Where have all the landscapes gone?   1 comment


My front landscape.
Curved beds, large perennial & shrub garden.

For the last 4 years, I’ve been working on my front landscape.  Trying to find that bed shape that’s just right…a shape that enhances the landscape, without overpowering it.  Something curvy, flowing, more organic.  No straight lines, please!  It’s not quite right, so I search for inspiration for the bed lines and replacement trees, for sick and overgrown trees.

I really seriously struggled with this.  I want my front garden & landscape to be inviting.  But I don’t want to look “over landscaped”.  I already have more perennials in my front yard than anyone in my neighborhood.  I don’t want to look like I’ve given up all grass.

So, a few times a week, I find myself out driving neighborhoods, to get some inspiration.  I mainly drive neighborhoods that look like mine… 10-15 year old, mass developed neighborhoods.  Well, guess what I’m finding?  NO ONE plants in their front yard.  Why?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the 7 shrubs and rock mulch, plus the 1-2 trees (as required by the city) are all well and good, but what happened to having an inviting front landscape?  A diverse planting of shrubs and perennials and annuals.  And lovely container pots.  Where did all the landscaping go?  I also noticed that trees are no longer sited in front of the home, rather off to the side.  It makes me wonder, as a kid, did these now-parents never get to climb a tree in their own front yard?

So, I set out to find something online.  Google, Houzz, Pinterest, back issues of mags.  The pickin’s are slim y’all!  Where are all the front landscapes?  There seemed to be plenty to chose from if you live on a small city lot, with a sidewalk out front where your home is only 25 feet from the curb.  But what about people like me… 1/3 acre, 50 foot setback, house barely differentiated from the next beige house.

So,  why has this become so difficult?  I can’t find ANY houses that have much more than a small island planting in their front yard.  Is it for the same reason that wonderful locally-owned garden centers like Linders are going by the wayside?

I accidentally turned into a 40 year old neighborhood last week.  What was this?  LANDSCAPES!!  Nicely maintained ones.  And it wasn’t a neighborhood where you’d expect people to have garden services.  These were owner-maintained yards.  I even saw a few people out working in their yards.  They were older than me, possibly retirement age.

Then it occurred to me.  Is it a generational thing?

So, who is buying all these new homes?  Oh, I get it now!  These homes are mostly being bought by 20- and 30-somethings.   Landscaping is not a big priority to that generation.  We know that HGTV doesn’t really do much “G” anymore.  These homes are 4-bedroom 2-story homes.  These homes were being bought by young families who have priorities that do not include maintaining a landscape.

I’m also working on a section of my back garden…completely reworking it.  So I decided to sell off a dozen or so mature clumps of daylilies.  I listed them on an online garage sale and to my surprise, 2 separate wonderfully nice 20-something ladies showed up to pick up their purchases.  I engaged both in a conversation about this very thing.  I applauded them for being young and being interested in gardening.  One told me NONE of her friends wanted anything to do with it.  They all lived in townhouses and had the requisite ONE hanging basket, that by now, is already dead from neglect.  She knows no one her age interested in landscaping. The other shared that her home came with a lot of plants she didn’t know what to do with, and I gave her some quick tutorials on dividing perennials of different kinds. I’m so thrilled they both have an interest.

What does this say for the landscapes of generations to come?  What does it say for true nurseries and garden centers?  Will they all be replaced by the limited offerings of what you can find at big-box stores so called “garden centers”?  Are these mass-produced homes going to give way to mass-produced gardens? Are we doomed to cookie-cutter landscapes that contain little more than a few Goldflame Spirea, Autumn Blaze Maple, and Stella d’Oro Daylilies? Oh, and lest we forget the occasional black-eyed susan.

It’s sad, really.  What can we do to get the younger generation to be more interested in gardening?  I know many of them want to plant veggies, but what about flowers? shrubs? true landscapes?


Posted June 12, 2014 by koskashostas in Garden Design, Other Perennials, Shrubs, Trees

Cypress Mulch on Sale at Home Depot this weekend 3/31-4/4   Leave a comment

Since the most searched topic on this blog is Home Depot Mulch Sale, I decided to post that today, while at HD, I saw mulch:  $1.37/bag.  Folks, that’s half price!  And when you buy 100 bags each year, that’s a huge savings.  Now, how does this stack up to other sales?  Well, normally, it’s $2.75/bag.  Memorial weekend, it’s usually $2, same with July 4th.  Later in the season it drops down too, but generally, this is THE best sale around.

But, I have to caution you.  If you’re a perennial gardener, it’s a bit early to throw down mulch.  The soil still needs to warm up and the mulch will insulate it and keep it from being able to do so.  But there’s no reason why you can’t buy it and have it stacked on your driveway for 2 months like I did…no joke!

Check your local Home Depot ad here:



Posted March 31, 2012 by koskashostas in Hostas

Hostas love rain, NOT hail!   Leave a comment

This spring has been so slow getting started.  I guess it all evens out as compared to last year.  By this time last year, the lilacs were almost done blooming, but this year, they’re just getting started.

