Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Rain Stopped!

Yeah I know the saying. April showers bring May flowers. But I am so tired of the cold and damp and the past two days has been nothing but. The sun finally came out today so I took the opportunity to take a few random photos.

Hens & Chicks

Flats of annuals.

Red Cooler Vinca

A very hardy Hosta

I say it's a "very" hardy hosta because it spent the winter in this shallow cement urn. I was shocked to see green shoots poking out of the ground a few weeks ago. Actually this is one of two hardy hostas as there is a matching urn, with another lime green hosta that survived the winter.

A sparrow looking for nesting material.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wisteria Blooms!

First, the Center Bed has grown quite a bit since I posted about transplanting the daylilies there. Everything is doing well with one exception. The lavender apparently didn't survive the harsh winter. I have cut it back to where the few green sprigs are at the very crown. Will give them another month before yanking them out.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was anxiously waiting for my wisteria vine to start showing some signs of life. I don't know how I missed it over the weekend, but today while inspecting the plantings to see if everything survived yesterday's wicked thunderstorm, I discovered this...

The vine is just loaded in blooms! I have my fingers and toes crossed that nothing happens to prevent all these buds from flowering. If they all do flower, it will be this vine's best showing ever.

I don't know if you can tell from these photos, but my wisteria is pink rather than the more common lavender/purple variety. I bought the sickly plant on a clearance sale at LOWES about eight years ago. I babied it along for the first two years than it just went crazy! I have to prune it about once a month or it would completely take over the entire backyard as it is constantly sending out these long and twining new shoots which grab ahold of anything nearby.


I also mentioned earlier that the yellow alyssum would soon be in full bloom. Here's a photo to prove it...

The only other plants currently flowering are a few tulips on the south side of the house...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dragonfly

I have always been fascinated by dragonflies. As a child I would spend much of my time at a nearby creek that had a small pond of water along its way. The dragonflies would swarm around the water's edge, just above the surface, looking for what, I don't know. I would try to catch them, but was mostly unsuccessful. When I was lucky enough to catch one, I would not harm it. Just look at it up close, then let it go. Many years later I came across this short story about the dragonfly and it has stuck in my head ever since.

The Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads,there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever. Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top. When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying. So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!
~Author Unknown~

Friday, April 17, 2009

Things Are Growing

It has finally warmed up enough for the perennials to come out of dormancy. This yellow alyssum above, will be in full bloom by next week. I have been transplanting a few plants and removing a few others over the past couple of days. As much as I love the Russian Sage, it had to go. My garden is just not large enough for such an aggresive plant. I did leave two of the smallest plants, they can remain as long as they behave themselves and do not invade their neighbors.


My daylilies really needed to be divided and replanted in a different bed. I think they will do better where they receive more sun. I placed the majority of them in this Center Bed, which also includes; solidago, asters, salvia, phlox and coreopsis.


For the past two summers I have been debating what to do with an old leaky birdbath. It's one of those tall, concrete baths your Grandma would have had in her yard. I love the look of it but it doesn't hold water. It just sits there empty, still able to attract thirsty birds. Today I decided to fill it with some good potting soil and plant some sedum on top of the mound. I covered the soil with white decorative rock to keep the rain from washing it away.


I hope my wisteria blooms this year. Last year it only produced a few blooms. The year before, it was leafed out and loaded in buds when we had a late spring ice storm. I thought the plant was a goner. It recovered, though without blooms. No sign of life yet this spring, but I love how the vine has twisted itself around the old clothes line pole.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Busy Little Bees

I was sitting out on the front steps the other day, enjoying the sunshine, when I heard a buzzing sound coming from my left. I look over at the boxwoods bordering the porch and am surprised to see some honey bees swarming over the tiny boxwood flowers. It was great to see these busy bees as they have become scarce around these parts.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Goldfish Pond

This is how the pond looked the last two summers. Last spring I had to remove about half of the fish as they had multiplied to the point that the water was staying murky due to everything being out of balance. By summer, the water situation had stablized and you could actually see the bottom of the pond again!

The solid white fish are my favorite. They stand out against the dark bottom of the pond and practically"glow" in the dark. I also have a couple of gold colored goldfish, the result of the red and white fishes mating.

Friday, April 3, 2009


This yellow beauty is my favorite shrub. It is the first woody plant to flower in my yard, signalling that spring has arrived. Last summer I had to give this shrub a hard pruning as it had become severely overgrown, reaching out to the side walk on two sides. Due to that drastic cutback, there are less blooms than normal as forsythia produces bloom on new wood. This is why it is important to hold off on pruning until after flowering. Otherwise you will shear off the majority of flowers. This shrub has only just begun to bloom, so I might have more flowers later.

I particuarly love how the bright flowers stand out against the bare branches.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Falcon Watch

The past few years I have been following two Peregrine Falcons making their home in Omaha, Nebraska. They roost every spring at the Woodmen Tower. Last spring, Hera, the hen, was badly injured in an arial duel with a rival falcon. She was found on the street and taken to raptor recovery, where she did indeed recover. She was released in the area and quickly reunited with her mate, Zeus.

On March 30th, 2009, Hera laid her first egg. She has since laid two more eggs. If you would like to follow the adventure and witness the hatching of the chicks... see them eventually leave the nest, follow this link to the Falcon Watch blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Greening Up

Before the snow last Saturday, the garden was just beginning to show signs of life. A few plants were starting to poke out of the ground and the grass was beginning to green up. The other day I went out and took a few photos before the cold wind drove me back indoors.


Hens & chicks