Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sidewalk Tree Unveiled: Syringa reticulata Japanese Lilac

After 2+ years living in this development, they added sidewalk trees up and down the street. Anticipating a Bradford pear, I already had plans to swap it out for something else. After a week of spying out the window to see when they would actually put in the tree in front of my house, it finally arrived - and I couldn't tell what it was. I send my friend Mike some photos and he immediately identified it as Syringa reticulata a Japanese lilac tree.

Japanese lilac, that sounds pretty! Well, Mike said it's sort of a boring tree, and that it does have white flowers in spring but that they start dying as soon as they open. At least it's not as brittle as a Bradford pear, so it won't damage cars parked in the driveway or on the street. It's also a little smaller than a Linden, so it might go well with my existing front yard tree - or at least not compete for a number of years.

Let's take a look... Obviously I was out there poking around and taking pics with my iPhone. Such a newsworthy event! Not every day you get a new tree.

japanese lilac twig detail
Twig detail

new sidewalk tree
Placement relative to the other tree in my front yard

japanese lilac bark detailjapanese lilac bud detail

japanese lilac leavesjapanese lilac leaves

japanese lilac dead flowerstrunk damage new tree

mulch base of young tree
Unnecessarily large hole for the root ball - but probably good so the clay gets chopped up

mulch base of young tree
Massive mulch pile around the base
Even thought the tree is likely dormant, I went ahead and slow watered it so the soil around the base would settle and get all the air pockets out. It's also going back up to 80 this week, so if this thing can get a few roots in before winter all the better. We'll see what happens in the Spring!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hardy Pampas Grass Season 2

I absolutely love this exotic specimen grass. I feel dwarfed by it, and I imagine being on the African Savanna or in the jungles of Vietnam - not that I've ever been there or know what it's like, but this huge grass just seems so out of place in an Indiana backyard. I also like how it blocks my neighbors house, and looks to be easily 15 feet tall in just it's 2nd year. The only downside is that it only looks good for a few months a year and then I'm left with a rather bare corner of the yard waiting for this warm weather grass to wake up again.

Last year, this grass put up 2 stalks and clocked in for a final height of 10 feet 8 inches. Judging by the height of the fence and the photo from last year, I'm guessing it will easily smash that record. There are also (let me count them) over a dozen large stalks this year.

Here is this year's grass:

Erianthus ravennae 'Hardy Pampas Grass'
Erianthus ravennae 'Hardy Pampas Grass'
Compared to last year:

Erianthus ravennae 'Hardy Pampas Grass'
Pampas grass last year

Fall Favorites: Gaura lindheimeri and Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'

It's officially Fall - I've had my first pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, the sun is once again south of the equator, and it's time for some last minute planting, grass seed, and gorgeous under-rated fall blooms. Here are a couple of my favorites blooming right now:

Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'
This aster is easily twice the size of anyone's mums right now, and comes back year after year. It's called Purple Dome for a reason, and is completely covered with these gorgeous purple flowers. This is one of my favorite plants in the yard, partly because when I first got it, it was this tiny little sprout and surprised me with how well it did even in the first season. Can't say enough about this one, wish my yard was bigger so I could plant more!

aster purple dome
Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'

Gaura lindheimeri
I didn't know what Gaura lindheimeri were until I saw them on the sale table at Lowe's. What a pleasant surprise! The foliage looks like rosemary and the flowers look like little butterfly kisses on red stems. Simply gorgeous! Give me more! 

Gaura lindheimeri
Gaura lindheimeri blooming after 2 weeks after being on the sale table because it was a dried up runt. This specific variety is BELLEZA Dark Pink. 

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