Tag Archive | garden

Perennials for Fall Color

When folks think of fall colors, tree leaves are surely their first though. Not many folks realize that there are some perennials that put on a pretty good show at the end of the season also. So if you’re the kind of gardener that wants the most bang out of their herbaceous plants, here’s a list for you!

If you’re looking for grasses by autumn color – please see this post all about them.

Yellow Fall Color

Yellow is the most common color for fall foliage on perennials. In fact, the leaves of many perennials will turn yellow before they go dormant or disappear for the winter, however here are some tried and true yellows for fall.

Amsonia tabernamontana – Blue Star

Amsonia ciliata – Downy Blue Star

Amsonia hubrechtii – Arkansas Blue Star

Sensitive Fern – Onoclea sensibilis

Royal Fern – Osmunda regalis

Autumn Joy Stonecrop – Sedum

Balloon Flower – Platycodon

Hostas – I feel the variegated ones put on the best shows

Monkshood – Aconitum

Variegated Solomon’s Seal – Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum

Red Fall Color

Red fall color tends to be the most brilliant color in the garden, it also tends to be the most variable, and not as reliable.

Purple wintercreeper – Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’

Leadwort – Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Beardtongue – Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

Japanese Painted Fern – Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’

Prairie Smoke – Geum triflorum

Peonies – Paeonia

Pigsqueak – Bergenia

Cardinal Flower – Lobelia cardinalis

Barrenwort – Epimedium

Gooseneck loosestrife – Lysimachia clethroides

Columbine – Aquilegia

Bloodred Geranium – Geranium sanguineum This lady is usually a sure bet for red foliage.

Orange Fall Color

Swamp Mlkweed – Asclepias incarnata

Blazing star – Liatris

Heucherella

Perennials That Mimic Fall Foliage Colors All Season:

There are many dark colored foliage plants being created in many different species. However, here’s some of the more well known ones.
Heuchera – Range from yellow to orange to red to purple (Coral Bells)
Heucherella – range in color from red to orange to yellow to purple (Foamy Bells)
Tiarella – range in color from purple to red to yellow (Foamflower)

https://midwesternplants.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/wp-image-1626428708.jpg?w=261&h=147

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories 10-30-2017

 

 How to Grow Garlic in the Midwest

scapesBreak up the garlic bulb into cloves. You don’t need to pull off the papery covering like in cooking. To get them off to a good start and protect them from fungal diseases, soak them in enough water to cover, containing one tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting. Garlic should be planted in the fall. Timing of planting should be within two weeks of the first frost (32°F) so they develop roots, but do not emerge above ground.

Cloves should be planted with the flat or root end down and pointed end up, 2 inches beneath the soil. Set the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart. Top the soil with 6 inches of mulch; leaf, straw or dried grass clippings work well.

Time to Protect Shrubs for WinterScan_Pic0003

Smaller shrubs like rhododendrons, will benefit from using fresh cut branches of conifers [spruce, pine]. Direct the thick end into the ground near the crown of the plant, and intermingle the branches together. This will provide a windbreak and help stop branch breakage from the weight of snow. If the shrub is taller than the conifer branches, tie them together at different heights to protect the whole shrub.

Another method of providing protection is to use horticultural fleece, plastic, wind-break netting or commercially made covers like below. This method should be used on all late-season planted evergreens, as they may not have developed an adequate root system yet, and can dry out from harsh winds.

How to Make New Planting Beds in the Midwest

double digging 1New planting beds should begin in autumn in the Midwest because the freeze/thaw cycles of winter, work to break up the clods of clay.

Most soils in the Midwestern region are alkaline and consist of high concentrations of clay. Contrary to some opinions, there are more plants available for this soil type than any other.

Choose a location that meets the criteria for the types of plants being chosen i.e. sunny location for annuals and vegetables, or a shady location for a woodland garden.

General Pruning Techniques for Trees and ShrubsAcer x f. Autumn Blaze® 'Jeffersred' 1

Many factors must be considered when pruning any type of shrub or tree.  Proper pruning technique is necessary, and is described further at Trees are Good. Identification of the plant, along with knowing it’s growth or habit, flowering schedule, and reason for pruning, is also imperative.

Pruning of dead, dying, or diseased limbs should be done at anytime. The 3 D’s! Many problems can be avoided if the problems are not allowed to spread throughout the tree or even to the neighboring trees.

