A few years ago I started an experiment: using a bottomless nursery pot as a way to give larger plants better soil without restricting their roots. If you remember, this was specifically to house a cardoon.
Well, it's time for the experiment to end. Although it seemed like a good idea at the time and could probably work under alternate conditions, it's time to try something different.
For the past few weeks it's pretty much been bird time in my garden. Although some of the species start nesting quite early (like the grackles and house finches), others start a bit later. Even others raise more than one brood a year, and if you add into the equation the different development times (some birds take longer to mature) you end up with a period of at least a couple of months where the sounds of begging nestlings or twittering fledgelings are almost constant.
Today's post is different because it won't contain any images. (Strike that -- it won't contain any new images. I decided that I had to have at least one, so I reused an old one.) A certain chain of events occurred this past weekend that required quick action and two free hands, neither of which are conducive to photo taking.
This tale involves a robin, my neighbor, teamwork, patience, and I suppose a little bit of luck. Unlike some of my other tales about birds, this one has a happy ending as far as I know.
Running the risk of becoming too turtle-heavy of a blog, it's another post about that turtle. Or maybe it's a different turtle. Perhaps those of you with keen eyes will be able to compare these photos with those from the other day to tell me if they're the same individual or not.
The first project of the 2014 gardening season is a simple copper pipe trellis, and has been in planning since last year. Remember when I planted a few clematis, then used an underperforming buckthorn shrub as a temporary support for the one vine?
Well, it's time to come up with the permanent solution. Since I've had months to think it over, I was able to come up with a good mix of simplicity (to build), functionality, and beauty in the design.
Like many gardeners, I'm so busy in the garden right now. There's so much to do -- weeding, planting, transplanting, cleaning -- it's easy to forget to stop and take a look at what's going on around you.
Luckily I get reminders once in a while, like this box turtle that happened to be in the right place at the right time and caught my eye.
Time for another update on the winter-decimated bamboos, and it's good news this time!
Yes, most of the larger bamboos are almost back to their normal verdant selves, in the process of leafing back out. There is a thick blanket of fallen bamboo leaves under each plant, but it's so good to see them recovering like this!
The garden is getting to that point where most of the major work in some beds has been completed (even though there's much to do in other beds) and I can start looking at the details.
One area where this is especially true is in my cactus beds and their stacked stone retaining walls, installed last year and now ready to take a closer look at. In particular, the "edges" of the bed, where stone meets soil.
Yesterday for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day I showed you everything that was in bloom in my garden right now.
Except I left one out. Normally this isn't such a big deal as there are lots of blooms that go unnoticed on a single trip around the garden, but this one can't be missed. It's so significant in fact that I felt that it needed its own post.
Somehow I was actually aware of the calendar this month and can actually participate in this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
It's been cold and rainy for the last few days so this is going to be a gallery of moist images, and since many of the blooms were not looking their best -- bent downward, waterlogged, etc. -- I decided to give you a closer look at most of them.
So I've finally gotten around to pulling the last of the plants out of the garage, and for me that means the ones that were put into tubs. The ones that have been out of sight and out of mind for the past five months or so.
More specifically the cannas, elephant ears, and a few other odds and ends. Things that are easy to recognize so can just be stored in bags or in peat in the tubs. Just pull them out and plant them up.
It's an exciting time for me, as my garden is about to have peony blooms in it for the first time ever!
These little globes, full of potential, covered in ants.
Yesterday I looked at the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia) in my cactus bed, and showed you that six of the nine species and/or varieties survived that brutal winter.
Today I look at the other cactus, the ones that I started from seed a couple of years ago.
I haven't looked at the cactus bed in a post since the end of February, and it's now pretty much clear which of the plants made it and which succumbed to the winter cold, and more importantly with cactus, the moisture level when it was cold.
We'll be looking at nine different plants today, so let's just jump in. I'll start with the ones in the foreground of this photo (the east end of the bed) and move down the line looking at Opuntias.
The bamboo seems to be putting most of its energy into replacing the leaves that were killed by this past harsh winter, so there are fewer shoots this year.
Still though, the ones that are emerging are as beautiful and as captivating as always! That's Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima' above, and it was top killed. Its smallish shoots are some of the most beautiful though! Let's take a look at the rest...
The garden is finally to the point where everything is waking up, and the ones that aren't stirring, well, they most likely are not coming back. My favorite tree (of those in my garden) is one of those that are slow to wake, but finally has started showing that yes, spring really is here.
I think this bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) has been in the ground for six years now (maybe seven), and for the first few years my wife and I were really worried that it had died each winter -- until we learned that it doesn't start showing green until well after everything else in the yard.
Do you know what starts to happen after your pond has been around for a few years, goldfish multiplying, getting larger?
It starts to get noticed. Sure, the water is pretty well hidden by trees, but when your diet is made up primarily of fish and frogs, you must develop an eye for these things. Unfortunately.
I'm determined not to go to crazy buying plants this year, as for the last couple of years I ended up with too many things to plant -- my driveway was a nursery for most of the year.
Since the harsh winter appears to have taken out plants throughout my garden, I certainly do need to add some new ones though, and to be honest, I couldn't resist buying at least a few plants every spring even if I had no place to put them!
This is my favorite time of year in the veggie garden! Cool temperatures mixed with warm (or hot) days, plenty of rain (hold the hail please!) and not too many insects yet make the edibles such a pleasure to tend.
My last look at these beds was almost exactly a month ago, when I planted many of the seedlings. What a difference a month makes!