I guess you would call me a rogue gardener. I have an acre and half of hill, much of which is wooded, where deer, squirrels as big as cats, raccoons, a groundhog and at least one resident barn snake roam about freely. There’s also a mother fox that often brings her kits/pups out to visit. I garden for fun but the one thing I get serious about is invasive plants.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yellow Iris are Blooming

It was chilly out on the Hill this morning but we did not have frost. A couple of people in the office said that they had to scrap ice from windshields. Last weekend I had a load of landscape gravel delivered and, with some helping hands I have begun to create a drystream bed. We got this much of it done when the heavens opened up and rain came down in buckets. Hopefully will get back out there by Friday.

This bed of Iris was here when I arrived. It had some type of tree growing in the center along with a thicket of blackberry briers around and in it. The tree we took down and the briers I have tried to remove. One thing I have found is that deer do not care for Iris or Jonquils.
Standing on the walk that leads to the Wash House and looking up gives one the idea of just how steep my Hill really is. The bed of Iris that is faintly visible in the upper left corner is the one in the picture above.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Iris are Blooming

Went for a short this evening about seven o'clock and when I came back I snapped a few pictures. This is absolutely one of my favorites. I have no idea how old these are because several years ago when I was down at my farm I dug up a few and planted them in a bed. Well, as Iris will do, they quickly multiplied so last spring I relocated them to their present home. I did this in the spring after they were almost ready to bloom. I must admit I did not expect them to bloom but it did not slow them down at all. This year they are really going to be beautiful.

The one below is a rebloomer. It bloomed last spring and then in the late fall. Actually it was still blooming so late in the fall that I cut off the last buds and brought them inside so they would not freeze. Not only was it a heavy bloomer but it more than doubled in clump size.

I particularly like the way it looks growing among the rocks. Gives it more of a naturalized setting.
If you look closely you will see that the delphinium is getting ready to put on it's show but it will still be longer before the first flowers open.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Tomorrow is Another Day"

Rain and thunderstorms were suppose to move through last evening but all we got was the rain and much cooler temperature. At five thirty this morning it is 51 degrees and the high is suppose to be only in the mid-sixties as opposed to the 80s we've had in the past few days. Would be great weather to work in the garden but both my grandkids are with me today so gardening will wait until another day. The oldest one is 12 and lives on a small farm so he enjoys coming to my house and just hanging out without any chores to do. The youngest has just turned 3 so she likes Dora, Little Bear and Hello Kitty. I need a break from gardening and outside work so this will be a wonderful weekend to just relax and play with the kidos. This is one of my favorite hydrangea. It blooms on both old and new wood and so far has proved to be a rather heavy bloomer. I have two of them and last fall collected enough flower heads to make several large bouquets which dried nicely and are still very showy.
The August Lily is up and surrounded by violets. Flower pots are awaiting new tenants which requires a decision on my part. Oh, well, as Scarlett said "tomorrow is another day". I will consider all these problems at a later date.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gnarley Mulberry

This distorted piece of nature amazes me each time I see it. Just off my front porch (that is not my house in the picture) it grows close to the property line. This is not an upclose picture but it is so twisted and gnarled I wonder how it got into such a shape. Each summer it will have a few mulberries but they soon disappear thanks to the birds. If I were a "little person" beneath this would be the perfect place to sit and play. I've thought about putting a tiny house beneath it for the leprechauns and other wee folk. Prehaps if I do they will tend my gardens - pull weeds, mulch the beds, keep all the other things under control. I'm not sure what type of fern this it but it stayed green all winter. There are a couple of other types that did not survive. I would like to find more of these to put beneath the Hickory tree tree. So many things will not grow where the nuts and leaves contiminate the ground. This is one huge tree. I'm not exactly sure where my property line is but there is a survey in the near future. If it's on my property I will very seriously considering having it removed because of the close proximity to my house and if it is not I may have a talk with my neighbor about both of us having it removed. Several of the big trees on our hill have been struk by lighting. When it took out my 200 plus year old Oak it was quite a jolt, to say the least.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

High A Top the Chimney

Early in the morning one never knows what will be seen at my house!
I looked up and this is what I saw perched on one of the chimneys. He seems to be there surveying his kingdom. I have a rather aggressive mockingbird who resides nearby and this could be one and the same.

