A gardening and birding blog

Dec 23, 2008

Dead branches

Rising from bed with the flush of flu and glancing out the window at falling snow covering already covered trees, branches, and street,I notice for the first time a pale brown gash in the oak tree across the street, more than a foot wide.

Nothing too strange, but what a relief!

They have finally done it - removed the heavy branch that overhung the road and the entrance to my driveway. We just had heavy snow and ice, and now more snow. Was it a year ago that I started calling the city's forestry department and the electricity company to try to have the dead branches removed. Not only did they remove those branches, just in time I think, but they took off the entire limb.

How often I had imagined children, dogs, dog walkers (notice the order of importance)and cars being smashed by those decayed branches falling. And just when I was not noticing, somebody removed the entire limb. It might even have been the homeowner whose backyard the tree resides in.

Now, if I can only get the city to remove another heavy dead limb overhanging the street next to ours....

Dec 6, 2008

First Snowfall

First all-day snowfall of the year - steady falling, silent snow.

Things look quiet, clean, and calm outside, and a bird or two has found a perch on the bare branches of the cherry tree out back.

With a soft red sofa, two good books in hand, and holiday music in the background, it's possible for a while to forget the current craziness of a downspiraling economy, looming layoffs, and uncertainty in the future.

One reason to like the change of seasons - the first calming snow of the year.

Nov 8, 2008

By the shores of Lake Huron

Over the Labor Day weekend, we stayed at a hotel in Mackinac City, Mich. right along Lake Huron. I spent an early morning taking pictures of the waves, the stones, and the friendly seagulls.

This curious gull might have been looking for handouts as it walked by.

Oct 26, 2008

Polka Dot Annual

The "polka dot" plant above is doing well in the front and still alive and kicking at the end of October, thought the bright colors have darkened a bit. Click on the photo (taken early summer) to see the beautiful spotted leaves up close - dark pink, pink, and green combined in each leaf.

Fall Blooms

Okay, so my significant other "weeded out" most of my yellow and lavender mums in the front yard and threw them away. !#$%!. That was in the spring, by the way. But I'm promised purged plants will be replanted elsewhere in the future.

So, what's blooming at the end of October? Mums of course, the red and lavender ones that survived in the front and a great big mum bush of red-with-yellow centers in the back yard. Also, those two knock out rose bushes I planted about a month ago are blooming nicely, with double red rose petals. They are still small bushes though and I hope they will spread out a bit next summer.

What else blooms this time of year?

Two bright red African impatients are still putting out flowers, and one of the canna lily bulbs I planted finally produced tiny yellow flowers. I don't know if the flowers are miniscule because of the type of canna or because the bushes are new to the soil. Am going to leave them in the ground and hope for a mild winter and big lilies next year. (The Farmer's Alamanac predicts warmer than usual winter temps in Zone 5). Keeping fingers crossed.

My shishigashira, Japanese Lion's Head Maple, has not yet turned color by the way. It is usually the last tree in the yard to change color and will go from a deep green to deep orange.

Sep 21, 2008

Knock Out Roses

i've decided to make it easier to get 9 months of color in the garden, and have put in two red knock out rose bushes in the front. They are supposed to have double the petals but since they are new to my ground, they are testing the air with just single rows of petals right now.

I've just added mushroom compost and will later add fertilizer granules to entice them to develop double petals. If they do well before the frost in November (?), I may just get a couple more for the other side of the yard next year.

No hassle roses, they say, not heirloom, but then who wants roses in the front that passersby will be tempted to pick? Knock Outs - the crysanthemums of the rose world! Easy to grow and blooming every time. I just hope they do all they promise!

Aug 21, 2008

A Bunny for Harvey

Thanks to all of you who expressed your sympathy when we lost our bichon frise, Harvey. This cheerful bunny somehow is a nice reminder of our little dog.

We bought this statue of an angel hugging a bunny to adorn one of Harvey's favorite corners in the garden.

For pictures of Harvey, visit my book blog, http://www.bookbirddog.blogspot.com/

Aug 10, 2008

Money Plant

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I stuck a small branch of Money Plant in a pot with a small Kaffir lime tree and they both em to be thriving out in the sun. The money plant is said to bring good fortune to its owner.

The leaf of the lime tree (the one with the thorns) is used in Thai and Southeast Asian cooking, especially in spicy coconut milk curries.

Contrast of Colors

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These climbing roses usually bloom profusely only in the spring. This year I pruned them back heavily, watered and fertilized, and lo and behold, a fair amount of blooms well into summer.

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The contrast in the garden comes from the yellowing leaves of this red Japanese maple. It's still summer in my mind, but these leaves seems to announce fall!

