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

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring, Springing

Finally, procrastinating pays off! I began taking pictures of any new growth I saw earlier this spring. I'm glad I didn't post each picture as I took them, the effect would have been lost. It is not time lapse, but at least we can see the fiddleheads unfurling. This is a fern that I added to the crevice in my
"my pride and joy" boulder.

And, for the encore, marsh marigold (Caltha palustris):

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Red Trillium (Trillium erectum)

This is not my favorite trillium, but I think it looks pretty striking in the early morning light. I'm liking it a lot better now. :)

I found it in the flowerbed that I inherited from the previous owner among the invasive groundcovers, spring bulbs, and traditional perennials. Last year I took a small division from the pretty good-sized patch and planted it in the front landscaping I began last year. I feel lucky to have found the (very) few native wildflowers on the property. I plan to spread more this year into the woodland and the side yard "woodland 'hedgerow'".

Scroll back up...and tell me it doesn't look much better in a more natural setting.

Seeds Germinated and Growing

I have been taking more pictures and doing more things, but I've been lax in posting. This is what my wildflower seedlings look like now. Pretty soon I'll have to divide them. I may pot them up into individual pots or, probably, just plant them in the ground.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Seeds Germinating

As I posted earlier, I finally planted the wildflower seeds I'd collected from my yard last fall. I was concerned that they didn't have the required cold dormancy and moist stratification needed for some to germinate. I'm happy to show the results of my sowing.

Taking the easy way out, I planted several varieties together--my theory is that they will all be growing in the same conditions in the meadow. Most are perennials with only one annual (Erigeron sp.), if memory serves. The annual will bloom this year and can help mark the place of the perennials.

Here are the pictures I took as they began to germinate:

Planting Dead Trees

In my attempt to catch up on posting, here is what I was doing some time in March:

If my imagined battles with Hydra-like rose bushes and honeysuckles were not enough to make one question my sanity, perhaps the fact that I was planting dead trees might. (By the way, the battles were real, just the enemies' form was imagined.)

Now, why would I be planting dead trees?

(Yes, I knew they were dead while I was doing it.)

Several reasons: One a dead tree is called a snag (while it is still standing) and it provides food (in the form of insects in the dead wood), a place to perch with no obstructed view from leaves, and in some cases, a cavity in which to nest.

Now the trees I was attempting to upright were old sumacs that had been standing until this winter. They provided structure; their trunks giving the feel of a woodland that is rather sparse in the way of trees. Their diameter is too small to be much good for cavities--and I've seen no holes as of yet, but they did provide perching and aside from that, the look I was going for as I wait for the seedlings I've added to grow and take their place as much needed vertical structure for our woodland.

An Ally from the Land of O'hio

As I may have mentioned before, my first battles with the multifloral rose brought me visions of battling a dragon or Hydra. Even before I had my blog, I would think of writing about these battles. Not until reading a post on Wildlife Gardeners Forum did I realize that others have had these same ideas--though, I freely admit, TimSaupe's epic story telling style is what I imagined mine would sound like...if I had his skill. :)

With his permission I am posting some of it here. To read the entire thread, click here: http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/habitat/5481-take-note-your-destruction-hand.html

Take Note: Your Destruction is at Hand
Yes, I crossed the waters and stood upon your shore this very day. I brought my axe and spade and stood amongst you; I surveyed your members and grinned as you fell beneath my gaze.

I brought my second-born as well, eager to maim and destroy. He produced his small blade and severed one of your limbs; your identity exposed, we set to work.

Your numbers are strong, yet our resolve stronger. The spade bit into the earth and severed your base. You were pulled asunder, your carcass thrown in a heap soon to be joined by others.

We took note of those you had kept captive, made weak and frail by your presence. And we took special care to defend them as we tore you apart. Your allies were seen as well; pass word that their sunrises are numbered.

You stood defiant and silent. You towered above us and your children stood below us. But take note: None will be Spared. Your children will follow the fate of their parents, and nothing will stop my second-born nor I until you have been totally and completely obliterated.

Upon this, you have my Word . . .
After asking what specifically he was battling, I read this reply:

I returned upon the yester-day with my first born; she who is tall and fair, yet lacks the touch of violence needed for this task. She would set about clipping your limbs and helping to expose your identity to me.

I took note that the waters seemed quieter, almost as if they were welcoming my passage. I strode across and stood in the small clearing I had made before and took a moment to decide whom would die first.

