So satisfying, and so simple

Nobody enjoys weeding, do they? Actually, I've realized that I do. I really enjoy weeding, or should I say "de-weeding" my garden.


Returning a messy, plant-jammed bed to the state that it was intended to have is so satisfying for me, and it only takes a few minutes (I'll break a bed up into small sections and stop when I finish a section if I'm bored).

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Mulberry overload

 I've pretty much had it with mulberries this year.


As I mentioned earlier, it looked like it was going to be a banner year for mulberries based on the tree that overhangs my driveway.

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Driveway crack gardening

The cracks in my driveway apparently contain about the most fertile soil I have in my yard.


They're full of volunteer plants and weeds, some of them large enough to trip over. I pull the plants out a few times each summer, but they come back quickly. Here's a look at what's growing there.

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Finch nest: the 2nd brood

With everything that's been going on here with wildlife (early mantis hatchings, kitten antics) plus all of the regular garden work, I've neglected to keep you up-to-date on the finch nest that is on our front porch.


As you may remember, house finches built a nest here this year, and the five chicks hatched and fledged. The nest was then quickly reused (by the same birds? I don't know) and as you can see above there are only two chicks, and they look like they're ready to leave the nest soon.

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Keeping one enemy at bay

In the struggle to keep our gardens growing the way we want them, there are many "enemies" of our cause.  Insects. Hail. Deer. Disease. Drought. Weeds. Wind. Wabbits -- er, I mean Rabbits.


When my garden was smaller, rabbits were the number one problem I had. These are a couple that are hunkered down in my neighbor's yard.

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Kitten update: 6 weeks

Tiny toe and Tiny whitey are just over 6 weeks old now, and they're fast! Little bundles of go-go-go! Last week I said all they did was chase each other and wrestle. They still do that, but with a lot more energy.


There's more pouncing, running, and jumping now. They're eating solid food -- not sure if they're nursing anymore, but I better find out and give them a mid-day feeding if they're not.

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Pineapple Sage

A plant that I discovered a couple of years ago has become one of my favorites: Pineapple Sage (or Salvia elegans).


It's not cold-hardy here, so it's one of the first plants I look for when hitting the garden centers and nurseries in the spring.

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Goodbye greenhouse

The next thing I did Saturday afternoon was dismantle my temporary greenhouse. I knew this was going to be somewhat of a difficult job, but I was getting tired of looking at it.


As you can see, it's not much to look at. I've talked about this temporary structure before, and how I had to redesign it on-the-fly as cold gusty winds dismantled it as I watched at the start of winter.

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Weekend gardening again!

This is the first weekend in a while that it isn't raining, so time to get gardening! After days and days of weeding (about the only thing that you can do when it's raining all the time) I was itching to get out there and do something different. What did I choose to do first?


I weeded.

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What's on the ground? Sedum!

In my garden I use various groundcovers as filler plants. They don't really cover large portions of ground, but they fill in around stairs, next to the rocks of the "stream", and anywhere else I want a low-growing, easy spot of texture and color.


Although I have thymes and other groundcovers, I have more sedum than any other groundcover. Here's a quick look at most of them I'm growing.

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Surprise Hatching!

For some reason I left my camera on the kitchen counter yesterday. Today when I went to grab it, I noticed that there was something strange about the mantis jar (read about the mantis jar here).


The mantises are hatching! This is a few weeks earlier than usual (they usually hatch around Father's Day).

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The rain returns

After only a day and a half of sunshine, the clouds returned yesterday afternoon, and the rain started up again as soon as it got dark. So today there's nothing to do but watch the garden through rain-spotted windows.


My list of garden chores grows and grows, yet all I was able to do during our brief dry spell was mow the lawn. At least I was able to do that much.

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Kitten update: 5 weeks

Chasing and wrestling. That's about all the kittens do now -- chase and attack each other. They're not completely stable on their feet, so it leads to some hilarious situations.


Tiny toe is losing his meekness, but his sister still seems to be a little more physically advanced. He's catching up though.

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Sunshine? In the morning?!

We got a nice surprise today: the weather forecast called for mostly cloudy this morning turning partly cloudy later, but the clouds seem to have moved off already, so it's been sunny since sunrise! (There actually was a sunrise this morning!)


It's been a week or more since I've been able to take early morning photos in the sunlight, and I've missed it. It's probably my favorite time for taking photos of almost anything in the garden. It's also my favorite time for just being in the garden.

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Here come the mulberries!

It's that time of the year when I get mixed feelings about the several mulberry trees that are growing on the property line of our yard. For most of the year I don't think about them too much, except to prune the low-hanging branches. But the berries are now starting to ripen!


Looks like it's going to be a good year for mulberries too, as these branches are loaded with fruit!

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Rain, rain, rain, rain.

Another grey, wet morning, as the rain defeats my weekend gardening plans again. Over the past week it's rained on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and now Sunday. Looks like more rain forecast for tomorrow too.


