Friday, October 30, 2015

And It Was All Yellow...

I have that Coldplay song Yellow stuck in my head as I look at all my plants turning yellow and ugly and getting ready for winter. Yuck. I'm fine with my plants in winter, especially looking forward to my Northwind switch grass contrasting against the snow - but the slow transition is not so great. Most of my plants don't have a good fall color, at least this year. It's all sort of yellow brown.

Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’
Ruby Falls weeping redbud -  Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’

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

Annabelle hydrangea
Annabelle hydrangea

River birch
River birch

Panicum virgatum 'Northwind'
Northwind switch grass - Panicum virgatum 'Northwind'

Liriope muscari 'Variegata'
Liriope muscari 'Variegata'

fall yard
My fall yard leaves something to be desired...

Silver White Spots on Grass: Powdery Mildew

I've had powdery mildew on plant leaves before, but this is my first time seeing it on grass in my side yard. My west side yard is moist and flat, so it's not surprising that this area got a fungal disease. Powdery mildew looks like white spray paint on the blades of grass, and from an angle almost looks silver. I even noticed my footprints looked silver because it caused the blades to line up on their sides and make the white stand out compared to the grass around my foot prints.

white powder spots on lawn
Powdery mildew on grass looks like white powder or spray paint on the blades

grass dying in shadewhite grass blades

Long term solution is to get better air flow or circulation over the area so the grass doesn't stay damp, and make sure to not make it worse by watering too much or watering at night. The fungus should die over the winter (hopefully) so I'm not too worried about it. Ok so this article says it can survive the winter as spores, but the conditions in spring should be a little airier than this wet October we've been having.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2015

I've still got some color on this gorgeous Fall day! The weather has been dry and sunny, not as wet as last year. That means more watering to be done for the trees and relatively new lawn, and nice clear nights for stargazing.

It's the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, so I thought I'd submit my day-late post since I have the day off on this beautiful Friday.

Let's see what we have today... My hardy pampas grass in the corner of the yard is doing great in its first full growing season. It put up one massive stalk with a wonderful feathery plume on top, and there are 2 more much shorter stalks going up. One of the smaller ones bloomed just the other day. It's odd to see one 9 foot and two 4 foot stalks, but I guess it just couldn't muster the energy to make these as tall as the first.

pampas grass plume
Smaller bloom on Erianthus ravennae 'Hardy Pampas Grass', see taller one here
Next, the all-star of my Fall garden has been the New England aster 'Purple Dome' - the flowers are maturing and drying up a bit, but from a distance the purple color is still a nice touch. I noticed the pollinators started arriving once the flowers had matured a bit rather than right when they opened.

Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'
Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'
Other honorable mentions to go Armeria maritima 'Dusseldorf Pride' for blooming for a second time in their first year (I just put them in this Spring). And Salvia sylvestris 'Little Night' that has been sputtering out but still holding color after dead-heading a few rounds of earlier blooms.

Finally, my Russian sage 'Little Spire' is doing a great job hiding the utility box in the front yard, but also provides a great hiding place for rabbits - so I have mixed feelings at this point. At least the purple flowers add some color to what is becoming a big messy brush patch.

russian sage october
Russian sage 'Little Spire' getting a little brushy
It's also worth mentioning that my linden tree out front still has a good amount of yellow leaves on it. This time last year it was completely bare. After 1.5 years of no growth, I'm hoping to see some action this Spring since it will have had plenty of time to get its roots in order.

Ferns on the Menu in Latest Rabbit Attack

Curse you rabbits! The local cottontails struck again, once again hitting my ostrich fern [Matteuccia struthiopteris], Japanese forest grass [Hakonechloa macra], and this time the Japanese painted fern [Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum'] on the other side of my house too.

painted fern rabbits
A young Japanese painted fern with rabbit damage
japanese forest grass sprout
My precious baby Japanese forest grass undergoing its third devastating attack
ostrich fern sprout
Tiny new ostrich fern sprout compromised by rabbit snacking
 The rabbits seem to come through in waves. They must have other places they patrol as well, because they aren't in my utility box planter during the day - although I know this is their home base in my yard because I scared one out of here one morning.

rabbit brush
I know exactly where they hide at night, so it's my own fault I guess. This is the only brush in the whole neighborhood, so it makes sense they would be here and nibble on things close to this area.
I sprinkled more repellent in the brushy area and around a couple of the plants they seem to like. I'm not ready to start putting chicken wire cylinders around all my young fleshy sprouts just yet, but so far the repellents don't seem to be working too well.