Thursday, December 29, 2005

List Day

Well, this isn't a very exciting post. I need to think over what I didn't get for Christmas that I really need to get myself.

1) A spading fork -- for compost pile turning and for mixing good soil into the clay in my yard.

2) A sifter -- well, basically some chicken wire on a square frame, something to help separate big clunky peices of mulch or compost or dirt from the nice fine stuff.

3) Garden gloves -- okay, these weren't on my list because I know my size, but I still need a good durable pair for winter and wet spring work.

4) Over the railing planters -- to give me something to see when I look out the window because the deck is just too barren and these won't blow around.

5) Foam kneeling pad -- for the times when I really should be on my knees instead of my butt, I'll probably just pick up a chunk of foam at a craft store.

6) Hose attachment -- I got the hose, I didn't get the sprayer for the end.

7) Muscles -- um, I guess this really should go under resolutions...

8) Garden cart/wagon -- for if I don't manage to build muscles.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Lucky Bugs

I have a ladybug hibernating in my house. I think it's just one, and I think it's still here. I saw it a couple weeks ago. I don't have a problem with it being here.

I like ladybugs. I grew up during the first Strawberry Shortcake craze and adored her companion Lucky. As a result, I've always seen ladybugs as a lucky symbol and liked it when I found them. I especially liked it when I found out that they ate aphids. That feeling swelled after I had the misfortune of having to park my car next to a bush infested with aphids. The "honey dew" was annoying and didn't come off.

The site Luring Ladybugs to Your Garden has several good tips on ladybugs. Everyone knows they eat aphids, but who knew that they needed pollen too! And finally, dandelions have a purpose -- feeding ladybugs! They like the pollen of dandelions, along with cosmos (especially the white ones), coreopsis, and scented geraniums. They are also attracted to umbrella shaped flowers such as fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, wild carrot and yarrow.

Now, my little ladybug is one of the Asian varieties, since it is orange and in the house. The native ladybugs are well behaved and go find a nice spot in the forest to hibernate. The Asian ladybugs like to congregate in huge swarms and hibernate in light colored cliffs. Now, Maryland lacks light colored cliffs, so Asian ladybugs make due with the next best thing, light colored houses. There were a few swarming around the house this fall, but not a mulititude. When I was in college, I saw a whole lot more on red brick buildings, and some anecdotes tell of not being able to see the house for the ladybugs! That is a bit excessive. The Ohio State University has a fact sheet on Asian ladybugs. Including pictures, so you can see what ladybug larva look like. It also tells of how to eliminate a ladybug infestation.

But I think I'll let my ladybug alone. "She" seemed quite friendly and didn't squirt red "blood" when I handled her. Although, she didn't seem inclined to fly away, I had to place her on my snake plant, so I could get back to quilting.

Edit to add this link to an article about British ladybugs in danger.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Garden Gifts

I had a wonderful holiday with my family, and I hope everyone else who celebrates the Season did likewise. This year, the theme of the list was garden supplies. I didn't get nearly everything on my list, because my dad decided the theme this year was going to be antiques. I got this:

Now, my dad's new thing is visiting thrift stores and antique markets. The story behind the sewing machine is that my grandmother used to have one of these, and the base made it into our house. For the longest time, my dad hauled it around. Then, the move right before I got interested in quilting, he put it out for the collectors. D'oh! Well, after years of saying he should have kept that and made a table or sewing machine cabinet out of it for me, he bought me a complete sewing machine! Complete with bobbins! And an antique shuttle for a loom.

But don't despair! I did get gardening gifts! I got a hose caddy and 100 feet of garden hose and two lawn ornaments. As well as a bird identifying book and one for wildflowers. I also got a toad abode! My dad likes making toad abodes, or turtle hide boxes. He finds nice bowls and inserts a hole in it so critters can get in. So, Aggie has a swank new home. I hope she likes it!

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My snow is almost all melted, except for where there were piles. And I ran out of bird seed again. I think I went through that a little fast. Even supplementing it with bread heels.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Most Wonderful Tree of Them All

The trees I really, really enjoyed at Christmas when I was a kid, is when we at the tippy top of New York state. The road we lived on terminated after our property and turned into a logging road. Not that we saw any logging trucks coming out of there. Just a few rangers. The soil was sand and pine needles and our house was surrounded by gigantic pine trees. My dad had a "native" shade garden. Mainly populated with plants he transplanted from the forest. Basically mosses.

At Christmas, we would wax the runners on the sled and hitch the dog up to it. Then, the family would hike through the drifts of snow back through the park/logging lands. We (my dad) would look for a spruce of about the right size to take back home. When we found it, he would use the saw he brought with him to cut it down while we kids goofed around with the dog. Then, we would put the tree on the sled and the dog and my dad would drag it back home.

It was only two Christmases, but it was a wonderful experience.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Trees of the Past

My parents have always had a real tree for Christmas. Several stand out in my memory.

At the first house, there was a line of evergreens screening the house from the road. The top of one split. So, my dad cut one of the tops off for a Christmas tree. It was a typical seven foot tree. And the tree it came from had to have been at least twenty feet tall.

That was not the only time my dad turned to the yard for a Christmas tree. He's done it at least once in the house they live in now. And possibly during the house in Connecticut, but that one doesn't stand out. But why not? My dad likes having spruces in the yard, and sometimes the tops just need removed.

Generally my dad gets a tree from a road side stand, or the fire department. They don't put it up right after Thanksgiving, but not the weekend before, either. And the tree is usually up until after New Years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More Christmas Trees

My brother, bless him, adores Christmas and winter. He used to play Christmas carols all summer through. Unlike me, his first Christmas, he went out and bought a tree. And artificial tree, mind you. I don't quite remember why he went artificial. Unless it had something to do with keeping it up a significant portion of the year. He alternates now between putting up his artificial tree, and buying a real one.

Artificial trees are nothing new in my family. My uncle has one. Although, his reasons were more about timing. When I was a kid, we moved to the tippy top of New York state. Between the day long drive to get to my uncle's house and the sheer amounts of snow up there, we didn't get down for Christmas. We did get down for Thanksgiving though. And in those ancient days, you couldn't find a tree before Thanksgiving. And trees generally don't last that long anyway.

