Saturday, April 29, 2006

Got Dirt?

Well, I went out and bought 4 fourty pound bags of container dirt. Cheaper than potting soil and hopefully doesn't have the styrofoam balls. I also picked up a new pair of gardening gloves from Lowe's. I primarily gave in because my old pair hasn't been the same since I got them wet while ripping out grass.

I planted two little butterfly weed seedlings in with the under the deck hostas in the corner that the hostas don't cover. The rest of the seedlings will continue to be hardened against sunlight before planted in a high sun area. I also planted eight cell's worth of petunias in the starting tray. We'll see if I have any petunias to put in the four new railing planters when they arrive.

I also put out a tiny hummingbird feeder in the lantana pot. Please forgive the red food coloring in the water. I just added it to help draw attention to the feeder. After the current two cups worth of sugar water is up, no more coloring.

Not the best picture, but it looks like it's going to be a gorgeous day with no clouds in the sky. ;)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Transplant Stat!

Well, despite the recent cool down, we only flirted with the 30s, so we didn't get any frost. Yippee! It's still going to be a bit cooler than normal, but that's better than overly warm.

I transplanted my lantana last night. I took one of the big pots that I overwintered the peonies in and put in my yellow lantana and my cuttings. The yellow lantana would have been pot bound in another month or so. Whereas one of the cuttings had a massive root system, the other didn't. Even though I filled up the bottom portion of the pot with styrofoam peanuts to cut down on weight, I still used up all of my potting soil in the process. Yikes, it's a good thing I didn't plan on going all soil. Which means that I need to go out today and buy even more potting soil than I had planned.

The amaryllis lost most of its leaves to sunburn, but it is putting out new leaves to replace them. The iris are about ready to bloom. And I have a nice yard weed blooming away happily.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I saw two tiger swallowtails at lunch yesterday. Either they were being overly friendly, or were not being friendly at all. I know the males can be territorial. I just wasn't close enough to tell if the one was chasing off the other or if there was mating involved.

Then I saw a dark swallowtail driving home. Too bad I couldn't get close enough to see what type it was. But fortunately, it was flying well above traffic and crossing the road quickly. Not one of the silly butterflies that flutters right through the cars. And yes, I was stopped at a stoplight when I saw it. ;)

I got to the post office last night to return the over the rail planters I ordered. In my excitement, I did not make certain that I was ordering the ones for 6 inch railings. *sigh* So, I packed them back up and shipped them out. I'm going to order the right ones tonight. I also need to go pick up a couple bags of potting soil for them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


From the Want List:

I came into beebalm sideways. I needed a last name for a cute little character I was playing (Lurikeen in DAoC). And she was a general healer type. Running through themes of herbs I knew, I stumbled across beebalm, and it worked. So, when I found out it was a real plant, and a hummingbird and butterfly plant no less, I was hooked. It seemed even more perfect when I found out it was red. (The character was a red head.)

Beebalm or monarda is a grasslands plant native to North Americal. Like the other members of the mint family, it sends tiny seeds airborn, and the rhisomes creep, fiercely. Lots of care should be taken to keep it under control. Which is why I am planting it in the interior of my gardens, not along my neighbor's fences.

It is also called Oswego Tea. Traditionally, the leaves are brewed to make a tea with a mint flavor. Simmer for 10 minutes to bring out the flavor.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rainy Weekend

We had a nice dreary drippy weekend. Nice. My yard and garden needed that. We're still running a couple inches below where we should for the year, but this weekend helped to get us caught up.

The sad news is that there is a mass of cold air moving our way later in the week. We're supposed to see lows down to 35. Brrrr! I'll have to delay on putting the seedlings out. Although, the nasturtium might make it into the iris bed before then.

Since they were getting too tall for the seed tray, I transplanted three more nasturtium and two more sunflowers to little pots. Let them strengthen up before moving outside.

And two environmental articles, one on a modern day Johnny Appleseed, who grows trees for reforestation, and one on the battle over cleaner lawn mowers.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Yellowing

The azaleas at work are blooming and the lilacs at the grocery store are enjoying themselves. Three iris in the back yard have buds up. They look blueish. But you never really know until they open.

