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Deuce Cities Henhouse

My April Garden

Pagoda Dogwood

Welp guys, there was a lot of death in my garden this year. This is strange to me since we didn’t have a worse than normal winter, it was actually a whole lot warmer than normal. A lot of perennial root systems seemed to turn to mush, and I can only imagine that it most likely had something to do with that warmer-than-usual-weather thing that the world has been experiencing. I lost my lupine, my Japanese maple, a peony, my perennial thyme, a heuchera, some ornamental grasses, the allium, a foxglove, and my rose bush took a beating – nearly all of these were in their second or third seasons so not well established in my yard yet. Anyways, I wanted to share and see if any of you local gardeners are experiencing the same destruction in your garden or if this is exclusive to just my garden in which case if it is, I’m in trouble. I also wanted to share this destruction with the folks who are feeling like you have a black thumb – please know that this gardening process is a whole lot of trial and error, experimentation, and plant murder. You learn by testing out different plants and take from that the knowledge of what works and doesn’t in your garden. Sometimes it’s just out of your control too, and you have to mourn the loss of some plants and move on.

Above you can see my dead Japanese Maple, it died because of an unrelated fungus that plagues my soil and kills Japanese maples. This is the second maple I’ve lost and it’s too expensive of a tree to risk repeating again. I am now going to replace that dead maple with a pagoda dogwood.

We already have three dogwoods in our yard but they are the bushier variety. I get a lot of questions about them and that’s because they don’t really look like your typical bushy dogwood. You can see a picture of them in bloom over here. I have two that sit next to the garage and one on the side of the house. When we moved in they were cut all the way back to the ground and when they starting fiercely popping through the soil and growing at a super fast rate, I had no idea what to do. At this point I didn’t even know what type of plant they were. For the first year I just kind of pruned them into a hedge shape thinking they would stop growing at some point. It wasn’t until the fall came and the branches turned bright red that I realized they were dogwoods. The next season I started trimming them back only leaving three or four main trunks for them to grow from. I then continue to shape them throughout the season cutting back any suckers I see pop up from branches or the soil around them. Cutting them like this encourages growth on the main trunks and they continue to grow taller and branch out horizontally – it’s like a big dogwood bonsai!

Anyways, this new pagoda dogwood is a tree and will grow to be about 15′ tall and wide but the branches are delicate and layered and won’t be super dense like a typical tree. Plus they flower in the spring and late summer just like my other dogwoods do.


Sunny Garden

This is the sunny garden I mentioned in a post two weeks ago. It’s coming in nicely with only the fatality of a clematis that I accidentally pulled out when I was doing my fall flower bed cleaning.






Bleeding Heart

Finn and Gus’ favorite plant.



This is the one that I didn’t kill, it’s growing fast this year, I’m excited to see how big it gets.


Maiden Hair Fern


Vanilla Strawberry Hydragena



Second season in the garden and all 5 of these are popping up – should have feathery light pink flowers in the deep summertime.


Veggie Garden

Okay, so this hasn’t been planted yet. This will be the first year not growing everything from seed. I ran out of time and have purchased some plants at the local nursery. The trellis’ are going to be exclusively for potatoes. We planted potatoes the last two summers and the kids go nuts over them. At the end of the summer we have a bbq, jeff make burgers and we make the best french fries out of those ‘taters. We’re officially potato farmers!



Crossing my fingers that the kids don’t crush this guy this year – I put a cage around him for protection from the beasts.


Foundation Garden Yr 2

Happy to be into year two of the foundation garden. You might remember that I dug everything out and planted with new perennials after we got our new front stoop installed last year. I still need to finish the paver border, but happy to see that everything is thriving.


Boulevard Garden

Still always a work in progress. Things don’t grow as much as they do in other parts of the yard because they take such a beating throughout the winter. It’s coming along though, slowly but surely.


April Garden Posts – By Year

in gardening, Month-to-Month
12 comments… add one
  • Beth May 3, 2017

    It’s looking good around your garden parts! I’ll be anxious to see pics of your Hydrangea tree.
    I had great luck , at your suggestion, of ordering some perennials through Monrovia.com and picking up at my local nursery. I had some huchera ( Southern Comfort) I wanted to add to my others and looked all summer for same type. I couldn’t find them. Then-I ordered from the grower and they shipped some beautiful plants to my nursery. I can’t wait to add them…. now what to do about bunny destruction…..???

