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Amparo Bertram

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08:58 pm: Balcony-scaping
I don't have a yard yet, but that doesn't stop me from planning all the things that I want to do when I finally get one. With that in mind, I've been looking into various landscaping techniques and making lists of the types of plants I hope to grow. I decided that I definitely want some Japanese plants for my future yard, and I investigated a number of different options. I ran across the website for Momiji Nursery, which sells Japanese maple trees, and it looked like it would be an interesting place to visit.

mangaroo was kind enough to agree to go with me, and on Saturday she drove us north to the nursery to check out the selection. I had made a list in advance of a number of different varieties that had qualities that appealed to me, and I sought out the ones that the nursery had in stock. They have trees in many different sizes, from tiny grafted seedlings to huge potted specimens ten feet tall. We spent about two hours exploring (and attempting to avoid spiders) before I finally settled on a couple that I wanted to buy. The first that I chose was Margaret B (pictured with its leaves just starting to be tinged with red around the edges), which not only shares a name with megory, it just happened to be her birthday when I bought it. The second was Omureyama (pictured tied to a bamboo stake against a backdrop of chocolate mint), which when fully grown will have a graceful cascading form. There were many other lovely varieties, but I just don't have room for any more.

After leaving the nursery, we headed to Richmond to visit the gardens of Annie's Annuals and Perennials. They have a lovely display garden buzzing with hummingbirds and other wildlife, in addition to hundreds of fascinating plants for sale. My balcony is already crowded, but I couldn't help purchasing three flowers...including (for you SGA fans out there) this cute fuchsia with the variety name "Ruddy Rodney."

In other random news, I finally received an appointment to have my Japanese language ability assessment next Monday. If I can score at least 2 (on a scale of 1 to 5), I'll get an extra percentage bonus to my salary for using Japanese at least 10% of the time at work. I wish it were a paper test, particularly since most of my language use consists of reading ingredients on food packaging, but sadly it's a telephone interview. I'm not at my best when speaking on the telephone, even in English. Oh, well, I'll just have to hope they don't want to chat about politics or sports.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:photoash
Date:October 21st, 2010 04:15 am (UTC)
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How is house hunting going?? I know it can be a frustrating process!!

Glad to hear you are enjoying thoughts of landscaping <3 and yards! I did the same thing (er well not with trees but with indigenous flowers and herb garden stuff) while I was in the process of buying my house :D
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 21st, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
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How is house hunting going?

I saw about seven houses, but nothing that was really perfect. My agent is waiting until I get final pre-approval for a loan before showing me any more places.
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:October 21st, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC)
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Aww, you already picked out the trees! I wanted to suggest Otome Zakura--how appropriate is that name? And then you could call your house "Otome Gardens" (it's classier than "BL House").
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 21st, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
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I wanted to suggest Otome Zakura--how appropriate is that name?

There were so many pretty trees, it was hard to stop at two. ~_~ Once I actually have a yard, I'll know how much space I have available for planting more. There were at least four others that I wish I could have gotten. (Do you know how hard it is to pass up a tree named Red Dragon?)
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:October 21st, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
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Do you want all maples, though? Don't you want some, say, sakura, also?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 21st, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
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Don't you want some, say, sakura, also?

I do! And I already have some nurseries bookmarked.

I also want wisteria, bamboo, biwa, and persimmons. Does that make me greedy?
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:October 22nd, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
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Depends on the size of your yard!

(My mother's voice that lives in my head don't judge me wants me to remind you that you should have plenty native plants, also.

Actually, she would tell you to get ONLY native plants, but I won't go that far.)

ETA: Yes, I will edit a misplaced apostrophe. I told you not to judge me!

Edited at 2010-10-22 01:21 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 23rd, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
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you should have plenty native plants, also.

I imagine I'm going to be spending a fortune at Annie's when I finally do find out how much space I'll have. The nice thing about California native plants is that they don't require much water in the summer.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:October 21st, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
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So pretty! You make me want to scout new plants for my neglected yard.

Do you have any idea where I might go to find out what sorts of trees (or even bushes) would do well in CT's climate? What search terms would you recommend, apart from just googling "japanese maple" or "sakura"? I am horribly ignorant about all forms of gardening even after almost a decade of homeownership.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 21st, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Do you have any idea where I might go to find out what sorts of trees (or even bushes) would do well in CT's climate?

Maples should do fine. According to Japanese Maples, they can withstand sub-zero temperatures in winter if mulched to protect the roots.

Essence of the Tree has gorgeous photos of many different varieties, though their prices are high.

Most nurseries list the USDA hardiness zone information for their plants. It looks like Connecticut is mostly zone 6a, with 5b in the north and a little 6b in the south. So when you check something like, for example, a weeping cherry tree, you can see that it will grow in zones 5-8, so it should do all right in your area.

Edit: Fast Growing Trees Nursery appears to have a nice selection of sakura.

Edited at 2010-10-21 05:00 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:mvrdrk
Date:October 23rd, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
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There are a couple of ways of dividing up the country and telling what plants will grow there. The best know is the USDA map, which tells you how cold your area gets and how much cold a plant will tolerate. I believe you're in zone 5-6ish. On the left coast, there's also the Sunset magazine zones, which doesn't help you much but does help the left coasters.

Another thing you can do is look at the nurseries in your area and figure anything they carry will grow in your area. You have some of the nicest nurseries out in CT. If, for example, you haven't made a trip to White Flower Farms in western CT in the summer (assuming they're still open to the public), that's definitely a lovely day trip and worth taking a picnic lunch for.
[User Picture]
From:manga_crow
Date:October 22nd, 2010 07:27 am (UTC)
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It looks and sounds like your yard will be lovely^^ (Though you must get at least one Red Dragon Maple - they are so gorgeous)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 23rd, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
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Though you must get at least one Red Dragon Maple - they are so gorgeous

I'm looking into the possibility of growing maples in containers, or even as bonsai. Keeping them small means I'll have space for more, right?
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:October 23rd, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
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Good luck on the Japanese language ability assessment. How soon will you get the results afterward?

Your trees are beautiful!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 23rd, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
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How soon will you get the results afterward?

I wish I knew...
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