Ruth's garden is on its own
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I've been having such fun reading your garden journals, I have to chime in. However, I'm not actively gardening - not enough time and energy, with everything else. I spent hours and hours working in my yard decades ago, though, and I still get to enjoy the fruits. There used to be much more variety, but over time, some things just petered out and other things kinda took over.
My pictures this year will look a lot like last year.
I've got an album at Webshots, (which you can reach just by clicking on the pictures posted here) so I'll only post an ocassional picture here, if there is something to point out.
My ancient water maple tree gave up the ghost last year, and here is the corner
You'll notice that I didn't replace the tree, but have several volunteers vying for the honor. The tallest is a wild cherry which doesn't produce fruit, but grows fast. The one I'm rooting for is the maple at 1 o'clock from the overturned bucket. It came up last year, so I expect great things from it this year.
Wow! It's a regular battle royale back there! I look forward to seeing who wins!
Yippee! Ruth's added her own thread!
I'm going to have to look up 'water maple tree'...I've never heard of that.
Aha, I found some information!
The silver maple (Acer saccharinum)—also called creek maple, river maple, silverleaf maple, soft maple, water maple, or white maple—is a species of maple native to eastern North America in the eastern United States and Canada. It is one of the most common trees in the United States.
Ya learn sumthin' new ev'ry day...
I do admire volunteer plants and have a hard time telling things they have no business in my yard. Trees that tend to invite themselves -
Walnut - which always get dug out.
Holly - It's just such a nice plant, I try to offer them new homes.
Dogwood - my neighbor had a fabulous deep pink dogwood that died a couple years ago. I keep hoping that the sprouts I'm allowing to keep growing will turn out to be daughters.
Oak - My bane recently. Another neighbor's tree throws millions of acorns which sprout throughout my lawn and beds.
Crategus - Thorny and hard to eradicate.
There's one tree which has volunteered several places and I don't know what it is. Maybe apple? I've ignored it because I can always cut it out if it annoys me. I need to discover what it is because it has overtaken a birch tree. It's got an entry in the contest above.
I love oaks but not the one on my neighbour's property: last tree to lose its leaves, after I've done the garden cleanup, so every Spring I have to clean up a bazillion oak leaves from my borders.
Eek! I have a volunteer red oak and was thinking of transplanting it into a corner of my yard. I was so excited to find it. I think it came from acorns I brought from DC to feed the squirrels in my backyard.
I have a feeling that my neighbors might not like that tree. What do you think?
I was hoping to plant it to provide even more acorns for squirrels. My husband says not to worry about it and plant the tree anyway. Our yard is so small that it will have to go in one corner so that the tree will eventually overhang three other yards.
I know that these trees get humongous...but that won't be for another 300 years. I'll be long gone by then. :)
Well, they grow slowly. If they don't have flower beds on the other side, you should be ok. It also depends which way the prevailing winds blow. I'm in the lee of them so the oak leaves are everywhere, including all around our front door.
My gut feeling says to transplant the tree. I am so upset by all of the construction in my city and so many trees being hacked off and cut down. This is a reaction formation to that, I know.
I don't do much with fallen leaves, other than just rake them into my compost pile. It doesn't bother me if I don't get all of them either as they will just dry up and provide food for my lawn, I figure.
Aha, it's different in the city. I'm in the country, surrounded by trees. And I do mean surrounded. At 4 p.m. our house is in total shade.
At 4pm it is hot here, so I would welcome shade at that time. :)
Plant the tree! You can always cut it down if it doesn't work out (sorry, SqueakyChu).
The red oak tree is already growing int he ground (near my front door!). It just needs to be either yanked out or transplanted. I think I'll just have my husband transplant it.
My younger son, years ago, planted a tulip poplar (a Maryland native plant) in our backyard. This is what it looks like in the fall...
9: I think it came from acorns I brought from DC to feed the squirrels in my backyard.
That's so cool! I'd cavalierly say don't worry about the neighbors, but I worry about mine...
I've been way out of commission this week, battling allergies - I think it's oak pollen which has aggrevated my sinuses this year. I normally work 4 ten hour days to allow three days for a real life. I started that schedule when my boss moved the office 45 miles away and the commute adds 2 hours to my work day. (GRRRR!!!) So instead of 5 long hour days, I've got 4 even longer days.
Anyway, I've been in a meds induced fog, struggling to be clear enough to drive. So I've only been able to enjoy my yard in glimpses.
I'm hoping the roses are still at peak tomorrow when I'll have time to go and say hello to them. I need to dig some up and invite them to KY.
My daughters are coming to celebrate my birthday. I want just the two of them, because that never happens anymore. I'm planning to make fresh lemonade and sit with them in the gardens.
2wonderY, do you have a birthday this weekend? So do I! Also have allergies. Pah. Sucks to be allergic to things you love, like trees.
Happy Birthday to you, tiffin! I turn 58 next week.
Last year I had no problems and I was attributing it to eating local honey. But it was KY local, not WV where I spend half my time.
You're just a young 'un. Many happy returns! Once the mossies and blackflies come out, I wear a bug hat and am covered head to toe. Somehow the screen on the bug hat helps--a filter? And I always shower when I come in from a big stint in the garden, which helps as well. By June we're out of the pollen season for a while--until the farmers start haying. Och weel...
Ruth, sorry to hear about your allergies: I've had them all my life. If I'm going to be in the yard/gardens much then I take an antihistamine before I start. I also take a shower afterwards and throw my clothes in the wash, to reduce my exposure to stuff that might make me sick.
