Hello! St Louis Style Blog has moved! If you are seeing this, it means you are viewing our old blog. Please navigate your browser to www.stlouis.style and add it to your bookmarks. Same blog, same posts, new look!
I recently was down in Branson, MO looking at a fabulous home...you will have to wait a few months to find out more about it. When I was down there, a local nursery contractor told me to use Irish Spring bars in panty hose to repel deer. I am going to try it! Online I read that the deer dislike the animal fat used in the bars more than the scent.
Last weekend I visited the garden of Alan Lorence who writes the blog- It's Not Work, It's Gardening. His parcel is jam packed with bamboo (over 50 species), tropicals, natives, sedums and so much more. I came back with some bamboo plants....for my Asian-inspired garden.
Yesterday the birds had me up at 5 AM which gave me the perfect time to catch up on some weeding and gardening. One project I am working on is improving a stretch of land I have along Litzsinger. Right now it has some old tiger lilies in it and weeds. I started on a project to run a strip of hybrid "classy" day lilies all along the strip. I thought it would be nice for drivers, walkers and bikers to see. Pics next year!
If you have read my blog for a while, I used to feature more pictures of my garden. Well I moved three years ago and have been working on the garden at my new home. I am excited that my cutting garden will begin blooming this week! Unless I get a raid from my deer friends...it should be good. They always say it takes 3 years for perennials to start to look good. Here are a few pictures of what is going on now....my planters are certainly happy!
A planter designed by Bernoudy that I found on 1stDibs in Arizona....it has a mate also!
And my Alliums from a couple weeks ago...they have faded now
Like a good son, I woke up early Saturday morning to meet my mother at SLAM to see their Art in Bloom exhibit. This is the first year that I have gone and I really enjoyed it. Floral artist interpreted masterpieces with arrangements. It is is over now....though catch it next year!
I was at two Kirkwood-area garden stores last weekend and couldn't find any Giant Allium bulbs. A lady next to me was also desperate to find some....they are the hot bulb! Well I did find a bunch of them at Summer Winds Nursery on Clarkson Rd....30% off, though they are still $5.50 a bulb. They better come up....my bill was over $100. I hope I have a real show in the late Spring! I hear some people spray paint the old blooms when they dry out.
The picture below from a friend's pool-side garden in the Cherokee Street area.
My annuals will probably escape frost tonight, though maybe not....I though I would preserve them in photos. Right now they look at their peak, so it is a shame to have them stricken down....though cold weather must come. I bought a bunch of flowering kale today from Bowoods and Garden Heights to fill my planters if the frost does hit hard. I am sure you will see pictures of these.
On a somewhat side note....I have this adolescent buck gracing my yard. He has stripped one side of a newly planted magnolia and taken a Coral Bark Japanese Maple down from a 6 ft. specimen to a 2 ft stump. Why can't he focus on the invasive honeysuckle bushes in the area? The other night I followed him down Litzsinger Rd in my car as he galloped along. I am glad that I have some self control....and he is nice to look at in my yard.
Yesterday I popped into Bowood Farms in the CWE. I was delighted to find a nice selection of Winterberry. I snatched up the plants with the best berries....and one homely-looking male plant....which you need if you want berries next year! I am going to put them in my large planters over the winter and then plant them in the Spring. I did this with Reg-twigged Dogwood bushes last year and they added a nice splash of color.
I did my part at my last house....it was painful to get rid of the cover, though I ended up with lovely new plantings! This Summer I finished eradicating the honeysuckle from my new house. Ladue is really overrun with it. Now it is your turn!
A bigger project is getting rid of it on our farm in Pike County. Over just the last 4 years, I have noticed that it has really taken hold in the area and our farm. The good news is that it is the last thing to lose leaves and the first to get them. Someone told me that you can paint the trunks, after you cut them down, with white vinegar. There are strong things that you can find at the hardware store.
This is my second Summer in my new house and the garden and container plantings are making me so happy. It really is coming in! They say it takes 3 years for a perennial garden to look great. I can't imagine what it will look like next year!
Originally planted in urban areas, honeysuckle is spreading to the Missouri countryside and strangling native plants and trees. Once it becomes established, it is virtually impossible to eradicate. This plant kills all other plants and wildflowers and limits physical access to properties.
Please become familiar with this threat to our Missouri countryside and take action to stop it.
This morning I went for a morning walk on the new Litzsinger sidewalk in Ladue that goes by my house that ends at the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center and Tilles Park at the other end. This has been a nice additional to my area. Walking or running on Litzsinger has always been treacherous. I took a quick peek at the restored prairie at the Ecology Center which is peaking right now. Please note that this Center is not open to the public and requires a reservation.....Oops, I did not make one...though you should! Click HERE for more information.
If you have followed my blog over the years, you know I was more into gardening posts. Since moving into my new house, I am still working on the gardens here....so not as much to show. My planters are looking lovely....I especially have become a big fan of Dragon Leaf Begonias.
