Friday, May 22, 2015

Plants plants and more plants! Garden Update

I have been spending a lot of time this year trying to make my yard look nicer and to convert grass and weeds into something useful, tasty, beautiful, or all three.

Raised Beds

The raised beds in the backyard and full of life and starting to supply a small amount of food in the form of collards, cilantro, and garlic chives.

Planting Hostas

The hostas I planted last year were finally seriously mulched and ringed with some free rocks from a friend’s house. I think they are looking really nice. I am glad they all came back. I can’t wait to see how they look at the end of the year all filled in.

Planting Mint

My friend Lisa gave me some mint. I planted it on the side yard. I made a rhizome barrier with part of an old piece of edging to keep it from spreading and taking over the entire yard. It was tempting not to put it in. Mowing the yard and smelling mint would be nice. I decided to keep it contained, so it doesn’t choke out the neighboring plants. I mulched them with some cut grass.

Clematis

She also gave me a couple clematis. I am hoping they will grow up and cover up the fence. *fingers crossed*

Hostas and Lilys of the Valley

A new combination of hostas, lilies of the valley, and some catnip all mulched and edged with extra wood.

Kiwi and Chives

I was happy to see my arctic kiwis coming back. I hope they take over the fence this year. They have been slow growing so far. I planted a chive plant in the middle to add some color in the mean time. The kiwis used to be in their own small beds, but I combined them into one big one. There is cardboard under the woodchips to help suppress weeds and grass. Sheet mulching FTW!

Planting Hostas

One of my hostas in the backyard was getting to big and blocking the new path. I cut it into ten pieces and spread it along one of the fences. I used some more logs and woodchips to make them look nicer.

How is your garden doing?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Planting an American Hazelnut

Planting a Hazelnut Bush

While browsing around the local plant store, I came across this American Hazelnut bush aka Corylus americana. I don’t remember seeing one there before. I am very excited to be able to have nuts in my yard from a medium sized bush.

Planting a Hazelnut Bush

The american hazelnut grows 6-8 feet high and about 6-8 feet wide. It is hardy to –30F and good for USDA zones 4-9 which fits my zone 4 perfectly.

Planting a Hazelnut Bush

I dug quite a large hole about twice the size of the pot and then filled it with finished compost. I did not replace the soil I took out and filled it with finished compost. The soil in my front yard isn’t the greatest. I am hoping the compost will give the plant a good start. I also put a generous amount around the plant on the surface.

Planting a Hazelnut Bush

Next, I covered everything with two layers of cardboard to sheet mulch along with a heavy layer of wood chips. The cardboard will break down over time and add organic matter to the soil. Both will do an excellent job holding moisture and suppressing weeds.

Planting a Hazelnut Bush

A good long slow watering later. The hazelnut is planted and hopefully happy. A week later and it is leafing out nicely. I am looking forward to watching it grow and of course eating some nuts!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Planting Berries

Along with the Serviceberry and Jostaberry, I have been on a perennial berry planting kick this past week or so.

Planting a Black Currant

I planted a Consort Black Currant aka Ribes nigrum ‘Consort’

Planting a Black Currant

A nice hardy fruit good down to –40F and USDA zones 3-7.

Planting a Black Currant

On a whim, I bought a boysenberry at home depot in the bargain section. It appears I have planted a stick. I hope it grows vigorously like my raspberry which was also just a small stick when I planted it. A boysenberry is a cross between a raspberry, blackberry, dewberry, and a loganberry. I can’t wait to taste one.

Planting a Boysenberry

I planted it with a lot of finished compost and mulched it heavily with wood chips. I also made sure to plant it far away from my raspberries.

Planting a Gooseberry

Next to the boysenberry at home depot was a gooseberry. It was cheap, so I bought one. To my surprise there was two plants in the box! Win! I planted them both with finished compost and lots of mulch. I am hopeful they will both grow.

Planting a Gooseberry

Friday, May 8, 2015

Planting a Serviceberry

Planting a Serviceberry

Like the Jostaberry in my last post, I learned about the Serviceberry in my permaculture class. I bought the Regent Saskatoon Serviceberry aka Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Regent’ from EggPlant.

Planting a Serviceberry

The Serviceberry is also very hardy and good in USDA zones 2-7 and good down to –50F. It should have no trouble with Minnesota winters.

Planting a Serviceberry

I started by digging a large hole twice as big as the pot and filling it with finished compost. The soil in this part of the yard is very poor and compacted. I am hoping the finished compost will give the bush a good start.

Planting a Serviceberry

Filled it in with more finished compost and again around the plant to even the ground out.

Planting a Serviceberry

I sheet mulched with cardboard and a heavy layer of wood chip mulch. The mulch should do a nice job suppressing weeds and holding in the moisture. The cardboard will break down over time adding more organic matter to the soil. I finished up by giving it a long, deep drink of water.

Planting a Serviceberry

The Serviceberry bloomed the week after I planted it, so I hope that means it is happy in my yard.

serviceberry

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Planting a Jostaberry

Planting a Jostaberry

I’ve been wanting a Jostaberry aka Ribes x culverwelii since I heard about them in my permaculture class. I am a huge fan of edible perennials! When I saw it this spring at the local plant store, I couldn’t really resist.

Planting a Jostaberry

Jostaberry is a hardy plant good in USDA zones 3-8 and down to –40F! It should handle Minnesota winters without trouble. This particular plant will get about 4-6 feet tall and about 4 foot around. If I am lucky, it should fruit next year.

Planting a Jostaberry

The first step was to dig a big hole twice as large as the pot in a sunny spot. I then filled it with some finished compost. I put the plant in and then filled in the rest of the gaps with finished compost. I did not return the original soil since it is of pretty poor quality.

Planting a Jostaberry

I pushed down with my boot around the edges to make sure it was level and the air gaps were taken up.

Planting a Jostaberry

Next, I started to sheet mulch with some cardboard. This will help suppress the weeds and grass around the plant.

Planting a Jostaberry

I covered the cardboard with a thick layer of woodchip mulch.

Planting a Jostaberry

A heavy, slow watering and the Jostaberry is ready for life in my front yard.

Planting a Jostaberry

 

Do you have any experience with Jostaberry? Leave me a comment below.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2015 Art in Bloom at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

This past weekend was the Art in Bloom show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). Laura had been before, but it was my first time. I was excited to see all the flowers. I liked the flowers coming out of the suspended faucet out front, and it set my expectations high.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

We arrived before they opened and waited with a large crowd to enter. The event was free with artists creating art from flowers/plants after being inspired by the art in the museum. Some of the art looked like the pieces and in other cases it was related only by colors or texture. There were at least a hundred pieces. These are some of my favorites.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

A rooster.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015/

A slice of birthday cake made from tiny little flowers. Very clever, and it looks really tasty.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

I liked the colors and shapes in this one.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

A fire hydrant for the puppy

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

This one was really fun in the modern art section. I liked they put a tambourine on it like the original piece.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

The Asian section had my favorites. I liked this shadowbox inspired by a large carved tablet.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

This Buddha was one of my favorites. The attention to detail was impressive from the little emblems on the belt to the texture of the clothes.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

Four birds made of plants to look like the little metal ones in the case. They were well done.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

This horse was also one of my favorites. I likes the shape and colors. A fun piece.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

This artist did a nice job copying the original mask. Again, great attention to detail.

Art in Bloom at MIA 2015

Finally, a shot of Laura with some GIANT lily’s. They were at least eight to ten inches across.

We both had a fun time. Check out Laura’s blog: One Girl, Two Cities for more of her thoughts on the event.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
www.artsmia.org