I will give credit where it is due; you are a powerful beast. You take hold and erupt from seemingly everywhere - whether it be a dead stump, the waters or any spare inch of ground.

An ally from the East asked me to speak your name. To Science, you are maackii of the fair Lonicera. A vile monster under the common-tongue name of 'honeysuckle'. But to those with knowledge of your true self, you are exposed as 'Corruptor' and 'Dominator' or 'That Which Spreads Unheeded'. You have accomplished the task of overrunning O'hi'o.

But upon my small parcel of land, you are known as 'That Which Will Be Annihilated'.

You managed to take blood from me yester-day. Small nicks and cuts were all you could manage while I continued my path south along the water's edge. I tore into one of your older members and was surprised to find -

- I was not the first to attempt this.

A few of your elders bore cut stumps that had been burned. But then they made the mistake of leaving you. Leaving you to heal, and like a hydra you grew new and stronger limbs. But I know that in order to truly destroy you, one must dig and remove your heart.

When I finally tore you out, I let loose a low and maniacal laugh at your death . . . in hindsight I would wonder if a touch of the darkness you keep in your heart had somehow entered me as well. No matter. I tossed your carcass upon the heap with the rest.

I found the one growing low at the water's edge and smiled. You cannot hide from me. The water does not need your filth hanging over it.

The jays were screaming at one another in the canopy above. No doubt sending a warning that Man was afoot in their territory. I do not expect them to understand that I do this for their future.

But I expect You to understand that your Future is Closing by the Moment.


And after laughing for a good 40 seconds at being named "an ally from the East", my attempt at a response:
Although I am battling the same Corruptor, there is another beast I battle.

Today I attacked the beast I thought I had subdued. All of its tenacles had been severed last year and had not yet had a chance to regrow. However, as I dug for its heart my trusty weapon was split in two! My battle scars are from my own fractured weapon not its sharp talons that drew my blood.

Through correspondence with an ally in the land of O'hio, I learned that we are battling a common foe. Not only is he a mighty warrior, but also, a great poet. Although I do not have the heart of a poet, I will relay my recent battle.

Inspired by the angry warrior from the West, I battled you, my foe again. I found the ground in which you stand very loose as though the very Earth wanted to vomit you up. The battle was hard won since my favorite weapon was destroyed nearly a fortnight ago. In the end I pulled you up with my bare hands hearing your ribs crack as I pulled your heart out exposing your dark heart to the sun.

Your brethren in your midst, I wrenched out of the ground. The Earth happy to be rid of them as well.

...and, after taking several shots to get this picture, I realized that I am a "plant geek" as one of the member's husband calls us. ~smirk~ Oh well.

Catching up on Posting

With several weeks of unseasonably warm weather, I found myself doing yard work whenever I had the time or energy. I even documented a lot of it with pictures, but have yet to post. I hope to change that now. (The fact is, I'm surprised I've kept up with the blog as much as I have.)

Hopefully, a few posts I've been meaning to make will soon follow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sharing the Yard with the Birds

Although, it may seem from my earlier post that I just strolled the yard and snapped pictures, the truth is that, after walking 3 miles with a friend, I came home, walked the yard and tackled another two Japanese honeysuckle bushes. I'm late in posting about my on-going battle with them, but, hope to post about it soon. I'm exhausted and am just glad to be posting at all today.

I enjoyed the strolls between all the hard work. The birds visiting the feeder seemed not to care that I was a scant few feet away. With spring here, I'm putting only a little seed out so as not to attract the bear. The chickadees are always rather brave and don't seem to concerned with my presence. Today, however, there were flickers, nuthatches, and a downy (or hairy) woodpecker that let me get pretty close and take some pictures. I have a few pictures of the chickadee--and should have a video with the woodpecker (that will have to wait until I have more energy).

I was very pleased to get a good shot or two of the chickadees that I can post here.

New Growth

I walked the yard several times today. Today was about 70 degrees and sunny--yesterday the temp never hit 50 as predicted, instead there was freezing rain and snow. Living in a valley we didn't see the snow, but I did see about an inch in some of the higher elevations on my way to work this morning. So, today's weather was a welcome sight.

Walking the yard I spotted some other welcomed sights--new growth. Below are a picture of marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). If it blooms, I'll add pictures of that later. The other two pictures show the fiddleheads of a fern I placed in the crack of the boulder that I refer to as my pride and joy. The pictures may appear to need rotated, but they should be horizontal as they are shown here.