My nice lush back yard is now of a relatively uniform height. I was intending to put it off, but given the weather forecast, I was looking at next Monday at the earliest. And I wasn't as worn out afterwards as when I mowed the front lawn. The wild flowers had gone to seed and the stems were browning.

And my car is starting to get that yellow tint. Boo!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Keeping up with the Joneses

The "Joneses" in this case mowed their lawn yesterday while I was at work. In a way, I'm glad, because I didn't want to have to break down and do it first. They are predicting a very rainy Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But it still meant that I mowed the lawn last night. At least, the front lawn. I was too tuckered out to do the back. I just not in lawnmowing shape. ;)

That and judging by the teens that were obsessing on their cell phone while I was mowing, I think there are several bad cameraphone pics of me mowing on the web. *sigh* Well, at least I got enough leave and grass clippings to cover two thirds of my bird bath garden. I'll finish off the rest of it tonight with regular grass clippings.

Also, thanks to Judith over at knitagarden for posting the warning about the negative environmental impact that cedar mulch logging has on the costal environment of Louisiana coast. Just say no to expensive cedar mulch. After all, grass clippings and shredded leaves are free.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Little of This, a Little of That

Last night I got around to trimming the hydrangea. There were quite a few dead limbs that I wanted to cut out before it completely leafed out. The dead limbs were all dry and strawlike. I'm going to use a few for staking up seedlings. While I was out front, I thinned out the holly some. The flowers seem to have finished blooming and are setting up the berries.

I also played in the dirt and made a mess. I potted up my one really lanky sunflower seedling. I used a really tall Crystal Light container, because I needed to "shrink" the stem a bit. Even then, it still needed a hydrangea limb for support. My nasturtiums are also going gangbusters. I put three in a pot that will go into the turtle aquarium. The pot is a little crowded, but it is more to protect the plants from the turtles, than to contain soil. There are huge holes for the roots to protrude from into the general soil of the aquarium.

In other news, Ursula Vernon's webcomic Digger is up for an Eisner. In celebration of this event, the archives (which are normally only available by subscription) are free for a limited time. The current page is always free. Wombats are cool. Edit: Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the server can handle the load of Digger fans. Fortunately, the archives will be free for several weeks at least.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Holly Jollies

A beautiful Spring weekend, and I totally avoided mowing the lawn. Which, since all my neighbors did likewise, no one feels guilty about it. My peonies have buds on most of them. Although, I am beginning to wonder if I put them on the wrong side of the garden. I could have sworn that side got more light.

The holly bush has little flowers open on it. The bees are so excited. I moved my yellow lantana and my amaryllis outside. The lantana is doing fine. The amaryllis is having problems. The bottom six inches of two of the leaves shrivled up and the other leaf is suffering from sunburn.

My seedlings are doing well. I relocated the tray from the top of the fridge to the window. Although, the cosmos and dwarf morning glories are slow starters. The sunflower seeds all have tall spindly stems. They will probably have to be transferred to pots before going out into the garden. There just isn't room in the tray.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Birds

Last night I bought more birdseed. I switched back to the type that is more thistle than sunflower. The birds seem happier. I also added water to the bird bath. The rain wasn't enough to fill it. Or rather, the rain wasn't enough to overcome evaporation.

Wow, isn't that looking bare. You can see the brown clay mixed with the black organic soil. What a contrast! Over by the side, you can see my peonies. They are quite happy. I bunched them up quite a bit, but I like concentrations of foliage. I need to get wire baskets for them post haste!

I need to mow my lawn I guess. I do like it long and the clover are doing so well. Although, those spikey white flowers could used knocked down. But it is so nice to flowers blooming.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sunny Seedlings

Last night I played I my compost pile. I dug my gardening fork through it and turned it over the best I could, without just blatantly moving the pile from one place to the other. I even made sure there there plenty of worms in it. Then I piled more leaves on top. I used a snow shovel to clean up my patio from the winter rubbish a little.

