Saturday, September 29, 2012


Cantigny was an area in France that Colonel Robert R McCormick (1880-1955) wanted to memorialize by naming his twenty-nine acres in Wheaton, Illinois, "Cantigny."  He had fought at this area in France during World War I and was intent on making his property a War Museum to honor the brave soldiers who stood beside him.  At Cantigny he had experimental gardens that tried new species of plants and tested theories of planting and harvesting.

Colonel McCormick became the editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune Newspaper.

He was 6 feet 4" tall, 200 pounds and an excellent horseman.  His grandfather was Joseph Medill a publisher who the Medill School Of Journalism is named after at Northwestern University.

Robert thought of himself as an aristocrat who came from a long line of famous people, John and Cyrus McCormick, inventors of the reaper and owners of a company that would later become International Harvester.  He was an older cousin of Madeline Albright former secretary of state.

The visitors come now to his home, children climb on the tanks, visit his home and the war museum on the grounds.  However, the most beautiful areas are the many gardens.

The pumpkin people are already set up for all to enjoy.
King Tut Papyrus
The display areas are a gardeners delight because just about everything is labeled.
Mums, asters, carex and daisies
The interplanting of kale and grasses was very effective breaking up the placement of mums.
Cleome Seniorita Rosilita and Castor Bean
It was important this year to see the annuals that have held up to the summer heat.
Begonia Fortune Pink
These Begonias (Party Pink) are in full sun.
Dahlia Mystic Illusion
I grew this one and it performed great all summer.
Gomphrena Audray Pink
Gomphrena Fireworks
Verbena Bonariensis
This variety of Cosmos was not labeled, but still going strong.
Zinnia Uproar Rose
This is one I will be looking for next year.  Horticulturist on staff said this was one of the best they have grown.  My little fingers were dying to deadhead, even if just for looks!
Tamarix with Fine Wine Weigela
The Tamarix is a large tree like plant with red flowers, you need room for this one.
New Zealand Sedge Prairie Fire
This was the most beautiful cranberry red mum with a fascinating grass, could not find the name on either of these.  We couldn't tell if the grass was a Molinia or a Pennestium?
Pennestium Piglet
The use of smaller grasses in the middle of beds really works.
Pennestium Jade Princess
Isn't this a great looking plant, would remind you of cattails.
Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean Feather Grass)
This was a most impressive grass!
I don't usually plant annual groundcovers but I will have to rethink this for next year.
Alternanthera Little Ruby
This is a great groundcover that easily goes into fall, however, it is an annual.
Purple Sage (used as an annual groundcover)
Almost forgot to mention the hawk that was swooping around our heads supposedly looking for a mouse!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Summer Of Discontent

I really hate to call it that but for me it really was a summer I do not want to repeat.  My ideas of gardening have changed drastically and I am not totally sure it is warranted.

I have to rethink the amount of space I am giving to the roses, first the beetles, then mildew and rose midges.  It is recommended that all of the mildewed branches be cut off, bagged and put in the garden waste bag.  There is really no cure for it and spraying is a preventative not a cure.

I don't want to be burned again, and I use this term loosely!  I was like the mad waterer but I know many people lost large amounts of landscape material including some large evergreens and trees.

The south side raised bed has been redone (except for the Miscanthus Udine) with a move for Helopsis Loraine Sunshine and the rearranging of Chicago Apache Daylily with the addition of Eryngium Big Blue in the middle.

I have kept Miscanthus Udine in the middle of the raised bed but it is really getting too full, flops in a storm, so I will really have a decision to make in the spring.  I love the look, so if I can't keep it up away from the path I will have to find a more controllable grass.

This one is a keeper Cimicifuga Atropurpurea such a treat this time of year, adds a softness to the back border.

This is the opposite view facing towards the front of the house.  I love the way this is another see through plant that blooms in the fall.

Verbena Bonariensis will probably be back strong next year as it reseeds quite easily.  I don't mind because it is another see through plant that doesn't interfere with anything.

