Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One finished project

Here's a view of the finished "log dam" at the end of the backyard north bed. I'm happy with the results. Personally, I think it looks great! Doesn't Sum and Substance look good next to it?

Those little green bits on either side will, someday, be big Goatsbeard (Aruncus). They, however, began as late 2006 bare-root plantings. I know, I said I'd never do bare-root again. And, I probably won't.

Below is a photo of a "work in progress." It's an arbor I began about three years ago. When my neighbor's bushes (those bordering my raised bed gardens) begin to encroach, I give them a trim. Those trimmings are crucial to the progress of the arbor. Narrow honeysuckle limbs bend easily and are great to work with... hence the slow progress. But, I don't care! Check out my list to the right. I have a lot of projects in mind!

Won't this be cute next to a playhouse for grandchildren and neighboring children? (The back side might be my garden shed... or where the great big brush mower could house.
Either way, out of the sun... into the shady retreat.

What is THIS doing HERE?

Do you remember the photo of the Robin's nest atop the wren house? Yesterday I walked 'round the house , and what did I spy but the Robin's nest... on the ground! (see below)
I was distraught because I didn't think the babies had looked old enough to leave the nest, and I couldn't imagine what might have caused the nest to fall.

This morning, however, as I was working in the backyard, I was surprised to see a baby robin hop out from under a hosta leaf. All I had in my hand was a shovel... and they don't take pictures, so I thought I was "out of luck." But I was at least relieved to have spotted one of the babies alive!

Later, as I was eating lunch in the dining room, I spotted an adult robin struggling with a worm. As I watched, it hopped to its baby next to the tree (photo to the left). You'll definitely have to click on the photo if you want to try to find the little fellow!

I grabbed my camera and headed out the downstairs doorway.

With my little 3x magnification, the next photo is what I was able to capture from the backyard bench. Obviously I wanted to be closer, but "Mama" was concerned.

She wasn't alarmed however, so I crept a bit nearer the baby. You may see him below (he's the little speck to the left of the tree). One more photo... and this is as "good as it gets." Without scaring the baby OR the mother, I retreated. Please click on the photo to get a better view of the baby.

Oh! That's not the end of my saga. As I made preparation to sit on the backyard bench (I had eyes only for the baby robin at the time), someone narrowly avoided my foot! (I jumped and he sped away as fast as his body could angle and dart!)

I don't know who was more surprised - but SOME people have their eyes open when they walk in the shade. But not me. I missed an opportunity to photograph a big, fat garter snake!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ahhh, back in the Shade!

Today was quite the fun day. I began the day by using my wheelbarrow. I'm making a "log dam" at the end of the bed below. You can see that the job is yet unfinished. I ended the afternoon by visiting all my "friends" in the shady backyard. Everyone is growing, new blooms blooming, etc. This being the 3rd growing season for many plants, they're maturing and how grand is that!
Please feel free to click on any of the photos. You'll find more than what I'm describing.

Here are a few photos. The photo above shows the extreme north bed on the east side of the house. The bush closest to the camera is called a "Dappled Willow." You may note a Bleeding Heart to its right. There's a sign that says "A Kiss of the Sun for pardon, the Songs of the Birds for mirth. One is closer to God in a garden, than anywhere else on Earth." I believe it.
Just beyond that are two Japanese Painted Ferns. This is their second year. I'm hoping they're happy.

Photo one below shows a closer view of one of them. Way at the end of the bed in the first photo above, you might be able to see Sum and Substance hosta. The second photo below shows a close-up of Sum and Substance, now in bloom.

I am standing at various points on the east of the house as I take these next photos. Photo one shows the north side of the "big bed." Photo two shows the center part. (Note the same "Revolution" hosta appears on the right foreground of photo one and on the left foreground of photo two.) In photo three, I was standing at the southeast side of the house, looking at the south end of the "big bed," but looking at a slight bit northerly angle.

This photo looks at the east side of the "big bed." There's a little walkway between the two parts of this bed. Beyond the hosta in the foreground you'll note two different Pulmonaria (lungwort), and the Tenryu hosta.

Last, but not least... here's a photo of another robin nest! On top of the wren's house! Looks like they've both been quite busy nesting. My photo's a little "jiggly," but I think there were 4 babies being fed today!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Check Out My Nearest Neighbor's Garden!

This garden belongs to my neighbor to the south. Isn't this a lovely hybiscus?

Look at a portion of their deck.

And, how about their Black-eyed Susans?
Beautiful daylily... notice the long, strap-like petals.

Here's a vibrant red daylily.

And, what about these Balloon Flowers?

They have a lot of shade, too. Note these lovely hostas.

And this great, green hydrangea.
I know it's hard to take, but it's pretty "green" (and colorful) over there!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Last Night's Adventure

We bought a new tent. And we tried it out last night at our local County Conservation Park.

