Friday, November 30, 2007

Who loves ya, baby? This is my son, and his biggest fan, Lady. First, it's just the adoring gaze... .....moving in to show the love....

.....oh yea, right on the lips! (And kinda in the know how it is).... ....."Ack!" Maybe not the desired response....
.....but a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do!

This post was submitted to Friday Ark...I never participated before, but it looked like fun! Check it out!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

*Sigh*......I feel humdrum....winter has barely started, and I'm feeling blah and "so what?"....I don't get like this often, and I have a remedy: pretty spiders! My son has been raising these beauties, and they've gotten quite large. Plus he got a new camera, so I thought I'd share some pictures. These brave tarantulas are the survivors of "Evil Gizmo" and his foiled plot to destroy all pets competing for my son's attention. First, this lovely Greenbottle Blue...I really like his coloration!

Next is this beautiful blonde, Golden Starburst Baboon spider...and as the link suggests, she is very aggressive and not for beginners! She has grown a lot since he first got her, and like many fast, un-handleable spiders, she was very inexpensive (like $20). She's my favorite of all his spiders, and I'd get one like this if I ever decide to have any of my own. The meanest spiders are generally the prettiest, and I don't plan to handle any of them, so what the heck! She's scary fast, though, and got out one time when my son was trying to show her defensive striking pose...yeah...bad idea!
And last but not least, the Brazilian White-Knee Tarantula , very contrasty and pretty also. Not the kind of spiders most of us contend with in the garden...thankfully! Okay, so nobody thinks I've completely lost it, let's visit with my boy's more "acceptable" pets... the aforementioned Gizmo (in black) with his pal Bentley (so named for his bent tail). Looks like Giz is trying to comfort Bentley..."There there old chum, I'm sure that fuzzy ball will come out from under the couch eventually. Now let's take a nap."
Lady here was likely the cause of kitty toys vanishing...usually into her stomach! (Heh, which is also temporary :) She is a Boston Terrier and Pug cross, or "Bug" as they're referred to. Very cute and not really a spaz, but she got larger than anticipated. Probably 25 lbs., and if she stands on your chest, her legs feel like stakes being driven through you...she's a tank! She's a chewing machine too, but very content with chewing her own toys (unless you give her none).
Giz again, showing off...."You say I'm to keep off the kitchen cabinets? Foolish humans, I was built for just this sort of activity!" He's even funnier when you see the dirty looks he gives the dog....we imagine Kelsey Grammar's voice like his "Sideshow Bob" character on the Simpsons...heh....guess you gotta be there.
Anyway, I give the last "word" to Lady, who expresses my mood and sentiment exactly!
*Sigh*.......Is it spring yet?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Never too late for another project...okay, this was two weeks ago, but anyway...this wheelbarrow has been full of potted, "homeless" daylilies all summer........but something happened on the way to the summer spot-oops! (I transported the pots inside this decorative but not very functional wheelbarrow)...rats! So why not just leave it here as a large planter?The only problem with that is this gap underneath....sure won't help anything winter over, I'm why not stuff it with pony manure? Came up short, but I should be okay if I get more and finish before too long.Now to plant it up....but the slats may allow too much soil to about using some of this rolled burlap? Then I see how open the weave is...damn! Somehow, I thought this was a tight-weave burlap like a feed sack...*sigh*...oh well.So roll the dice and just plant it up, already! I put a couple "sacraficial plants" in the back, in case they don't make it...these are 'Stella D'Oro" and an old-fashioned orange, both of which I have plenty more of. Okay! Now I do a little dance, say a little prayer, and hope they all come back!

