Sunday, December 2, 2018

Snow, Party, More Snow

 Here are some photos that Lorna took in the garden this afternoon.

We got the first blast of snow yesterday, then it cleared enough to shovel to get to an Oakwood party in Donovan's garage. Then this morning we awoke up to another 6" and a second chance to spend time with Mr. Shovel. 

"Garage" implies grease-stained pitted concrete, and an odor of lawnmowers and dog kennels. This one has heated terrazzo floors, a mini kitchen, refrigator ... just in case a party might break out. This was a typical Minnesota "BYOB and a dish to pass" gathering. It was all good; Oakwood has a very strong sense of community which ruled the evening. 

- Gunnar

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Birth Of the Garden

Lorna has been sorting through old photos and came across some of the garden.

The first was just a bench to sit and look at the lake.

I planted a few shrub roses and perennials over the years. The lawn kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller until it was a grass path. I planted a hedge of Arborvitae for a little privacy. Over time the hedges and trees grew and the roses slowly ebbed.

The Arborvitae trees were about a foot tall when I planted them, so the earliest photos must be a least five years later. 

I was still working five or six days a week and was short of time, and hired Andy Lemke to build a 18" high retaining wall at the bench end  od the garden where it sloped up. Tom Larson laid pavers on the little bench patio and I rebuilt the granite fieldstone retaining wall behind the bench. 

Then we inherited Maude Koevnig's bricks from the Interstate Power chimney. There was an old storage shed from Judy and Christy next door when they put an addition on their house.

Then I retired and there was no turning back. I was out of control.

Be well, be in control, -Gunnar

Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018 Art and Garden Tour

On Friday evening and Saturday we were a stop on  the Art Center Garden Tour fund raiser. We were fortunate to host Carine Rofshus, who will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a scholarship in the Fall. A good draw. 

Friday started out raining so we set up her pictures in the entry and kitchen on steel grid easels. It cleared up and we had a good late turn-out. Saturday was sunny, hot and very humid. We set her easels up outside in the entry garden. We had a great turn-out, over 200 visitors. Some visitors even came back both days which was gratifying. 

After checking and reviewing Carine's work, the guests came down the hill past the rock garden and turned to walk under the arborvitae archway into the hidden garden.

The guests all seemed to enjoy the bicycles on the trellis, which surprised me. After enjoying the lushness of the hidden garden a number of visitors went through the trellis arch in the walkway through the prairie flowers down to the lake.

Then back up through the "weed" garden to the more formal garden again.

Then then a right turn back through the arbor arch past the Growlery (with a stop to look at bird photographs and hopefully buy one to support the Art Center. 
       Lorna's sister's house next door framed by the arch.

People experienced art, saw some gardens .... and at 1410 they bought some photos for the Art Center and some paintings for Carine's college expenses. A good day. 

- Gunnar B.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Yellow Peony

I have both tree peonies and herbaceous peonies in the garden. The tree peonies have woody stems, bloom earlier and have larger, silky flowers (and more $$$). My garden is pushing the coldness zones a little for the tree peonies. This year they bloomed when we had that spell of silly 95 degree weather and the flowers only lasted two or three days. Jeez.

The old fashioned herbaceous peonies are tougher than nails and are the plants that what most people think of peonies. The limits of herbaceous peonies are that the flowers can be too heavy to support and they are limited in color. I have modern crosses with smaller flowers, but all of the herbaceous peonies fall somewhere between white, pink and dark red. The tree peonies have some that lean into a purplish and others that are clear yellow. 

There were thousands of attempts to cross tree peonies with herbaceous peonies. In the late 1940s a Japanese horticulturist, Toichi Itoh, managed to pull it off, but he didn't know what he had because he died before they bloomed. All of the yellow herbaceous peonies in existence are intersectional crosses that trace their heritage back to Dr. Itoh. And damn they were expensive - hundreds of dollars apiece. Someday they may be as cheap as old fashioned peonies, but I am 73 and if so, they will have to be on my grave. Eventually the prices have come down some, still expensive, but within my range. 

This year one bloomed. - Gunnar

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Cellphone Garden Pictures For Addy

Today, with permission, I was "harvesting" moss from a neighbor's shady yard to fill in some spots in the rock garden.  One of their guests was disturbed by "a strange man with long knife" under the trees in their yard.  As I have been building the rock garden the past couple years I have been pretty much ignoring upkeep on the main garden. I did not realize how bad it really was until in a moment of insanity last week I agreed to host a stop of the local art center "Art and Garden Tour" and I actually looked at it objectively. What the hell was I thinking? I have just one month to get my act together.

I almost never plant annuals, which to me are just so much colored hay. To cover myself this year I even bought a bunch of annuals and potted them up. So if I cannot give them refined elegance at least I can give them color.

View from the Growlery door

the sunken pool

Native plants in the "Weed Garden"

These photos are mostly for my daughter, a gardening partner in crime, who is currently living in an apartment.  - Gunnar