Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Status of My Seedlings

It was a jungle under my lights. I had transplanted the Rutgers tomato plants to bigger pots but didn't have enough to do the others.

Here are the Amish Paste tomatoes ready to go into bigger Cow Pots.

You put the whole original pot into the new pot. I planted them deeper and now they're ready to grow some more.

Peppers that need to be thinned before transplanting.

Thinned and pot placed into new pot. Transplant soil added.

I transplanted some of the basil, all of the peppers and eggplants and two varieties of tomatoes.

Some of the plants that didn't make the cut or did they?

Twelve Cow Pots under the lights with no more room for any others.

The rest are in trays lined with plastic and placed in my south and west facing windows.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What Goes Bump in the Night?

Raccoons do! Raccoons robbing the birdfeeders!

I heard the bumps last night and thought the raccoons were under the deck. Heard the bumps some more and finally got up from my book, turned on the deck and porch lights, but could see nothing. I just didn't look in the right place.

This morning at breakfast I glanced out at the feeders to see how much seed was left in there and no feeders and in one case no hanging hook either.

Here's one of the empty hooks.

The feeder (squirrel-proof but not raccoon-proof) was down the hill into the glen.

The second hook was laying underneath the tree where it hangs. How did they unhook it?

The feeder was 10 feet away along the edge of the glen in the brush.


That's not all the mischief. I was blaming the squirrels for digging up the astillbes and flowering fern root but I think the blame lies with the raccoons. Below is the hole from which they took the flowering fern root. They didn't eat it just had to see what was under there.

Here's one of the three astillbes. At least the others weren't disturbed from their holes. I wonder how this one will survive? It didn't come looking very good from Dutch Gardens.

This afternoon I will put chicken wire over the astillbe plantings in hopes that will keep the raccoons away. I wonder though because if they can unhook a heavy birdfeeder, they surely will be able to lift up chicken wire. But maybe not?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wing or Sprinter?


Snow is in the forecast for tonight. We have had below freezing temps overnight now for two nights so the hummingbird feeder has been removed for now so it doesn't freeze. The pond has had a nice skim of ice and the goldfish are slow to move.



As I refilled birdfeeders this morning I discovered that something liked the fact that I carefully marked where I recently planted astillbe along the glen edge. Every one of those were dug up along with one flowering fern bulb that was planted there too. The other flowering fern bulbs were not disturbed. Fortunately the astillbe were bare roots and I found them all to replant them (though not as well as the first time). I will have to check again to see if whatever is checking out my newly dug places will be back to dig them again. I wonder if it is the same critter that dug up the butterfly weed earlier in the week? I put chicken wire over that to protect it and may have to do the same with the astillbes.

I purchased some garden art on Friday. It's in two pieces. The top balances on the vertical piece so that when the wind blows it turns. I saw this in the garden at the bird store and asked where she had them in the store. She didn't. She'd had two of them and when they didn't sell she put one in her garden. She promptly sold the other one. She said she'd discount the one in the garden for me if I wanted it. I did. What do you think of it? Will it keep the deer away from the day lilies that are planted on that edge of the garden? I'll find out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring in Two Parts


PART ONE: WELCOME DAFFODILS

I have daffodils planted in various parts of the garden: perennial garden, glen, front garden and down at the bottom of the driveway by the big rock. All of them are in different stages. But the first to bloom are in the perennial garden right outside our bedroom window. Even before the sun was up the buds were opening this morning. There are two kinds there: miniature (from a grocery store purchase last spring) and regular size. This is the second year for the regular ones so they have doubled in bloom quantity.

The miniature are on the far left above and by themselves below. You see I added the hyacinthe I got this year and will look forward to its blooming next spring.




PART TWO: INTRUDERS!

I could kick myself. On Saturday I had planned to spray Liquid Fence for the first time this growing season on the delectables that are favored in my garden. I put it off because it was so windy. Now I didn't go into the garden Sunday or Monday but I can see the perennial garden very easily and I would have noticed so the intruders came last night under the moonlight. They went for their regular fare: day lilies. The ones below had quite a bit of growth because they are against a stone wall. They even used their hooves to dig.

What I can't understand is why they ate the stella d'oro lilies which they never have touched in the past? I have quite a few of these that they found. They missed only two: one in the perennial garden and one in the front garden.

They haven't eaten crocuses before but all the purple ones are gone.