But it's worth it, to see the flowers...
Well, the whole crew came. It's not really that many, but the 4 grands generally demand everyone's attention. But they were SO GOOD! We filled a pew at church, and they do know how to behave during that hour. Church had a picnic afterwards, so they were happily fed and occupied for lunch. When we made it back to my house, they were happy to just hang out on the swings and a hammock and a bouncy horse, while the grown-ups enjoyed our own company. It was a picture perfect day. The 4 year old, Ellie, is most interested in what's growing. She and I made some beautiful arrangements with roses and everlasting peas, which are the perennial version of sweet peas, but don't have an odor.
My camera battery needs charged, and I've lost the charger. No one else brought out a camera. So it's all preserved in my head - and my heart.
This was your birthday celebration, right? My lads and Himself took me out for a lovely dinner. Just having my family around me was the best gift of all--sounds like you feel the same way.
I cheated on the tree replacement competition. I came across a taller Maple sapling, and I believe it is a Red Maple. It was trying to grow in pine needle trash on my lower patio and so it was easy to pull up, and it really seems to appreciate the real soil and water it's being offered.
I also had an ancient apple tree rot through the trunk enough to lose it's top a few years ago. I left the partial trunk, and it's been vigorous enough to keep producing suckers, but I let a wild grapevine mass over the whole thing. I was going to chop out the grapevine and let the tree free, but we noticed that the grapevine is producing lots of potential grapes this season. So I'm going to wait. The apple tree (Which is so ancient and venerable that many random people in town remember it from their childhoods. My children were practically raised under it. It had always been the backyard focus....
Ode to an Apple Tree
Spring has well begun once we see your snowy petals fill our vision every year.
We know the work of gathering your windfalls each mowing day,
But too, allow the wasps their drunken orgies in their cups.
The meals and friendly gatherings celebrated under your welcoming boughs
Still fill our hearts' eyes.
Laden with green fruit throughout the season,
You ne'er but once struck visitor - and we agreed with your exception!
Young and old have lazed and read and played seated 'neath you;
And daring perches found aloft, to see yon distant new horizons
And dreamy slings and swings for contemplation, you have borne.
When you sighed and laid you down,
We sadly gathered up the wood, to burn at campside fires;
And eagerly were glad to see
Your roots throw up new vigorous life.
A daughter stands now at roots' end,
Soon taking on the 'ternal task
Of friendly shelter -Thank you, dear tree!
Wow! I had no idea I was so sentimental.
Scrabbling in the undergrowth to pull more oak seedlings, my hand found a poison ivy volunteer. I've got a great big blister now between fingers. I'm amazed at the elasticity of the skin.
I still haven't found my camera battery charger. The yellow loosestrife is doin' its thang at the moment.
This borrowed photo looks a lot like my patches:
My yellow loostrife used to be so pretty, but the day lilies have all but battered the life out of it. That's why I'll be going after the day lilies with a vengenace this year! Grrr!!
Beautiful picture, even if it isn't technically your own flowers.
BTW, I break out like crazy with exposure to poison ivy, too. My doctor told me to take an antihistamine before I break out, if I suspect I have been exposed to poison ivy. It keeps me from having blisters 'pop out' all over my wrists and hands.
It's an allergy.
I got back to West Virginia and took a walk around before it began sprinkling. Hydrangeas and Perennial Peas are doing best now.
Color and size are best viewed from the porch-
Oh those hydrangeas are just beautiful. Never in a million years could I grow ones like that.
Sure you can. It only takes about a decade to get good, mature and reliable clumps. You have to baby them along until then, but that just means clipping dead wood in the spring as the leaves emerge and making sure they get enough water in the summer sun. The ones I have get the western sun and used to wilt. Now it's just sit back and enjoy. I don't even clip anymore, and I get more blooms.
I clipped my Hydrangeas too much the year before last, and had virtually no blooms last year. This year I didn't do a thing, well, except water and spread coffee grounds at the base of the plants. They are blooming very well this year, but when I take pictures, they blooms look washed out, so I've not posted any.
Huh! My camera did the same thing on all of the different flowers. I had to edit to bring back the true colors. I was surprised because it was overcast, and the camera shouldn't have had such a problem. I still couldn't get the color as vivid as it is in real life.
My husband and I are talking about getting a new camera. He knows what to look for, and he can consult his brother if he wants further information, who probably consults their sister, if they want further input. As long as I don't need to read the manual in order to figure out how to point and click, I'm happy.
Was in Kentucky last week, so I was not even aware that my community was hard hit by the storm. My neighborhood was without power for 4 days. So when I got back, I took a quick look around and cleaned out my freezer. Luckily, all had re-frozen, so there was no glop or odor to deal with. Now I need to find if there is still a drop-off spot for spoiled meats. It's all bagged and back in the freezer in case I end up putting it out with the regular trash.
A quick survey of the yard from the back door didn't reveal a busted tree out on the far corner. It must have been a real freak wind, as this strong young tree snapped at 6 feet from the ground, and nothing else around it was harmed. It was too hot yesterday, but I started tackling it some today. Yeah, guess where my equipment is? Yep, Kentucky.
It's a Hawthorn, and it is the biggest tangle of lethal thorns you'd never want to mess with. My favorite holly bush is underneath, otherwise I'd just let it season for a while. It's not in anyone's way.
