Spring has Sprung in my Zone 5 yard! Anybody else w/ blooms?

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi and Happy Spring(??) to all you Upper Midwesterners!

With this Unusual. . . (make that Wierd, Odd, Strange or whatever description you prefer). . .Weather, my plants don't know how to act. Anyway, I already have Daffodils & Giant Crocus blooming, also Tulips & Hyacinths with buds. I also have assorted perennials starting to come up.

How about the rest of you? Anybody's yard waking up yet?

Below are a few pics. I'll try to take more in the next few days.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Beautiful photos! The whole country is having warm weather, except for the Pacific NW. We are 10-15 degrees colder than average, and my yard is extremely delayed! (I grew up in northern MN, so I lurk here also in the Midwest forum) Normally, my daffs would be done, and the camellias, and azaleas would be blooming.....but not yet. Daffs have just started. Heathers are looking good though.

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Union Grove, WI(Zone 5b)

Our daffodils are blooming too, I just love them!

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi kosk0025 & Welcome!

Thanks for your compliment. Your Heathers are gorgeous! It's funny that you grew up in MN cause I grew up in southern CA & eventually moved north to an area just south of the OR border, though IL has been my home for a very long time.

My husband and I have wonderful, fond memories of Salem, OR. Some of the friendliest people we ever met anywhere in the country.

Many years ago we used to travel all over the U.S. to exhibit at trade shows and fairs. As part of our display of sharpening equipment, we had assorted knives on the table, many of them very expensive custom knives. We had a clear plexiglass "guard" or "fence" surrounding our display for safety and to avoid theft, but didn't want to completely enclose them in a glass case as we were picking them up frequently

On the first night of the fair in Salem, there was a power outage in the exhibit building. The whole place went completely black. At the time there were about 15-20 people looking at our display. In many parts of the country, that would be too temping for unsavory people and theft was a major concern. My husband and I immediately spread our arms over the table the best we could, but it turns out we didn't have to. At the prompting of one of the visiters, this group of total strangers joined hands and leaned in to protect our booth!!

When the lights came back on we thanked everybody profusely, but to this day it's one of the most impressive experiences we've ever run into with people we had never met!

Long story, but one I thought you'd enjoy.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi Chrissy,

We'll probably regret it when they finish up early, but right now it is fun, isn't it?

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

That's a great story about Salem! We love it here---definitely the friendliest place I've ever lived.....(actually, probably tied with Ames, Iowa---nice people there, too). We lived in Portland for 8 years, before moving here 4 years ago. Our Portland friends were confused and horrified that we would move to Salem. (Salem is the state capital, but there are also 3 prisons here). But we love it. One of the main reasons we moved was so that I could have some acres for gardening. It is hard for me to imagine not having my yard/garden now.

Pic--pulmonaria (lungwort) just barely starting to bloom. I put these in last year after they had bloomed, so I'm excited to see them.

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Hobart, IN

All of the spring bulbs here are blooming. Additionally, we've got forsythia and magnolia blooming. Pulmonaria and primulas are blooming with Epimedium flower buds set to open up today. Virginia bluebells are also emerging and should bloom this week with the warm weather we've been having here.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Nuts... interesting about your custom knife story.
Folders or Fixed?? or a mix of both? recall any of the makers??

with all your travels, how'd you end up in Algonquin??
That used to be so "off the beaten path" but with western expansion... not so much anymore.
~~ I'm out near Ohare.

Since I do not have bulbs [with the exception of lilies] I do not have anything in full bloom,
though my Rhododendrons started opening today.

I have tons of fallen seeds that have germinated... weren't there yesterday,
but today they were... I can tell some are salvias, Morning Glories and Delphiniums
plus lots of weeds i'm sure....


Hobart, IN

Terese - rhodies already??? My Northern Lights azaleas haven't leafed out yet but my one and only lilac ('Miss Kim') is opening its leaves. Pulmonaria, bloodroot, Epimediums are blooming. Bleeding hearts are shooting out of the ground.
Wish we would have gotten a little more rain today. Only got about 10 to 15 minutes of light rain but with the warmth, we need more. Maybe tonight.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

we got a lil rain today... i was indoors - so i dont know how long, but by 2pm, when i was done with what i was doing... the sun was coming out.

I hope we get more over night... it's really warm, about 75 still -- lots of "green" in Iowa... hope it swings our way. we are so dry with not much snow this year.