Our weather had turned cool in fact too cool in certain areas and I am hoping that fall does not go to the extreme as that we experienced in summer.

Even with the cooler weather Blue Paradise Phlox is getting ready to rebloom, hope it makes it before a frost.

Pink Knockout is reblooming and seems to have escaped the rose diseases.  Jack Frost Burnnera looks good until the end with just a few black spots on the leaves.  Bob's Blunder Geranium just loves to weave through whatever it is near.

Pulmonaria Raspberry Splash was cut back after blooming and it is rewarding to see all of this fresh new growth for the fall garden.

I am really beginning to love the dark foliage in the garden interspersed with greens and variegated foliage and especially the colors of the perennials flowers in the spring summer and fall.

Eupatorium Chocolate stays dark all summer and begins to lighten as it produces flower buds to bloom in the fall.

Weigela Wine and Roses replaced Helianthus Lemon Queen.  It just wasn't right for my small pathway, gave some to my daughter who has a much larger area to place it.

Geranium Bob's Blunder is a groundcover geranium which is dark leaved and winds its way through other perennials (Heucherella Sweet Tea) without overshadowing the plant.

Geranium Bob's Blunder produces both large and small leaves with the smaller leaves producing the abundance of flowers.  In my opinion this is a wonderful creeper!

This is a mum called Bedazzled Bronze which is bred to grow in a rounded shape by Yoder, who is a major mum producer.

Bedazzled Bronze
We forget about snapdragons but manytimes they come back and bloom from spring through fall.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Around The Garden

It is late in the season and approaching the beginning of fall with much cooler weather this week.  I have several plants that have not done well in the heat and I don't want to dwell on them with photos.  Most I will give another year to see how they adapt next summer.

Phlox Franz Schubert
Phlox in general can take the heat but this one is my best when deadheaded right up there with Blue Paradise.
Phlox Eva Cullum
This is a tall late bloomer but it surprised me this year with no mildew and more reblooming than I remember.
Plumbago (Ceratostigma Plumbaginoides)
This is an underused ground cover, comes up late in the spring, fall blooming and the leaves turn a bright red.
It is wonderful for color after the daylilies are done.  Arnie's Choice Daylily has been cut down after blooming and produces fresh green foliage to compliment the Plumbago.
Panicum Ruby Ribbons In Front of Pennestium Hamelin
Ninebark Summer Wine
It is even darker now than the photo shows and picks up the color of the Ruby Ribbons on the other side of the front garden.
Heuchera Southern Comfort
This heuchera was one of the best this summer, some dried leaves were easily pulled off to make way for new growth.  It is in the golden stage now changing to many ranges of orange and red.  This one keeps its foliage all winter!
Heuchera Peach Flambe
This heuchera didn't even blink in the high heat, no leaf loss and it takes full sun.  I have it planted on the north side along the path so it is probably darker than it would be in full sun.
Heuchera Autumn Leaves
This one is a keeper, some dried leaves in the heat but bounces back quickly with some extra water.
Heuchera Carmel
It looks a little sickly now but is beginning to recover from bleaching out, very little leaf drying.
The Heucherellas do very well in the heat with no leaf dieback on any of the ones I grow, i.e., Stoplight, Sweet Tea, Golden Zebra, Redstone Falls and Solar Eclipse.
Heucherella Golden Zebra
Heucherella Solar Eclipse
Many of the Heucheras and Heucherellas begin to look alike but they all have their own unique characteristics.  Some will take full sun and others prefer part shade, some are prone to insect damage and others are not susceptible.
Autumn Clematis blooms on the pergola so it's real beauty is appreciated from my bedroom window!
Ramona keeps on blooming.  I may cut down more of my Type II's and III's next year to see if I can get them to rebloom like this one.
Cimicifuga Atropurpurea
I like it even before it blooms.
Miscanthus Udine
This one has a pinkish plume when it opens up.
I bought one of those designer pumpkins this year to outfox the squirrels.  They are harder and lumpy, we'll see!