Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snow, Snow, Go Away... Never Come Back

I thought the other day was snowy?  Silly me!  We got hit hard a few days after I posted those barely snowy photos.  Not hard-hard, like Montana or Finland, but we are in Southern Oregon, and the amount of snowfall on Tuesday was a record, surpassed only in 1919.  It's bad enough to get around in it (not being used to snow, schools closed all week, city buses didn't run, garbage was left at the curb until next week), but now it's caused garden damage.

My poor forsythia..

bend to the ground by snow
after I shock the snow off
This tree's days were numbered, since it leaned over anyway...

...but, when we saw the snow had bent it down onto the side of the house, we had to start cutting off branches right then and there.  I say, "we," but the heavy lifting/branch cutting work is the domain of my youngest son!

Most of what's left will have to be cut from the neighbor's side.

my rock garden is under there somewhere...

the scarecrow has a new hat!
It's now Saturday morning, and it's snowing again.  The worst is the ice.  I work very close to home, but our business parking lot is shaded and slippery.  On top of that, it's cold!  Really cold.  REALLY REALLY COLD!  It was 9 degrees last night!  That is REALLY REALLY COLD to me!

It is pretty amazing how light it is out at night when everything's covered in snow. This is a photo of the Plumcot tree taken at nearly 8:00 pm without a flash!  The snow reflects off the neighbor's roofs into the house, and it's like we have skylights.  That is, when the sun shows itself.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Snow


I had hoped today would be sunny (it was clear when I got off work yesterday afternoon), so I could get some things done in the garden, but I woke to snow!  Not as much as we had a few years ago, but more than most years.  It's a holiday, so no one has anywhere they need to be, so let it snow! 

Back Yard

Front Yard

Tuscan Blue Rosemary

Rock Rose
It made for some very pretty scenes...

I absolutely love this pattern!  It's the outside bottom of Boo's (the photogenic dog) wading pool!
Close-up of the metal sun wall hanging in the back yard. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas! Look what I got....

Look what I got for Christmas!

"Good Grips" compost bin
Don't laugh!  I've been asking for a container for the kitchen counter in which to keep my compostable scraps.  My daughter gave me this model, from OXO.  It's very nice, and the best thing, it doesn't use a filter (which just adds more expense and upkeep, and which wouldn't get changed as often as advised).

I transferred the composting material from my current sauce pan with lid, and trotted it out to the compost pile.  Just look at those lovely banana peels and coffee grounds.  I am going to post about them, and other super-healthy-for-your-soil compost material, soon. 

first load
Unfortunately, that little "trot" was through the waterlogged back yard.  It's a beautiful, sunny, Christmas day (after a very cold, icy, and cloudy week), but the yard has its seasonal puddles.

Rain water just can't drain in clay soil.  Yes... there's Boo again!  He loves the camera.  Actually this time he was eating nice green grass.  Edward the Goldendoodle was feeling under the weather, after suffering an epileptic seizure in the middle of the Christmas gift opening festivities.  The excitement was too much for him.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pretty Winter Weather

It may not be winter, officially, for three days (the first day is December 21), but winter weather hit here a few days ago.  It's not much compared to what many people have for winter, no snow (rarely a bit), but we think it's wintery!

One thing it is, is pretty.  Very pretty.  I went out early in the morning to empty my kitchen compost into the compost pile and had to come back for my camera.  The frost on simple everyday things, like the grass, was beautiful.

Some shots of other frosty garden scenes...

orange mint 

plumcot blossoms biding their time until spring!

last of the year roses

wall flower - they don't seem to know when to stop blooming!

The automatic sprinklers came on at work yesterday in the early morning hours.  This was the result...

We had customers telling us about the beautiful icicles outside, so I had to go take a look.  We don't see icicles all that often around here.

Some plants don't even notice the cold.  The rosemary is blooming away like it was spring.

On the other hand, these were cheerful, colorful flowers just the day before...

gone but not forgotten - the lobelia in the foreground will be gone soon (There's Boo's ball!)

this one will come back next spring

Someone who enjoys the cold (in fact, he's happy in any weather)...


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Butterfly Garden

I was given a paper bag full of milkweed seeds.

milkweed seeds
Milkweed is the only food of the Monarch butterfly larva.  Monarch numbers have been declining, as have the populations of many types of butterflies in the United States.  Planting butterfly friendly flowers, including "weeds," is a way to help these important pollinators.  Imagine a flower patch without butterflies!  In my imagination it wouldn't be nearly so pretty as with them.

