Re: [gardeners] tulips

penny x stamm (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 02:13:31 -0400


Rhodies won't grow in Chicago where one daughter lives, nor
in St.Louis, where another one lives. In the suburbs just north of 
Chicago city, everyone's landscaping is identical. They deep
sculpture hedges of what looks like ilex. No variety whatsoever.
OTOH, since I designed the tiny front garden at daughter's house, 
at least we did put in some junipers, two cypress, a small holly, 
a small white pine, and a bird's nest spruce. She has the one and
only 2-story colonial on the block; everything else is 1-story. And 
there happen to be several enormous cottonwood trees front and 
back, which give the place an air of grace. We made a safari out to 
all the nurseries in that area, and finally found one kind of rhodie,
Nova Zembla, a medium dark red -- but the nursery said don't
buy them, for they will not survive Chicago's very high winds. They
should only be planted far to the west of Lake Michigan... Azaleas,
none. But lilacs -- yes!  They have no trouble thriving. 

The St.Louis house has redbud trees in a row, all along the right
side. There are two enormous, healthy holly trees flanking the 
old-fashioned brick porch. Instead of foundation planting, she
regularly planted annuals in front of the house, and up alongside
the front sidewalk. The house had an impenetrable overgrown 
brick-walled back garden, circa 1910, so we sent her a 
"come-along" from Sears, Roebuck, climbed on a plane with 
work clothes, and the  3 of us dug out dozens upon dozens of
what they call "stink trees", while I especially hacked away with 
giant clippers at whatever bushes I could recognize underneath the
brush. In the end we discovered a brick lined path, a bird bath, 
and 3 rose bushes surviving total neglect. She searched the 
nurseries and discovered two rhododendrons which she grabbed
and planted in the ivy smothered ground. Azaleas refused to grow on
her side of the street. Now that's a hot one!  You could see a few
of them on the East side, but none at all on the West!  The rhodies
survived protected by the brick wall and the overhead leaf cover, but
never grew very big. 
I don't worry about being battered and bruised, Ron. At my age, I don't
have to walk down the ramp to show off my bikini (or whatever) ... My 
#2 daughter is turning 50, and NOW she tells me that she used to be 
mortified when I picked her up at school, and I would be wearing her
Dad's old Army pants held up with a piece of clothes line....  
Penny, NY

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