But most of my plants love the rain (except for the Plumeria cuttings I potted recently -- they need to stay on the dry side until they root) so I don't mind too much.

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Saturday morning variety

I'd like to take a look at some interesting things that I've seen over the last couple of days. They don't really lend themselves to full posts, but they turn into an interesting collection. First up, mock orange.


A few years ago I noticed this shrub in the wild strip of common ground behind my yard. Growing among the evil bush honeysuckle was something that produced sweet-smelling beautiful white flowers.

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A rare sight this year

The other day I posted about all of the pink and purple flowers that are currently blooming in my garden. Well here's one that's definitely NOT pink:


Unfortunately, the poppy blooms are rare this year -- this is only the 2nd one that appeared. Why is this?

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Plant updates: before and after

Yesterday I posted an update on the kittens, so today I thought I'd give you a look at the progress a few different plants have made with some "before" and "after" shots.


First up is the honeysuckle vine. I love it's flowers, but I wish they had more fragrance -- there's really none.


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Kitten update: 4 weeks

I think it's time for another update on Super-whitey's kittens. They're just over 4 weeks old now.


Walking and squeaking is about all they do right now.

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Veggie garden gets some love

I'm pretty bad with neglecting my vegetable garden at various times of the year. You've seen what it looked like at the start of the Spring, and even though I've been getting some seeds in the ground, I've let the weeds take over somewhat:


Time to make amends with some weeding and thinning!

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Some front yard mulching

I spend so much time in the backyard gardens, I tend to forget the front yard. It needs "a bit" of tidying. The main problem is this bed under the maple:


The mulch is pretty much gone, the soil is really dry, and the weeds are taking over. Time to do some weeding and freshen up the mulch!

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A look at what's blooming

On this Mother's Day morning, I thought I'd just take a quick look at what's blooming in my garden right now.


I won't mention the roses, which I talked about recently, but that's a "painted daisy" that is in danger of being crowded out by Shasta daisies. The painted daisy will only bloom if I fertilize it in the Spring (I forgot a couple of years ago).

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Plumeria: planting sticks

So it's Saturday morning, 6:30 AM, sunny but cold (45F) and windy. How should I start my weekend of gardening? By planting some sticks!


These are Plumeria cuttings. I've wanted to grow Plumeria for a couple of years, but finally this Winter got my act together and ordered a couple of cuttings. It's time to plant them!

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Roses: attacked from two sides

I've mentioned before that I'm not a big rose gardener, but I do have a few varieties of roses in my garden. They're doing pretty well overall -- the blooms are beautiful, and the plants look healthy:



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One mystery solved!

The other day when I transplanted some coreopsis seedlings, I saw that they all had heavy leaf damage:


Something has been eating the leaves -- every seedling in this pot is essentially leafless. I've been keeping an eye on this for a few days, but never saw any signs of the culprit.

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A bird and two kittens

If you're like me at all, the garden isn't a garden unless it's full of birds. Well, not "full" because you need some room for plants, but there must be birds around. They add an extra sense of life to a garden, they eat insects, they sing for us, and amuse us with their antics (sometimes). There's also the excitement of seeing a species that you don't recognize, perhaps something that is only seen in your area while migrating, or is very hard to catch a glimpse of.


Sometimes the only chance you get to see these rarer birds is when something tragic happens, as with this Indigo Bunting that apparently flew into one of our windows.

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Get out of the garden... and into another one

It's good to get away from your own garden once in a while and see other people's plants. Different people have different perspectives, like different colors, have been gardening for different amounts of time, have different growing conditions, and so on. The end result: different gardens.


Sometimes very different gardens. This is part of Michael's garden, which I've been to a couple of times before to dig bamboo.

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One thing leads to another

A non-rainy weekend day is a bit of a challenge for me in the garden. On weekdays I usually have very limited time for gardening, so the list of possible tasks is pretty short: some weeding, plant something, prune something else. I also can typically only tackle one or two jobs a day on weekdays. Weekends are another story.


With hours and hours available to spend in the garden, I can tackle almost anything on my long list of gardening tasks. That often makes it hard to choose where to start. Today was one of those days.

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A truck of muck

After a pretty dry start to Spring in St. Louis, the rain has started coming more regularly. Thursday and Friday we had strong, gusty winds all day long, then Friday night a line of scary, severe storms came through the area -- as they did across most of the central part of the country. The worst parts of the storms missed our neighborhood but we did get a large amount of rain. This morning started out fresh and sunny though.


I'll be doing a lot more weeding today, but there is something more pressing that I need to do.

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Bring me a shrubbery!

I'll have to admit that shrubs are not something that I've spent a lot of time thinking about. I really don't think "hey, what this bed needs is a nice shrub!". My buying strategy for shrubs is the same as for most of my other plants too: if it looks like a cool plant, get it! Decide what to do with it later.


So I'll get something cool, like this Viburnun sargentii 'Onondaga', keep it in a pot for a year or two (unless it's too big already), then decide where to put it.

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