Now, a paper bag of seeds is not a butterfly garden, but I took it from there and ordered lots and lots of other butterfly garden seeds off eBay!  Hundreds of seeds... Thousands of seeds... more seeds than the entire neighborhood could ever use!  Fortunately, seeds last for years, many more years than packages indicate. 

1000 seeds?  If even two grow I'll have more than enough being that yarrow is a perennial!

Mexican Butterfly Weed is a kind of milkweed.  This shouldn't be planted in areas where it will grow all winter.  Some studies have shown it can cause a parasitic infection in areas where Monarch butterflies winter.  It's an annual in my area, so it will be fine.  The photos remind me of lantana. 
Another annual, but sunflowers grow quickly from seed, and 50 seeds will last me 5 years!

The mix contains:

  • Bishop’s Flower - also known as false Queen Anne's lace.  I'll have keep a watch on this one, if I see it growing I'll need to pull it out; Bishop's flower is toxic to dogs.  Not that my dogs are big flower eaters, but Boo does have a passion for zinnia leaves so I'll err on the side of caution.  If I'd known (done my research) this before purchase, I wouldn't have bought these seeds. 
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • California Poppy - a self-seeder that will come back year after year if I leave the seed pods
  • Candytuft - I am not a fan of candytuft, but if the butterflies and bees like it... 
  • Cornflower
  • Dwarf Cosmos
  • Dwarf Godetia - an easy to grow annual, native to my region
  • Gayfeather - also called blazing star, this one is a biggie, 2' -5'' tall and as wide, one will do!
  • Indian Blanket
  • Lance-Leaved Coreopsis
  • New England Aster
  • Perennial Lupine
  • Plains Coreopsis
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Purpletop Vervain - another tall one.  It seems many butterfly flowers are tall and gangley plants. 
  • Shasta Daisy - I plan to buy a Shasta daisy plant or two. They are perennials, growing up to 2'-3' tall and 2' wide.
  • Siberian Wallflower
  • Sweet Alyssum - easily self-seeds
  • Sweet William Pinks - Pinks are itty bitty carnations and smell so sweet. 
My Rocky Mountain Penstemon (beardtongue) seeds are back ordered.   I think I have a penstemon plant in a pot that blooms every summer.

But, where will this butterfly garden be?  

Right there! 

Pretty much in the exact center of this photo.  Oh... dear... look at that broken trellis.

Why there?  Because of a photo I found online.  I am unable to post its photo here, but it is fabulous!   I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the garden!!!  I love the curving path and beds, I love the beds made from various materials, I love the trellis in the foreground... I love the cat...  

The basic shape, size and layout of the garden is similar to the shape, size and layout of my far-back yard.  It even has a building on the right side, where my shed is.  I put the photo of it side by side with mine and day dream!   

What will I use to build the beds?  I hope to find some of those curved scalloped edging blocks, those ones that are made from reddish concrete, designed to circle trees.  They aren't pretty, but they're cheap and will do the job.  My local stores (Home Depot and Lowe's) don't carry the curved ones, which is what I want. I might be able to find some on Craiglist by the time I need them, spring.   9 edgers make a 3' diameter circle.  I thought 3 circles set close together would leave an open area in the middle for one of the larger perennials.   

The butterfly garden will have to be my 2017 spring project for the far-back yard.  A little at a time and I'll get that "dream garden" look!  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Autumn Colors

Just when I think there is nothing so depressing as a spring-planted garden in fall, the sky turns blue, the temperature rises, and I'm able to get outside to see just how beautiful the colors of autumn are!  I love autumn.  I love the colors of the leaves, and the way the sun is angled in the sky so the light is different.  Oddly, the popular fall flowers, chrysanthemums, I dislike!  I don't mean I don't care for them, I mean I really dislike them !  I bought some a while back for the wonderful colors, and actually hated them so much I pulled them out!  I wish I'd grown gourds... they are the essential autumn decoration. 

asparagus - these will need to be cut back to ground level and a layer of steer manure laid down soon   
This is the first year the pyracantha kept it's berries.  I grew up in California, where the pyracantha berries are red, but the orange variety is the only one I see around town.  I got this plant several years ago, for free.  It was completely root bound, and to move it the nursery employee had to cut a root that had grown into the ground.  It's done pretty well considering it's rough start. 

silly raspberries... you aren't an everbearer! 

Virginia creeper berries