15 November, 2010

Early Start on the Spring Garden Plans, and Yes, We're Still Blooming in Chicagoland

Lest you think we're all Maine Coons, all the time around here, rest assured that we have been doing some work around the ol' Box House.

Last week we had some freakishly warm temperatures in Chicagoland and actually still have some things blooming--and green, yes, green! So I took on the challenge of extending the wraparound shrub border from the corner to our front walk. I had killed the grass using Roundup a while back, but didn't plan on doing any digging until March or so. But, since the weather has been sunny and springlike, and shrubs less than $5 at Home Depot, we planted up a storm. Here, I'm standing on the sidewalk that leads up to our door, looking toward the corner. Ninety-percent of what you're looking at went in this week. Some of it is perennial divided from other sections of the yard; most of it is new shrubs of the four-to-six-foot when full grown variety. What you don't see are the 100+ spring bulbs.
Let's hope the squirrels don't see them, either.

I've taken three steps closer to the public sidewalk for this pic. The dead grass at the sidewalk's edge will remain until next spring when I edge it properly. For now, it's to hold the dirt back over the course of the winter.

This picture was taken about halfway to the corner. Note the Weeping Norway Spruce at right -- my $5 Home Depot bargain. (It was originally $49.)

When full grown, it will only be 8-10 feet, and look something like this (I hope):

Looking back; there is an 8x10 foot unplanted section in the bulge. Next year, I'll plant my herb garden there and, hopefully, the neighborhood dogs won't pee on it.

View from the corner. What is hard to see unless you enlarge the pic is all the ground cover plants I added along the sidewalk; it's a mixture of ajuga, moss, and creeping myrtle meant to hold back the dirt and keep down the weeds.

In fact, it will look like this section that was planted in August. Enlarge this one and you'll see the creeping myrtle is blooming again, for the third time this year.

All in all, it's a delight to be able to actively garden in November! And because I have a few things growing, I can't believe I actually have a November submission for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.


Elaine said...

What a fantastic deal on your Weeping Norway Spruce! I would love one of those. How great that you have had warm temps in your area this time of year. Great photos.

Wally said...

The Weeping Norway Spruce was a great find, it's going to look lovely! I love what you're doing with what some people would consider the challenge of a corner block.

Joanne said...

Thanks Elaine. The warm weather this year is definitely not the norm, but we'll take it.

Mac -- We picked this house because of all the light that a corner lot gets; little did I know it also leaves us awfully exposed to the neighbors and passing cars! With the shrub border, we've managed to eliminate people cutting across the lawn and the occasional dog peeing on the house. (Never understood that one.)

Karen Anne said...

I had some sort of weeping conifer at my old house (is there more than one kind?) It really did stay small, maybe seven feet or so.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe you got a Weeping spruce for $5. Come on! I never find stuff like that!!!

100+ bulbs = I bow before you. I bought 20 bulbs as a fundraiser and dug my first hole....only to find a slab of rock right at the depth they were to be planted. Curses! I never would have made 100+. :)


Wally said...

In recent years I've started to envy corner blocks, despite the challenges I find myself thinking "more room for plants!" Especially in the newer suburbs here, where blocks are tiny.

Joanne said...

Sandy -- I'm sure half of them will be eaten by squirrels before spring. :-)

Karen Anne -- I absolutely adore weeping trees; I have a weeping larch as well. It looks like an evergreen, but in the fall its needles turn burnt orange and fall off. I didn't realize it would do that, and the first year I thought I had killed it.

Mac -- The fiance tries to tell me I've run out of planting room, but little does he know my master plan for when we put the fence up in the back, between the house and the garage; I'll have room to plant on both sides of the fence! At least eighty more feet of flower beds! Corner lots do have their advantages. :-)

Karen Anne said...

"Evergreens" that go deciduous -

At my old house, I had a Dawn Redwood, about seventy feet tall, one of the few deciduous conifers. Every year in the Fall for several years the same guy who didn't speak or understand English very well would knock on my door and ask if I wanted to hire him to "cut your dead tree down."

I used to have nightmares of coming home and finding it cut down and him standing there demanding payment.

Joanne said...

I love dawn redwoods! We were debating about trying to put one in our yard, but I think it might spread out too wide for our narrow front yard.

Karen Anne said...

Mine was planted about 4-5 feet from the lot line. It spread a bit more than half way across my 50 foot lot, so I'd say it needs 50 feet width for a mature tree. It's a great tree, though, well worth it if you have the room or don't mind ducking under branches.

I did trim one low branch back just enough to clear the steps to the front door.

I hear the new owners took off enough of the bottom branches so that it's a lollipop tree, infuriating the city, since I got protected heritage tree certification for it.

I was disheartened, too, to hear about it, but although it must look odd, it must still be a magnificent tree.

I now have one in a container on my deck :-) Now that my town has finally decided to install sewers and so I know what's going to get dug up in my yard, I'll be able to actually plant it in 2-3 years.