Not long after we arrived, we made a fire in anticipation of grilling the food we'd prepared at home. The menu included mini-pizzas made with pie irons and sliced apples/sugar/cinnamon with a touch of butter in aluminum foil packets. Yum! Crustless pie. ;-)

Recipes using pie irons can be as varied as anything conjured within your imagination. We always use spray oil to coat the irons first. Next we butter one side of each (2) slice of bread. Placing the buttered side against the iron, we put the ingredients onto the first slice of bread, covering the area of the pie iron. Place the second slice over the mixture and top with second slice. Cover with the second iron and hook the latch to keep it closed. Cut off excess bread, including crust. In this case, we used pizza sauce, mushrooms, meat, olives, and shredded cheese. Lay over the grill and turn fairly often. It doesn't take much time at all. When baked, open the iron and let your pie cool on a plate (they're Very Hot!). It doesn't matter if they're a tad brown, but you don't want to burn them!

At other times, you might make dessert pies with pie filling inside. In the case of dessert, sprinkle exterior of baked pie with sugar (it's good!). Enjoy after it's cooled a bit.

Here's the interior of our tent. What a nice surprise to find skylights!

This morning's guest, between the mesh top of the tent and the weather cover, was Daddy Long Legs. He was not unwelcome, especially given the fact that he occupied no room in the tent at all. I'm going to see who comes to visit the next time we go camping!

Hopefully for a bit longer stretch of time. Always like camping in the shade of some nice tall trees! And I always enjoy long walks on trails in and out of the shade!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Entry updated 7/23/07
Rain! We received 1.8" of rain late afternoon/early evening yesterday. Yippee - except that it POURED and from uphill neighbors and the upslope of the front of our own yard, run-off happened! Ran a river... right through the SW part of the yard! And it happened again this past week... 2" through the night and early morning.

We received another .7" this morning. And it looks like there will be rain again tonight! (And it happened again... 2" through the night and early morning.) Both nights' downpours were preceeded by high winds, and hail the first night (not always a good sign).

I have a goal of eventually creating a "dry bed" on the south side of our house... which would facilitate the run-off, and look very nice at other times. At least everything looks wonderful out there. And I've been able to discontinue watering for a few days.

Here's a photo of my "Madonna" day lily being nibbled by a kinda-cute little green insect. I was just told that it's a katydid nymph. He's down in the center. Click on the photo if you want to get closer. A tribe of these fellows, all of different sizes, made themselves at home on another bloom, practically denuding the petals of their color. (See the tiny spot where this fellow has been working?)
This is a Blackberry Lily. I first noticed it blooming yesterday. Out back, in the shade . . . hmmm, where's my lemonaide?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A cute new hosta

(An aside... we received .3" of rain last night. I'm so glad I took time to water yesterday!)

Here's a cute miniature hosta that was given me by my Aunt MEA! It's called Baby Tears.

Here's the other Golden Tiara (Aunt MEA) in bloom.

Speaking of blooms, do most of your hosta blooms appear on the sides of the scape? Notice the examples below:

However, check out the blooms on Praying Hands! They're "whorled."

Speaking of things in a flower garden! Look at what I found in my front yard Sunday afternoon! Wonder if anyone else spotted them??

I must admit that they're my husband's decoys. Sorry.

I guess I have a few random birds in the beds, too... ;-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's been a little dry

It's been dry for the past few weeks. So, I watered again. I'm hoping it might rain a bit tonight. I'm operating on the theory that if you wash your car, it'll rain. So perhaps if I water everything in sight, it'll rain. We'll see.

I'm planning to stick pretty close to home for awhile. I miss being more relaxed about working outdoors (i.e., when it needs it, when I want to, etc.) I must paint the shed in the backyard. It needs it. I'm going to add some "funky" trim colors. You'll see it when I'm finished.

I was with my parents last week for a few days. We had a fun visit. We walked through a park that my dad worked in often when he was an active member of the Men's Garden Club. This photo shows where my mom, my aunt, my dad and I crossed a creek, instead of returning by way of the trail we'd just traveled. That added a bit of excitement to the day!After the near-impasse, we continued on the trail. Looking down, Aunt MEA noticed a shoe. We don't know the story behind this lost shoe, but I'm sure I could come up with one!

(This is not my photo.) I purchased a "Strawberry Candy" daylily and planted it right after I got home! I was so excited to find one at a local nursery near my parents' home! I'd tried growing a bare-root baby from a gardening catalog 3 Springs ago. It didn't grow. They replaced it the next Spring, but that one didn't grow, either. I gave up.

However, both bare-root "Custard Candy"plants grew. And they're blooming like crazy this year. They're even extra-sturdy plants. You can sure tell I'm not in control! (Again, this is not my photo.)

Strawberry Candy now resides in the raised bed garden (which is "coming together." Just a few more plans, plants and renovations; then it'll be time to work a bit more in the rest of the yard... back in the shade.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Visit to the Prairie

We revisited the prairie tonight. Here's an update on the changes in scenery:
The gray headed coneflower is blooming profusely, as is the purple coneflower.

There's a little monarda (bee balm) here and there...As well as a great collection of "this and that!" You'll again see black-eyed daisies, and some blackberries! Something for everyone.

And this was the sight we beheld as we were readying to leave...

This was definitely worth staying for! Even if I did end up finding a total of 9 wood ticks climbing outside (and inside!) my clothing. Nothing shady about ticks... just very sneaky.