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Wednesday, May 11, 2016




Wednesday, 9:30 AM.  44 degrees F at both the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm at present.  The sky is overcast ant the humidity is 86%.  The barometer is 30.1" and falling, predicting showers later in the day or this evening.  The weekend looks like it will be cool and mostly cloudy.  Our city of Bayfield daffodils  still look good for Bayfield in Bloom.
   Yesterday I spent time calling Diggers Hotline to have utilities marked for our street tree plantings. Do not hesitate to use this free service any time you plan to sink a shovel in unfamiliar territory.  Utilities, especially telephone and internet and TV cable can be very shallow and unprotected, and if you damage one without calling before you dig, you are liable for repair costs; I have learned the hard way!
   The city trees, along with plants to be planted for customers on the lake shore, will be arriving from Northwoods Nursery this afternoon, and I have a busy week ahead laying out trees, supervising a large planting job and participating in the Garden Talk Radio Show on Friday.  I have been limping along on a very bum leg for over a week but it's getting better and I guess I will make it.
   Creeping phlox, Phlox subulata, in the Polemoneaceae Family, is native to the eastern United States, and is found on the dunes of Lake Michigan and some of the other Great Lakes.  It has been much planted and hybridized.  There are many cultivars and color shades from pink to white to blue.  Its native habitat is sand dunes and rocky ledges, and it does well in a rock garden.  It is an evergreen perennial and grows as a creeping mat, seldom taller than 6".  It can naturalize in less well cared for lawns, where it will withstand careful mowing.  One is fortunate indeed to have creeping phlox invade and persist in a lawn, where it is very beautiful but difficult if not impossible to introduce.
   The ornamental pears are small trees which can be very useful in parks, smaller landscapes and as small ornamental street trees.  Pyrus calleriana, in the Rose Family, is an Asian species of which there have been many varieties selected, such as Bradford and Chanticlear.  It has very small, inedible fruit so it can be used as a street and park tree.  
   The species is very weak wooded and prone to ice and wind damage and should not in my estimation be planted.  The varieties are much more reliable and are beautiful and useful.  I have read that some have become invasive in Missouri, and that means that they should be monitored, but so far I would still use them (with caution of course). 
   It is easy to say "use native species," but that really cuts down on the diversity of flowering trees and shrubs for city use, and natives have their problems and issues as well.  At this point I like the  tougher of the ornamental pear varieties and will continue to use them.

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