Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seeds and Sprouts

The seeds are for the birds. It was my idea to put up a feeding station. Lloyd took it over as his own and the birds and squirrels are very happy about that. This feeder is for the squirrels, but the birds enjoy it, too.
Lloyd likes to offer choices. Note the layering of a mixure of seeds, fruits and nuts with sunflower seeds. We seem to have an abundance of finch food, so he mixes those little seeds in as well.

We don't normally put out suet in the summertime, but the birds do enjoy it. A flicker and downey woodpeckers come around regularly, but even the house finches peck away at it.

We enjoy watching the hummingbirds but were having a problem with ants. Found the little red ant barrier at the feed store. It is a cup filled with water. The ants can't get past it to get to the feeder.

And a good bit of news! The rolls that were put out three days ago have begun to sprout already. Click on the picture to enlarge so you can see them. I've marked some with red arrows.

I marked a weed with a blue arrow, spotted spurge. This grows flat to the ground and is really rather pretty with its pink stems. The plant has shallow roots and grows like a flat plate, with a diameter up to about 12-16". I've been pulling them up because my mind tells me "weed" -- but I'm wondering how much harm them might do if I let them grow as a green ground cover where the flower gardens are a bit sparse. A weed is a plant that's growing where you don't want it, so if I want it . . . lol

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Too Late to Plant?

A couple of weeks ago I saw some of those roll-out flower seed packs on sale for 99 cents at Menards. Who could resist? There is one section of the bed by the shed that  has just two lavender plants in it and has been a constant source of crabgrass all summer. I knew they had to be kept pretty damp to get the seeds to germinate and knew I'd be a way for several days last week, so I waited until today to put them out. Two parts are the Fragrance collection and the rest are English Garden.  Have no idea what's coming, but it has to be better than crabgrass!

The backyard is looking green thanks to a lot of watering.

This new piece of yard art showed up a few days ago, thanks to a good friend. :) Not sure it will stay in this spot, but it adds some welcome sparkle. That little cluster of brown leaves behind it is a lilac that survived weed-whacking and mowing only to succumb to the heat (or maybe overwatering). 

A couple of weeks ago I found some Genista broom moth caterpillars finishing dinner on the baptisia. They had stripped it entirely. I didn't get a picture of the caterpillars but you can see one here. This poor thing had its tap roots cut last year when I moved it and now this. Today I noticed that the bush is coming back. Hardy little soul! (And yes, I see the crabgrass ... *sigh*)

The lantanas are growing well. Some are nearly as bit as the mums now. These mums don't seem to want to flower early, as do the ones in back. The heat is throwing schedules off.

Just beyond the walkway in the photo above is this turtlehead. Despite watering, it gave up. I'm not pulling it yet, as last year it was nearly this dry looking and yet put out a blossom. Call me an optimist! 

The echinachea that loves the heat is getting to the end of its tether. The hollyhocks are a dead loss. This part of the garden needs rethinking next year.

Here's a long look at the front yard. Notice the rough-looking grass near the steps. It's a mix of crabgrass and clover. The restof the yard is Bermuda or wiregrass. It has been slowly taking over. In another year or so, I think the crabgrass/clover mix will be gone.

The south end of the front yard is in much better shape than the north end.

Here you can see the Bermuda/wiregrass creeping into the cosmos. It takes constant pulling to keep in somewhat in check, but it does make a nice carpet of green.

And to finish up on a depressing note, see the crabgrass among the bricks. I managed to pull about half of it out this morning after taking the picture. The temp was rising and so was the humidity, so the rest is left for another day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Visitor to the Feeding Station

We have been enjoying the bird & squirrel feeders and birdbath almost as much as the visitors to them. I was the one who pressed to get something set up, but Lloyd has taken over and makes sure his little fur & feather friends have all they need. This is the main dining room. He has another shepherd's crook with two more feeders. There is a hummingbird feeder attached to the screened porch.

I made a  list of all of the birds we've seen so far. They include the usual run of cardinals, sparrows, nutchatches, downey woodpeckers, house finches, blue jays, golden finches, mourning doves, hummingbirds, and more. This past week we spotted some new visitors: Eurasian Collared Doves. they are a little bigger than the mourning doves. One of them came for several days and then one day showed up with a friend. I was so glad the camera was nearby!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


The heat has been relentless this summer, watering almost a full time occupation. Yet amid the sad and drooping plants there are some lovely surprises. The large dahlias are left from last year. Although they are somewhat delicate and need to be taken up in the winter, I didn't bother. With the relatively mild winter, they survived and are thriving. And remember the new dahlias in the front yard that got pulled out? I noticed that one or two had tiny new leaves, so instead of tossing them, I planted them in the back yard. The small green plants are growing well; seven of the eleven have so far survived.