So, in order to have a Christmas tree for the kids, my uncle got an artificial one. It's a nice tree. Although, he keeps joking that he'd rather have a closet that he could slide it into, so he doesn't have to keep setting it up and tearing it apart each year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Remembrances of Christmas Trees Past

Despite years of living on my own, last year was the first year I got a Christmas tree. When I lived near my parents, there was no need, I was over enough that I enjoyed their tree. The first year down here was in the Dungeon, so I wasn't very inspired to put up a tree. And I missed my family terribly. The second year, I was in the nice Townhouse and just didn't feel motivated. Then, last year, I felt the need to have a little tree. (I also felt the need to bake a Christmas turkey and have a dinner for my friends, but that's neither here nor there.) So, I headed over to Home Depot, which had little three foot trees nailed to a base with a saucer attached. Then I bought some garland and an ornament to go on the tree.

Pretty little tree. Just don't look at the mess behind it. *wink*

I have to admit, that the house felt better with a tree in it. And I didn't get my usual post-Christmas letdown as strongly. Although, the tree did not appreciate my holiday travel resulting in a lack of watering. I gotta admit, it was a little sad to haul it off to the dumpster after Christmas. I should have at least put some of the boughs into the turtle aquarium. This year will be different!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Tree

Friday night I picked up my Christmas tree. This is only the second Christmas tree I've had. So, I didn't have a stand. I've got to admit, that the urn worked better than I expected. Sure, the tree is a little crooked, but I'll figure out a better way of supporting it next year. The lower branches just aren't even enough.

I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to decorating. One reason is that I'm cheap and don't want to buy lots of decorations. Another reason is that all of the "family" decorations still go on my parents' tree. Those that my brother hasn't already swiped that is. But really, I'm bringing in the tree for the scent of pine and the tree itself. So, I want to see the tree. That and I'm paranoid about the fire hazard with lights.

Although, I should get more garlands of tinsel to go on the tree. And figure out some sort of tree topper. The bow just doesn't make enough of a statement.

The pictures are a bit dark, but I do love the way the sunlight made the garlands sparkle all over.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Black Ice

Fear not, I have not been done in by temperatures in the teens or a blizzard converting into a rain storm. More being too tired after a day without internet.

But first, the weather. This week the temperatures dipped into the teens for two days. That was enough to make everything super cold. Then the snow/winter mix storm rolled in yesterday. The half inch of snow gave way to sleet, then to just rain. About another half inch. Black ice coated the region this morning, along with icy bridges.

This evening I got my Christmas tree. Home Depot didn't have my cute little 3 footer this year, so I made do with a four footer from a roadside stand. While I was there, a lady was making a fuss about not getting a refund for a dead tree. Umm, last I checked, they were all dead. Cruely lopped off of their nice root systems. But it makes you wonder who would buy a tree in the middle of a snow storm, since she was ranting about it being dead after 24 hours. Second, what did she do to it to "kill" it so quickly? Unlike Home Depot that had trees with brown leaves, this lot had all green trees. Silly lady.

I've got the tree set up. I had intended to get one with a stand and saucer attached, but this worked better. I took my cement urn, and hauled it in off of the back deck. Then I set my rain guage trash can inside that. And the tree rests in that. Which means gallons of water for my thirsty tree!

I'll post pictures after I decorate.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Drip, drip

Friday morning saw three inches of snow with some sleet, freezing rain and rain mixed in. All before morning rush. Thankfully, it was topped off with powdery snow, which covered the ice nicely. It just seems like it is going to be one of those winters. The next chance of snow is next Thursday.

And is warm enough out that the snow is melting. It melted a fair bit yesterday, and the trend is continuing today. My poor holly bush was encased in ice last night. It probably will be again tonight. The melt off from the porch hits it squarely. Although, enough did find my front stoop to turn my welcome matt into an ice hazard.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Holiday Slump

Well, getting up at dawn and getting home well after dark isn't working very well. All I want to do after work is hibernate. Or curl up with Harry Potter. I'm rereading the series and it's just as addictive as the first time.

I did recieve the first shipment from the first order of seeds this week. Two packets. They're currently residing in one of my M&M's collectable tins, waiting for the rest to arrive and spring to get here.

I did start a little holiday cheer. I wait till closer to the holiday to get a tree, that way it's still fresh at New Year's. But I got a wreath for my door. Okay, so it's more like a candle holder, but that didn't stop me from hanging it. I did give a couple spritzes of water, and will keep it fresh. It even has blueberries on it to match my blue door. And it smells nice.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Clowning Around

This morning I woke up to 3.5-3.75 inches of powdery snow, depending which drift I measured. The only annoying part is the walk that I shoveled is all icy from melting in the sun, then refreezing tonight.

My deck didn't get cleared. However, I did clear off a bit of the railing and put two helpings of bird seed on it. There was this one little dark charcoal colored bird that was very funny to watch. The doves led the way and settled down to eat. Then two little birds followed. The little charcoal clown, missed the railing and plopped down in the snow on the deck. Granted, he was parked near, if not on the feed plate. He sat there for about a minute in snow up to his beak looking around. Then, he flew up and landed in a drift on the railing that hadn't been cleared. He sat there, then tried to hop to the seed on the cleared railing. However, there was a dove in the way. And the dove was not about to move. The charcoal colored bird got chased a couple times, before the dove decided to stand sideways, with a little bit of seed available.

Sadly, at that point, I had to go to work. But I did have a smile on my face.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Well, the snow has arrived. It was a bit late. And all that is falling is nice fluffy powder. Powder happens to be my favorite type of snow. It just wooshes away when you run the brush over the car. Not like that heavy wet stuff that weighs a ton. And you can clear it with a broom! No miserable shoveling! Not that it really laying.

Other than that, the hydrangea has completely died back. The leaves are really forelorn looking. I don't know when I'll see daylight to take a picture. Working closer is good, but the hours are much later. Ce la vie.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I had meant to post pretty pictures of a dusting of snow. However, between the time I was up in the middle of the night, and I crawled out of bed this morning, snow had turned to rain and it was all melted. Which I think is pretty cool.

Tomorrow might be a different story. The weathermen are using terms like "snow event" and "beginning of the season". Not cheery terms. Thankfully, I will not have to share the highways tomorrow afternoon with people who don't know how to drive in snow, or worse don't know how to drive huge 4x4 vehicles in the snow. I think I can do without internet at work for that little blessing.

See, despite the fact that this is Maryland and is techincally in the South, it's not that far south. It's zone 6 (7 in some areas depending on the map), which means the ground still freezes for most of the winter and it snows. The snow just generally doesn't last out the week. But since it is DC, we have a constant in flux of people from all parts of the country and the world, so there's always a new crop of drivers who have never experienced snow. Much less the 4-6 inches that it takes to shut down the city.

