{dirt 60631} Present in the Garden

{dirt 60631} chronicles Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.

The garden is full of sights, sounds, and smells.  I can hear (in the absence of planes overhead and a moments pause in dueling lawn services) the acorns falling from the Pin Oak onto the roof.  Rap. Rap. Rap.  The cicadas are beating their drums looking for a mate.  The wind chimes are a symphony in the slight easterly breeze.  The air is filled with the perfume of phlox, gardenia, and jasmine.  And, an interesting dragonfly (a female Sympertrum vicinum) is getting on with it's business.


{dirt 60631} Lawn

{dirt 60631} chronicles Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.

I don't understand the incessant need to only plant something that must be fertilized three times a year and watered constantly only to be cut back once or twice a week, (not to mention spending money on paper bags only to throw them and the cuttings away) and have a city worker haul it away to the dump.  Or better yet, pay an exorbitant fee for someone to cut it and haul it away.  And, you ask me about the cost of a plant?!  Hm.


{dirt 60631 } A Green Winter Day

{dirt 60631} chronicles Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.

So here I sit staring out the window, wanting, waiting to get out.  After all, the garden is green and orange and red and pink, and the calendar says June 30th.  But, it's another green winter day outside.  Not so cold that you can't venture out; too hot and so humid you don't even dare open the door (that is unless you like walking into an oven).

So here I sit staring in both disbelief and amazement, looking for signs of crying plants in need of rescue.  But rescue how?  This weather has come earlier (yes, I believe it is due to changing weather patterns, global warming, YES!) than even last year and this is already our third event.  To water mid-day is wasteful and ineffective at relieving the stress.  To erect temporary shading from the desiccating sun and wind is undoable and over the top, even for me.  Although, Larry is convinced I'm still trying to come up with some engineering marvel that he will have to help execute.

So here I sit staring out the window, taking in the view.  The lilies are at their peak, a splash of cool pink swaying in the hot sun.  A hummingbird is dining on the orange flowers of the honeysuckle vine.  The aruncus flowers have dried and browned in the hot west wind.  There, too, is promise for tomorrow.  Daylily buds have swelled, like zucchini, in the heat, just waiting to pop; and, the hosta are getting ready to show their purple petticoats.

The life of a gardener.


{dirt 60631} Park Ridge Garden Walk

{dirt 60631} chronicles Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.

The stage was set for the Park Ridge Garden Walk with temperatures in the low 80's, a slight NE breeze, and sunshine, sunshine, sunshine!  Just a picture perfect day which brought out 150ish visitors. We talked hosta; we talked shade gardens, we talked caring for the soil and pollinators; we talked moss, and so much more.

Here's a recap in photos.

above.  Clematis 'The President'

above left.  Fuchsia 'Lena' | above right. Geranium 'Grandeur'

above.  Clematis 'Niobe'

above left. Datura metel | above right. Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'

above left.  Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low' | above right.  Alchemilla mollis

above left.  Hydrangea petoilaris | above right.  Digitalis lutea

above.  Hydrangea 'Quick Fire' and Hosta sieboldiana 'Francis Williams'

While I answered a lot of questions, there were five plants that stood out and had the most questions:

Ariseama ringens, commonly called cobra lily, is a woodland perennial native to Japan. It is closely related to the Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum. When mature, it grows to 12-18" tall with a single stalk containing two glossy green trifoliate leaves, each leaf having three ovate to elliptic leaflets 6-8" long. From the center of the leaf stalks rises a showy, green and purple striped, cobra-like flower in May.

Rodgersia aesculifolia, is a clump-forming, perennial that grows to 3-5’ tall and wide. It is native to moist woodlands in China. It has crinkled, coarsely-toothed, palmate leaves, growing to 12" across that resemble the leaves of the horse chestnut. In June it has large creamy white, astilbe-like, flowers 24-36” tall.

Centaurea macrocephala has bright yellow 2"-3" thistle-like flowers enclosed in light brown bracts on stiff stems. This wasn't yet in bloom but had a lot of interest due to the 'straw cobb'.  This picture shows it in bloom, which will be in a few more weeks.  It blooms for 2-3 weeks in mid-July.

Aruncus dioicus is a native plant that is a tall, bushy, clump-forming perennial typically growing 4-6' high which has showy, plume-like spikes of tiny, cream colored flowers in June. It is somewhat similar in appearance to astilbe.

Petasites japonicus 'Variegatus' has huge leaves that form a dense spreading clump 3’ tall and 5’ wide. It is native to Korea, China and Japan where it is typically found growing on wet stream banks in woodland areas. It has long-stalked, kidney-shaped, variegated leaves  12-16” wide. Yellowish, daisy-like flowers appear in March before the leaves emerge.