Friday, November 23, 2007

NIMG the growing season fades into the "off-season", I had an afterthought regarding the "Not in My Garden" thread that Kim started back in September. My post was a little incomplete, because I forgot to mention one important NIMG for me-vegetable gardens. Up here, it's a challenge to raise vegetables, mostly because of these beasts.... .....and these..........these guys aren't any fun to deal with, either..........even these cute little buggers like to steal veggies, especially when they're small, like cherry tomatoes and tiny squash. I'm totally overrun by critters like this, and to be fair, they were here first! So to compensate for hungry animals, people up here must resort to this: a completely enclosed garden!Now this isn't necessarily all bad...I mean, look how cute this is with the "windows" and doors... ....but most of them look more like a stockade or prison yard, like this one. And while I have no aversion to fences, I just don't want to use up that much of my .6 acre for a setup like this, and to garden without it would be futile.
So that's my final "Not in My Garden" to eat em', just can't grow em'!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Life and death in the garden...this time of year I feel lucky to see any signs of life, but they're here! Like this tricolor sage I got from my mom 2 years ago, still alive after several frosts. It does enjoy a southern-exposure microclimate next to the house, but still! Now poor musa basjoo (hardy banana) here is another story....this makes me sad...I sure hope he comes back to life in the spring!
This lamium is still going strong, as well as the plant next to the rooster, cardoon, that I just started from seed this year. It's supposed to get much bigger, but I got it in the ground late. However, it's hardy to zone 5 for Steven at DirtSunRain, so I'm optimistic it will come back and do great! (Or just come back ;-)

This lamium is going strong too, it was "Anne Greenaway", but as you can see, most of it reverted back to a more common color form. I may have been able to prevent this by pinching off the reversion as I found it, but oh well.
Another for the "death" catagory....I'm not sure what happened here, but I can sure venture a guess! Bummer for a blue jay! The "Dragon's Blood" sedum is demonstrating where the name came from....kinda looks like a tiny red rose.
And look at the faint red tinge on the variegated ivy in my window box...nice! I'll keep watering this awhile and see how long it lasts (again in southern exposure and next to the house).
Even this recently planted grass is still growing! Cool, because I have one more planting project to finish! Oh yea, that's right! And in the spirit of the season, this amusing local sign....tell me, do we really need a business to handle this? I thought most peoples' families, or at least in-laws had this task under control!
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eleventh hour planting...hey, it's not over til' the ground freezes, right? So I plopped some plants around this old corn sheller that I've designated as a permanent (until it rots fully) next-to-garage hardscape piece. So "Double Yellow" hollyhock goes here... ....then a heuchera and some common mullein in front of these pots. Notice the spanish lavender, still alive after several killing frosts! I had never grown any lavender before, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll do so every year from now on! So fragrant and fun, I broke off a piece to sniff and appreciate nearly daily all year...ahhh...lovely!

Put my straggling hellebores out, too....amazingly still green! I'm excited to see these bloom, as they are from a mix purchased in spring, so I have no idea about flower color. I just love surprises!
Got the rest of the ice plants in the ground near these two red hot pokers and red-flowering yucca...mulched with rocks again to hold heat and prevent rot.
A relocated Chinese lacebark elm, "Golden Queen" trollius, and a pink lupine over here...
.....and that's pretty much it. Any other "refugees" will be placed next to the house on the eastern side between the house and garage to enjoy wind protection and some radiant heat from the foundation as over-wintering assistance. Until spring.....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

November Bloom Day...and I actually have blooms! Okay, they are houseplants, but that counts too! First my red Christmas, I really enjoy these plants!And although this picture was taken a few weeks ago, my crown of thorns is still blooming happily in the house...awesome! And last but not least, the tangerine Christmas cactus still has a couple blooms left...yay!

Happy Bloom Day everybody!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Weekend mulching...with rocks! Now, I know that this is not generally a recommended choice for mulch, and the use of these polished rocks from the Dollar store is likely considered even more repulsive, but there's method to my madness!

You see, even though my soil is sandy, there is a lot of debris raining down on my plants from the overhead trees, which can cause rot in some plants, especially cacti and succulents, like these hen and chicks, along with the hardy ice plants.
There! Much better, don't you think?
Same situation, this is before... ...and after. Now the stones can radiate heat as well as allow pockets of air to circulate between the plants and leaf litter to prevent rotting. The rocks are mostly polished (but natural colors), and I tossed on some "locals" to help them all blend in and look more natural.

Same goes for my new ice plants around this stump, which is rotting itself, so I don't want my succulents to become any sort of goo....
....there! All snug and cozy with your new rock buddies....see ya' in the spring!