I will appreciate the snow for what it will do for my gardens and my currently unraked lawns, but I will not appreciate shoveling my front walk and my parking spaces. I just hope people don't take my shoveled parking spaces. Mine, all mine.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Flood Planes

Flood planes are areas surrounding rivers and creeks where occasional flooding occurs. In forethinking areas, this plane is surrounded by grassy, parklike areas. So that when the creek or river inevitably overflows its banks, there is no harm, no foul. While greedy idiots that build in the banks end up with nasty water in their houses and businesses all of the time.

When I was looking at this house, I realized there was a creek in the back. I made sure there were no signs of water damage to the walk-out basement, and the fence timbers didn't show signs of rot. And the creeks is beyond the grassy verge, so there is a lot of distance to the house.

Not to mention, the creek bank is fairly high, when I got around to wandering over there. I just figured that the trickle moved fairly well.

However, this idea was shattered last week, right as I was getting ready to leave the house to travel to my parents. There had been a lot of rain the day before, and there were lots of leaves in the creek. I looked out and saw a thin ribbon of standing water in the middle of the grassy verge. Which really did not look right. So, I got out my binoculars. The creek was swollen and ugly at the top of the creekbed! Eeek! And it was not sluggish water either. Not a good sign at all. I wish I had been able to get a picture, but I needed to be on the road. It also makes me wish I had gone out and checked the creek on the day that we had 8 inches of rain. Worried now.

Although, forecasts for snow on Saturday night and Monday morning also have me worried. Thankfully the other office is fairly close to my house, and I have to go in later for the next two weeks. Hate snow on roads.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


From the want list:

Last night, I ordered some of my seeds. The petunias I wanted were in stock. I also got some snapdragon seeds. Snapdragons are fun flowers. I actually used to play with them when I was a child. Snap, snap, snap. The jaws are quite fun.

In addition to their amusement factor, snapdragons are one of the plants that the Common Buckeyes lay their eggs on. Now, I think I'm a bit too far north for Common Buckeyes. On the East Coast, they tend to only come as far north as North Carolina. But that won't keep me from planting snapdragons. I'll just have to keep an eye out for caterpillars when snapping the flowers.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Settling Back In

I had a very pleasant holiday weekend, and I hope everyone else did too. I also missed the little bit of snow that hit the region Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The frigid temperatures that followed were not a good thing, either. But we've got balmy temperatures in the 60s, which is enough cause for celebration right now.

While on my trip home, I picked up a few garden supplies. Or was gifted with ones my dad didn't want. One cement bird bath and a cement planter. I forgot to pick one of the shovels he found at the thrift store. I'll have to grab that at Christmas. Boy, cement is heavy. The bird bath managed to get deposited on the back deck, but the cement planter didn't make it past the front stoop. In fact, it took the newly gifted hand-truck to get it to the front stoop. I'm just happy they are out of the car.

And a lantana update. The potted lantana is not happy with the dryness of the house. I need to remember to water it twice a week. It was very not happy with the Thanksgiving drought. There is also new growth on the cuttings. Yippee! I was worried there for awhile.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Quick Thought on Turkeys

Well, before I head off North, I should mention that there are real turkeys by my parents' house. One of the roads out to their house, runs through a little dell. The turkeys are wild turkeys, that like to cross from the woods on one side, to the cornfields on the other. Wild turkeys are smart, huge and black. Let's just say you don't get a run up the hill without checking for the flock of turkeys. These suckers like to stand in the road. And since they are of a size that you can see them over the hood of your car, you don't want to hit them. That is a lot of bird to ornament your hood. And unlike deer, they aren't particularly anxious to cross the road quickly. They know they're big enough. So, sometimes you just have to wait for the birds.

Although, it is pretty neat to watch them.

Enjoy the holiday! And safe driving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Little Surprises

Last night as I was walking out to my car, I discovered that at some point during the day, the landscaping crew had put in fresh faced pansies. Those adorable little faces turned up to greet the cold rain, but it cheered me. Despite their inevitable doom. They aren't predicting hard freezes this week, but it's going to be pretty miserable with an Alberta clipper visiting for Thanksgiving. I however, am heading off to where snow is guaranteed, instead of threatened. Nice Thanksgiving break. I need to make sure all the plants are well watered.

When I was driving into my development last night, after a long trying commute, I got my second surprise. Green lawns in the common areas. They stole my leaves! I went to work, looking at all the brown leaves and contmeplating picking them up on the next Monday, and when I get home, they are all gone! They vacuumed them up off the road and the sidewalks! The only leaves to be seen, were a few that got knocked down by the rain. I knew I should have filched more last weekend. More will fall, but not that many more. Curses....

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Nose Knows

I happen to think that a garden should be a five senses experience. Of course there are the pretty things to see, birds and rustling leaves to hear, soft petals and lush leaves to touch, vegetables and herbs to taste, and most of all, fragrant flowers to smell.

In fact, that is my favorite part of the garden, smelling the flowers. In fact, that is my favorite part of visiting rose gardens, smelling the roses. People who go with me, think that it is cute, until I get to the fifth bed, then they start to think it is a bit repetative. *chuckle* This is what made me fall in love with peonies, the way my entire house smelled of them, from just three cut flowers bought in the supermarket.

Which seriously makes me question this. This being six thousand curiosity seekers going to see a flower that smells like carrion. The titan arum, or corpse flower is considered a very gross flower. It is a carnivorous flower, and the whole purpose behind the scent is to attract carrion eating beetles to dine on, as they seek the rotting corpse to dine on.

I think this is one flower, I can live without smelling.

Edit to add non-registration required link.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Spiders and Things

It is not that I hate spiders, or am afraid of them. I just don't like when they invade my personal space. Like crawling on me or my bed or my quilts. I am quite happy about the one that took up residence on my yellow lantana and is getting rid of the white fly problem I had.

That said, I am afraid of spider bites. And not just of the deadly kinds, like black widows. Nor just the painful ones, like brown recluses. I am afraid of common ordinary bites. Why? Because the one spider bite I got was horribly itchy. Worse than any mosquito bite I'd ever had. And persistantly itchy for days. I got it because a spider decided to hide in a slipper, and the spider was upset that I decided to use said slipper. It's a shame really, I liked those slippers and now I have to wear socks when putting them on.