The deer is one of several that was in the backyard. They are not as skiddish as one might expect them to be around people. Indeed, they often seem to pose for pictures.

I found these lovelies peeking through a crack in the walk. They are such a deep blue they seemed quite unique.

Time for a second cup of coffee.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Trillium & Bluebells

When I discovered that the trillium was back again I was delighted. Each year I keep a close watch until it reappears. This one has a special meaning for me since it came from my Mother's garden. It has bloomed since I made this picture but because it is so NOT in the shade I am going to move a protion of it to a less sunny location.The bluebells were nodding in the breeze and so the picture is not the best but these little guys are real troopers. Coming back year after year and spreading wider each time. Now that I have some of the wooded area cleaned I am going to start putting in some woodland flowers and some ferns. Still battling the Japanese honeysuckle and green briers but I have made some progress in reclaiming the area.

The yard man has not been by as yet so if you look closely you can see a trio of dandelions along with the bluebells.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rain, Storms and More Rain

At about midnight the rain came in sheets and the weather forecasters kept showing more heavy storms moving into the area but by 1:45 a.m. there was not much going on. Seems that the major storms skirted us. When I went to bed about 2:30 it was still raining steadily but there had been none of the cloud to ground lighting the forecasters kept insisting we were going to see. Today it's still overcast, gray and gloomy. The temperature is several degrees cooler than it has been and may go down to the high 30s tonight but daytime temperatures are in the 60s. A good time to plant trees and shrubs.


Above and below you can see what I did Tuesday evening after getting home from work. There is a "before" and "after". Once I finishing weeding I will put down some fresh mulch. Back in the woods there are several white dogwood and some redbud trees. Think I'm going to purchase some white and pink dogwoods to put out closer to the house.

The "after" was the result of lots of weed pulling. I have this horrid grass/weed in the yard this year that I have no idea what it is. It just seems to have taken over the yard since last fall. I'm hoping that by next year I have things better under control and won't have so much work to do.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Shrubs and Trees and All Things Green

Beautiful Easter day here. Everyone got together at my sister's and a wonderful time was had by all. I baked one of my "famous" hams and was going to make deviled eggs. The eggs are something I always make for family get togethers. My youngest son, his wife and my oldest nephew just expect to have the eggs. Well, guess what?! Yesterday I forgot to make them. Needless to say they were disappointed. I promised to do better next time. :)
My Egyptian walking onions are doing great. I think they are most interesting plants. I like the way the sets form at the top of the stalk and that these are edible when they are small. My mother and grandmother always refered to these as "7 year" onions. Supposedly they would come back for 7 years before they had to be replaced.

Saturday after a couple of rather heavy down pours the sun came out. I went out, pulled weeds and put down a bunch of mulch, trimmed and mulched some more. I think I'm gonna buy stock in the company I get the mulch from. The guy next door who owns the florist/nursery probably considers me one of his best customers since I go thru a skid of the stuff every year. Not sure what's on the agenda for today. Probably going to put the clump river birch in out front and clean out around the blueberry bushes.

One of my friends told me the other day that she has some gooseberry bushes that have starts and she will bring me some of those. I love gooseberry pies.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Peeking throught the Mulch

If you look closely at the picture above you can see, between the liripoe and the base of the birdbath, the phlox that are poking their heads up through the mulch. Its so good to The Naked Ladies are up in profusion. I hate these things! The more I try to dig them out the more they seem to multipy. I really think they are determined to drive me insane.However, these beautiful little hyacinths are totally different. I'm not sure where my mother got these but I managed to salvage a few when the house was sold. I have another clump about this size. When these little blue flowers poke their heads up I feel that winter is surely ending.

