Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Monarch Firsts (for Me)

Our property has hosted monarchs before.  I recall my first two larvae after putting in butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) probably ten years ago.  After a few years of seeing them, they seemingly disappeared from our yard for about three years (while their populations had really plummeted).  After a bit of a rebound, I have seen them in the yard again.

However, this is the first year that I not only got some photos of them in flight, I also witnessed a female laying an egg--twice (on two separate days).  :)  I found it very satisfying.

In addition, the adults used to seem like rare visitors, but this year, over the past two or three weeks, I seem to see one in our yard each day I go out!  Cupplant has proven itself a great favorite with not only the monarchs, but other butterflies and smaller pollinators. 

The milkweed that I winter sowed (and, later, posted about planting out in the meadow) are pictured here, in pots with the monarch making good use of them.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Tiny Reclaimed Area

My biggest obstacle toward converting our field to a native meadow has been preparing the area.  I have tried smothering huge sections with cardboard and leaves, and, later, sowing eith a custom meadow mix...with mixed results.  Limited results.  I think I need to smother longer.

Last year, I smothered a small section with an old air mattress we used to use for camping--it had a leak.  Around that I used newspaper and leaves.  It is a small section, but a perfect place to plant some of the plugs I grew.

Knowing that rain was in the forecast, yesterday, I got a lot in the ground.  Mostly redtop grass (I think) and milkweed, but I also added a few others, including Penstemon digitalis.   Over the years, I have realized I need more grasses.  I planted the little I had.

It is small, but it is a start...reclaiming the property a little at a time.   Not very attractive...yet. 

Step by Step

Most years, I winter sow my collected seeds...and often don't get them in the ground until late fall.  Far from ideal, but other projects and chores seem to take precedence.

This year, after planting a few out, I potted up many of the others.

They began to thrive in their larger containers...and now, I am trying to get them out in the ground.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A little Late

I have been meaning to collect some seeds from some local columbine growing along the side of the road.  I finally did...but most of the seeds had already been dispersed.   Still, I was able to get a fair amount--even just 2 or 3 squeezed out here and there from seemingly empty seedheads.

Now, I just have to get around to sowing them--I think these should be "summer sown", not winter sown as I usually do.

Grasshopper, was interested...the dry, crinkling sound caught his attention--and he stole one of the discarded dry stems.  Then, he just watched me finish up.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Seven Trees for Six Bucks!

Despite having our car filled with luggage, cooler and Jeff's knee-scooter (his foot is broken), we stopped at a yard sale on our way to get together with friends.   I never expected to see oak trees for sale there.   Pretty tall trees, too...grown from acorns by the owner...but with limited space for roots.  They were grown in 2 liter pop bottles!

I got two chestnut oaks and four white oaks--one of which had a silver maple growing with it in that tiny container.   Jeff picked that one, and I agreed.  I didn't expect to be able to extricate them from each other with their roots do entwined--I planned to let the fight it out... and grow together if they could...but later, found they separated rather easily--without my trying.

For that price, I could not pass them up.  They are local (well...about an hour and a half from our home).  Somehow, we managed to get them in the car along with everything else we had packed.

After a great visit with friends, we packed them up again, brought them home, and, today, I potted them up.  I am hoping they will be able to develop a more healthy root system before I put them in the ground this fall.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Rain, Rocks, and Mugwort

Last year, I finally dug my main pond--the larger pond that I often refer to as Phase II.  Although I have yet to disguise the liner, this year, I planned to start digging for the streambed and a wetland area. 

This was supposed to happen early spring or even late winter once the ground was thawed.  I always view that time of year as a clean slate.  However, with an over abundance of rain and being busy with work, things rapidly got out of control.  Just trying to find time to mow the grass and paths was difficult.  I was always playing catch up.  Needless to say, I had no time to dig--well...I did dig several holes and transplanted several trees from the starter bed to their forever homes--something else that really needed done before they got too big.  [Hopefully, I will post about that even this long after the fact--if not, my blog (my gardening journal--will be even more incomplete.] Anyway, the end result:  the mugwort that has been invading our property had field day.  :( 

Yesterday, I finally got around to weed-whacking and sickling the slope leading down to the pond.  I intend to create the look of a rocky cliff here. 

I hate to show the mess I am dealing with, but it will make the "after" pics that much more amazing. :)

Slowly, I am moving the rocks (I obtained last year ) to that spot so I can fit them together on the slope. 

In the process, I had fun playing fitting the puzzle pieces together.  I photographed some potential pairings.   :)

Shoeing the size with a shoe for comparison. 

Not having enough for what I envision, I may end up using a liner to create the illusion of more rock--covering it with scree or fine soil/sand and a veneer of smaller stones.