    • Scoops May 5, 2017

      Hey, Hey! That’s cool that they send the plants to your local nursery – that way you don’t have to worry about them getting messed up in the mail. Those Heuchera’s are sooooo pretty, glad you were able to stock up!

      I’ll send Birdie over to get that bunny.

  • Monica May 3, 2017

    yeah, I’m blaming the (non) winter weather for our garden sadness too (in WI).
    Most of the creeping thyme I’ve been using as a groundcover (aiming for a no-mow front yard) crapped out over the winter. Some of it was over 3 years old. That’s gonna be a pain to replace. Our tree peony is in a very sad state, only one green shoot coming from one branch. Last year it was fine.

    • Scoops May 5, 2017

      What a bummer about the thyme! My neighbor lost hers too, it must have been the perfect conditions for destruction. I too had mine for 3 years and it was a good size, I was using it as ground cover around my veg beds.

      I hope your tree peony recovers, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. One of my lupine’s finally showed a little shoot yesterday so I have hope that not is all lost for us.

  • Jennifer May 4, 2017

    Across the river here in the Eastern metro, it appears several things didn’t survive the mushy winter.:( I’m especially bummed about two roses and a prairie partridge pea that looks like it’s dead. I keep peering at the garden thinking maybe they still will pop up.. At least the Korean maple survived! Happy planting-thanks for the inspiration!

    • Scoops May 5, 2017

      Oh no, not the roses! So sad for you. I had to google prairie partridge pea – does that spread easily or does it stay in one place? I need some yellow on my boulevard. I just mentioned in a previous comment, but I saw a sign tiny little lupine leaf pop up through the soil yesterday – maybe some stuff is extra slow to show itself this season. Happy to hear your maple made it! Fingers crossed for the others.

  • John May 4, 2017

    Dead maples may be a sign of Verticillium Wilt. We lost several trees to this. Fungus in the soil. It slowly strangles the tree. If there is a black spot/circle in the cross section of a limb, you got it. Simply gotta plant VW resistant plants.

    • Scoops May 5, 2017

      Hey John, Thanks for the comment! Yep, it is the Verticillium Wilt and it is such a bummer. The first tree that got the fungus was located in a different part of the garden so I was hoping that a new tree in a different location with different soil would survive. Didn’t work out, but the new pagoda dogwood is resistant.

  • Becky May 5, 2017

    Your garden is looking great! I think it was the freeze/thaw all winter long here in Ottawa (canada) that has sent things into a bit of tizzy and caused the roots to turn to mush. Also, my plants are much slower to come up this year because it has been such a cold spring. I am seriously tired of cold, dreariness and rain–I want to be in the garden with some warm weather and sunshine!

  • Anne May 6, 2017

    I love your garden posts! The people we bought our house from were super gardeners and we…are not. I have no idea what most of the stuff in our yard is and no idea what I should be doing with it. A few days ago I confessed to my husband that I fantasized about ripping out the landscaping in favor of simple, easy-to-understand grass. But your posts about your garden are super inspiring and make me want to care more about all the stuff planted in our yard. :)

  • Sasha May 8, 2017

    We lost a pile of perennials, too – two peonies, a bleeding heart, and the jury’s still out on the hydrangea. (Argh.) It’s so weird that a mild winter was a BAD thing! We’re used to 30 below temps – and apparently my plants were, too!

  • Elise May 9, 2017

    The only perennials we have are raspberry plants (if that’s the right term) that I planted last year. It looked like the rabbits stripped the little stalks over the winter, but there is new growth! Oh and I guess we have day lilies too, but those have been going strong for 25 years so their roots probably go down about 80 or 100 feet. So sorry for your losses, that really sucks (especially when things were pricey, like the Japanese Maple). Climate change can be rough, but think how much our properties will all be worth after Florida and other coastal areas are underwater. ;-)

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