How to Prepare Your Houseplants to Come Back in For the Winter

imageMy houseplants enjoy their summers outside on the porch. I feel the living room looks a bit bare when they get moved out, however, I don’t spend much time in the house during the summer either!!
When it’s time to bring everyone back into the house, there are a few things that need to be done to insure a safe, pest-free winter. Otherwise, things can go bad fast

I then make sure the pot drains correctly and that the pot is rinsed off of dirt or any other cling-ons. This will become difficult to do if you can’t bring it outside to correct.

Some of my plants need amendments, like my orange tree prefers acid soil in this land of limestone well water. I add the garden sulfur as directed and water it in thoroughly. Again this is something you really can’t do after the plant is inside with only a reservoir under the pot. I do give some of them a bit of fertilizer, however I only give it sparingly.

25 Ways to Kill A Tree

Kill a TreeMechanical damage and improper tree maintenance kills more trees than any insects or diseases. This how-to guide will hopefully teach you how NOT to treat your tree friends. .. However, if you’re the sadistic type and love spending money replacing trees, this is a great read for you also!

1 – “Top” the tree which promotes watersprouts that weaken trees and encourage pests and disease.

Do not top trees. Tree heights can be lessened by proper crown reduction that doesn’t stimulate watersprout growth.

2 – Leave co-dominant leaders to promote “V” growth and splitting during winds and storms.

When a tree is young, select one or the other of the competing upright branches to be the main branch and cut the other off. Do not buy a tree with these characteristics.

3 – Leave crossing branches to rub protective bark and create wounds.

Prune branches that cross and rub in order to prevent bark wounds.

Click the links for the full articles!!

©Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Ah, Home Sweet Home!

This is my front door. I took the left side photos May 30th and the right, June 20th.
     

Most of April and all of May was a rain-out. We had 10 inches (25cm) of rain in those 8 weeks. Even when it wasn’t raining, Sweet Sol was hiding behind her fluffy, white shawl. There’s not even a trace of her shadow on the wall. At least, the foliage looks green and lush in this light!

June 9th it got hot… like Hell Hot. I’m not complaining… Yet.

Things grew very well until the heat. Things were looking really sad and I even had to water my established perennials.

      

We don’t use our front door. It’s too awkward to enter here. No overhang. No space. No where for shoes… It’s so much easier to enter from the garage. It’s like having a huge foyer! So, this year we finally decided to embrace our inner Red Neck and start sitting on the porch. It’s so nice to enjoy all the beautiful things that fill our senses. The flowers smell so sweet, the fountain sounds so melodic, the birds look so joyful and the chipmunks make us smile.

Ah, Home Sweet Home!

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 4-17-2017

Looks like things are starting to pop here in the Midwest! I’m guessing I’ll be able to post at least once a week in the Phenology section. Last year, I attached quotes related about TIME with these posts. I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, However I’ll entertain any ideas =-)

Click here for all things blooming in 2013 20142015 2016

Creeping Charlie ~ Glechoma hederacea

Star Magnolia ~ Magnolia stellata

Karen’s Azalea ~ Rhododendron ‘Karen’

Dense Yew ~ Taxus densiforma

Daffy Dills!

Cornelian Cherry ~ Cornus mas

Eastern Comma ~ Polygonia comma on Pachysandra terminalis ‘Green Carpet’

Green Velvet Boxwood ~ Buxus ‘Green Velvet’

More Daffy’s

Badly focused Hyacinth

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Burn the Fields!

Since I was focusing on my front foundation plant bed for the past two years, I passed on doing my veggie garden. We tried to keep it weed free, however weeds won the battle. Late last fall, we just cut it down to a few inches tall. We are planning to have the veggie garden back this season. To prepare for this, we needed to get rid of these weeds! An easy way for us to do this was to burn them. I’m a bit of a pyro. In my younger years, I would have loved to be the firefighter that battles the wildfires. I’m too old for that, however I am certified to work prairie fires. Of course, I can still have my fun in my own yard!! 

In lieu of using the normal fire starter method used for prairie fires (diesel) we opted for a harder method, however our method would not taint the soil. We used a propane torch. It got the fire started, however because we weren’t dropping drips of fuel, which would fuel a fire so many ways better, our method relied on the dryness of the plant matter and wind. We chose a 10 MPH wind, and used it to ‘push’ the fire along the bed. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done.

I’m not sure where my hubby got that pink firehat. They were being given out somewhere and it had somehow got placed on the shelf near the propane torch. He thought it was apropos for the situation. I just thought it made him look cute.

Like I said, this was not exactly a wildfire! This was as good as it got. I think those flames are reaching waist height.

