Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Misc. May photos

Mom. this garden angel looks so much like our late mother! She's been hanging arouond on the rusty bucket full of campanulas for many years now. she keeps an eye on things. the saucer magnolia was not happy in all the shade but the final blow was last summer's drought. So this spring it became a shrine unto itself.

ok. I give up. every time I try to put the correct caption with the correct photo the caption either dissappears, or the photo dissappears/ Or the words remain with the wrong photo.

the next photo should be the clematis with the morning sun shining through and that should be followed by the new saucer Magnolia Shrine-unto-its-Dead-Self.

Please forgive me for I have no 5 year old child in the house to explain how computer programs work.

The orchid cactus really took off this year. It appears to need fertilizer. Why can I never remember to feed it?
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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Spring! or fall?

The calendar states that today is May 7th. The view outside is of gray sky and fog. FOG? In May? Looks like October! Well, the plant life does not state "fall" but the air... I honestly had to go outside to make sure that a neighbor's house wasn't on fire! Fog. In May. My goodness.

It is overcast and quite warm this morning. The past few days have been quite humid and, I imagine (having never been there) very Georgia-like. I don't "do" humidity well. Must take the big mower out for a spin tomorrow. The grasses and the spent chasmanthe are tall and in dire need of removal. Still haven't seriously looked into hiring someone with riding mower to tend to the orchard but believe I will. I have no urge to defy elderhood by doing it myself again this year.

The sweet peas were a bit of a disappointment this year. Perhaps there just wasn't enough sun for them. Pretty colors, tall vines, VERY short stems on few flowers. The feral sweet peas in the Not-So-Secret Garden were much nicer until the deer discovered them last week. Years ago, before the deer moved in, I had a tipi of sweetpeas in the Not-So-Secret Garden which nearly became a traffic hazard. People would slow down and/or stop to look. I suppose the feral peas that bloom down there are the offspring from that early tipi. Its all but impossible to find a sunny enough spot for flowers that isn't accessable to the deer on this place. Phoebe's yard is one of the safe havens for flowers and the Dear Doggie doesn't seem to mind that half of her yard has been turned into flower and veggie beds.

The Not-So-Secret Garden has lots of new plantings of "deer resistant, drought tolerant, California natives" this year and when those "take hold" the area might just become another traffic stopper. Not that traffic needs to be stopped. Slowed down to the posted 30 MPH would be nice though. My goal is to not only have a pretty front yard with "proper plantings" but to make folks reconsider big front lawns that require lots of water and mowing. (The lady across the road could fence her lawn in and raise at least a half dozen happy sheep on it.) and speaking of front gardens, I was totally taken aback a few mornings ago when a fellow walking his dog smiled as he allowed the dog to jump the ditch and pee on my flowers. He then crossed the road to walk up the short dead-end across from me, and allowed his dog to enter every home's front yard to "mark it". WTF?

Over the years I have collected a LOT of stuff to plant things in. I think this old coffee pot-with-bullet-holes was a relic found in Eastern Oregon. the asparigus fern is quite happy in it. Its hanging on the make-do deer fence in the back yard. Funky but functional fencing. Also inexpensive.

A dear friend, Star, gave me a start of this beautiful bronze iris a few years ago and it has finally really taken off. She thinks the name is "Play With Fire". I'm not a huge fan of iris but this one is such a beautiful bronze color what's not to like?

The deer have not discovered the clematis vines...yet...The big pink one is Ernest Markham. Blooms are 6" across. It shares an arbor with a honeysuckle and a jasmine. I haven't located the tag for the dark purple, much smaller one photo this post. Both are absolutely loaded with tender buds. Shhhh. Do not tell DOEreen or her son.

Should head back outside and listen for the baby white-breasted nuthatches. They may have fledged yesterday. When I peeked into the box on Monday, a fully feathered youngster peeked back. I think that there are at least two babies in there.

The American Goldfinches have thinned out considerably but the usual herd of Lesser Goldfinch is munching thistle as usual. The Bewick's wrens are buzzing about in the yard. They raised at least two broods last year. At least one of the nests was in a brush pile that I wanted to get rid of. Dang. Maybe this fall. I want to have brush piles but these two have gotten so huge that I worry about the fire hazard. I have yet to spy a Black-headed Grosbeak in this yard this spring but many customers at work have reported them at their feeders. Which reminds me! This is the week when the Western Tanagers show up in the back 40. Its time to hit "post", grab the binos and take a walk.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Phoebe's yard

Phoebe's yard was looking pretty dog eared (..oops, sorry) and since the deer were (are) eating everything else on this place, it seemed logical to put all the yummy flowers (and now a few yummy vegetables) in the dog's yard. Phoebe doesn't seem to mind and hasn't even smashed any plantlife in her, there is a nice view (now) from the den and one bedroom.

The soil in this part of the yard is hardpan so lots of compost and potting soil and shoveling have gone on in the last 5 months. Its too bad I don't have any photos of what this area looked like a dozen or so years ago. My brother tells me it was all shrubbery, some of which reached across the 25' expanse to touch the house. I'm kind of surprised I don't remember that. Even though I was living in Oregon then, I did come down to visit every spring....maybe I never looked out of the windows?

At any rate, the first photo is how the area looked last December when I got this wild hair. No, that isn't true because I don't see the 6' tall Texas privet, nor the 5' rose-with-no-name, nor the big patch of Vinca major. It is true that this was in December but earlier in December it was even uglier. (can you imagine?)

The photo with all the clever labels (for me, clever) was taken in March. Wine barrels had been moved, re-soiled, planted with sweetpeas and Bronze fennel and a lovely phormium..oh, and the lettuce and Swiss chard. The stump had been rolled in from another part of the yard so that the birdbath would have a base.
Then I got a yard of compost dumped into the bed of my pick-up, drove it home on what felt like back wheels only, dumped it in my yard, then wheel-barrowed it to Phoebe's yard. It was delightfully light and fluffy.

Once the river rock and a short bit of rail road tie started to define the bed, it seemed only logical to make a "cute little path" from the gate to the patio slab; a distance of about 30'.

My neighbor makes lovely, FLAT pathways. He says "Use a flat shovel!" Yeah, WELL. My flat shovels must be duller than a book spine or I'm really a wuss because I couldn't move more than an inch of hardpan at a time. Back to the regular shovel. The path ended up a tad bumpy and lumpy but that's okay. Phoebe doesn't care and neither do I. I dug out about 15' before finding other things to do for a couple of weeks. (It was too hot to dig. Then it was too cold to dig. Then it rained. Mostly I was lazy.)

Thursday while I was at work, the Decomposed Granite Fairy left me a 1/4 yard of light blond DG! So........Friday morning I was out with the shovel, the wheelbarrow and a lot of good intentions. Had to finish digging the path then laid the weedblock, and dumped in load after load of DG....finishing up about 15 minutes before the rains came.

It has been raining ever since so the path looks a bit more like a stream bed right now but that's okay too. the rest of the path, at least on the north side, will be lined with more river rock and succulents will be planted along the edge.

I need to invite the neighbors over to walk back and forth on it for a day to pack it down real good. ;>) Pretty sure if I supply the wine, they will come...

Wish I knew how to make this thing (Blogger) let me show more than 4 photos at a time. Guess I need to borrow someone's 5 year old kid to show me how.
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