But I like having spiders in my garden. I like that they eat bugs I'd rather not have in my garden. And it appears that I have a healthy population of them in my garden. But, that does make me all nervy about reaching my hands into plants that have a lot of spiders protecting them. Which is the main reason I bought gardening gloves. That way if I disturbed a spider, it couldn't bite me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Real Cold Front

I am glad I enjoyed the weather Tuesday night. That cold front roared through town, dropping temperatures 15 degrees over one hour! That's right, on one side, it was a balmy 73 degrees, on the back side, a chilly wet 56 degrees. And it continued to drop! In the 30s this morning and only going up to 47 today! Eek! At least the threat of snow on Sunday keeps being downgraded.

All this cold has me thinking about gloves. My leather driving gloves specifically. They are pretty thin when the weather really drops. But after reading all the posts about gardening gloves and support, I'm considering looking into getting a nice lined pair of high end gloves. That walk from the parking lot into work at 6am is brutal.

Not to mention scraping ice off of my car or shoveling snow. I need a good work glove for those chores. My only reservation is the shape of my hands. I've got long fat fingers, especially for a woman. Nine, nine and half ring size depending on the finger. My thumbs are skinnier than my fingers. I certainly don't want to order expensive gloves, then have to return them repeatedly to find a size that fits. I'll have to think on that.

In the meantime, a picture of my gardening gloves. They are goatskin leather from Home Depot. I don't like the cuffs, but what fits, fits. And they fit well. Emptying out the mower bag is the cause of the stain on the fingers. Good honest grass. I prefer to dig with bare hands. It's fun to wriggle my fingers in the soil.

Yesterday's precipitation: periods of heavy rain -- 1"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Leafy Frolic

Yesterday was a gift day. A beautiful partial sunny warm day, before an awful mess. That storm system that produced multiple tornadoes in the Mid-West is arriving today bearing artic air.

So, last night, I got out and enjoyed my yard. I cut down one of the hostas, and discovered two iris that were hiding in it. I moved them and spread mulch. I ran short of mulch, so I didn't chop down the other one. Then, I raked the front yard. I got two yard bin's worth of leaves, that went into the composting bin. It's still not full! Which is good, the wind overnight knocked down even more leaves! But I'm not discouraged, I wanted to tuck those leaves into the compost bin before the rain started and made it a sloppy mess.

And for my final trick, I joined the ranks of the leaf filchers. That pretty maple tree that I had photographed earlier has a pile of leaves underneath it. The neighborhood kids piled it up to jump in, but it's been pretty flat looking for over a week. Last night I walked over and filled my yard bin. Two bins' worth thickly covered a 3' x 6' area that will become my birdbath garden. Hopefully the leaves won't blow around too much. I'll probably get more later to add to the pile.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chemical Free

Most gardening experts push organic or chemical-free gardening. And it really is healthier for the garden, even if the grass is lackluster or the bugs are a bit pervasive.

I stay chemical free because of what I want my garden to be, not from any dislike of science. I want to have my little gardening buddy out with me, even if he doesn't appreciate "aggressive double fisting of weeds". I'm talking about my little Zeppe. Captive bred, too. Not that my dad intends to breed turtles, they just do that on their own. ;)

But pesticides and herbicides and chemical fertilizers are not healthy for little turtles.

I am also planting my garden to attrack butterflies to my yard. I certainly wouldn't get too many butterflies if I coated my yard with insecticides. And that would also chase off my natural insect fighting squad, Aggie the toad out front, the praying mantis by the shed, and the multitude of lady bugs I've spotted this fall. I spotted the Chinese ones swarming my place over Halloween weekend. But none got in.

If I used chemicals, I'd place all that in jeopardy. Besides, if I'm going to spend money, the natural solutions are equivalent in cost. Although, I'd rather not have fussy primadonas in my garden. :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Slip-Sliding Away

Ugh. I have been hit with a dearth of energy, just when I need to get moving. Winter is on the forecast this week, as well as a big thunderstorm midweek. Threats of the first snowflakes are being issued for next Sunday, as even more leaves fall. If I want them, I'd better grab them.

I have pictures from my excursion to see foliage. I put them up in my Flickr account. Photobucket is great for dumping pictures and posting to blogs, because it pre-generates the code for you. All you have to do is cut and paste while looking at the thumbnails. But Flickr is better for sharing. I get lost in the peony slide shows, any slide shows for that matter. I was obsessed on the cherry blossom pictures last April.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Yard Cleaning

Last night, I was a good girl and swept the back porch. The willow-type tree in the neighbors' front yard deposited a lot of leaves. Some of them wedged into the deck itself, but most were willing to be placed in my yard waste bin. Then, I swept up the porch under the deck. All of the leaves then got run over by the lawnmower. I need to remember to wear my safety glasses when I do stupid stuff like that. More to keep the dust out of my eyes. But you never know when a twig or an undiscovered rock is going to go flying when you lift up the lawnmower to get at the top of the pile again.

This morning, I tackled the front yard. A lot of leaves there. Mostly the affore mentioned willow-types, but some from the dogwood on the other side. And a few adventurous maple leaves that were blown around the neighborhood. I only got three columns (curb to garden passes) before I had to empty the bagger. That is a lot of leaves. I actually filled the yard bin three times. Fortunately, the leaves are light and fluffy at this point, so it was easy to lug them to the compost pile. The last load I actually scooped up some leaves from the "gutter". I think I managed to keep the cigarette butts out. (The neighbors on both sides smoke.)

There are still plenty of leaves on the trees, so any more leaves in the front yard will have to be raked up. But that's good, my compost pile is only half full.

This morning was the first frost, that I witnessed. The grass in the yard wasn't white, but the areas beyond were. Brrr.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Harsh Wind

It feels like March this morning. Wind speeds in the 20s, gusting into the 30s. And the temperature is just slightly crisp in the mid-60s. The leaves are swirling all around. This is a good thing. Why would all the leaves falling off of the trees today be a good thing? Because my plan for celebrating Veteran's Day was to rake up leaves in my yard and dump them into the compost bin, after running them through the lawnmower for chopping.

However, if most of the little willowy-type leaves fall off of my neighbors' big tree, I can just run the lawnmower for one last time this season and chop them up while picking them up. Bagging mowers are the best! Even if the bag on mine is tiny. It will still do the job.

I will have to have one of my yard bins to empty the bagger into. I'm certain all those leaves will fill it up quite a few times. It will also fill up my compost bin nicely. Leaves are the perfect composting material. You don't have to mix it with anything. And it is nice crunchy "brown" material for composting with "green" material as well. Like the hostas. Which is something else I was planning to do. I still need to chop down the other hosta bed and mulch it.

But that will also require another trip to get mulch. Fortunately, the yard is apparently open on Veteren's Day. And if it isn't, I just get it on Saturday. That is if I have enough energy to get it after cleaning up my leaves. I'll probably have to rake what the lawnmower misses, but that is okay. I'll have to gather up the leaves from my deck too.

What a fall treat! And it will be cool enough tomorrow not to be all sweaty!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


From the want list:

Aside from the unfortunate circumstances of sharing a name with a pig, petunias are perfect. Something about the bell shapes is charming. And the butterflies find them likewise. The petunias on the cafeteria patio at work always attract them. And they bloom through out the summer.

I always intended to plant a lot of petunias next year. Raising them up from seeds, then splurging at the store when I saw lovely plants. However, Park's is weakening my knees with their Petunia Dolcissima Flambe. For some reason I just get giddy over the color combination on those petals. It drives me mad that they are already sold out! That is so unfair! I didn't get to order any yet! Whaaah!

But there are other petunia varieties out there. I will find some to plant.

(And the internet is finally working at work again! Hallelujah!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Long-Legged Varmin

When I was young, one of my favorite Disney movies was Bambi. (Of course, nothing beat Mary Poppins.) I cried when Bambi's mother was shot. Although, I cry in a lot of movies, so that does not mean much.

But over the years, there has been more and more reasons to not like deer. Like deer ticks and Lyme Disease. Like hopping across the road after staring at my little Neon. Like eating wonderful flowers and plants. Yes, they are a majestic, noble animal. However, like racoons and bears, I'd rather not have them near me. Or my garden.

So, when I went to a party my boss threw several years ago, I was not dismayed to learn that the delicious bar-b-que was made with deer meat. Right now, I actually assist several hunters I work with, by taking meat off of their hands. Leaving them free to go after more deer. It is good meat, too. The one hunter gets nuisance licences. Meaning when the deer are snacking on apples and corn, the local farmers ask him to take care of it. Tasty. The deer around here eat better than the cows.

So, when I saw Bambi and his mother out front yesterday, my first reaction was wanting to know where my hunting friends were. Second was to regret that they didn't use compound bows. After weeks of deer collision caused delays on the highways, and deer crashing into grocery stores, I welcome hunters. Because the local alternative seems to be giving the does a contraceptive that prevents them from going into heat. And that means more randy bucks who begin to think that cars smell in season.

I don't like the thought of over hunting a species. But there are too many deer in this metropolitian area. So, kill with rifle and bow, or kill with car, what kind of choice is that?

Monday, November 07, 2005


As it so happens, down by the county yard, there are plantings in the median strip. I noticed that they were red and white lantana. Now, these poor plants are doomed. They don't like snow. They don't like when the ground freezes. And they certainly aren't going to like snow plows and salt spray. That is if the city workers don't rip them out of the ground before all that happens.

So, where's the scandal? I think that would be me running out into an extremely busy intersection around 10 am on a Saturday morning with my trusty scissors to get some cuttings. We are talking high embarrassment factor here. I snipped two white cuttings and three red cuttings, before attempting to cross traffic again.

Safely at home, I further divided the cuttings while removing leave, so I had three white and four red. I dipped at least one node into Shultz's rooting compound, and sunk the stem into the dirt. I planted them into an African Violet planter. That's one of those pots that you put water in the bottom and it wicks into the dirt. I figured it would keep the cuttings nice and moist. I can move them later after the roots start.

I know that the white lantana is not the sterile variety. I got 3-5 berries off of the cuttings I brought home. I'm pretty sure there were berries on the red plants too, but I didn't grab any of those.

The two red cuttings that had the thickest stems, were wilting as of yesterday evening. I probably didn't remove enough leaves and flowers. I had only left them on for the picture. But I probably need to remove more leaves, so the plant can concentrate on putting down roots.

And this morning, there were two deer outside my house. A doe and a yearling were grazing in the grassy area across the way. I foolishly tried to snap some pictures. They probably won't turn out. I'll have to check this evening.

Of course, the real scandal here is the lousy internet connection at work. It's been wobbly for awhile, now, today, it's just down. :( I m

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hostas Corralled

I set out Thursday night in the dark to build my compost bin. I forgot that you need to unroll plastic and let it sit with weights on, before you can do anything with it. So, I left it out with my two yard bins on either end till Friday.

It went together remarkably easy. Just 4 screws and wing nuts to hold it together. And viola!

I left it a little oblong just for aesthetics. I didn't put up the other compost bin, because I've got a lot to fill in this one, before I can even think about switching off. Now, in that picture you can see what the near frost did to my hostas. So, I decided that the first thing to go in the compost bin would be hosta leaves. I also needed to take down the hostas to see what was underneath them. I found that the patch by the fence was mostly bare earth, but there were some brown rocks by the fence. I should see about removing them next year.

I got another load of mulch this morning to finish covering the cleared hosta bed. I didn't hit the other hosta bed yet. There is a lot of weeding to be done under those hostas. And some back filling where I took the iris out. Heck, there might still be some iris in there.

That will be some afternoon next week. Not only is it a gorgeous Indian summer with highs in the 70s for another week, but today is an outage to see the foliage with my friends!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Growing the Wish List

Years ago, I used to dig through my mom's plant catalogs and plan out what I would put in my yard. This was very one sided, because she didn't get that big a selection of catalogs. And I was planning a shade garden for under all the trees I wanted.

The first thing I did once I finished moving in to my Little Blue House was to sign up to every plant catalog I could find. I took a couple weeks for them to start trickling in. They didn't come fast enough!

It is rough. Paging through catalogs and seeing all the spectacular plants and flowers and having a tiny little back yard. There isn't enough room to plant it all! And that's neglecting all the peonies I want to plant!

Mail order catalogs and internet shopping are great for promoting variety in the garden. You aren't limited to the few mass "produced" plants found in every box store's garden section. And if you have a theme, it is easier to find plants that fit.

But woe to the wallet. The amount of lust and planning that these catalogs stir up. But we all need that one special plant. And maybe that one too....

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Peony Plantings

Last night, I decided I want to stick my hands in some real dirt, so I planted peonies instead of playing with the compost bins.

