Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hardy Pampas Grass Final Height

I put my Hardy Pampas Grass in Fall 2013 (got it on sale) and it woke up in early May, then put out 1 super tall stalk and 2 other much smaller ones. I heard these things can get up to 15 feet tall! I'm hoping next year it puts up more stalks to help block the neighbor's house - but it was fun having 1 huge one poking over the top of the fence like this. And it held up in the wind all fall and winter so far until I cut it down yesterday during a freak heat wave in the upper 50's.

pampas grass size
Laid out a measuring tape to see the final stats for the Pampas Grass stalk height

pampas grass size
I'm going to call it 10 feet 8 inches because I cut it a little above ground level
 Then I walked around the yard comparing it to other things to see how tall it looked. I put it up against the side of the house with the arborvitae, I put it in my river birch, and convinced Chris to take a photo of me holding it.

pampas grass sizepampas grass sizepampas grass in birch

cut back hardy pampas grass
Now I just have to wait 3 months for it to grow again, ugh, maybe it will come back faster since we had a warm winter and it had a chance to root in all last year.
I need to find a suitable ground cover for this corner so it looks like I have more going on when this thing isn't growing, because it's the only thing in this entire corner bed. I even thought about moving this to the side and putting in an arborvitae with some little perennials at the base, but I don't know where this big thing would go.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dreaming of Spring: Planning Rock Garden Purchases

This happened last year too, I got cabin fever after Christmas and I started obsessing over what I would get and where I would put it. Three main projects I have in mind for Spring 2016 are to raise the bed in my wet side yard so the plants don't sit in water like this last year, plant in the dry riverbed to make a rock garden, and to mass plant lilly turf around my boxwood in the front (a look that appears to be very popular in Atlanta).

plant catalog

Here is my rocky back bed - it's a full sun south facing dry riverbed. I like the riverbed look but sometimes it looks like just a huge rock pile, so I want to sprinkle in some plants to make it more alpine rock garden and not JUST a riverbed. It would also give me a chance to sprinkle in something exotic like a yucca or agave that is cold hardy.

rock gardenrock garden

Here are the plants my friend Mike recommended for a south facing clay soil rock garden:
I had to look some of these up to see what they look like. I'm definitely going to get some phlox (I need more anyway to cover the rest of the arborvitae planter). I love the look of the Antennaria if I can find it online or locally. I found a really cool Pasque flower in the High Country Gardens catalog that I'll probably get. Hardy geraniums look similar to phlox so I could use them in the same way and hopefully they bloom at slightly different times. My feature, directly in front of the 3 big rocks, is going to be dwarf hot pokers and maybe some hens and chicks to give it a little desert look.

pasque flowerdwarf hot poker

cold hardy succulents
I would love an Agave plant for my rock garden, but it would probably hate the humid rainy summers in Indiana, although the Agave parryi Flagstaff does say it can take 30-40" annual rainfall with care (Indiana is arond 38").

Warm December Tricked Bulbs to False Start

I was in Virginia for a conference and I noticed what appear to be daffodil bulbs emerging in January! I think the unusually warm December has given false hope to bulbs across the country. I wonder if they will bloom even after this premature start?

bulbs early emerge in january
Sorry for the bad quality, I took this through a window with my iPhone, but you can tell these bulbs are off to an early start in January! I wonder if they will survive?