Union Grove, WI(Zone 5b)

Funny...I grew up in Illinois, now live in Wisc, never gave Algonquin much thought til this week. Looked it up after getting the invite to my nephews wedding (reception is in Algonquin) and now it's a topic here ...just find that interesting!

I got some of my flower beds cleaned up this past weekend, have 3 more to do, but they're not too bad. We also bought all the wood we need for the picket fence we're going to build this summer.

Daffodils are in full bloom, tulips are springing up but no color yet. I can see all sorts of plants trying to break through the mulch, the trees all have buds on them, and I have an odd spot in the yard where I tossed in a bunch of little bulbs whim when I first moved here that are really sprouting up this year little tiny flowers, no clue what they are and wish they were bigger :-)

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Wow. . . lots of posts since I was here last. I sat down last night after the Bulls game to read some of them and suddenly the power went off. We finally went to bed. . .good thing, too because it apparently stayed off for about 3 hours!

kosk0025 ~ your Pulmonarias are very pretty! Love the colors.

Cindy ~ sounds like your whole yard is blooming! I bet it's beautiful.

tcs1366 ~ I love Rhododendrons and Azaleas. I've been reluctant to plant them because of the acid soil requirement. I'd be interested in hearing from some of you what you do to overcome our illinois alkaline soil.

Your "mystery" germinating seeds sound exciting. Please let us know what all came up when they start to bloom.

As far as the knives go, I'll make it very quick since I don't want to hijack the thread with something so unrelated.

Knives were our business, but we were also collectors, plus my husband was teaching himself to make custom knives. We had a lot of customs, both folders & fixed. . .many different makers. . .some were founding members of the Knifemakers Guild Association and many became friends over time.

Some of our favorite makers were G.W.(George) Stone, Corbet Sigman, Billy Imel, but there were several others as well. Some of the makers have since passed away. A more recent member we're very impressed with is Hiroyuki Sakurai, who we met when he first became a member, as my husband was asked to act as his translator at the Knifemakers Guild show one year in Las Vegas (My husband is fluent in Japanese, another long story). After the show, he sent each of us one of his beautiful custom knives as Thank You gifts!

Neither of us is originally from IL. The first place we lived in IL was Elk Grove Village, so I'm very familiar with Itasca. From there it was Schumburg. We hadn't planned to stay in IL, but eventally it became home. When we were no longer traveling all the time we decided to buy a house. One of the areas we looked at was Algonquin and bought a house here over 10 years ago. We love it here and so do alot of other people, so it's growing by leaps and bounds. I think you'll be surprised at all the beauty here in this area.

We live right along the Fox River Trail which is a walking/bicycling trail that starts at the top of IL and goes to Aurora. We have tons of birds, squirrels, deer, and other critters on our heavily treed property. We also have alot of shade which is challenging as far as what I plant. The only real sun is near the back of our house.

Hopefully that helps to answer some of your questions even though it's pretty abreviated.

To the rest of you, I apologize for the loooong post. From here on, it will be strictly "ON SUBJECT".

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

CindyMzone5 ~
Wow...You already have lots of perennials and flowering shrubs blooming. I'm jealous. One of these days I'll have to find a sunny spot to plant a flowering shrub or two. I'd love to try Azaleas and/or Rhododendrons since they can take more shade, but I'd have to constantly supplement for their acid soil requirements. I am starting to see beginnings of Heucheras/Heucherellas, Aquilegias, Dianthus and some others that Hummers like so hopefully they'll be up & blooming by the time the hummers arrive. Right now I have a couple of very compact Hydrangeas and a small Spiraea that I planted the year before last.

ItsMeChrissy ~
Where in Algonquin is the Wedding/Reception? There are different sections, with most of the building, but not all, going on near Randall Rd.

Randall Rd. continues way South. . .Elgin, St. Charles, and further. The commercial building (Stores, strip malls, etc.) along Randall goes on seemingly forever. Check out Algonquin Commons (an upscale outdoor mall). Most of that area was farms so there aren't as many trees, but the whole area is pretty.

If you get a chance, drive east to the Fox River. We're at least 1/2 mile east of the Fox River because we wanted a larger yard with mature trees. Algonquin is spread out more than most people realize.

