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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Alive!

It has been cold; we've had some frosts, but it's still alive! (Well, they are. I've got lots of them and lots of pictures from the past two months; I just have to get them posted.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Unseasonably Warm

After getting home from work, I pushed my tired self to change clothes and get out into the yard to work. First I walked the yard, took some pictures of the pollinators around the remaining flowers on the asters. Great to still have some things blooming this late into the fall. I've been lax in posting, so hopefully later, I'll post some of the pictures I've been taking the past month or two.

I also collected more seeds to sow this winter for next spring. After that, I finally set to work moving more soil and rocks from under the deck. This is a project I started last fall. I've decided to extend the stone walkway behind the house and create a stone patio.

Last year, I filled in the low spots to create a place for some sun-loving wildflowers between the house and the stone patio. I also, leveled out the uneven path.

Last week, I spent three afternoons working on moving dirt. I'm really enjoying the weather and getting things done on weekdays after work. I gotta take advantage of the weather before we change the clocks and the weather changes on me.

I didn't plan to post about working on staining the deck (which I did a few weeks ago and didn't post until now) and working on the stone patio, but they both do relate to the native landscape. I want to tie in the deck and patio to the native landscape. I plan to improve the railing of the deck to make it more attractive, safer, and make for a better view of the future streambed/pond.

Also, pulling rocks out from under the deck will add to the beauty of the streambed and landscape...and moving the soil will create some beds for landscaping with natives.

Funny, all I planned to type was "After working in the yard, I relaxed in the hammock and didn't want to come in...I was out in the yard in the dark looking out at what I'd accomplished. I can't believe it is 72 degrees at 7:00 p.m. in October!"

Pollinators are still taking advantage of the few nectar sources left in the yard. I love the activity around the asters--I plan to plant MORE.

Butterfly weed was among the plants I collected seeds from. In addition to these, I collected Penstamen digitalis, various asters, and some daisy fleabane (Erigeron sp.) to add to other seeds I've collected and neglected to post about.

Rocks, rounded stones for the streambed, and soil (free clean fill) for the taking.

The future stone patio in progress.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carolina Wren

While putting away laundry on this rainy day, I became aware of a birdsong outside. It continued and was obviously pretty close based on how loud it was. Catching my interest, I looked out the window trying to spot it. Not really expecting to, I was surprised to see it just out side the window near the corner of the deck. Of course, I ran for my camera (something I should've probably done first).

Shooting pictures through he window is not the best way to get a shot, but after a few failed, blurry attempts, I got this shot right before it flew off. I'm almost sure it is a Carolina wren, but I'll get a lot of "second" opinions on Wildlife Gardeners forum.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Evidence

When I spotted the remains of the first monarch chrysalis, I felt lucky that I spotted it. I'm absolutely shocked that I spotted another one! While preparing the deck for staining, I went around to the front to remove some things growing onto the deck. If there was no breeze, I'd likely have never spotted it. I happened to be standing in the perfect spot as the movement from a gust of wind caught my eye. Among the blowing leaves, I saw something greyish white fluttering right at my eye level. It took me a second, but I recognized it as another abandoned monarch chrysalis.

Because it was almost 200 feet from where the caterpillars and the other chrysalis "skin" was found, I am wondering if there were other caterpillars that I missed. I did have those potted milkweeds near the deck for a while before planting them by the fence. I find it hard to imagine one fat caterpillar traveling that far for a place to pupate. Anyway, I now have more evidence showing that at least two monarchs metamorphosed in our yard habitat.