Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless/Wildflower Wednesday-Pollinators Week

National Pollinators Week
This is also Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone so go over and see Gail and other posts on wildflowers.
Echinacea angustfolia 'black sampson' with unnamed insect
Asclepias tuberosa with Monarch
Asclepias asperjula-Antelope horn Milkweed
and a roadrunner in a pear tree!

Monday, June 20, 2011

GGW Show the Motion

Our household has decided to enter the monthly photo contest at Gardens Gone Wild. The theme this month is Show the Motion. If you want to look at the entries, view at June Entries GGW.
These are the photos that we felt might work, but you never know. Our choice was the last one.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Foilage Follow Up in June

No that's not King Kong standing behind that giant mullien, that's a toad! It's the day after garden bloggers bloom day, so that means it's foliage followup. Pam at Digging hosts this "follow up" extravaganza.
Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue and Calomagrostis 'Carl Forester"
Calamagrosits 'Karl Foerster'
 This photo is from the past post on GBBD, think it works here also.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mellow Yellow - Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June

Mellow Yellow. Rudebeckia hirta and goldstrum, Achillea millefolium 'terra cotta', Stipa tenuissima, and Peroskovia.
It's that Time Again. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. 
It's time to literally go around the world and check out other garden bloggers and what's bloomin' in their neck of the woods. Click over to Carol at May Dream Gardens and check them out and leave a comment with your blog link so others can follow your adventures.
Rudebeckia hirta, Echinacea purpurea, Stipa tenuissima, and Peroskovia.
Daisy Collage, Leucanthemum
Echinacea purpurea, Veronica Sunny Border Blue
Sunny Border
Hell Strip
Adios amigos

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Field Stone Edging DIY

 Adding Field Stone Edging - Down and Dirty
I've decided to do a technical blog post to share some of the knowledge I've learned over the years. I know its not rocket science but it does take some common sense and grunt power.  My demonstration will show effort I am putting into my own landscape, so the effort probably isn't a professional defined effort. In other words it's Down and Dirty. If I was getting paid for this it would be more refined.

First things first. Find some stone. Mine comes from the ditch, as my residence is in the Flint Hills of Kansas, limestone everywhere. Ditch stone is also defined as field stone, not refined, trimmed, blocked, or cut. Very irregular in thickness. If you have  some cash, buy from a stone yard as most of their product is picked and stacked with more uniform sizes and thicknesses. 
Notice how this stone is thicker on one end than the other: typical field stone. Beggars can't be choosers. I also got some from a neighbor I gave pass along plants to. What's good for the goose...enough of the cliche's!...
After laying out your outline or form along your border or planting bed(I like to use white spray paint), excavate deep enough for a 2-3" layer of gravel and a 2" layer of base material. And the thickness of your stone. Have quite a few stones laid out near you work area for selection. 
After excavating, add gravel for expansion and a solid base. I prefer 3/4" crushed limestone at 2-3" thickness. Unfortunately all I had was river rock which is more rounded but it will work fine too. Compact with a tamper and make somewhat level. More than likely the grade of the gravel will change because of the irregular thickness of the field stone. That is one reason why purchased stone is mo better.
On top of the gravel add some form of base material. I use gravel screenings from crushed limestone. Screenings are usually left over from the gravel sizing process and is leftover material. Sand can also be used. Tamp this 1-3". Tip on field stone: if you make this layer a little thicker you'll have more wiggle room in thickness when you add the irregular thicknesses of field stone.
Add the selected stone to the compacted area. 
Scratch or mark the area to be trimmed. Have cold chisels and handy hammer ready. Strike scratched line with hammer on chisel lightly the first pass, some people strike both sides or use a hand grinder to form a break line. Cross my fingers hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.?.  Hope it breaks straight.
Well, I got most of it right. When striking be sure the stone is stable with no space underneath the stone.
Place in excavation, tamp a little, not too much or it may crack. Top of stone should be level with existing grade. This is dependent on the slope. I usually use a torpedo level to check the heights between the stones laid. You can see I added chips in the gaps between the stones. You could use soil and add plants, add base material, or could use gravel.
Lastly back fill stone with gravel on inside edge for expansion. Level bed with soil removed or with mulch. If you live in a area with warm season grasses like Bermuda, this type of edging is not the best to use as the stolons and rhizomes will venture in. I have added steel edging on the outside of these areas. more tip. Use your best stones near highly visible areas such as entrances and areas viewed from indoors. Happy Edging!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yearning For Yarrows

Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold'
Achillea  is a fine herbaceous perennial for multiple uses. This genus is tolerant of multiple soil types and most species are drought tolerant. It prefers full sun but I have found if you plant a rambunctious variety, you can plant it in partial sun which will slow down its rangy growth. However you will have less flowering. 
Yarrow (common name) is often thought as an old fashioned plant. And it is an old standby. However newer varieties with differing ranges of colors, form, and texture have inspired new looks by modern gardeners. In my garden it is a stalwart in early summer, when salvia and springs bulbs have faded. It blends with the newly flowering Mealy Blue Sage, Red Rocks Penstemon, ornamental grasses, and just starting to bloom Rudebeckias and Perovskia.

Coronation Gold and Mealy Blue Sage
Coronation Gold and Red Rocks Penstemon
Early Coronation Gold Flower Head with Mealy Blue Sage
Early Growth
Achillea millefolium 'Summer Pastels' is pictured above. It is my least favorite yarrow as it takes the most energy to keep it in its place. The photo gives it more justice than it deserves. This variety was started from seed a few years ago. It has been moved three times, ending up in the corner hellstrip which receives less nutrition. It was also divided and planted in 60% shade to hold it in place. This variety can be very aggressive if not root pruned often. A week ago this plant became leggy and fell over other neighboring perennials after a hard rain. The shovel came out and 50% of it was removed. A passerby motorists asked me if she could have it. I put it in her trunk along with other pass a long plants, salvia,(two varieties) and echinacae.
 These were the plants which were shovel pruned.
Not too pretty after pruning. This variety has a tendency to lay down.
Achillea 'Saucey Seduction' is probably my favorite yarrow right now. It stays in bounds, 12" in height and 18" in width. Nice fern like foliage and almost maintenance free. I'm not a big hot pink fan but this is a great choice.
Achillea millefolium 'Terra Cotta' is a newcomer to me. Planted it last year in two areas.Since its a millefolium I am concerned it may be invasive. Will see. As with all the yarrows I like the fern like foliage. It blends nicely with other grey leafed plants also. Once established it is drought tolerant. I like the terra cotta color, soft pastels. 18-24"

 Achillea serbica (Servian Yarrow) is a diminutive gray tight leafed ground cover variety known for its drought and heat tolerance. Very tight in its leaf structure, it does well in hot full sun and doesn't even blink (if it could). It doesn't even resemble a normal yarrow.

Yarrows are trouble free, drought resistant, have a fine texture, make great dried arrangements, have variable colors, and are pest free. Hard do beat in a hot and dry Kansas corner lot surrounded by asphalt on two sides!

 Yearn no more..