I had picked up a bag of garden soil and some pots the other day. Good bag of soil, even if it did smell like a bog. Then again, that's the point. *smirk* Very nice consistancy. Although, I need to remember not to wear my tan work pants while gardening. Oh, well, it will wash out.

The pots had looked bigger before I started planting. Then again, the roots looked smaller before I removed the spagnum moss they were packed in. I need to keep reminding myself that they will not be living in the pots for more than this winter. And I am going to put them in the shed through the worst of the weather. I just wish I had the time, money and stamina to prepare that bed, but if wishes were horses, I'd have enough free fertilizer.

The grab bag included three double white peonies and three double pink peonies. The double white roots looked nicer than the double pink. But they were all great looking roots. The three whites had 5 eyes, 6 eyes and 7 eyes. While the three pinks had 3 eyes, 5 eyes and 6 eyes.

I tried to photograph my roots, but half of them didn't turn out well. I was losing the light as I was potting and didn't have time to mess with it.

I ended up planting them very close together, just because there wasn't room in the pots. But I'd probably have planted them that close anyway. I like tight groupings of flowers. The eyes are about an inch below the top of the soil, but I'm going to put mulch over top of that, so I didn't want them too deep.

I need to take it slow and steady. Gardening takes time. I don't need a yard full of peonies next year blooming in succession. But that doesn't stop me from wanting it. Humble beginnings.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Indian Summer Fun

Well, I might not have gotten frost yet, but the region has had frost. So, I feel perfectly justified in calling nice warm spell an Indian Summer. It has been beautiful. Just the kick in the pants to put the final touches on the garden before winter. If it didn't get dark so blasted early.

Anyway, Monday was gorgeous and I changed into a T-shirt and jeans after getting off work early and headed to the county yard for mulch. I remember why I was procrastinating. Somewhere along the line, I lost a ton of muscle tone. It is especially telling in my abs and hips. Oh, it hurt hauling mulch.

My yard bins are only half size, but you actually have to carry the things. (Not that wheeled bins actually roll.) And the easiest path to my back yard is through the house. But the mulch is damp and heavier than normal. And like I said, I'm so out of shape.

Two trips to the yard did me in. Although, to be fair, the yard is in a mess of traffic and I wasn't going to brave afternoon rush hour to get a third, even if I was in shape.

I did snag two free compost bins in my travels. I meant to set them up last night, but by the time I got done running errands I didn't run on Monday, it was too dark.

There's always tonight, if I don't do the peonies tonight.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Treats Galore!

First off, yes, the pep talk worked. I hauled two loads of mulch and picked up two free composting bins. Peonies also arrived. The one I peaked at had 6, possibly 7 eyes. :)

But today, we focus on the Halloween summary.

First thing, buy more candy next year. This was the first time in this neighborhood, so I wasn't sure of the amount I'd need. I guessed 3 bags with a reserve bag would see me through. WRONG! I was dipping into the reserve bag fairly early. And I actually had to tap my stash! Well, the stash I feed my friends. My stash is one pound bags of M&Ms. No sharing there! So, next year, 6-7 bags minimum.

Second, the trend was either to take orange and red colored candy wrappers, or take unusual candies. The Fast Breaks and Take 5s vanished, but two Butterfingers survived. I also need to remember to pick up non-chocolate, non-nut candies for variety.

Third, they started at 5:30, just after it got dark. Granted, I put the glow stick out and turned on the light at 5:15. But, I was answering the door, while trying to make dinner. So, I need to eat earlier next year, and not make an involved dinner, either. The last kid came right at 8:00. I didn't take down the glow stick until 8:15.

Fourth, I need to figure out something better with lighting. My porch light is either off, or motion sensative. There is no permanently on. I compensated by hanging a two year old glow stick from it. I'll need to come up with something flashier for next year. Possibly a string of glow lights hanging from the porch roof.

Halloween was a success. Especially since Mother Nature provided us with a treat of a gorgeous 70 degree afternoon, only sinking into the upper 50s by 8 pm. (This is also part of the reason why I managed to do all that mulch hauling.) Edit: It is also the wettest October on record with 9.41".

And in parting, my maize.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Pacing or Procrastinating

Five days of flirting with first frost. There might have been a frost at my house, but it either happened after I went to work(Thursday, Friday and today) or while I was sleeping in (Saturday and Sunday). I wasn't about to get up and peak outside. My bed is too cozy warm.

However, even with those five days, I still have yet to get more mulch. I just kinda slept in too much on Saturday after a frivolous late night (video games), and I was too drained on Sunday from running around with my friends doing Halloween stuff.

Before the frost warnings arrived, I figured I was just pacing myself. There's an entire season to get moving. And the rainy weekends weren't worth stirring myself. But despite being in the frost zone this weekend, I sloughed it off. Why? It has to be procrastination. There's no other excuse for my laziness. I've got to spur ahead!

Why am I getting down on myself, because I need to do this! So, all of today gets to be spent in an endless pep talk to make sure I get my butt down to the yard after work today.

In other news, Friday I got the bird seed. Ten pound bag this time instead of 5 pounds. And I picked up a bundle of three ears of ornamental Indian maize for my front door. (I'll stop procrastinating and get a picture of it later. *wink*) I'll get to put it out for the birds later this winter.

And I'll leave you with a picture of some berries.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Not Much to Say Today

No frost today. Quite a bit warmer than yesterday, too.

Someone identified this plant for me. Yippee! It's Cleome or Spider Flower or Spider Plant.

I found this mushroom on my front walk. Some critter must of have left it there.

Other than that TGIF, in the extreme.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Close One

Winter has already been threatening the region. Frigid temperatures. A brutal nor'easter feeding off of Wilma. SNOW in the mountains to the West. They got about a foot. Eek! Damp chilly, crank up the heater kind of weather. And temperatures in the 30s this morning. Time to break out the winter jacket. :(

Then to top off the growing sense of Doom (tm), there was a frost warning for this morning. A frost warning! My heater was running all night and my little nose was still cold sticking out of the covers. The trace rainfall on the feeder was iced over, but that was it. The rain bucket had liquid in it, and there was no frost on the grass. So no frost today. Lucky break.

There was, however, that annoying ice film on my car windows. You know the kind that you scrape and five seconds later, the film has reappeared already. *sigh* And I had to fish the emergency scraper out of the glove box. I'm going to have to dig out the other ice scraper from where ever I put it.

