Summer's not ever yet, is it? I seem to recall having a couple more good months at this point. So I hit the dirt one more time to fill in some gaps and spruce some things up.
I moved the cranesbill (which I brought back from Bloomington in spring 2003) from the patch in the back yard, which will be decimated by porch repairs soon, to the container by our doorstep. In: the unfortunately named Magilla Perilla and some ivy. Out: most of the lamb's ear, which was looking patchy and bad, and the trailing viola, which also was ailing.
In the front, the center bed continues to mystify me. Some things just aren't doing well at all. Only the begonia and the calladium thrive, with the random violets finally fading. To complement the red calladium, I added some red celosia and some red and pink hypoestes.
In the dark east bed, filled in some gaps with some pachysandra from the back yard. Added some more mulch, as some areas had gotten pretty uncovered. Crossed fingers.
Of all the spots in my garden, this one makes me proudest. Ironically, it's one I've given the least thought to. Still, the combination of hosta, calladium, and elephant ear looks nice and balanced here, at least for now.
The other beds are puttering along. Several failures in the center bed have left a big gap and I'm not sure how to fill them in yet. The violets are fading out and some of the other things are struggling, so we may need some happy, hardy late summer variety here. A couple weekends of travel loom, however, so we may not see resolution soon.
Meanwhile, efforts to find a home soil test kit have proved, well, soggy.
High summer now and my mind lightly turns to thoughts of soil tests. I've decided we need one, because some parts of the yard are still not thriving, despite considerable attention. Here's some IUC information about soil testing and a list of labs.
In other news, about a year ago we had grubs in the lawn, and it looks like they're back. Here's an article with a tip about grubs.
FWIW, here's an alternative view about soil quality from an organic perspective.
This is a grim, sleeves-rolled-up entry. But not all is bad. Holy moly, more calladium! Pictures coming soon.
Chicago is the city that works, the city of stockyards, the city of big shoulders and so on...but that doesn't mean we don't like cute statues of animals in our public spaces! Fight your way past the dozing old guys, the tai chi practicing women, and the frolicking dogs to check out the critters around the fountain in Washington Square Park.
Meanwhile, at home, the calladiums are up. Here are some representative samples, slugging it out against the hostas that ate Northern Illinois.