All the rain we’ve had this week means the hostas are mostly unfurled, but they usually take another month to come into their full glory.  Kruggerand has a HUGE leaf this year.  I’m guessing it’s 16″ across!

Last night, just as I was going to sleep, I was jolted awake by 40 seconds of hail.  I’m used to hail in August, but in May?  I haven’t walked the gardens yet this morning, but I did get out the binoculars.  Most everything looks ok… minor damage maybe.  Last year, on the Friday evening of the American Hosta Society Convention, I was visiting my friend Jim’s garden.  When I arrived, I asked about the 50-cent tour while the rain was light.  Jim said, “let’s go out in 10 minutes, the rain will have blown over by then.”  Well, he was right, but in that 10 minutes, a 15 second hail storm came… marble size.  Shredded the garden.  My heart broke for him.  So, trying to get back to sleep last night, I couldn’t help but think about my friend Jim.

This year, I’ve done 2 treatments for slugs.  I might throw down another on Monday after this batch of storms is done.

The rabbits have found entry thru my chicken wire… haven’t figured out where.  So, I guess I need to get out the stinky spray again.  ICK!

I need to also do some treatment for foliar nematodes.  I had upwards of 30 infected last year.  So I really need to start that experiment…figure out which chemical is going to be the winner.  I’m sure with as wet as this spring has been, nems will be out in full force again.

Posted May 22, 2011 by koskashostas in Hostas

16 days!   Leave a comment

that’s the difference between 2010 and 2011.

Last year, my yellow tulips started blooming on April 19th.  This year, it’ll start blooming tomorrow… May 5th!  That’s 16 days difference.

I do think that some of the other plants will be even further out than 16 days.  I suppose that all remains to be seen!

Posted May 4, 2011 by koskashostas in Hostas

Home Depot Cypress Mulch Sale again!   Leave a comment

Well, I need to mark my calendar.  Last year, Home Depot had mulch on sale this same weekend.

Normally, it’s $2.75 per 2cu ft bag.  Right now, it’s $1.37 thru Sunday.  Limit 20 per customer.  We went tonight around 7:00 and since they weren’t busy, the checker in the garden center let us have as many bags as we wanted.  Turned out to be 40 bags per trip, but Home Depot is only about 2½ miles from our house.

So, we’re stocked on mulch!

Now, how does this sale compare with other Home Depot mulch sales?  I watched last year and this was the best.  Hands down.  Even Memorial Weekend, it was $2.00 per bag!

Happy Mulching!

4/27 EDITED TO ADD:  I was at HD today and saw that mulch is on sale this weekend:  5 for $10.

Posted April 9, 2011 by koskashostas in Hostas

It’s gone!   Leave a comment

The snow, that is!  Yesterday morning, there was one last patch of snow left in our yard…. of all places, it was in my SUN GARDEN!  What’s up with that?

The next door neighbor still has a bit of snow in her yard, next to her ice rink.

But, now that the snow is gone, again, I have snow mold to deal with…and I’m conflicted with whether to leave it alone (as my neighbor did last year, with only slightly worse results) or rake it this weekend.  I also have vole trails…something I’ve never dealt with before.  I’m told that a poison called Tomcat works well.  And then, there’s the spring clean up of last year’s foliage…only some of which was removed last fall.

So there’s lots to do even before the planting season begins!

I’ve got about 35 hostas, plus a dozen other plants on order for spring delivery… hopefully the first week of May, but at the rate we’re going, it looks like I’ll have to delay that a week or two.

I was looking at the 2010 Bloom Schedule and saw that my Bleeding Hearts were in bloom on 4/21.  Well that is NOT going to happen this year!  There is no sign of them even starting to sprout!

The Alliums are several inches tall, so I might get to enjoy those by 5/3, which is when they were in bloom last year.

I hope to do a better job updating the bloom schedule this year.  The plants I added last year aren’t on there at all!

Happy Spring everyone!

Posted April 7, 2011 by koskashostas in Hostas

Ordering Hostas in the Winter   3 comments

Yup, there’s close to 3′ of snow on the ground here in Minnesota.  In our area, the KARE11 weather folk tell us this is the snowiest December on record.  Last year, we had this much snow on the ground at the end of winter.  So, what in the world am I doing thinking about hostas this winter?

Well, with the number of hostas in my collection mounting 400 different varieties, I’m finding that my local sources for quality hostas are getting fewer and further between.  So, I’m forced to look at ordering thru the mail.  This time of year, many of the larger mail-order hosta nurseries start posting their “New for 2011” lists.  I’ve got 20-25 I’m considering ordering for a May delivery.  Another local source I have has another 10 on hold for me.

I was supposed to be limiting myself next year, but I did create 2 new gardens.  Moving my heuchers, tiarellas and heucherellas to their own dedicated garden will mean room for about 30 hostas.  But with the dedicated space for these beauties, I’m sure I’ll be ordering a dozen or so new varieties!

So, that pretty much accounts for everything I plan on ordering.  Part of me is sad that I have to cut myself off, but I hope that by Memorial Weekend, I’ll be able to focus on enjoying being in my garden, rather than planting!

Posted December 27, 2010 by koskashostas in Hostas