent birds from spreading the seed around.
This is a plant I always wanted to have but never thought I'd find it sold as a perennial. It caught my eye at once outside the nursery greenhouse- these pots of winding vines with slightly sticky tendrils that were all grabbing onto each other. I read the label: sweet pea! I don't know if it will like the summer heat we get, but if I can see it flower in spring once, I'll be happy.
I got this aster free from the nursery lady because the bottom of it was all so dried-out, I think they were going to throw them away. It was a really tall one. The skippers zoomed in on it immediately, for the two weeks left that it flowered. I asked the nursery staff if it would come back next year for me, and she looked doubtful: "well, if you can get it to root out..." So I gave it a nice helping of vermicompost and have been watering it extra, to see if I can accomplish that.
I took this picture when the aster was in its spot, but I hadn't moved the joe pye weed 'chocolate' yet. You can see it sprawling at the base.
I found some mums I like- not yellows or orange, but pink hues. I got a few and lined them up in front of the house.
Its an area where eventually I want to take out a strip of sad lawn, anyway (I'm working on improving the lawn health, but that's another post entirely). There behind it you can see in a pot in front of the spigot, a new azalea which I didn't take an individual picture of yet. Between the bright green mound of nasturtium and the 'autumn sunset' coleus. The shrubs in front of the windows are boxwood that had never been pruned- I cut back where they were all crowded foreward overhanging the stone edging, but haven't decided what else to do with them yet. And on the left is the ubiquitous euonymus (I see it in lots of yards around here).
Here's a new plant I didn't buy. Someone in my neighborhood- a few blocks away- was digging out black-eyed-susans (rudbeckia hirta) and gave me a few clumps. I've planted them in the back bed. Foliage looks a lot like echinacea. Hope they both bloom for me next year.

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