Temperatures are supposed to moderate to the 80s this week. I'm glad - my old house lacks AC, which is usually just fine with me. I've been trying to stay hydrated inside and out.
There were some freaky storms down this way too. I'm glad that only one tree was apparently damaged!
I won't miss the Hawthorn except for the screen it provided. But I'm mourning the holly. The leader got snapped off in the impact from the hawthorn falling on it. I'm not sure it will recover and grow taller. It's a very prickley leaved variety and it's a female and was beginning to produce copious berries.
The birds will miss the hawthorn. I had no idea how many berries were made in that small tree. They have dried and fallen from their stems, and the ground is dangerous - like walking on tiny marbles.
The holly was still a young'un - just my height. They grow really slow. Top two feet are gone. I hope it can develop another leader.
Researching Holly recovery, I found this short dissertation, and thought I'd share it:
"Whenever I see the Holly tree, I feel an inner smile, like a ray of light touching my heart. Sometimes I go and look for Holly trees or I pay a visit to the ones that I know best. They give me relief from pain and I feel my own inner clarity and "uprightness". The beautiful thing about Holly's presence is that it touches both heart and mind, and brings them into a harmonious dialogue. I become aware of my own spinal column and feel an inner acceptance of pain and sacrifice. The thorns of Holly do not speak to me of aggression, but rather they speak of sacrifice, and of the crown of thorns “Like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, Holly represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.”
The Wisdom of Trees: “Mysteries, Magic, and Medicine”
by Jane Gifford
The crucial paradox of the Christian faith – intellectually incomprehensible – becomes living evidence in the presence of Holly. The leaves are so dark – and yet the tree radiates light! There is so much sharpness and pointedness in Holly – and yet it transmits a mild and gentle acceptance. On another level, the thorns symbolize the protection of the core self of pure love from the intrusion of negative thoughts like envy and jealousy.
I feel something highly cosmic in Holly, which has taken on and adapted to the earthly elements. This cosmic-earthly body of Holly gives me courage to stand upright, and courage to bring love to earth. "
Ralph Raphael Grosse-Kleimann
The city promised to remove the storm debris. It looks like the trash men attempted to take my pile, but they mostly managed to spread it around. The thorns were too much. I'm hoping they have a backup crew. Otherwise I may spend the next few weeks cutting the branches up into very small pieces and filling my trash barrels.
I spent a couple of hours yesterday evening pulling the mini-mountain apart and chopping it up into smaller pieces. I found it was not impossible to make bundles, though they are awkward and still terribly thorny. Another evening's work should do it. Trash day is Wednesday.
Just a note to report that the trash men passed me by once again. They didn't even tip my barrels out, much less pick up the tied branches. It's possible they had a full truck and mean to return. My neighbor directly opposite had a small mountain of discards from cleaning out the house getting ready to sell it; and that was not picked up either. Perhaps they came back today.
I happened to be at home when the sun was out a week past, and I knew where the camera was, so I took a few pictures.
This is a corner of one of the flowerbeds. There really is a path to the alley, but nothing is tied up the way it should be:
Leadwort Plumbago is the brilliant blue at the bottom. Perennial peas on the left in front of a hydrangea and a rose. Asters, hibiscus and others on the right. Goldenrod is a volunteer, but I don't much fight it.
This is the same area viewed from the other side:
The asters were willed to me from an ancient neighbor lady. Several people have been owners of her property since, and none of her gardens remain.
the purple asters were collected from a highway strip. Dogwood tree behind has lost most leaf already.
Riot in pink:
One of my beautyberry bushes:
The other one has lost all it's berries, don't know why.
And here is the hawthorn that got struck down by the big storm:
It is such a pretty plant, I'm gonna hate to kill it, but I must.
Aarrgh! Lost my post.
1. Why are you killing the hawthorn?
2. Beautyberry? Great! You have now identified a plant my dh and I saw on a nature walk last week, while on our vacation, thanks!
Beautyberry - AND ITS A NATIVE!
Hawthorn must go because it's sprouting up everywhere! It doesn't want to be a tree; it wants to be a grove of trees. There are several more behind the fence.
Cleaning up the fallen tree was nightmarish because of the three inch thorns that I'm still finding in the soil now as I pull weeds. Yikes!
Thinking of bringing a volunteer to Kentucky, but not sure where to let it loose.
I noticed that one of my volunteer trees is carrying crabapples!!!
That just makes me smile.
ps: does photobucket have any size between thumbnail and gigantic?
I don't know, I don't use photobucket, I use Shutterfly.
You can change the size of your posted picture by adding a space and "width=400" after the 'jpg and before the right arrow key.
I'm doing fine, thank you for asking. One daughter has more complications in her life than it seems possible, and I try to lend a hand there. My brother is undergoing chemo a state away, and I've been trekking up there to be his advocate and driver. So far, it seems that December is under control. (saying prayer that nothing else crops up.) I got down to Kentucky this weekend, and I hope to post a progress note on that. God sustains.
First stay at home weekend for me in a while.
Gonna mow and enjoy what's coming up. That crabapple volunteer pictured in >53 2wonderY: was in full bust-out bloom last week. I took pictures, but still can't locate the camera battery charger. May have to buy another one.
On the prayer front, both my brother and my dad are in cancer remission. My daughter's family got a huge tax return, and seem in relatively good shape for now.
My cherry tree here was in full bloom, but the bee activity was on the holly tree. Lots of small flowers, so there will be plenty of berries this year. Lilac is in full bloom, and lots of catkins hanging from my water oak tree.
This has been a prodigious and leisurely spring. Everything is blooming large and plentiful.
A field of wild violets:
a volunteer spread of aconite:
and I forget the name:
but I have it in white, pink and purple.
(58) On the prayer front, both my brother and my dad are in cancer remission. My daughter's family got a huge tax return, and seem in relatively good shape for now.
>58 2wonderY:: that IS good news!
I would call that white, pink, purple thing scilla.
Thank you, tiffin! I knew I didn't have to look it up, just wait for someone to tell me.
This is the best month in my garden. The roses are bloomin' their little hearts out, and the peonies are right behind them.
Fourth of July
and the rambling pink
who's ruffles thrill me.
Here's my spiderwort
And she might actually be a Pat Austin. I can't remember. But she tends more to peach than to orange.
The buds are erect, but the full bloom always nods.
Harumph! I've been trying unsuccessfully to load a picture of my new trench.
I exposed the entire length of pipe this evening and I've found a contractor willing to come later in the week and just make the connections. I'll have all the materials on hand and notify the gas company. It should go bing-bang-bing. And he'll charge for just his time.
I'll try the picture again tomorrow.
>73 2wonderY: I must have missed that post...or just forgotten it, sorry.
Sorry, my battery died last evening. More -
I was so ticked at the estimates the contractors gave me, that I just started digging. Had to remove my precious plants from the work zone anyway, and just kept going. I did hire a plumber to make the actual disconnect/new connections/move the meter. Paid him for 4 hours, though he actually worked closer to 3. (rate = $70.) But hey, he's gotta make a living too, and he didn't screw around. He got through it a lot faster than I would have. In fact, I couldn't even budge the old line, even using his wholesale-sized monkey wrenches. It's been rusting for 100 years.
I'm glad I dismissed him when his part was done, as it took 4 more hours for the gas company tech to come and inspect and make the final connection. He got there just as a thunderstorm came up, and he went down into the hole and did what was needed while I tried to shovel mud over the new line. The tech is a good guy too. He gave me parts from his supply, and handed me two cans of paint to use on the exposed connections on either side of the meter, when it dries out.
LOL at "getting ticked": it gave you the incentive and energy to do it yourself!
I'm still waiting to hear back from the floor guy. Does he want the job or not?
I've told the tale elsewhere of the robin who dogged my steps all the while I was digging that trench. Unfortunately, it was too early, and we found few worms, but he gobbled up whatever I found. He would perch critically on the edge of the hole and make sure I wasn't missing anything.
This weekend, I was putting the flower beds back in order, re-planting what I'd had to remove. It was late in the day when he arrived with a disgruntled cheep, definitely with the attitude that I should have let him know I was in the dirt.
>78 2wonderY: That's hilarious. There's a house sparrow that keeps eating the bugs off our windows in my office building. We are on the 21st floor. I'm not even sure how this crazy sparrow discovered there was an open buffet up here.
>80 lesmel: That IS amazing.
My giant hydrangeas seem to be starting all over from the roots. The only leaves showing so far are at ground level. Nothing at all on the stems.
The snowball bush, however, is business as usual.
Lilacs are later than usual and small sprays.
I love the bird stories, thank you for sharing them.
I might have told it elsewhere, but I collect ornamental birdhouses, and have them hanging on my porch.
This year, a pair of Chickadees decided that one of the "fake" houses was good enough, and raised a brood of chicks inside!
If I was on my porch watering my plants, and a parent bird arrived with food, I was scolded repeatedly until I left, lol.
My electric lawn mower quit - just wouldn't start again - this week. I had to borrow the neighbor's mower for the last couple of passes because it looked like the back yard was sporting a mohawk.
It's possibly the starter switch. I'll go looking for a replacement tomorrow, as I'll be in the city that parts are usually shipped from - at a $10 surcharge.
If that's not it, I may be treating myself to a new mower as a birthday present to myself.
Oh, and I failed to take note of where each of the four wires belonged before disconnecting them. Anybody have a clue?
>83 2wonderY: Hmm, a mohawk lawn. Maybe you could set a new trend! What make/model/etc is the lawn mower? I can't tell you jack about motors or mowers, but I rock (modest much?) at finding answers! :)
The mower is back in business. The repair shop people have been very kind and accomodating. So I got the entire yard done this weekend.
I also decided to eliminate all of the dead flower heads and stems of the hydrangeas. The new growth is almost chest high, and the dead stuff is another foot or so taller. The new leaves seemed to protest their loss of shade, as they began drooping like pouty children.
My next task is to begin rescuing my flower beds from the peppermint that has become a monoculture. It's easy enough to pull out by the roots, but I'm afraid it has gotten ahead of me. And I'm not even a fan of peppermint.
Oh! lesmel mentioned tomatoes, which reminds me I wanted to brag that I've got three ripe tomatoes to eat for lunch today. I'll just put them back out in the sun for a little bit before I drizzle dressing on them and chomp down.
I second that! YUM! Although, really, I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes. I mostly eat them because I know they are good for me. I like them as sauce, ketchup, soup, etc.
Mine need another few days. At least a few of the Black Cherries are beginning to turn colour.
We finally had some rain this afternoon, so I have been out slug hunting. Yuck!
Have I ever told you about my slug hunting days? My house had been vacant for several years and the yard mowed only occassionally, and the slugs were so huge and numerous, you could actually hear them chewing after dark. You couldn't walk in the yard without stepping on some. I went after them with a spray bottle of ammonia. Thankfully, their screams were silent.
I hate rubber gloves, but for this I use a one time one, and throw them into vinegar water. Sometimes they really writhe a lot, but they do not climb out.
Much the same concept. With yours you've done the clean-up work. With mine, I don't have to touch them at all. :)
I'm getting so sick of looking at my front lawn. What with all the disturbances and new soil added by the gas company (that was two years ago when they replaced the street line) and the seed they laid down - it is completely choked with crabgrass and quack grass. The good fescue/ryegrass/bluegrass mix I put down is all choked out. So I picked up some kill-em-all and spot treated.
I'll be in Kentucky this coming week. So we'll just see what a close mow, some pizzen and July sun will do to them suckers.
Ha! Brown lawn when I got home yesterday. I used diquat which is a non-selective dessicant. It doesn't go systemic, but does remain in the soil, but non-active when bound to clay. That's if you don't remove the dead vegetation, which I plan to do.
I spent a good part of the cooler part of the day going into overgrown areas and clearing unwanted plants out. I found a nice thick clump of poison ivy back under the oak tree. I do need to clean that corner out.
Waaaaa!!!!! I disturbed some bees or wasps and boy were they MAD! I got stung 5 or 6 times, mostly on my left arm, once on the right ankle. One of the buggers got caught in my hair and another inside my blouse. Neither stung me, but I ran inside and shucked some clothes. Ow! Ow! Ouch!
No more yard work for me tonight. Went for comfort food and checking in. Chili fries.
Think I'll sit inside and read a book or two.
I had meant to post this yesterday, and now feel terrible that I did not. I strongly recommend Benadryl spray for things like this, and it lives on a counter within close reach during these times of the year. Ants are cousins to wasps, and I have a strong reaction to them as well, unless I manage to spray the sting (yes, some ants sting as well as bite).
It will still help, even though spraying it on the sting right after is best. I have multiple stinging insects, and this is really the best. I don't know that I'd buy something like this from Amazon, though, since it's important to make sure that it hasn't expired (the date is printed on the bottom).
Your stings sound more like wasp than bee (since you say itchy and swollen, and don't mention a stinger left behind).
I did just take an antihistamine.
And, yes, they appear to be yellow jackets, researching the one which came inside with me. I thought they were larger, but these were as small as honey bees. They've made a nest in the pine trash collected on my yard swing.
I found that wasps had made three nests on the handle of the roof window over my bed. Luckily there is a screen, and with the help of spray I was able to get rid of them without getting stung. I don't like wasps.
I told you I was eliminating the crabgrass in my front lawn. Well, I had pulled a lot of it out along the sidewalk and haven't re-seeded yet (will wait for cool wet weather) and I began noticing that something was digging along the edges. I was having to sweep dirt off the walk every day. I looked for cat scat and scolded one of the neighborhood cats who moseyed by. He just looked at me - you know that look.
Well, I finally caught the culprits in the act. A whole passel of house sparrows have claimed the site for their daily ablutions - dust baths! They are having such a good time, pushing and shoving each other for the best holes.
I'm glad to allow them that pleasure, at least for the season. My back yard seems to be growing in attraction for a multitude of birds and rodents. Scads of bigger birds took off from the deeper shrubbery when I showed up.
Good values at the local plant shop nowadays! I bought a 5' juniper for $20, a vigorous everblooming rose for $15 and a scarlet hydrangea for $10. All very healthy looking.
Hmmm. I thought I recorded my purchases here. I stopped at a nursery this weekend and picked up a few bargains. I describe the rose in the rose thread. I also bought a columnar juniper which will go to Kentucky. The small hydrangea has no blooms on it this season, but the tag pronounces it a 'Mystical Flame' and I'm pretty dang happy to acquire it.
I've got a lovely 'Pee-Gee hydrangea which is just now taking off outside my dining room window,
and I may plant it adjacent to it.
We've had so much rain, and now cool, might I say cold, weather. I had put grass seed out on the bare yard earlier last month, but all of a sudden it's very green. Threw more seed out and dug up more crabgrass, which does a truly amazing job of producing seed at this time of year. I harvested the black nightshade, collecting all of the seed I could see - it had already started to drop seed into the plot. Next year, I expect more volunteers, but I won't let them stay.
I've got a honeysuckle bush volunteer at the corner of the yard, and it has set pretty red berries. What with the crabapple and the beautyberry, the birds will have several winter meals from this corner alone.
Hmmmm. I see that I should maybe remove the Amur Honeysuckle.
Has anyone had experience with this plant? It certainly is not poisoning that plot, as it is thick with other species too.
>108 2wonderY: It isn't native to anywhere in the US. Personally, I'd kill it now, before it gets a chance to do evil. Usually the ground poisoning action happens in the spring, when other plants are starting out. Plants such as that become really established in the soil, and will be much harder to tear out.
Need varmint advice.
A squirrel has taken up residence in my attic. He (no nest, that I can find) exploited siding cracks and chewed a hole in. Now all the birds are trying to do the same. The squirrel is gnawing another hole near where the electric service reaches the house. It seems one of the anchors pulled out of the rotten wood when the snow burden added it's weight, and squirrelly wants a back door.
I put down sticky traps first because that's all I had on hand, but that just made him mad. He went on a rampage through the rest of the house trying to scrape the trap off. I wasn't home at the time, just saw the path of destruction.
I bought a Havaheart trap and loaded it with peanut butter (nope), cookies (nope), and Veggie straws. I'm trying to use things that would smell enticing. Couldn't find fresh peanuts.
So now, after squirrel is succesfully removed, I will need to repair the holes, screening all areas to discourage the birds, get an electrician to repair the electrical masthead, and oh - my porch roof sprang a leak. I was just noticing how old and weathered my roof shingles were beginning to look, and the next day there was a stream of water coming through the roof ceiling. It was a particularly heavy rain. And that roof is the oldest section. But I DON'T want to go there again. Almost time to abandon ship.
He hasn't touched any of the bait, but I continued to hear him gnawing on my house, so I screened and foamed both entry holes. The critter got awfully sore at my temerity. He has been literally throwing himself at the house trying to break in. I hear him working at the other side of the house, where I can't see him, scampering all over the roof, checking back at his old entry holes, etc, all day. It won't be long before he manages another way in. I wonder where he's spending nights, and hope he finds a new place, but I'm not confident.
Squirrels are evil. That's my personal opinion. Not that I would hurt them, but they are evil. And they are prepared for guerilla warfare. My dog agrees with me. :)
>112 lesmel: Squirrels are evil.
Nooo!!! Squirrels are adorable. But I wouldn't want one in my house either. They are persistent.
>114 qebo: My mother says I'm weird. I say she doesn't understand the threat. Heh.
Truly, I have a love AND hate relationship with squirrels.
We once rescued a baby squirrel after a wind storm blew down many old trees at the city park a block away. As we toured the damage, we heard something squeaking and found this cute but wretched ball of fur with his hind quarters driven into the dirt. He was stuck, no Mama around, it was wet and cold and he was so scared and miserable. We brought him home, gave him a warm bath, some warm milk in a baby doll bottle, and he slept in the pouch of my sweatshirt. He had the run of the house that spring, and was a delight. He had an active period in the middle of the morning when he would race along the counters keeping pace with our movements chattering for attention. He used our bodies as tree trunks, scampering up, down and around. Our cat was fascinated, but they never got too close. Squeaky left when he got old enough and never came back around. That was 20 plus years ago.
Now you're all going to hate me (at least the squirrel lovers)...
Squirrels are indeed evil. The most common types of squirrels are an invasive species in almost every part of the US (they were originally native to the north east). They like things like bird eggs (and I prefer song birds to squirrels), and often end up in areas where the only limiting factor is the food supply.
I'm not a fan of killing for no reason, but I do go out of my way to make my yard unwelcoming for them. They drive out and supplant so many natural species. If I won the lottery, I'd pay my neighbors for permission to cut down all the walnut trees (there's two that I know of).
(Another link, although the data is old, since it's from 2008:
>117 Lyndatrue: Down with evil!! My dog keeps them out of my yard for the most part, but not off my roof, out of my trees, or out of my front yard.
I spent a good part of yesterday in and around the house, and there was nary a sign of the squirrel. (Knock on rotted wood!) Since he had to find other accommodations for several nights, I'm guessing his attention was distracted to making the new quarters comfortable. Hope, hope, hope.
The evening was so fine yesterday, I trimmed my young apple tree. I've never done pruning per se before, so I was just going on the theory of opening up the interior, removing congested and crossing branches.
I have a huge pile of forsythia branches to cut up and compost or trash. I had to cut my huge room-sized bush in half to accomodate an electrician's lift truck. It certainly needed doing anyway, and I took some starts to KY as well as a couple of volunteer holly trees which had found home underneath.
Also dug up peony roots to transplant on the ridgetop. They were too close to my trash barrel area and also being shaded out by another forsythia.
I'm enjoying catching-up with your thread!
When I was a teen, my mother and I lived in an apartment townhouse. We had a red squirrel that found its way through an opening in the attic area. Both of us heard him scratching around above the ceiling, and in the wall. Then he stopped making noise.
A year later while I was in the basement, I shifted some blankets that were on an old chair, and found a small skeleton with red fur. Poor little thing, wound up in the basement and couldn't find his way out. I felt so bad.
Hi, Ruth! Just stopped by to say hi and thanks for visiting my thread! And to mark my place here on yours.
Then I saw the stories about the squirrels. I don't mind them usually, it's the rabbits that have invaded the area (there are three out in the back right now, eating the grass) that are getting to me, but the other day one of the little beggars (squirrel not rabbit) was in the pear tree, eating the tender shoots and blossoms! I ran out yelling and chased it away. Grrr. We don't have a dog, so I had to be one. ;-D
Looking forward to watching your garden grow this year.
The weepy clouds broke away this afternoon. I was hoping for the sun, as my grass was getting out of hand. The front yard I cleared and re-seeded is looking lush and healthy. I managed to mow everything but the lowest soggy part. I dug some lily of the valley to take with me the weekend.
My block has kids on bikes again! Yay! For too many years there have been no children here. I made friends by inviting them to smell my lilacs. Ah- heavenly. They asked a lot of questions and wanted to smell everything. They are same ages as my grands, so that's a bonus.
Crabapple and cherry tree are full of blossoms. It felt so good to be out working hard.
I've stuck some tomato saplings in the ground, and I'm not sure what I'm going to get. I know that they'll mostly be cherry tomatoes, which is okay, but I'm still kinda bummed that the first round from seeds that I wintered didn't survive the sapling phase. I kinda forgot how much water they needed, and that damp soil isn't enough for them. I trimmed back a rose bush, but up a trelis-like fence to keep it a little contained, and I'm digging up more ground for more veggies. It has been fun.
I've also been digging up old tree roots, and cutting out a few that are still attached to the tree and over-stretching themselves. The detail in this image isn't that great, but this tree root demolished the trunk of another tree, and then continued on its way.
I cleared the dead stuff away and got to work with the only saw I could find in the mess that is my garage. It took a while to get through.
I haven't taken a picture of the finished product.
Tree roots are a pain. When I dig, I find roots from long-gone trees, and most of the time they go too deep to totally remove.
Nice saw. I have a trowel that has a knife on one edge, and a saw on the other. It comes in handy!
I don't remember planting foxgloves last year, but there they are!
I love the dears, but gave up long ago trying to keep them going. Maybe my thumb is greener now.
the tea garden
I put planting boxes in last year bracketing my new step into the yard, but I hadn't planted them
I treat my foxgloves as biennials, even though they are supposedly perennial. That way I am never disappointed and sometimes surprised. Yours are lovely. Could they have self-seeded?
A co-worker gave me what I thought were columbine seeds that I threw out in that spot last year. But even if I was mistaken, they shouldn't have bloomed this year, 'cause as you say, they act like biennials. I haven't even tried to grow them for decades.
Look up in #71 - I had cleared that bed last spring entirely. Perhaps I did buy some clearance plants later last year and just forgot.
But I am happy. They just define cottage garden for me.
My electric mower died again. Sigh.
Instead of hauling it all the way to Charleston, I splurged on a new model, which was only twice what the repairs would have cost. The updated model has all sorts of new slick design refinements. I will have fun operating it.
We too are suffering heat, so I did the front yard only and saving the rest for evening. After this mowing, only the weeds will be growing for a while.
I had noted that my young cherry tree had lots of green fruit earlier, but the birds historically have picked the tree clean before the fruit is ripe. Decades ago, with help, we would protect the fruit on the mother of this tree and gather enough for half a dozen pies.
For some reason, the birds are being polite this year. There must be plenty of other food, as birds and squirrels are more plentiful than ever.
As I was mowing yesterday, it finally registered that red color meant ripe cherries. I hurried off for a basket. Picked not quite enough for a pie. But I shared with the little girls down the street.
Have I mentioned children on the block? I am so happy for that. They ride bikes and scooters and do cartwheels down the sidewalk all day long, just as children are supposed to do.
I've been introducing them to the sights, smells and tastes of my gardens.
The birds have been eating our blueberries, but as you indicated, they have been polite. The mulberries ripening at the same time here might have something to do with it, perhaps? :)
Gah! Finished the mowing. We had sunshine and showers alternating all day. The temps would moderate with the cloud cover, but rapidly go back up to 85 F.
Looks like that's what we're going to have at least all week. Hope it cools a bit next weekend, as my dad is coming out to the ridgetop.
I was throwing bread out for the birds today. They've got several areas tromped down in the snow, and the squirrels and rabbits have plowed trails through the snow.
Guess who's here? My fat and sassy robin!
I was planning to do my first mowing today, but guess what? SNOWSTORM!
>137 2wonderY: Ha! That's the kind of thing that happens in our neck of the woods.
Managed to mow the biggest part of the yard last week, but no time to enjoy what's blooming, as I drove to Pittsburgh again. Dad is improving more. Celebrated my baby sister's 50th birthday with 4 of us enjoying a seafood/oriental restaurant buffet and then sipping some of my blackberry brandy afterwards. Pat has volunteered to come help pick blackberries in July.
Remember the gas line replacement in >71 2wonderY: ...The gas company put a note in my most recent bill - the Public Service Commission determined that line replacements to the meter ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GAS COMPANY. Gee, d'you think they knew that ruling was on it's way?
Saw several tent caterpillar webs in trees in the backyard. Went out this morning in the dark, to remove them and realized.... WAAAAAA! My new trees in Kentucky are probably being eaten to the quick!
I spent an extra day in Pittsburgh with my dad. My sister, Mary, who's home he is staying in, thanked me because SHE got to get out and work in HER garden. She has a lovely city garden. Her plants either behave or they are ripped out ruthlessly. I got some of her banished bachelor buttons. They are too unruly for her, but possibly just right for my laissez-faire approach.
Oh, I love bachelor buttons! Lucky you! Now I want to go looking for seed, and honestly, I have enough seed to last this season and the next two. I don't think I've ever seen them offered here as seedlings, but then, I don't know that I've looked that hard. Such a sweet little flower.
So I tried to get started on YardMap, but the satellite won't zoom in enough to make it possible:
>143 2wonderY: YardMap doesn't deal well with the link. I eventually got it, but it kept giving me an overview or my own yard. I haven't tried adding any detail to mine, so I don't have much sense of how much zoom is needed.
I actually dug a bit in the dirt today. I was at KMart and found the right colors in geraniums and dianthus. Planted those boxes at my front steps and a couple of pots at the porch step. Also got those bachelor buttons in the ground. Dug up a hunk of the spreading Tradescantia to put in daughter's front yard.
It felt good.
Sunday the sun came out. Yay! Grands helped me clean up their yard a bit, planted the spiderwort, established a really cool hollow log fairy dwelling, and hacked wild vines from around the house perimeter. Daughter had given us a bucket for yard trash. She sorely underestimated our productivity - we filled two trash barrels.