Miracle Come-back

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Note the thin dry stem directly underneath the spray of green on this climbing vine. My significant other takes the credit for making the dry vine of this clematis "miraculously" start sprouting green again. In other words, he applied fertilizer.

Decorative Banana

This banana tree will most likely not develop blossoms or fruit. A nice tropical touch for a container garden. I'll move it indoors as soon as it gets cooler, some time before fall, just in case...

I lost a lovely 6-ficus tree when we left it out too long and the first fall frost got to it overnight. It didn't survive that one night of cold temperatures.

Aug 5, 2008

Green and Black-Eyed Susans

This flower is called Gloriosa Daisy Prairie Sun. I planted it to add its bright yellow to the garden.

I love the deep purple-brown velvet of the daisy's "eye" which makes it a kind of cone flower black-eyed susan. It's technical name - Rudbeckia hirta "Toto, a perennial flower.

A few more views of green-eyed Rudbeckia daisies.
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Couldn't resist putting some yellow among the pink and red flowers in the back yard. Now if I could only find some blue and lavender...

Jul 29, 2008

Pink climbing rose

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The new climbing rose has finally gotten strong enough for its flowers to hold up their heads.

Roses and violets

 One of my favorites, the violet of last spring and summer disappeared everywhere else in the yard but reappeared in this pot next to the pink geranium below. One of the color combinations I like best in the garden - purple and yellow.

 This rosebush is doing well this year and has over a dozen blooms at the same time. It must like the used coffee grounds I've been putting around its roots.

 The rose petals are a deep pink with a pale underside that gives the flower a velvety, lined look and feel.

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This pink geranium has done very well outdoors in the sun and heat. It spent the winter months near a basement window and had only a few leaves at best.

Jul 23, 2008

Looking down

The plant has grown into a small tree. It is covered with tiny, fragrant white flowers in the spring. Now, the afternoon sun highlights the new, pale green leaves.

Red Hibiscus

The first hibiscus to bloom in the yard - this scarlet beauty is perfect.

Jul 21, 2008

My neighbor's violet Rose of Sharon peeps over the back fence.

Can't wait for these hibiscus buds to open up. The saucer-sized flowers are red. I also have white ones with red centers in another part of the yard.

The New Guinea impatiens likes it in the shade.

My attempts to grow tomato plants in a container yields these modest results.

My own Rose of Sharon tree in full bloom.

A "clutch" of daylilies livens up the backyard.

Jul 20, 2008

Summer rose

I love the pale butter yellow of the rose, the pink edging, and the fragrance. I planted this rose bush some years ago before I decided I should save name tags to be able to identify plants later on.


The only flower on this plant, which is about 2 1/2 feet tall, the violet and purple cleome is striking against the green background when you see it during the day. I took this photo with a flash at night. The plant is almost twice the size of a baseball.

Jul 8, 2008

Shishigashira, Lion's Head Maple, Fall colors

I took the picture below of the Japanese Lion's Head Maple last November, when the dark green leaves had turned a bright copper. This tree is partly shaded by an oak and a mulberry tree, and seems to do well. It's only about 6 feet tall. The lion's head maple was a chosen in 2003 as one of the Great Plant Picks of the year.

Click on the pictures to see the mounded, crinkly leaves in detail.

The Shishigashira, fall and summer, is thriving under the shade of taller trees, surrounded by a ground cover that keeps its roots moist.

For a website that has interesting details on the Sacred Lion's Head Maple and the importance of maple trees in Japanese culture, see the website: http://www.paghat.com/lionmaple.html/

Click here for more pictures of the Lion's Head Maple.

Jul 6, 2008

Purple and yellow daylily

The daylilies are beginning to bloom. This unusual variety came from upstate New York, where I got it several years ago at a wayside gardening store.

The climbing rose bush was pruned back mercilessly after its blossoms faded,and it has begun to bloom again. Maybe the mild spring weather and the rains has fooled it into thinking spring is still here. Hopefully, there will be many more buds in summer.

Jul 4, 2008

In Someone Else's Garden

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River view


River View

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Overlooking the river, July 4, from someone's else garden.

River View

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The river behind someone else's back yard, where a smalll sailboat and motor boat are moored.

Groundcover contained

Groundcover fills up this pot in a friend's garden, on a sunny July 4.

Zinnias, not Marigolds

Since these are not in my garden, unfortunately, I had a hard time figuring out if they were asters, zinnias, or marigolds. Thanks to Google Images, I found out they are ZINNIAS!! Lovely flowers, which I must add to my own garden come spring.


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