The temperature here has been in the 80s for a couple of days and in the 50s at night. I put in some lettuce seed last weekend and now have lots of tiny plants.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Return to the Garden

Now that the weather is a bit warmer and the days longer I'm back in the garden. I take a look around and wonder where on earth I'm going to find the time to get all the things done that must be done. Yesterday I worked several hours after arriving home from the office. I put in the hollies that will replace my deceased japonicas. Now I still have have a false cypress to plant and a clump birch for the front lawn.

I also trimmed back some of the liriope and pulled up landscape fabric that I put down several years ago. That was a BIG mistake to use. I think I could hear the soil breath as I pulled it out. I have found that layers of newspaper beneath the mulch works so much better keeping weeds and grass down and is far better for the soil. The area at the right is where I was working and this is my "helper". He seems to have adopted us as his family.

This little japonica has survived a couple of winters and I love the blooms. I have two that are struggling so I plan on relocating and trying to salvage them.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring is Approaching!

It's quite chilly here on the Hill this morning, gray and very wintry looking, but there are signs that spring is approaching. There are robins and blue jays everywhere. Jonquils have poked their heads up but my crocus did not return. I will talk with my neighbor soon and have them drop a skid of mulch when he gets his order in for the greenhouse. I will go out the next warm day and begin spring cleanup of the beds.

I have decided that I am going to use a holly as the shrub near my front porch. After having so much trouble with the other things I've put in the past two springs I am very hopeful that this will be the end of redoing the landscape out there.

I have a few small trees that need to be removed farther back in the yard but with most of the vines and tangled briers gone they will be easy to take out with a small saw. I will add a good deal more grassy area when I get this accomplished. When I get to this point I am taking a few days vacation so that I can really get it finished. IF I had a fire pit I sure could get burn a lot of limbs and such. HUMMMM! A fire pit! Maybe that another project to add to the never ending list.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dreaming of Warm Days

It's cold here today. It's gonna get colder before the week is over but last week gardening catalogues arrived in the mail. Things look a bit bleak in my garden at this time but soon, very soon there will be crocus peeking thru and the cold will give way to warmer days and more daylight hours. This spring, I hope to get in lots of herbs and some vegetables. Just as soon as the weather warms I'm putting in raised beds. Had plans to do it all last spring but just never got around to doing so. Not sure how much I will harvest or how much the critters will devour but we shall see. There was a fairly good size herd of deer in the woods the other day and a couple of them were down close to the house because they left tracks in the snow. Nothing else looks like "deer tracks in the snow".

Looking out the kitchen window late the other afternoon I saw the fox. She was on the hill behind the house looking as if she were surveying her "kingdom". This time of year we often here them barking but January thru March is mating season for the red fox. They can have up to 12 pups but I've only seen this one with two. They are really neat animals.

Their only real enemies are cars and humans but distemper, rabies and mange may also cause them concerns. Once trapped for their fur and killed by farmers because of their attacks on poultry the red fox took a heavy "beating? Now with no more bounty payments for their fur and most poultry farms more or less "safety proof" from predators the red fox is expanding. The Coyote seems to be one of their biggest competitors and like the fox it is expanding it's field. So far we have neither seen nor heard Coyotes for that I am very thankful.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's been well over a month since I've posted but I had three weeks away from the University and I really enjoyed the winter holidays. Came back to work Monday and found that the venelation work being done on our building had left us without heat in some of the rooms. Brrrrrr! Was almost in the thirties in some of the offices. On Tuesday everyone came in bundled up and still complaining but by Wednesday when the students returned we had some My kids and grandkids came for Christmas on December 24 and we had a wonderful time then on Sunday after Christmas they all came back to my house along with my sister and her family. As for all the holidays everyone ate too much.

Other excitement in my life - my car, which my daughter was driving and my grandson was a passesnger, was totaled when someone ran a red light, hit another van and then both hit my car. The driver that caused all the problem then got out of his van and fled the scene. The police did get him about two block away. No one got injured so that was good.
This is my new vehicle. Guess one might consider it an unexpected Christmas present to myself.

It is snowing steadily here this morning. According to the weather we are only suppose to have 1-2 inches today and then thru Saturday it could be up to 4 inches. Around here that's enough to cause problems.