In case you’re wondering why we are burning our fields, in short, our area “The Great Plains”, requires a burning now and then to cleanse the non-natives from the native lands. Non-native plants and seeds usually can’t survive the heat of the fires like our natives can. Ancient Native Americans learned this long ago. If you’d like to learn more, click here.

Burn, baby, burn!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

American Toad – Anaxyrus americanus

imageEastern American toads can easily be identified by their dry rough skin and large bumps behind their eyes called paratoid glands. Size can range from about 2” – 3” (5-8 cm) on average, but can get as large as 5” (13 cm)

‘Merican toads can be sporting colors from yellow to brown to black, from solid colors to speckled, many times they have dark circles around the bumps on their back. Toads have thick skin that traps in body fluids better than most amphibians, which allows them to live farther away from water.

Toads live in a wide variety of habitats ranging from prairies to wetlands to forests. They are somewhat adapted to urban settings where they occasionally shack-up in gardens and parks. They really like my front perennial garden. I leave broken, overturned pots for them to hideout in.

A toad’s call can last up to 30 seconds and each male has a slightly different pitch. Can you hold a note for 30 seconds? Exactly, that’s a pretty amazing thing.

Toads don’t have to worry much about getting eaten as toxic skin secretions are distasteful to predators. And no, the toxins do not cause warts in humans.

They are a beneficial species in garden by eating many insect pests. A average-sized toad will eat about 3,300 insects in a season. I find many toads near my outside lights (like the one above)… They’re not dumb!!
toad-meme

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-10-2016

I have seen a flower blooming in beauty in a secluded vale, and, ere I had a chance to look again, a chilly breath of air had scattered its petals and left it a ruin. ~ Charles Lanman, “Musings,” 1840

You don’t have to search a secluded vale to what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Echinacea ~ Coneflower (look familiar? See above!)

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Campsis radicans ~ Trumpet Vine   ||   Hemerocallis fulva ~ Ditch lilies or Tiger lilies

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Maclura pomifera ~ Osage orange

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Silphium perfoliatum ~ Cup plant   ||   Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’ & ‘Floristan Violet’

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ZINNIAS!!!!

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Lobelia cardinalis ~ Cardinal flowers   ||   Nepeta

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Hibiscus syriacus ~ Rose of Sharon, althea or hardy hibiscus.

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We had a bit of rain recently. We rarely see our ditch filled, so of course I had to photograph it!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-8-2016

Today is my hubby’s birthday!! Happy Birthday Honey!!pig roast

Ah, another fine year to celebrate. We’ll be having the pig roast party Saturday. Mmmmm. Bacon bread! What’s bacon bread, you ask? Well, we cook the pig above ground on a spit, opposed to the Hawaiian method of burying it in the ground with coals on top.  After the skin gets a bit crispy (thus ‘safe’ to eat) we take crusty bread and pat the pig with it. The bacon fat, mixed with the copious amounts of garlic and salt my hubby prepared the pig with flavors the bread like bacon. Oh my, I totally look like Homer over there!! You’re all invited! Email me for the address =-)

“Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be careful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to it all.”  ― H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

Face  what I found blooming in 201320142015

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When you have flowers in your yard, you’re always ready to deliver a bouquet to a neighbor.

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Hosta   ||   Asclepias incarnata ~ Milkweed

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Look! Two bumble bees!!   ||   Hypericum perforatum ~ St. John’s Wort

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Potentilla fruticosa ~ Shrubby Cinquefoil   ||  Hmmm.

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Not sure    ||   Rudbeckia triloba  ~ Brown-eyed Susan

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Asparagus!!!! All grown-up

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Phemeranthus rugospermus ~ Rough-seeded Fameflower

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-3-2016

The laws of science do not distinguish between the past and the future.  Steven W. Hawking

Although the past reveals what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Lilium lancifolium ~ Tiger Lily    ||    Cichorium intybus ~ Common chicory. It’s a coffee substitute, if left trapped in the wild without a Starbucks…

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Ipomoea purpurea ~ Morning glory   ||    Lythrum salicaria ~ Purple loosestrife. Both of these plants don’t play nice in Illinois =-(

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Monarda didyma  Native, wild beebalm   ||   Eupatorium perfoliatum ~ Common Boneset

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A Rudbeckia, but which one…..    ||   Prunella vulgaris ~ Self heal

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I’m not sure who this butterfly is, but I’m sure a post will follow in the cold, lean post months of the winter!

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Liatris aspera ~ Rough blazing star    ||   Breck and a Leadplant

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I’m not sure    ||    Saponaria officinalis ~ bouncingbet

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Calamintha nepeta ssp. glandulosa ‘White Cloud’ ~ Catmint


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl