We took a trip to our Wisconsin home mostly because we had a very large arborvitae topple onto the walk during the winter. It didn't make sense, as ours was the only one in the area to have this problem. Well, the arborvitae has been propped up with a wooden 2" board. I am not sure this will be the solution, but for now it is at least upright and looks green and healthy.
My Knockout rose bushes, which had been under the arborvitae, looked very spindly with only bottom growth, so I cut them back severely. Our Wisconsin place is about two hours north of the Chicago area, so things are not quite as far along growth wise as back home. The land where our home is built was littered with huge boulders as construction crews dug foundations. These boulders were used throughout the area for retaining walls and pleasantly became part of the landscape.
My hyacinths and daffodils are just about done, the sedums, nepetas, coreposis, day lilies, campanulas, shastas, coneflowers, and dianthus are all up and growing well.
I am an absent owner and have to choose plants that are xeric and will not require a great deal of care. So far, there are times when I think that this far away garden looks better than my garden at home. There is a watering system on the grounds but just for the grass areas and trees. All of the bed areas are without any additional water unless by hose. I have boxwoods, red twig dogwoods, Arrowwood Viburnums, Carl Forrester grasses, Chanticleer Pear over the patio (which looked beautiful).
We put out our patio furniture, and also a small table and chairs by our front door, watered all of our cactus plants, turned the water back on, cut down and fertilized everything. My husband refused to touch the rose limbs (because we both forgot our garden gloves), but I showed him how brave I was and cut the rose bushes up into little pieces. He finally loaded them into a plastic bag complaining the whole time.
We talked about selling the place as we both yelled "ouch" from the thorns because we don't come up as much as in previous years. We have been coming for about twenty years to two different homes, our grandchildren love it, it is a whole different world where people drive long distances to come to Wall Mart. There are no shopping malls, but there is a Home Depot now and a Target.
If your take a ride in any direction right out of town, there are large expanses of land dotted with farms, cows, sheep and horses. Little towns whip by in a flash, like Burlington (where Panicum 'Northwind' was discovered at Northwind Perennial Farm). This perennial farm is certainly worth a stop if there is time, not just for the plants but for the vintage yard art and the chickens that walk with you as you shop. If you go in the opposite direction down Route 50 out of town you will run into Pesche's Garden Center in the middle of farmland. It is a fun experience, great gift shop, reasonably priced perennials with lots of unusual varieties.
I get a feeling as I drive in on Route 12 that I am going back in time, like American Graffiti, the young people still play very loud music while tooling around town in their hopped up cars and motorcycles. This is an old town back to the 1800's with a gorgeous lake, Lake Geneva. What were we thinking of ? No Sale!