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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Birds in the Snow

Late February Snow Storm

Several storms hit south of us this month, but missed us two or three times. We finally got our share Thursday and Friday. It was nice to be snowbound. ~smile~

Aside from lots of shoveling, we made a few good meals and watched a movie or two. I took more pictures of the birds that came to the feeder and some pictures of the snow we got. Here are two pictures showing the first storms snowfall and the one that just hit!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Snow More Bird Photos

Although a couple recent storms missed our area, we are being hit fairly hard now. The accumulation is expected to be as high as 15-20 inches. I've been shoveling a couple inches at a time on and off all day.

Taking more pictures of the birds coming to the feeder is a nice break between shoveling. I've also been exploring the Wildlife Gardeners Forum too.
The quality of the photos are not very good...best viewed without enlarging them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Late February, But the Seeds are Planted

I am such a procrastinator. Last fall, I saved a lot of seeds from several flowers: Erigeron (daisy fleabane), Penstemon digitalis, thimbleweed, butterfly weed, and an aster. I think at least some of them need a moist, cold dormant period for them to germinate. Finally, I got them planted today in potting soil. Hopefully, they will germinate and I can spread them throughout my meadow-in-the-making. I covered them in snow and put them in the greenhouse, because I'm afraid the birds could pick at them.
Also, I'm late in posting about seeing my first bluebird of the season. I saw one three days ago. Today I saw another male at one of my houses. ~smile~

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Birds in the Snow

After the first two recent storms missed us, we finally got about 9 inches of snow. I was off today and, in between shoveling the sidewalk and driveway, I took some pictures of the birds that were coming to the feeder. I still haven't figured out how to turn off auto focus, so it was pretty much hit or miss. The quality isn't what I'd like, but I'll post some anyway.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another winter and spring view

Down the road as things start to grow and change, I'll be happy to have these views--they will become my 'before' pictures. For example there is a white oak seedling that I planted our first year here. It doesn't even seem to show up in the picture...but, I'll post an after picture later as it grows. Also, the row of forsythia will eventually be replaced by a woodland's edge planting.
I'll try to find several views that I'll take from the same spot every so often...hopefully they will line up better and become a record of my progress.

Thinking Spring

I guess it is not really a "before and after" picture, but it is almost the same view. While looking through my pictures I decided to post these...I'm thinking about spring. I still have some plans to get done during the winter, so I'll be okay waiting a bit longer for spring (not that I could speed it along if I wanted).

More Rocks

These are some rocks I found after cutting out one of the forsythia bushes. Unfortunately, I found more rusted springs from a matress left by the previous owner...this is the third one I've found on the property. ...but, look at those rocks...stay tuned, *eventually* I hope I will create the stream bed and take pictures of how I've put these and other rocks to good use.

Attacking the Forsythia

A row of overgrown forsythia planted by the previous owners.

One bush cut out and pushed up against other one.

I added some branches to my brush pile.

I took a break from sawing one off at the base to take a picture.

The branches that touch the ground have rooted and grown into my path.

The previous owner had planted a row of forsythia, and, although I prefer the natural look to a trimmed hedge, they were so overgrown that the branches that touched the ground have rooted. They are growing into my path. Although the flowers are pretty for the short time they bloom, they always look out of place to me. They do not provide food for wildlife, yet I'm sure they provide some kind of shelter. In the two years I've been here, I've never seen any birds' nests in the mass of forsythia in the yard.

Although it is not as invasive as other things on my property, they are rather unsightly and not part of my plan. The fact that they are rooting and taking over a large section means they are taking the place of native plants that could be growing there.

I cut one bush the first year and another two this year. The first year, I created a brush pile in another part of the yard to provide shelter for birds and other wildlife. This year I added a few more branches to the brush pile but decided to leave the cut forsythia in place (although I did push it closer to the other bushes). Until I have something to put in its place, I decided to leave it in place.

I was lucky enough to find a few more rocks to use in my future streambed/pond. ~smile~

Monday, February 1, 2010

Multifloral Rose Removal

As I did with the Japanese honeysuckle, I decided to leave this multifloral rose bush in place to provide some shelter for the birds and other animals that have been using it. I cut it off at the base, and although I expect it to resprout, I'm hoping it will be shaded out. I will likely have to continue to cut out the new growth but, at least, there will be no rose hips to spread more of these monsters around--well, not from my yard anyway, though they are in the surrounding areas. :(
During my struggle with them this year, I found myself thinking about blogging about them. I found myself thinking about them as MF rose bushes--I had to laugh when I realized the double meaning. It is quite apropos.
My first year, even before I was blogging, I found myself waxing poetic about my battle with these monsters. With their sharp thorns and many whip-like branchess, I felt like I was battling the Hydra. Although I was wearing a thick winter coat, there were times I got scratches (my battle scars) and even had some thorns embedded in my thumb and finger that I couldn't remove with tweezers. Dragging the sawn-off bushes to my brush pile the moster continued to attack me with its thorns, but I felt heroic knowing that I'd defeated the beasts. Later, when the ground had thawed, I was surprised that, with a pick, I was able to remove the massive roots. Luckily, my soil is rather loose.
This year, I had fewer scratches and less of a battle because I left the bush where I'd found it. I like to think the birds appreciate that I left their perches and refuge intact. The chickadees tend to chatter at me, scolding me, I think..or maybe they are thanking me for the black oil sunflower seeds I put out. :)

Dealing with Japanese Honeysuckle

This post is at least a week late. Last weekend I was able to get out in the yard and get some things done. I was sore for a couple of days afterward, but I guess that is a good thing. :-)
Japanese honeysuckle is an invasive bush that takes over woodlands and, because it leafs out much earlier than native trees and shrubs, it does not allow sunlight to get to the ephemeral wildflowers, eventually starving them. Although my first winter here, I did remove some and used them to create a brush pile, I don't want to cut them all out of the woodland because they provide some structure to the woodland. Being that there are not many native trees and shrubs in what I've deemed "the woods", I hate to totally remove them. Also, they have been providing some shelter to whatever wildlife uses the yard.
My first year here, I mostly removed the multifloral rose bushes (another invasive alien). My concern is that while trying to improve the biodiversity and restore native trees, shrubs, and forbs, I don't want to disturb what habitat is provided by the invasives. By girdling the honeysuckle bushes, I hope to leave the basic structure of the area intact while I add natives that provide berries for birds and mammals, flowers for butterflies and other insects, host plants for caterpillars, and shelter and nesting sites as well.
I was able to remove the roots of the multifloral roses (luckily the soil is loose enough that I was able to dig them out without much trouble using a pick) and ensure that they will not regrow. However, it is likely that the honeysuckle will send up shoots from the roots. I guess I'll deal with that later--either by breaking them off as they grow or cutting them out again next winter. At least they will not produce berries and further spread this invasive.