Updates around the garden

I've been up to my usual mischief around the yard, busily freeing plants from their pot-bound prisons. But, bad blogger that I am, I haven't been sharing my activities. So to amend that oversight, here's some pictures of what I've been up to.

This Japanese umbrella pine, Sciadopitys verticillata, is happy to be out of the pot it spent several years in. Hopefully I can train it back to a central leader. Sometimes the deer test things, and when we first brought home this umbrella pine they decided to test its central leader right off. Thankfully they don't make a habit of eating Sciadopitys.

Remember those baby monkey puzzle trees I mentioned? Well here's one. Can't see it? Let me get a little closer.

That's better. As you can see, it's not very big. Probably less than the 10 inches I claimed.

And neither is its brother, planted a bit closer to the house (but still well away). These were a gift from a very good friend. I'll call him Z. Hopefully they do better than my two previous attempts. I think their survival in gallon containers this past winter is a good sign.
Remember this bed? It used to only have a few hens and chicks rescued from another location and those were just laid on top of the mulch that was under-laid with black plastic. (Seriously, black plastic in this day and age? Just the thought makes me want to do something horrible to the contractor that did it.)

Here it is after tearing out the black plastic (with gusto) and putting in a few plants. Included in this bed are a variegated liriope, 3 different bletillas, an aspidistra, a Polystichum setiferum, Mukdenia rossii 'Karasuba',  Adiantum venustum,  Asarum splendens 'Quicksilver', 2 Cyrtomium fortunei 'Ulleung Island', a yellow Acorus gramineus cultivar, and Saxifraga x andrewsii. I also scattered seeds of Nemophila maculata and Nemophila menziesii 'Penny Black' just to see if they come up. I didn't have much luck starting them indoors, but maybe they'll come up outside.
The Aspidistra elatior on the right is from my college days and after learning of their success in the PNW, mine has finally been planted outside as I had hoped it would be.

Next to the aspidistra is my new Polystichum setiferum.

I love the 'Kurasaba' mukdenia near the rock cluster. 

My Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' seedlings have been potted up and moved outside, along with my shallot seedlings.

This purple-flowered rhododendron replaced my Rhododendron strigilosum, which the deer just wouldn't leave alone. I've got the strigilosum potted up and fenced off so it can grow a bit. After that I'm not sure what I'll do with it. It's a cool species. I may try to keep it in a safer location or give it away.

One of two Magnolia nitida, more gifts from Z. This one replaced another rhododendron that the deer demolished. This one receives a little sun in the morning and open shade the rest of the day. The other is planted in full sun. We'll see how each one does in the different conditions. The one in sun has already put out a few new leaves, so there's one difference. 

This is the bed I mentioned in this post about dividing my beargrass.  It's mostly the product of convenience. These plants all needed to go somewhere, and this space was relatively clear. It does have a somewhat "eastern woods" vibe, with the Calycanthus floridus and 'Bullseye' mountain laurels. The persimmons, western sword fern, and beargrass may not be eastern species, but they each have an eastern counterpart.  This bed is meant to be somewhat wild and I plan on using larger groundcovers to help smother or at least hide the weeds. Some of the candidates are 'Rainbow' leucothoe and Gro-Low sumac. I'm also looking for other groundcover plants that fit with the eastern woods theme.

This pine is a seedling of a tree that formerly grew in the center of the circular driveway. When we redesigned that bed, the parent was cut down, but this seedling was saved and has finally found a place in the "eastern woods". The original was a nice enough plant, shapely and green but not particularly noteworthy. It will make a great backdrop for the other plants in this bed.

One of the persimmon saplings I grew from seed. This one is over 3 feet tall, the other is about 2.5 feet. Both have wonderful fall color and attractive tan bark with fine black lines. 

And there's a small portion of what I've been up to. I've actually planted much more than this, but they're even less to look at than the ones I've shown you. They'll show up in the fullness of time. Most of what's been keeping me busy has been weeding, and now that the first round of that is just about done I can start looking towards expanding beds and getting more plants!


  1. Busy indeed, but happy I bet! I do covet Sciadopitys verticillata but find I like them more when they're small, they loose the look as they grow. Maybe I should just go ahead and plant one knowing it will come out eventually...

    1. They do grow slowly. You could enjoy one for years before having to say goodbye. And when you do, I'll help you dig it out and take it to my place!

  2. You are off to a good start. Pine trees may not be noteworthy but they are easy to grow and good "fillers" (and you have such a huge area to fill). It's a good thing you are keeping photos of everything. In just a few years it will be great fun to compare before and after pictures. I do it with my small city garden and I'm always amazed at how quickly plants grow and fill in the empty spaces.

    1. I love looking at old photos to see how things have changed. I should dig up the old photos of the bed in the middle of the driveway. That one has gone through some major changes! There are two pines I love, Scots pine and lacebark pine, both for their ornamental bark.

  3. It is hard to keep up with blogging every little thing that you do in the garden, or change that you make. Then before you know it, you have a whole different garden, and haven't said a word online about it. Good to see the progress you're making! It sounds like you're having fun. I've grown both kinds of Nemophila from seed scattered in the garden, and it did very well. I hope yours sprout!

    1. But when you do finally get around to blogging about your changes, you get to appreciate them all the more. I love the flowers of nemophila. I think it may be coming up in one area.


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