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Saturday, March 19, 2005

A little work

Not exactly gardening work today, but somewhat related. A quick trip to OSH up the street and I bagged some supplies I needed. The first task was to rebuild the clothesline out back. We get a lot of use out of this nearly year-round, but over the last several years the ash tree anchoring one end of it had grown entirely around the rope holding it. I had been kind in wrapping the rope in an old piece of garden hose to keep it from cutting into the bark, but I didn't watch it closely enough to keep it from be absorbed into the tree. This time I made the anchor point much looser around the tree to allow for much growth.

To re-tension the rope, I un-did my square knots, one of the few knots that allow you to easily unwrap them. I then added a little screw tensioner or turnbuckle to the anchor point so I could tighten it further.

The second job was preparation for keeping the garden outside, where it belongs, as Spring and Summer arrive. The screens in my office windows were here when we bought this house 9 years ago and were falling apart. They didn't fit the windows tightly and their were any number of holes. After about an hour I had turned some generic frames in to relatively decent screens..

It has been misting here all day, even raining at times, but it has been a wonderful day to be in the garden. I set up a table under the patio shed roof just outside the back door, so I was out of the wet, but still in the garden. The squirrels were coming right up to our feet to get the peanuts and bird seed I put under the shelter of the patio roof whenever it rains. They sat their happily munching away as Joe and I used the hacksaw to cut the screen parts. The birds were sining in other parts of the garden,too.

Overall, we have a very productive and yet, relaxing day.

Friday, March 18, 2005

More blooms

Not to make the folks over at Cold Climate Gardening any more jealous, but here are a few more pictures from the garden. The Nasturtiums are going strong, the roses are beginning to pop and our lovely Japanese Maple is putting on its spring finery. I love the red leaves. They will come back again in the Fall, too. If I had a chance to build my own garden from scratch, these maples would certainly be a large part of it.

I couldn't get a good picture, but the Clytostoma Calistagoides vine, Lanatana and some Freesia are also blooming. Of course, by the time most of the colder gardens are just getting started, mine will already be heading into its Summer dormancy and looking more than a little ragged.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Border-ing on Beauty

I came across this beautiful border on my afternoon walk through the neighborhood today. This yard always features some sort of "wild" planting and catches my eye with the changing seasons. It certainly is a change from the typical grass or ivy borders that encompass the rest of the neighborhood.

Click for larger image

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Flowers in a Can

Flowers in a Can

For the gardener who is suddenly "sans jardin", Mousseshop.com sells these Plants in a Can. Simply open, water and set in the sun and your plant starts growing in an attractively decorated container.

(Via Readymade Magazine.)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Sitting and thinking

After finishing all my morning errands I decided to return to the home office, but the blustery wind and warmer weather convinced me I didn't want to sit inside. I pulled up a comfy garden chair, side table and reading material and started re-filling the creative well.

Of course, when you are in your own garden, all the things that need done can catch your eye. After a bit of reading I noticed the Aralia was tipping over in a drunken fashion in the wind. The old growth was top heavy -- and not particularly pretty -- so snip, snip off came the top. Much better. Bushier and greener with the younger, more delicate and serrated edged leaves predominating.

A little more reading and one of our friendlier squirrels came to visit. Despite my close proximity, she (I think) scampered up the small pine tree and settled into the one feeder officially dedicated to the squirrels. Not that they don't invade the other feeders as well, but this one has no impediments to their use. We sat and chatted for a while until a large-ish limb broke off one of the Carrotwood trees (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) and toppled into the back corner, knocking over a decorative lantern with a large, metallic crash. I couldn't leave it lying there, of course, so another quick snip, snip and it was off to the garden bin.

I had little bit of time before my son returned from school (and we had to head out to baseball practice), so the squirrel and I had a few more minutes of quiet contemplation. It seems so silly that I have to remind myself to enjoy the garden, but the pressures of everyday life can simply get in the way sometimes.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Suburban Safari by Hannah Holmes

Suburban Safari by Hannah Holmes

Just finished this book and thought you all might enjoy it. We garden for a variety of reasons...beauty, involving ourselves in nature, environmental concerns or just plain relaxation. Whatever our reason, though, we change the world around us, for better or worse.

In this book, Hannah Holmes takes us to her yard in Portland, Maine as she delves into her garden the way others would research a delicate ecosystem in some remote jungle. We learn about her crows, her squirrels and a host of other fauna that share her property. While Holmes delves into some environmental issues, she always does it with and understanding that there are 2 (or 3 or 4 or 100) effects to every action we choose and sometimes doing good ends up having a bad result down the road. It is a quandary at the level of the Sphinx's riddle to Oedipus.

Still, we garden and, in doing that, attract various forms of wildlife to our yards and gardens.

Suburban Safari is a great read and feels as if you sharing the stories with the author over a nice cup of tea, while Cheeky the chipmunk runs into her lap to steal seeds from a cup.