Thursday, February 15, 2007

Spring has sprung

Chasmanthe: Zones 13, 15-24. "Plants are fairly hardy, but late frosts may damage flower buds."
This is the gospel from Sunset's Western Garden Book. Obviously, my acres of chasmanthe didn't read the book because even though we had a long spell of record breaking cold here most of last month, the plants are all budded out and beginning to bloom. The hummingbirds will be happy.

I discovered, rather after the fact, that waiting until the chasmanthe leaves turned brown before mowing them down only succeeded in spreading their seeds. Rototilling also spreads the bulbs. Do both and voila! You have acres of Chasmanthe!
Still and all, they are a pleasant green contrast to typical gray winter weather. Just beware if you have a few, that they can expand their territory faster than you can remember what they are called.

The Acacias, Flowering Quince, nut trees, daffys and other narcissus, Helabores, Camellias, Violets, Vinca, Pansies, Violas, Rosemary, ...what am I forgetting? ALL in full splendor right now.
Oh yes, the little Snowdrops. They have been blooming for a month already.

Makes a body want to be outside, digging, weeding, planting, mowing....too bad its still too wet to do so. Not that we don't need the wet! So my friend and I are about to start on our succulent project. We have a stockpile of funky little (and big) planters, baskets, and tins that we are planting baby succulents in. Once they fill in nicely, they will be for sale. At least, that's our plan.

Don't forget that this weekend (Feb. 16-19) is the 10th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Go to for further details. This is open to everyone, there is no need to preregister, and there is no fee required. DO IT! You may be amazed by the number and variety of birds lurking about in your yard. Or in your park, schoolyard, refuge, or cemetary. All ages and all skill levels are welcome. You will report your findings on line and be able to see how your yard and town fit into the big picture.

If you are already feeding birds in your yard, this is a good time to bring in the feeders for a thorough cleaning. Then put them back out filled with quality birdseed and enjoy the show! (don't use that cheap birdseed from the local grocery because it has lots of "filler"; seeds that our birds don't eat. Plus, it contains many weed seeds that are then spread to our surrounding landscape.)

The goldfinches love Nyjer thistle seed, which isn't really a thistle and which has been treated so that it will not grow when it falls on the ground. Most of the birds that fly UP to feeders prefer black oil sunflower and safflower seeds. The millet is usually eaten by the birds that prefer to dine on the ground.

Enjoy! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Oh Balls!

Seems when you have a long narrow lot with lots of neighbors bordering it, you get one or two with a lot of balls. These were gathered one summer when The Strange One decided to take up golf. Later he switched to shooting arrows into my yard. He is no longer around. Current collection of neighbors seem to all be good ones.
Phoebe still finds the occasional tennis ball from the neighbor with the tennis court, the occasional soccar ball from the grade school behind us, and an assortment of balls from the little boys next door. The latter two we usually lob back over the fence. The tennis balls are usually "dead" but I know a Black Lab who is ever so happy to receive them.
Spring has sprung, the wild garlic has riz and so has this daffy! I think this old step ladder is about 50 years old. And no, it is not the ladder I fell off of a couple weeks ago. This relic quivvers with the weight of a squirrel. I weigh a tad bit more than a squirrel.
Ta-DA! The bird house is back up where it belongs. Is that not a lovely job of bracing The Brother did to make the pole stand up? :>) Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 02, 2007

Its Spring!!!!

What to my wondering eyes should appear but quince blooms this morning! Oh my gosh, it really is February...which is the start of Spring in these parts. We certainly are lacking in rainfall though.

The infamous bird house is back atop the infamous post as of today and the body did not fall off of the ladder this time! Needless to say, the three-legged ladder was used. Correctly. The leg is feeling better which makes me happy that I didn't spring for the x-ray (more money to spend on plants! woo-hoo!) and my imagination is beginning to believe that there isn't a blood clot at the back of my calf after all.

The bridal wreath just can't wait another day to show signs of life either. Dunno which variety this one is but it has been here longer than I have so qualifies as an heirloom.

There is a daffodil in bloom but I forgot to take its picture. A few violets and the hellabores are adding color to the otherwise frozen brown landscape. There are buds on the chasmanthe.
Yes, it is Spring. Posted by Picasa