Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dark Green Festuca Clump In Rocks

I get a few weeds in my dry riverbed rock garden every now and then, but when I saw this adorable symetrical clump of grass growing among the rocks in the perfect location - I let it keep doing its thing. Now weeks later it is like a cute dark green version of blue fescue (because it's a closely related Festuca of some type).

Dark Green Festuca Clump

It's probably just some random weed, but its dark green hard pine needle like blades look nice among the rocks so I might as well keep it. When it flowers I will try to identify it more precisely - I quite like it.

Dark Green Festuca Clump

Dark Green Festuca Clump
This green fescue clump looks just like my blue fescue except for the color obviously, very similar traits

Ostrich Fern Transplant Shock Adjustment Issues

I got two nice size clumps of Ostrich fern from my parents' house, and they are having a bit of a stressful adjustment to my side yard. The wind has already taken out a few of the tall fronds, and the roots are trying their best to take hold. The leaflets have lightened considerably from a dark green to light green.

ostrich fern transplant shock
Ostrich fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris 3 weeks after transplant

I trimmed off the dead and damaged fronds, and I noticed at the base growing from the crown at the bottom little baby fronds - but not the typical full sized fiddlehead of a mature frond unrolling. I wonder if the plant is reverting back to a juvenile stage before trying to put out new full size fronds?

ostrich fern transplant shock
Ostrich fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris damaged by wind and transplant shock

Ostrich fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris
Ostrich fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris putting out little tiny sprouts after going through some transplant shock
Ostrich ferns have spore-bearing fronds and sterile fronds. Above, you can see the sprouting spore-bearing frond has small saw-toothed leaflets growing upright, and what I think is a very tiny immature sterile frond looks like parsley or some kind of tiny garnish to the right. I don't think it will put out a full sized fiddlehead until next year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rust Fungus Disease on Shenandoah Switch Grass

At first I couldn't tell if this was rust on the switch grass or if it was just the Shenandoah variety turning red. Ok, it's obviously diseased with some type of rust fungus and that's probably why it was on sale in the $1 bin. However, after about a week I noticed these new shoots coming up on the sides. It's not a goner! I just need to let these shoots grow without getting infected themselves. I cut all the rusty leaves off and hopefully these new shoots won't catch it.

It doesn't look pretty, but if this thing grows in next year it will have saved be about $12.

rust on ornamental grass
Fungus disease called rust for obvious reasons growing on Shenandoah Switch Grass
Fungus on Shenandoah Switch GrassFungus on Shenandoah Switch Grass

new shoots of diseased grass
New rust-free shoots are growing - I decided to cut everything else back to prevent the spread of the disease (hopefully) and these new shoots still have half a summer to grow

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Say Hello: 4th of July New Additions

Welcome home new additions! I got a back seat full of plants coming home from my parents' house. Lots of new fun for the shade garden in the side yard, and some Shasta daisies to help hide the utility boxes in the front. I got up at 7am today and did 3 hours of yard work - whew!

Ostrich fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris

ostrich fern in side yard
Ostrich fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris

Got a clump with 2 heads from my dad. I put them in my side yard in the place where a Hosta died last Fall. It's a little floppy, and I don't like that it touches the house, but hopefully when it puts up new fronds they are more upright. When a few more of these come in, it will definitely make the side yard look more like a nice forest floor.

Shasta Daisy - Leucanthemum × superbum 'Becky'

shasta daisy by utility box
Shasta Daisy - Leucanthemum × superbum 'Becky'
Got 2 clumps from my dad to take home with me. I planted them on the neighbor's side of the utility box with their permission (they pretty much said I could do whatever I want). They are nice and tall and don't require staking. They spent the night in a garbage bag so hopefully they root in before the weather gets too hot. It should be upper 70's low 80's all week, so I think they've got a shot.

Japanese forest grass - Hakonechloa macra

tiny new baby japanese forest grass
Japanese forest grass - Hakonechloa macra
This little sprig doesn't look like much now, but hopefully by next year it will be a nice 3 foot wide bushy bamboo-ish grassy clump. I want to use Japanese forest grass in several places around my side yards, and it all starts with this bunch I got from my dad. It's not much to look at now, but it's alive!

European wild ginger - Asarum europaeum

European wild ginger - Asarum europaeum
European wild ginger - Asarum europaeum
I'm really excited to see what this European wild ginger does in a couple years. I got this clump from my parents' house. It was all over their side yard - I guess it pops up all over the place - here's hoping it naturalizes and mixes in well. So far my side yard plants are all neatly plopped down, and I'm trying to get used to the idea of them touching and overlapping and blending in to create an overall lush bed.

Shenandoah Switch Grass - Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'

Shenandoah Switch Grass
Shenandoah Switch Grass - Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'

Got this for $1 from Lowe's sale table, looked like shit, fungus on leaves, only 4 stems, planted in part shade to hopefully hide electric meter. It's worth a shot for only a buck! I won't get too attached until I see that it's growing again. It probably should be planted in full sun, but if I can get it rooted and up to 3 feet it'll do wonders for hiding the meter. It's a little more out in the open right by the garage so not really deep shade. 

plant hide utility box
Cut a tiny piece off the larger of the two Karl Foerster for the back side and moved the iris to block the shorter Comcast box

Moved some more Siberian iris to the backyard for full sun rehab

shade garden
Side yard looking much more lush with the fern. Just need a few coral bells to mix in. Thinking about hiding the AC with a boxwood.

shade garden
Other side of the wet shade garden, hoping to add some astilbe next year

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Real Staying Power: Annabelle Hydrangea and Dusseldorf Pride

My Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' are already in full bloom, and have been the entire month of June. They are supposed to bloom June to September so I'm wondering if they will have the staying power to make it through the heat of July and August.