And to top all that off, I ran out of bird seed this morning. I've been running low all week, I had figured it was soon last week. But today, I emptied out the container, including the dust. I have to go grocery shopping anyway. Checking my records, I bought that bag on August 22nd. So, it does last. There were a couple missed days and a couple days that extra seed was put out.

I just get a premium songbird mix. I think that just means they put a little bit of sunflower seeds in with the nyger/thistle. There's some cracked corn and a couple other seeds too. It's the bargin basement stuff. The finches, chickadees and doves seem to like it. I never catch the blue jay at the feeder, but that might change as the weather gets colder.

And a photo of one of the maples in my neighborhood. They're really going to start turning after this cold snap.

Yesterday's precipitation: early and late sprinkles -- trace

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


From the want list:

I just discovered this wonderful species this week. Sandy at My Garden posted a stunning picture of a maple leaf on Hebe buxifolia. I fell in love.

Hebe is a entire species of New Zealand native shrubs. And they all have adorable foliage and stunning floral displays. Digging around the Hebe Society's website displays the sheer variety of forms of this species.

It is available in the US and does well in this region. The only thing is it's shrub. I just can't find it in me to buy and plant shrubs while I'm renting. I'm not even that enthused about planting perenials, but must have peonies. Must have. *shifty eyes*

I'm trying not to put down firm roots in this place. I could be out on my rear at any point. I got scarred from the last place doing that. Not that my mobile childhood (because of my father's changing employment) gave me any great security. But that's probably why I crave it. This is the fourth place I've lived since I moved out of my parents home. I'd like to stay here for at least 5 years. Heck, I'd settle for 3 at this point.

But no, I think hebe will end up on my wish list for my house when I get around to being able to afford one. Along with all the other trees and bushes I crave.

For now, I'll make due with the shrubs already planted at The Little Blue House. Like my holly which has berries that are starting to turn red.

Yesterday's precipitation: chilly light rain -- 1.125"

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Plunge into Icy Waters

Well, I decided that October is getting pretty old, so I took the Peony Plunge. I ordered 6 unnamed peonies in a grab bag special from New Peony Farm. There are good reports on the Garden Web forums about it, so far. The New Peony farm has a money back guarantee, if what was sent isn't what you ordered, so these are probably just ones they can't "definitively" identify. You know how it goes, the tag gets smudged or lost. They always get smudged or lost. But the reports are fine healthy peony plants with up to 6 eyes. Those are nice plants from what I've gleaned in my reading. Quite a bargin.

That means I must get moving with the other half of the plan, which is getting a nice deep pot and soil to go in it. I'll have to convince one of my big strong friends to do a Home Depot run with me. They can carry that much dirt to the car and into the house....

Wilma is attacking the region after combining with Alpha and a low coming across from the interior. Unfortunately, the low is a cold low. Icy in fact. We're in the 40s. We're lucky. Up in the mountains of Maryland and West Virginia, they have their first snow fall. Brrrr! More rain through out the day. If it doesn't dry out this weekend, I'm hauling wet mulch. That's all there is too it.

I went around the neighborhood and took some more fall pictures last night. The maples are starting to go now. And the summac is almost done. I also tried to get some berry pictures. I think I'll spread them out a bit this time. So, I'll leave you with this picture of seed pods on a vine.

Yesterday's precipitation: late developing light rain -- 1.25"

Monday, October 24, 2005

What is Left?

So much of the time a plant is in a garden, it is not in bloom. So, you spend an awful lot of time looking at the plant, not the flower. So, it is important to pick plants that have interesting leaves. Something to admire when the flowers are gone. Or different plants with interesting foliage when the other plants no longer have their showy flowers.

Yes, you can spend your time rotating plants like those landscapers do, but that's expensive. Or you can stagger your displays. Which takes a lot of planning, and even then, weather and Mother Nature can foil your plans. But having leaves that put on a show of their own is quite lovely. Even outside of autumn.

One of the earlier plants I noticed, were Japanese maples. Then more recently, I started that long series of polka dot plants. And various foliage plants spotted in the grocery store that never made it into my cart. In fact, it was the leaves that caught my eye with nasturtium. Those cute little round leaves. And the variegation on some of varieties, very cute.

I like plants with interesting leaves. Something to look at before and after the flower. If I had more room (and more permanence), I'd be tucking lots of them into the garden. But I'm going to be lucky to have room for the plan as it is. And I don't dare plan bushes and shrubs and trees. But I'll remain vigilant for leaves with interesting shapes, or colorful variegation. That much I can do.

Edit: Saturday's precipitation: light rain tapering off -- 1/8"

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Assorted Updates

It's a good thing I'm sick. The rain just keeps coming down. The mulch piles would be sopping at the yard.

The berries on the holly out front started to turn this week. It's nice to seem them be redish instead of green.

The iris are still doing fine. No more squirrel holes. The wilting leaves are still wilting, but the fresh leaves have remained fresh. I don't think I killed any while moving them.

I'll need to cut my grass next week. The dandelions are standing out again. I like them, but when they are the size of a dinner plate, they're getting big.

Ants have huge anthills out front. The annoying thing is when you squish them, you get yellow clay all over the bottom of your shoe. It's like you stepped in something else.

My hibiscus isn't happy. I can't tell if it is because I sprayed it with that soap solution, or the flies which are less but still there, or the fact that it has gotten much cooler by that window.

The heat is slowly creaping on for longer and longer. First it was just to take the chill off when getting up. Now, it's to keep the damp chill away. *sigh*

Yesterday's precipitation: intermittant light rain -- 1.5"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Peony Lust

From the want list:

Peony lust is a relatively new thing. As in this summer. I was heavily feeling the lack of flowers over the winter in my old place. I was making up for that by buying cut flowers. In June, I picked up some peonies. They smelled heavenly. And I vowed there and then I needed some in my yard. Despite the ants.

But who wouldn't want the Queen of the Garden Flowers in which "Powerful forces reside in the blossom of a plant that glows in the dark on the night of a full moon. Seeds from certain Peonies emanate a pale light in the darkness. To contain that magic, the roots could only be dug during the night. If one were to disturb a Peony during daylight hours, Woodpeckers would appear and proceed to peck your eyes out."

However, there is one problem with this little obsession. Peonies need to be planted in the fall. To this end, they are only sold in the fall. Why is this a problem? One, I have to buy them now or wait for next year. Two, the bed I want to put them in is in the spot with the amphibian eggs. (Which were looking a little wilted on top last I checked.) Three, all existing beds are already full, or would need a ton of work.