They even munched on the sedum,

and irises! Now I can understand eating irises when there's nothing else to eat but in spring time?

I've sprayed the Liquid Fence as of today and will likely do it again this weekend and weekly for the next month then go to monthly applications. Fortunately all the plants will recover and send up new leaves. No buds were taken. Those nasty intruders with the last name d-e-e-r.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Harvest Monday 2011


Here's my inaugural Harvest Monday post for the 2011 growing season. Check out other harvests at the host of Harvest Monday: Daphne's Dandelions.

I planted this spinach in the fall and it wintered over uncovered. With the spring temps it has filled out so it was time to have some.

Here's my harvest. Sorry no weight. I don't own a scale.

Here it is as a spinach salad. It made enough for both of us to have. Ingredients besides the spinach: turkey bacon, parmesan cheese, onions, with Marie's Caesar dressing. Delicious!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Spring Plantings

I spent most of Saturday planting. Here's the vegetable garden before (above) and after (below) and what I planted.



Two types of lettuce (bibb and a young leaf mix) and Bloomsdale spinach were planted here. The lettuce in the foreground was a fall crop. I moved it from another bed to this one.


Snowpeas were planted in the trench method (see below). I add the sticks for them to grow on for support. Later I tried to cover the whole thing with a net so the turkey that a neighbor spotted won't find the seeds. The spinach in the bed is a fall sowing and doing nicely now.



I planted three kinds of onion sets: yellow, red and white. I placed them close because we eat lots of green onions so I'll thin them. After the photo I pushed the bulbs into the ground so just the tips were at soil line.

Time Well Spent

I spent Friday in my pond garden. In past years I've only done a cursory cut back of the dead growth of the irises, but this year with retirement I have the time to do it more thoroughly and the irises have spread so there's many more that need the trimming. I got a very wet foot in the process because I stepped in deeper water than I intended. The goldfish followed my progress since I was turning up morsels they liked. The frogs tolerated me and didn't budge from the mass of eggs. I didn't bother that. Alas no camera was out with me to take before and after photos. It was time well spent in the garden on a warm spring day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Garden Visitor

Last week HolleyGarden at Roses and Other Gardening Joys posted about honey bees. As I read that I wondered, "When was the last time I spotted a honey bee in my garden?" It has been a long while. Bumble bees, wasps, hornets, and other winged insects, but honey bees were scarce last year even when the lavender was in full bloom.

Yesterday I heard him before I saw him. I had been cleaning the perennial beds and took time to photograph the crocuses in bloom when the distinct buzz hit my ears. I didn't think honey bee but once I saw him on the crocus I thought, "Where have you been? And why are you all alone?" He was harvesting from the crocus and made two trips that I know of. I'll keep an eye out for him in the days ahead and hope he spreads the words of the nectar to be had in my garden.




Postscript 4 pm: There were at least two honey bees visiting the crocuses today. I caught sight of an orange butterfly, too but it wouldn't let me get within 10 feet to identify it. Looked like a monarch but smaller.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Last!


I had a hunger for homemade tomato sauce last night so out came the last two bags of tomatoes from the freezer. No more tomatoes from last year's garden to make sauce with after last night. I'll have to wait until late July which is when these bags were frozen. It was good. Recipe is simple: saute onions in olive oil, add the tomatoes and basil (this was also frozen but there's some of that left), a bit of salt, pepper and a tablespoon of sugar. Once its cooked down well puree with stick blender. We had it with meatballs and yellow squash (in lieu of pasta).


Oops. Forgot to take a photo of the sauce pureed. You get the idea. It was so good!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Spring Blooms



It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day over at May Dreams Garden. Above is just one of the beautiful scenes at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Below is one of the first crocuses to bloom in my garden. More to follow soon. Just wait for April's Bloom Day post!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Philly Flower Show Purchases


There was an incredible amount of stuff to buy at the Flower Show. I refrained from buying the duck rocks with the metal necks and feet, as well as the copper pots and watering cans, the hanging soil-less plant containers, the jewelry, specialty foods, and plants of all sorts. I did succumb to some purchases.

A peony for the perennial garden.

Some very important labels for the vegetable garden and other places. We stopped in two other vendors before we found these. The others were sold out.

I got two hummingbird feeders. (Emily, do you want one of them?)

And these were an impulse purchase for the edge of the glen. They are flowering ferns. I hope they weren't a sucker purchase. No labels came with them. I'll have to look them up on the internet.
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