Northeast, IL(Zone 5b)

Nuts, growing rhodos in our climate and clay soil is not a big deal at all. Plant them in a hole amended well with compost and pine bark fines, with the top of the root ball situated slightly above ground level. You feed them in spring to early summer each year with Miracid and/or soil sulfur, two or three times. That's it. I have two beautiful PJM type rhodos that are at least 15 years old and still going strong. Now azaleas on the other hand, I have had no luck with those.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I have never had luck with Azaleas either.

Hobart, IN

nuts - have you ever had your soil tested? Would it be any different than the rest of IL because you're near the river? Sometimes you can "read" your soil acidity by the wild plants/weeds that grow close to your home. I think in clay soil (which I have too), don't plant rhodies or azaleas too deep. They're shallow rooted plants and prefer it that way. Diluted brewed coffee is another way to help promote acidity. 4 parts water to 1 part brewed coffee. I usually use the leftover morning coffee. Or Espoma makes a fertilizer called Hollytone for acid-lovers - very reputable brand. That's what I usually use to feed the rhodie family as well as my hollies and Hinoki cypress. There are lots of great flowering shrubs for shade so you needn't grow only in sun.
I've been growing the Northern Lights family of azaleas and haven't lost one yet. They're taller and more open in structure but lots of great color.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Goldenberry & CindyMzone5 ~

You guys have me all excited now!

Goldenberry - What exactly are Pine bark fines?? Is it just finer pine bark mulch? I'm very familiar with Miracid and I know what soil sulpher is, but have never used it. Planting a little high makes sense, especially since we do have lots of clay.

CindyMzone5 - We've never had our soil tested and would probably need to do it all over the yard since our yard is large. I have one long narrow raised bed that my husband built several years ago. He removed most of the soil and added bagged topsoil plus all kinds of ammendments like crushed leaves, compost, etc. It's the nicest bed to work in the whole yard & might be a great location for a first attempt.

I get coffee grounds all spring and summer from Starbucks to add to both my beds & compost bin, plus I save my coffee grounds, filters & all in a plastic bag. When the bag's full I dump it in my compost bin..even in Winter. I like the idea of mixing it with water.

I have also used some of the Espoma products.

Wow. . .Thanks so much!

Hobart, IN

nuts - your raised bed sounds luscious. I know I should change over to raised beds (at least in some areas) but I'm not ready to dig everything up to do it. I save all of my coffee grounds and filters and even during the winter, I'll hike out to the compost bed to dump them in along with veggie scraps. A lot of the acid is removed from the grounds during brewing. The water ratio is for actual coffee so the ratio of grounds to water might be lower. You might find more specific info on the net.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Cindy -
The raised bed is nice, but it was alot of work. The clay soil was almost like digging up concrete in some places, plus when this house was originally built they, apparently, threw leftover chunks of concrete and huge rocks out into the back and then just covered it up. Add the roots from our neighbor's Maple tree and I doubt that my husband would want to repeat it too often.

Also, because our yard slopes slightly in two directions, he graded it and built the bed higher towards the back side and angled towards one end so it would be basically level. I don't think I would have had the strength to dig down as deep as he did.

Hobart, IN

My yard slopes quite a bit as well. I think the creek that's near us used to be so much bigger and we're kind of on the former bank of it. My lower garden is 10 ft lower than the rest of yard. I'm always looking for stuff to slow the water running down the hill during rain. If I was younger, I'd probably take the time to build stone terraces but for now, logs and landscape timbers will have to do.

Northeast, IL(Zone 5b)

Yes, pine 'fines' are just small pine bark bits. I started out sifting pine bark mulch to get the smaller pieces to put in containers and raised beds but it was a lot of work. Home Depot carries pine bark mulch that has pretty small pieces. As long as you don't buy the nuggets, any pine mulch will probably work well.

I have been thinking about going to Starbucks and begging for their coffee grounds. Maybe this weekend! I am making a couple of raised beds and need stuff to fill them.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Cindy -
We have a teeny, tiny creek in the very back of our yard that sometimes develops after lots of rain very early in the season. We haven't had a problem this year so far and it usually only lasts a couple of days. I suspect there may have been a small creek when this development was built that was filled in. We've considered building a "rain garden", but it gets very dry back there once the weather warms up.

Thanks Goldenberry, I'll have to check Home Depot.