Which leads me glumly to the concept of the great peony experiment. Why glumly? Because peonies are expensive and I dare not risk the peonies I want to such an experiment. Especially given the cost of the experiment. And peonies don't do as well when planted in spring. At least not that year.

So, the experiment, buy a grab bag of peonies. Buy a deep planter or tub. Buy enough decent soil (which will then be placed in the garden). Plant and overwinter in basement by sliding glass door for muted light and slight chill. In March, place entire contraption outside so peonies are subjected to the cold they need. Possibly in shed to protect from freezing. Plant when warm, and hope that they're not all early bloomers.

The question remains, do I go to extraordinary steps to have a chance of peonies next year, or do I just wait. *sigh* Any advice?

Edit:Yesterday's precipitation: scattered light rain -- trace

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mutant Mint from Mars

Back in the day, I spent a summer working on Long Island. Driving around, I saw a series of the most humongous mint plants I had ever seen. They were straight and 7-8 feet tall! The horrors! Mutants! Which is actually true. They were near a reactor that had an "oopsie" with tritiated water the previous year.

Now, before visions of cartoon purple daisies rising up from the earth and using roots as legs and leaves as hand to come squash humanity are conjured up, let us remember that the true threat does not come from atomic zombie mint. No, mint is more likely to sufficate you, or more accurately, your garden.

Mint is a spreading plant, like several other herbs. In fact, in some locations, thyme is used as an alternative to grass. Herbs like to take over gardens. And mint is a prime example. Not only does it send out runners and eagerly reseed, but when the stalks get too tall and fall over, they put down new roots.

Several years ago, after that summer on Long Island and when I was still living at home, my dad let me have a small patch for an herb garden in an area that didn't grow much of anything. So, I picked up a pot of oregano, which behaved itself. And I splurged and bought a "fancy" pot of chocolate mint. $2.49, big spender there. I think the thought behind it was as cheap, natural breath freshner. The mint spread. The mint came back the next year, and the following years. My dad pulled out of the ground constantly as it reseeded endlessly. Finally, my dad gave up and is now using it as ground cover around his young spruce trees.

So, every time I think about planting decorative herbs, I remember that mint plant. The moral. Be very, very careful when you plant herbs. You might end up with more than you could ever use...

True story about radiation and gardens: My mom still likes to tell about the summer after the accident at Three Mile Island nuclear plant. The flowers were bigger and showier and the most brilliant display ever.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More Pictures from the Wetlands

I took it easy last night. I only watered the rhizome bed. Need to keep the transplants moist. The squirrels seemed to leave the bed alone for the most part. There was only one hole, and that was at the edge of the garden. The squirrels didn't disturb any of the plants.

Fall has definitely arrived. It was flirting with 80 degrees yesterday afternoon. But this morning, my thermometer read 48 degrees. Brrr. The first frost will probably occur in the next 3 weeks. I'll have to gear up my mulching, if I ever get healthy. It is good news in a way, since a frost will spur the trees along for a nice autumn display. There aren't that many leaves changing around my place. It's still green and lush.

There are just a few scattered leaves that are rushing ahead of the display. And even these have bits of green on them. I found these two on my deck.

But there is one tree trying to put forth a display. Or rather two. The more showy one was in somebody's yard, so I didn't get a picture.

While the leaves might not be showing, that doesn't meant that the trees are that dull.

One-Eyed Maple

And then there are the seed poddlings on this tree.

I'll have to see about getting some more pictures. In the afternoon light. Or at least when it's overcast. Colors photograph better in indirect light. I'd better get out before the birds get the berries.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rhizome Home

Well, I meant for today to be part two of backyard wetlands pictures. However, I did something utterly stupid yesterday, despite running what was later discovered to be a low grade fever, I tackled the irises under the stairs.

It was pretty ratty, even after I was double fisting weeds a couple weeks ago.

I thought that there were daylilies or lilies of some sort in there. I've changed my mind. Unless someone knows of a lily that has a rhizome instead of a bulb, these are all bearded iris. Everything I dug up was a rhizome. Unless there were some I missed. Which is possible under those hostas.

There must have been a lot of reseeding going on too. I found lots of babies that were far away from the main plants. And nearly every rhizome had a little fan of leaves on it. I didn't think they resprouted this late in the season. Unless they had mowed the area before moving out. That might have prompted new leaves.

I was sweating by the time I dug all those rhizomes out. I found several earthworms, including a big daddy nightcrawler. There were also innumerable pillbugs, a few things that looked like mealworms but not, a pupa of some kind, and what looked like a baby purple silverfish. So, despite being yellow clay, it's healthy soil. I added a mixture of reed-sedge peat, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and washed sand. I'm not happy about the perlite in the garden, but this time a year you can't be picky.

I let the rhizomes sit out and dry for a couple hours. I had overheated enough. And there were a lot of them. For reference, that's a 39 gallon lawn and leaf garbage bag they're sitting on. Everything from old vetern rhizomes to tiny babies.

I admit freely, that I didn't follow any spacing recommendations when I stuck them in the ground. First reason, I hadn't prepared enough garden. Second reason, some were babies and I didn't expect them to do much next year. Third reason, I felt like it. I like crowded displays.

I had thought about adding a ground cover like nasturium to the bed next year. I'm debating that now. There was a lot of periwinkle running through the iris rhizomes, especially those actually in the hostas. And when I say through, I mean the runners were underneath the rhizome and the roots were intermingled. It was a colassal pain to separate them. Not even the mock strawberries were that big a pain.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Picture Days

This is going to be a photo intensive post. I'm off today and not really feeling healthy enough to do anything strenuous. So, after the 50th time of a little mystery pink flower winking at me from out back, I decided to go take some pictures and explore.

This is the little corpse of trees and bushes and other wild weeds behind my fenced in back yard.

This is the little pink flower that was winking at me. I thought it might have been a phlox until I got close enough to see it. I'll have to look it up.

Since I was out, I decided to take a bit of a walk and take some more pictures of what was out there. There were some interesting foliage plants.

There was another patch of that pink flower further down. I snagged some seeds and sprinkled them in one of the hosta beds.

I think this is a Joe Pye's Weed. I'm not sure. It just looks like butterflies would love it, if it wasn't in the process of going to seed.

I'll close out this post with some pictures of the creek that feeds this little "wetlands"/weed patch.