Stole a bit of time yesterday to mow the front, before the rain returned. This time of year, my yard is always shaggier than anyone else's on the block. Then I tackled forsythia volunteers. I have two mega-giant shrubs, and they plant babies along the skirts of the adults. I've got most of them dug out and ready to pass on from the front shrub. It should have been done two years ago, roots were massive.
My Tradescantia 'Red Grape' loves the front yard. Normally, they will flower in the morning and blooms fade mid-day. But the colony shaded by a bush honeysuckle blazed with wonderful color all day. I'm thinking I need to naturalize them into my KY woods soon. I just read that they are edible - "Stems and leaves can be used fresh or braised like asparagus, and are said to have a flavor very similar to spinach." I'm all for spreading that goodness.
Here's the google street view of my house. It's from two years ago, and much has grown since then. That front left corner has several trees now, primarily a Prunus serotina, which is good bird food. The berries are always gone before they change from green.
Behind that and down the side of the alley, is the crabapple and then what I think is a Populus nigra, which volunteered after a white birch failed there. That raised bed is the length of the house and has a rose and a lilac at the other end. Then there is another monster forsythia like the one next to the front porch.
You can see the tops of the pines that line the back yard on the south side and provide a luscious summer shade and breeze. Neighbor has chopped them back to the trunk line twice, but they keep growing back. They were measured at over 70 feet tall last survey.
Built in 1914. It was the first one on the block. Balloon frame with salvaged lumber and no water service. Original plat shows an outhouse down at the end of the property. Gas lights and fireplaces. Flocked red wallpaper scraps behind the living room mantel. Wood stove brick chimney in the kitchen. Tiny! But we've done a lot of good living there.
I love older houses. Did I ever mention that I spent seven years of my childhood in a house built in 1811? Part of my heart is still there, loved the wide plank wooden floors, the fireplaces (with a Dutch Oven in the kitchen!), and not a door knob in the place! It was horrible to heat, though, with no insulation between the horsehair plaster and the clapboards on the outside, brr.
Okay, I've just caught up on everyone's garden threads.
I got home from PGH yesterday around 6 pm and pulled a few wild carrots out of my lawn (Queen Anne's Lace) where they are colonizing. They smell awfully good. But instead of eating the roots, as I should have, I trashed them and took a nap. I did notice that the Blue Mistflower from my sister is drought stressed, but left it to it's own resources.
Did put a gallon of water on each of them last evening. They'd better be resilient though, as I have no time.
Mowed grass until dark and got all but the small side yard done.
The cherry tree continues to throw up suckers; so instead of mowing them down, I plan to dig some up and try replanting them in Kentucky. But I'll wait till cooler/wetter weather. This spring there were a few tent caterpillars in my yard, but surprisingly, not on the cherry tree.
As some of you know from my posting in another group, my dad passed away this morning. His kidneys had been failing since February. I'd been spending all my time helping to care for him.
My siblings sent me home for the weekend to take care of mail and bills and yard and check in with the employer. Oh, and return library books. There is a nursery near the library and I stopped there for solace.
I found deeply discounted perennials and planted a small memorial garden for my dad in the front bed. Self-heal, dianthus, a couple of sedums, and I forget what else.
When I got back to dad's house, his breathing changed, and he died with two of us holding him.
I've found harvested flower seeds all through dad's house, in old medicine containers and in collections of tiny bowls. Most are well labeled, some are as old as 1995. I plan to plant them all next spring in Kentucky and just see what happens.
>156 2wonderY: I'm sorry.
I plan to plant them all next spring in Kentucky
What a lovely idea.
>156 2wonderY: I'm so sorry.
The seeds are an excellent idea. My late husband could never bear to throw away seeds; I found some from the seventies, in among the garden seeds, and planted them all. I had an amazing collection of bachelor buttons that spring, and they helped.
I hope that all yours surprise you, next spring, and bring you hearts ease.
Again, I'm sorry.
Very sorry for your loss. I love the idea of a memorial garden, though.
>156 2wonderY: My thoughts are with you. I think a memorial garden is a lovely idea!
Sorry for your loss. I love the idea of planting the seeds he saved in Kentucky - you will have memories of him blooming and growing with whatever flowers come up from them.
It's been a very long time since I've even wanted to be in my yard at home, much less talk about it. One of my neighbors took it upon themselves to chop and trim last year, and devastated some of my treasures. And I don't know who it was.
Today I took my birthday off and just had to go grubbing and collecting pine cones and pine needles for KY projects. I was finally feeling better being there.
A lovely young man came and interrupted me asking if I wanted to hire any yard work. He and his team were working elsewhere on the block. I thanked him but said I do all the work myself. And then, although he had no need to be sweet, he told me how much he liked my yard. He mentioned a TED talk he watched about urban wildlife preserves, and how many species they support.
I could have kissed him for the affirmation he gave me.
>163 2wonderY: It's nice to see you return here. I just sent a silent thank you to your lovely young man, for his kindness to you. I hope that all the signs of spring and oncoming summer help.
>165 qebo: affirmation
How uplifting! Here, a friend of a friend said today that she got a notification from the township because someone (anonymous) complained about her yard, which she is aiming to get certified as a butterfly garden. I live in the same township, hope my neighbors are more tolerant.
I just discovered that the WV Department of Natural Resources has a Backyard Habitat Certification Program. It even encourages brush piles for species habitat, and provides a sign designating the site.
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