Annabelle HydrangeaAnnabelle Hydrangea

Annabelle Hydrangea backyard

Similarly, my Armeria maritima 'Dusseldorf Pride' have been giving and giving all summer, and may be sputtering to a finish now at the beginning of July. I bought these from the store this year, so that may be affecting the true bloom time, but nevertheless they have been producing flowers from April 6 to July 2 and they still have a few buds emerging.

Armeria maritima 'Dusseldorf Pride'Armeria maritima 'Dusseldorf Pride'

Measuring New Growth: Darkest of All, Purple Dome, Wallowa Mountains

A few plants aren't growing much at all, and a few are really taking off! Let's check in on some plants with new growth and new changes.

Erigeron speciosus 'Darkest of All'

Remember when this one was a sidewinder plant? It's now sending up 5 brand new stalks from the base and leaving the old sidewinder stalk out to dry.

Let's see what else we have. This Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' was super tiny when I got it, now it's turning into a small bush and is becoming much more dome shaped. 

Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'

Finally, check out my favorite little plant Arenaria 'Wallowa Mountains' Mossy Sandwort. It's not only expanded and rounded out its edges but it changed texture as well - the tiny longer leaves died off leaving little tight clusters of green. It looks like green coral.

Arenaria 'Wallowa Mountains' Mossy Sandwort
Arenaria 'Wallowa Mountains' Mossy Sandwort
Arenaria 'Wallowa Mountains' Mossy SandwortArenaria 'Wallowa Mountains' Mossy Sandwort

Hosta la vista, June!

My hostas have been just loving this rainy June weather. Swampy side yards? No problem! Standing water? They love it! In fact, my Hosta 'Patriot' are blooming and my Hosta 'Sum and Substance' are sending up stalks. 

hosta patriot blooming
Hosta 'Patriot' flowers

hosta patriot blooming
Hosta 'Patriot'

Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
Hosta 'Sum and Substance'

Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
I also noticed that my 'Patriot' look-alikes are not blooming yet, another distinction between the two. These 3 are ever so slightly beige around the edges where the Patriot is much brighter white. I tried to look online to see what they could be, but with hostas it's hopeless. I remember seeing another type of white variegated hosta at Lowe's that was similar to Patriot but not quite - I'm guessing that's what it must be because I doubt they are some fancy special order variety. Update: Similar hosta at the store is Hosta 'Libby' with slightly darker slightly twisted leaves.

varigated hosta
These look similar to Hosta 'Patriot' but there are some notable differences - probably Hosta 'Libby'

hosta leaf detail
This hosta has slightly beige edges that aren't pure white like the 'Patriot' and a slightly darker leaf color

hosta 'patriot' leaf detail
Hosta 'Patriot' leaf detail, lighter green with pure white variegated edges
hosta identification
Pretty sure this is Hosta 'Patriot' on the left, and Hosta 'Libby' on the right. Libby doesn't bloom until August and has slightly darker leaves.

american toad indiana
Hello there garden toad! I looked him up online and it seems to be an American Toad, very similar to a Fowler's Toad except this only has 1-2 warts per dark spot whereas the Fowler's Toad will have 3+ small warts in each dark spot.

What's Wrong With My Cone Flower?

I have two kinds of cone flower by my front yard utility boxes, one is thriving and the other is on the struggle bus. My 'Prairie Splendor' is doing something weird, it looks like some of the flowers are blooming without pedals and the stems are dark. In contrast, my 'PowWow Wild Berry' keeps pushing out more and more lovely magenta flowers.

I noticed white fuzzy caterpillars on my 'Prairie Splendor' - that could be part of the problem. I also read that this kind likes dry to medium soil so it could be affected by our record-setting rainfall. Not sure!

cone flower disease
Echinacea purpurea 'Prairie Splendor' not looking so splendid
purple cone flower
This one flower turned out right, but what's wrong with the rest of them?

hide utility box
My utility box bed is looking much better this year. The Russian sage is doing great. I'm wishing I had a taller variety of cone flower to cover these two cylindrical utility boxes.

powwow wildberry
Echinacea prpureua 'PowWow Wild Berry'

Echinacea prpureua 'PowWow Wild Berry'
Echinacea prpureua 'PowWow Wild Berry'

little spire
Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire' Russian sage

Flooded Backyard and Unhappy Plants

It's been a wet and rainy month here in central Indiana - news reports say it's actually the 4th wettest month in Indiana history (since 1895) and record-setting rainfall for June (9.03 inches). No kidding! It's been great for the lawn, but I noticed some other plants not enjoying the constant moisture as much. In particular, I noticed the Royal Candles and Silver Heart struggling, and found some yellow leaves on my Linden tree in the front yard due to the constant rainfall.

flooded backyard
Noblesville, IN - June 26, 2015
flooded backyard indiana
Noblesville, IN - June 26, 2015, it looks like my dry riverbed turned into an actual riverbed!

royal candles too much water
Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’ looking a little flooded, this one didn't respond well to poor drainage and the wettest June on record in Indiana

Brunnera macrophylla 'Silver Heart' over water
Brunnera macrophylla 'Silver Heart' not too happy about the super wet conditions. I do see new leaves growing, hopefully it can dry out a bit and pull through. It looks like there is also some slug damage (or some other critter) maybe worsened by the moisture?