Then, I put the ants in the peonies, literally. It seems that the ants that were trailing into my house most of the winter, were living underneath the newspaper covering my birdbath. Yikes! I discovered the pseudo-ant hill when I was setting up the birdbath in the birdbath garden. I squished most of the eggs, but a lot of the ants got away. Oh, well, so long as they're away from the house. And hopefully the rain this morning will fill up the birdbath. :)

And before bed, I checked on the seeds I planted. They are sitting on the top of the refridgerator to help warm the bottom. And to keep me from obsessing over them. ;) One sunflower seedling was sticking up about half an inch, although the seed was still covering the leaves. Very nice. And two beebalm seeds might have been thinking about sprouting too. That was quick.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Garden Update

Not too much gardening getting done. I'm allergic to tree pollen, so that is keeping me down. But my garden is pushing its growth. The peonies are about a foot tall now. They seem to like the new garden bed. The hostas are all happily coming up. The iris seem to be doing well. They are putting up new leaves.

The periwinkle is sprouting happily. I've decided not to fight it in the iris. I still would rather have nasturtium shading/hiding the iris growth, but I'll let them duke it out. Right now the little blue flowers are quite cheerful.

The hydrangea is slowly leafing out. And the tulips beneath it still haven't put up buds, but the leaves look good. On the indoor front, the hibiscus bloomed again last Thursday.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Parental Bounty

I visited my parents over the weekend. My dad had potted up six clumps of lily tufts for me. And he had also made a sifter for me. It's basically quarter inch chicken wire attached to a wooden frame, so I can remove the largest branches and rocks from soil and mulch. Very nice. 

Sunday night, I started my seeds. It's a little late, but several of my seeds only want started 2-3 weeks early. And there was frost this morning. Heck, my folks got snow on Saturday. Brrr. But then that's April for you. Let's see, ten cells of six different varieties went into the seed starting tray;
  • sunflowers - Velvet Queen
  • asclepias - Gay Butterflies
  • monarda - Pandamonium Mix
  • nasturtium - Jewel of Africa
  • convolvulus - Enchantment Mix
  • cosmos - Bright Lights Mix.

I also dead headed my daffodils Sunday afternoon.  There are still a few blooming, but the main mass finished blooming.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Breakup

Well, it seems like the flock is breaking up into breeding pairs. The sparrows are gathering in smaller and smaller numbers. Which is a good thing. But they don't seem to be eating as much birdseed. Then again, more insects are on the move. It just seems so odd, after having the greedy guts cleaning off the feeder since August when it got put out. I'd be putting out less, but I want to get through this bag with the extra sunflower seeds. Never again. It is very, very messy.

And supposedly the hummingbirds are back in the region. As of Saturday. Eek. I am so not ready! I did buy two tiny feeders, but I didn't get any railing planters to stick them in! Ah, well, at least the neighbor has their feeders out. And the hummers won't miss what wasn't there, right? I've got to get on the ball and order the planters I want.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

March Recap

Lovely thunderstorms moved through the area last night. Cool moist air blanketed the region. It was at least half an inch of precipitation. The sad part is, that more rain dropped in 5 minutes than in the entire month of March.

March set the record for the driest March at 0.05". So, that actually wasn't that heavy a rain shower. In fact, this March is one of three months under 0.10" of precipitation. Ouch! That's a dry month. I just hope April showers reverse the trend. Even if it means all those lovely cherry blossoms on the ground.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Down the Lane

The one thing I really like about this region is DC's love affair with the cherry blossom. Aside from my adoration of the cherry blossom is the fact that cherry trees are the preferred ornamental tree. Everywhere you go in spring, you are bound to see a cherry tree in bloom. It is a really nice drive spotting cherry trees left and right.

In fact, between the traffic light and the turn into my subdevelopment, the road is lined with white cherry trees in bloom. With random plantings forcythia further back. It is breath taking to drive down a lane filled with blossoms. I do love Spring.