I know everyone in St. Louis is worrying about the affects of this harsh winter on our beloved bamboo groves....well at least some of us are!
Our local bamboo expert, Alan Lorence, provided me with this information. Check out Alan's blog HERE
Rough winter for bamboo for sure. In general, there are a few levels of damage that occur to the arboreal (tree-like) bamboos:
1) Leaf burn. This is when parts of leaves get that dried, light green/gray look, or possibly brown, but parts of the leaf stay green and healthy.
2) Leaf kill. Entire leaves get dried, crispy, curly. Interior parts of larger bamboo plantings may still have leaves that are undamaged or only slightly burned. All of my bamboos show this kind of damage this year (Yellow Groove is in this category)
3) Culm kill. Not only do all of the leaves on a culm die, but the dormant leaf buds are killed too. I suspect that all of my plantings have some culms that have been killed and will need to be removed after it warms up. (Yellow Groove is probably in this category too.) Note that some bamboo growers have observed that dead culms take on a darker color, and will start to smell like alcohol once it warms up a little -- the sugars in the dead culm have started to ferment.
4) "Top kill". Everything above ground has died, no culms survived. The rhizomes will still produce new shoots, but they probably will be smaller than the previous years'. I suspect that I have a few species that are in this category. The black bamboo is a good example of this. This could happen to a small or young planting of Yellow Groove, if it's not dense enough to self-shelter some of the innermost culms.
5) Rhizome death. If it get brutally cold and there is no snow cover, all of the rhizome buds can be killed too. This results in a dead plant that won't come back. This will never happen in St. Louis, or if it does, we have more things to worry about than how our bamboo is doing.
For the shrubby bamboos (like the big-leaved varieties you got from me last year) you've definitely got leaf kill, but will have to wait until spring to see if they'll leaf back out. I'll probably shear all of the leaves off but leave the culms standing. If they don't start releafing I'll cut them down to the ground before they start shooting.
For groundcover species (which typically topkill every year anyway) I just mow them to the ground before they start shooting.
It is that time of year to harvest your basil and make pesto before its frosts. Last night, after a busy few days of socializing, I stayed in and made pesto. Some I am keeping fresh in the refrigerator (top the container with a layer of olive oil so it does not darken) and the rest I will freeze. I think I was a little heavy on the garlic....I still reeked of garlic in the morning....glad I stayed home after eating my pesto pasta!
Yesterday I finally tore out the mint patch in my patio. (Don't worry...I still have plenty of mint tucked here and there in the garden.) It looked okay in the Spring, though it gets a little ratty looking later in the season. I created a little seasonal square using miniture boxwoods.
Today I finally was able to carve out a little time to visit garden blogger, Alan Lorence. He specializes in bamboo, though has so much more! I used to have bamboo at my old house, though I have not planted any new bamboo at my new home. I picked out a few new varieties from Alan's garden and brought them home. Now bamboo gardening is not for the passive gardener. It requires hard work and management or else the bamboo can become a problem for you and your neighbors. You should first start by building some sort of barrier around the bamboo....and it should go down 18". I used roof flashing in the past. Alan has lots of energy and mostly practices root pruning to keep his bamboo in check.
The pictures below are not of bamboo, though of some of Alan's plants that are currently in bloom. I have never seen so many birds and bees frolicking around a yard. It is a happy place. Check out Alan's blog HERE.
This Spring I redid a bed in my yard to feature a Canna lily surrounded by Persian Shield. I really like how the combination is coming along and it will only look better and better as the summer progresses!
I went out to our farm in Pike County today to sign up a fabulous new listing. Very important/ historic property! While there I checked on my apple trees and found them alive with honey bees! I am hoping for a load of apples this Fall. If you remember, last Spring I planted 3 new Stark Bros apple trees to help pollinate the one that has been there 15 years alone.
Bradford Pears were supposed to be sterile. Well they are breeding and becoming invasive. All of those pretty white flowering trees along the highway are offspring. The Forestry Department is seeing them pop up in our State Forest. This is not good news.
I have winterberry envy. There is a nice cluster of bushes right on Litzsinger Rd. I have to do everything in my power not to stop and cut some branches for my house. Instead I am going to scour nurseries to see if I can find some in full berry that I can put in planters for the Holiday Season....then I will plant them in the yard. Make sure that you get at least one male bush or you will not have berries!
Sweet Gum trees are one of the least favorite trees that people have in their yards. They were popular in the 50's so you see them often in the yards of ranch homes. The "gum balls" are a real annoyance. I have one in my yard that I really love. The branches are low and stretch out. They are also covered with moss and turn bright green after a rain. Here is my tree on this foggy morning.
Last month I had the treat of visiting Alan Lorence at his garden in West County. Alan must have 50+ varieties of bamboo and hundreds of other plants. Early this year you may remember he came to my old house to help me contain my bamboo. I went to his home garden to see what varieties I want for my new house. I think with the Asian feeling of my property, bamboo will be at home. I just need a plan to contain and maintain it. Warning! You just can not plant running bamboo and not tend to it.