While it remains to be seen if the majority of shrubs we planted last June will reappear next spring after they struggled all summer during the drought — despite our efforts in keeping them watered — at least one of our new rose bushes next to the patio seems to be doing well, even this late in the season!
We are very fortunate to have a good friend whose family owns a wholesale nursery about an hour northwest of Chicago. They specialize in trees and shrubs, and he is at least partially responsible for my transition from “all natives” to including more variety. I had started to lean away from natives because of our sumac debacle, and over the past year or so I had also been starting to think that planting more shrubs would be a lot less work for us during late fall/early spring cleanup.
So back in June he gave us an extensive tour of their growing facility and pointed out a number of his favorite trees, evergreens and shrubs (and he has a LOT of favorites!). We filled up the back of our VW wagon with Hydrangeas and St. Johns Wort (which was included in the landscape plan our designer friend created, and both of which are native to Illinois), but he also encouraged us to try the rose bushes. He assured us they weren’t as fussy as other varieties and would bloom all summer long. It looks like three didn’t make it — probably because of the soil where we planted them (where our concrete sidewalk used to be), so we’ll have to amend the soil and try again next spring.
We were finally able to get out there again last weekend for more plants. I was thinking that I’d just like to bring home an evergreen to plant near the back of the yard to help screen the view of the alley — and now is a good time to plant them. But I guess they were too big to fit in our car so he’s going to bring it to us in his truck at some point. We didn’t come home empty-handed though! Oh no, we ended up coming home with 11, yes eleven, shrubs.
He suggested that we leave them in their pots and plant them in the ground as is over the winter and then in spring we can easily dig them up and move them once we figure out where we want them. Some of our existing plants need to be moved anyway, and spring would probably be a better time to do that. So while it’ll be cool this weekend, in the upper 40s, it looks like we’ll be planting a few shrubs in addition to our other indoor chores.