By-the-way, you don't even have to "beg" at Starbucks. Most of them have large baskets sitting out with bags of used grounds. They usually have a big label on them that says "Grounds For Your Garden". Whenever I'm near a Starbucks, I usually go in and grab one or two even if I'm not buying anything that day. Then I Thank them and go on my way. If you catch some of them at the right time you can get alot more. I usually keep a 5-gallon bucket & lid in my trunk during Spring/Summer. Sometimes they'll dump grounds in the bucket for you.

I had to post my first Tulip of the season. Not the greatest pic of a Darwin Red Impression & barely open (Darwins get huge!), but it's March folks!!

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Hobart, IN

Congrats on the first tulip. I have a couple that should open up in another day or so. I don't plant a lot of tulips since they generally decline (for me) over a couple of years.
Indian hawthorn is blooming now as is Viburnum carlesii. Columbine 'Corbett' has a couple of buds - usually the first columbine here to bloom. Wood poppy is also blooming as are bleeding hearts.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Cindy - I pretty much only grow Darwin Hybrid Tulips. They're very perennial and huge. All the ones I have are from Brent & Becky's and I've had them about 4 years. So far they show no signs of decline.

I have perennials growing, but nothing anywhere near blooming, like yours.

Whitmore Lake, MI(Zone 5b)

I have daffodils, and in Ann Arbor the flower trees are gangbusters!

Hobart, IN

DD is down from Holland, MI and was mentioning the weeping cherry trees blooming up there. Here, the redbud is now blooming as well as a dogwood.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Blooms abounding here...Crazy

Heliabore,1st ever bloom,and Rockcress

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Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Beautiful pics, huggergirl!

I've been wanting to get some Hellebore for my "mostly shady" yard. What variety is the one in the photo?

Hobart, IN

I agree with Nuts - we want to know about your hellebore, Hugger. Kinda looks like a double.
Currently blooming - bleeding hearts, Pulmonaria, flowering almond, primrose, Epimedium, Hepatica, Indian hawthorn finishing up, Virginia bluebells. Woodland phlox getting ready to bloom and Trilliums are just starting to open up.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Amazing! You guys have so many plants blooming already.

Aside from lots of bulbs, the only perennial that has started to bloom in my yard is my Brunnera "Jack Frost". A few plants have started getting tiny buds, but most of them haven't even started thinking about blooming yet.

By-the-way, I recently read in the Chicago Tribune that the USDA has changed (or is about to) the Zones slightly.
As an example, I'm in Zone 5a & It might be changed to 5b, but I have microclimates all over my yard & up near the back of my house, everything tends to bloom earlier.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Here's a pic of my Brunnera. It's still really tiny. Last year it grew a bit more before it started blooming & eventually got pretty large even though it was only in it's 2nd year. I really love this plant!

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Hobart, IN

Yep, Brunnera are blooming here. Mine are small since it's still early but blooming. Seems to me that a lot of plants are flowering while they're still emerging. Virginia bluebells came up with flower buds ready to open once they cleared the ground.
I never knew if I was 5A or 5B because of the little microclimates here. Now I'm 5B. DD in Holland, MI is 6B.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Is anyone else having ttrouble loosing posts ??? Ive lost several lately ??? very Irritating,to say the least...ugghh

It only happens with photos ???

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Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Got that one ... seems to me try to load more than 1 photo at a time ,I get tossed...???

Here goes again, Thanks for the spell ck...Hellebore...LOL...I ve never had all these blooming at the same time ever ....LOVING IT...

The back ofthe garage trying to get it filled in ...getting there

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Hobart, IN

Lovin' the photos.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)


Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

OK - hugger - I'm going to try to load several pics to see if there's a problem on the site. Wish me luck!

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Whitmore Lake, MI(Zone 5b)

Check out the view from my office! Ann Arbor has beautiful trees, of course :)

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Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Im a high speed dialupper....I have a great connection ,but Ive never had this much trouble...ever...??? I have new modem too..

Got these at walmart...Daffodil `Tete-a-Tete`Lil cuties they are,and only 6-8 iches tall

This message was edited Mar 29, 2012 7:14 AM

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Hobart, IN

Ach! Astilbe flower buds are coming up! Touch of frost on the roof of the house across the street and I know one or two nights this next week will be dicey in terms of frost/freeze. I wonder how much cold the new oak leaves can take. DD when in TN had a late, hard frost/freeze after their normal warm spring and the trees lost so many leaves that didn't regrow the rest of the year.

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