Thursday, April 29, 2010

Critters & Blooms...

I haven't seen this azalea bloom in a long time, though I haven't seen most of my azaleas blooming in years thanks to the deer that find them delicious! However, for whatever reason they left this one and a few spots of some others planted at the front of the house alone and so I get to see the blooms and so thought I should photograph them for posterity!

I didn't plant them, they were here when I moved in, those and hosta which are two plants that the deer seem to find irresistible. I'm not sure what makes them so, hosta I would think wouldn't taste like much at all, lettuce I would guess and well azaleas are so woody and just don't seem appealing in the least. Thing is deer will eat roses too, so that right there should tell me that they don't really have refined taste buds!

On the subject of animals in the garden what is it with the squirrels and their need to dig up that which I plant? While roaming through my garden this morning I came across one of my newly planted Heuchera that had been taken out of the spot I had planted it and set aside. It was as if something thought there was so treasure buried below the plant! I would like to kindly ask that in the future once they see there is no treasure in there, could they please replant the plant, I feel it is the least they can do!

I took my mom to two plant sales in the past two weeks, one was sponsored by the American Horticultural society, the other by Friends of the National Arboretum. I came away with quite the haul of plants, including a couple of dwarf maples and a variegated dogwood.

I love Columbines, I have the native variety forming a nice little colony and a chocolate double flower variety, so I'm always on the lookout for ones that really catch my eye. This beauty did just that at the AHS sale, the white is so white and the purple so pure, it reminded me of violets!

Then I came across this one at the FONA sale and well the size of those lovely white blooms was just too much for me to resist! I have a solid yellow one growing next to my porch but the snow seems to have stunted it a bit. It's not blooming yet and the plant is now half the size it was. I'm hoping that it just slowed it down and didn't really do any serious damage. I know that several of my hellebores that were stuck under the snow, now look much smaller and younger as well but them seem to be recovering.

I've got several days worth of planting ahead of me. I also have several shrubs that need to be transplanted so add a few more days to that! Good thing I get lots of gardening time these days!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A snakes tale..

Elaphe obsoleta (a.k.a. the Black Rat Snake) is indeed a friend of mine!

I know, I know the creepy factor is too much for a lot of people, including the man that I am married to! However even he has developed an appreciation for this particular snake. See it has been living in the garage (I knew this he didn't) for a long, long time.

Each spring I go about planting up my flower boxes on deck and I happened to look down to see a tiny head poking out from between the door and the wall. I moved in for a closer look and it was a very small black snake. We looked at each other a bit and I went back to planting my boxes and it went back to laying in the sun by the door. I saw the snake in the garage several times over the course of the summer and duly noted that the mice droppings had ceased appearing near my birdseed. I liked the arrangement as I will never, ever poison anything!

The following years proved to be replicas of the past, first spring day I open the door and start to plant up the boxes is the first spring day my scaled pal would appear. The above picture was taken in 2006. This snake doesn't so much as flinch when I walk past it, it's pretty cool and well what can I say, I love snakes!

Randy however wasn't really brought up to share that sentiment and it's taken a lot of work on my part to convince him that snakes aren't bad and that they really don't want to be bothered by you. It took a major event though to seal this snakes fate! See one day Randy discovered my friend in the garage during the early summer of 2009 and promptly insisted that I remove it. I tried to explain to him that the snake was keeping the mice out of the garage but he wasn't buying it. So I had to relocate my pal down into the woods.

Well, it wasn't long after that, that the mice started getting into the birdseed again. It wasn't until they brought their furry fury onto his car or rather into it, that he realized the value of that snake! You see the mice decided to chew their way into his car and they filled his blower up with dog treats!
They also chewed some of the leather on his seats, ate part of his bluetooth headset and to top it all off one got stuck inside the venting and died and wow did that smell! He had to completely disassmeble the dash to remove the treats and the body!

Well a few months later he came into the house and asked me to come out into the garage. There sitting perched atop his tool box (and looking quite smug) was my pal. Randy asked would I please move him, making sure to let me know that I didn't have to relocate him, just get him off the tool box. So I ushered him away to the other side of the garage.

Needless to say I was very happy to see him again this spring in the garage.

Once my pal got warmed in the sun I was really impressed! The size alone let's me know that I won't have any problems with mice as long as this one is around.

It's a face that I love and one that will always be welcome in my yard and garage!!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mulch much...

16 yards of the beautiful brown stuff was delivered on Monday, I've been spreading all week! It's a painstakingly slow process when the temperatures top out in the 90's and the plants are pushing up faster than I can spread. I keep saying that the best time to mulch is in the winter but I can't bring myself to go out and mulch when it's cold.

In any event the finished product is so worth it! I've been working on getting the vision of this woodland garden out of my head and into reality and finally after a lot of work it's almost done. All that is left is to add some gravel for the path and of course to get some more plants! I'm thinking some dwarf evergreens, ferns, heucheras and hellebores!

One vision down, oh so many more to go!!!

Weather woes and spring cleaning

Greetings!  It is that time again when I begin to regale you with my tales of gardening, nature and outside happenings! Alas, we once agai...