Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside: My Early Spring Garden

Today we're wandering to the wayside from your vantage point, but not mine...we're looking at my own garden! We went from winter to summer here this last few weeks, literally. From the 60s to the 80s and a sun so bright it could burn your eyeballs. I swore last year that I was going to paint my front door from dark green to white (it gets so hot that Conner burnt his hand last year), but with it being so hot already there's no way. Well, maybe we'll have some more seasonal weather before June actually gets here.

In the meantime, the garden is waking up. The daffodils/tulips/iris are absolutely gorgeous in our area this year (though my iris aren't even in bud yet), but, sadly, they're also fading fast because of the intense heat. Most knockout roses are already covered with buds, and all the flowering shubs and trees are blooming at the same time (forsythia, lorapedlum, dogwood, bradford pear, etc.), thus making this one of the worst allergy seasons we've had in a long time. Fortunately for me, most of my allergies are in the fall, but Garrett, the 7 year old grandson, really suffers.

I've had these strawberries for about eight years, or at least they're from the original ones I bought then, and I moved them into pots a few years back because our pasture grass would not leave them alone, and David didn't have time to do raised beds. They get their first delicious bounty by the end of May, and then another batch at the end of the summer.

This is the krawnzan cherry tree that we're still not sure will survive. It took a terrible drought hit it's first two summers, got canker, and the trunk somehow went all crooked. I'm having to prune the branches on one side to keep it from getting too heavy on that side and falling over! But it's right next to the deck, providing much needed shade in a few years, and a spot for birds to nest (if we ever get any).

David's always bring home cool pieces of wood, and lambs ear always softens it's edges. I just got thru cleaning this one up - if you've ever had one (lamb's ear) you know what an ugly mess they are at the end of winter!

This is a Lithodora, which is a ground cover that has a dark blue flower against dark green foliage that blooms thru June. I bought it thinking it was Forget- Me -Not, obviously not reading the tag. It was a deeper blue when I brought it home, but the sun has kind of faded it. I can't wait to see how it does, as it was one of those blues that just jumps out at you, and it will spread to 2-3' and reseed.

This bush is a witch hazel, and you really need to enlarge it to see the spidery flowers. This poor bush has been dug up and dragged to I don't know how many houses, but has finally come into it's own now that it's had four years to recover from the last move. It starts blooming in early March, or even in December if we have a warm year.

You just can't beat a tulip, can you?

And now, a sad story. This next photo is of a resident hawk (not sure which kind). Because of him, and the resident mockingbird, we have NO BIRDS. Seriously. Remember those beautiful bluebirds from last summer? No bluebirds. The bright yellow finch at the living room window? Nada. On the plus side, we also have no sparrows, but I'd gladly welcome them back if it meant the others would follow! Enlarge if you think you can identify it, or just to see the mean look in his eye! He can turn his head all the way around, and is so quick it's like watching a magic trick. He will sit there for hours and hours, and couldn't care less that I'm watching him. This shepherd's hook is only five feet outside the window, and he looked me in the eye when I took this photo!

The only bird he hasn't caught or threatened is...the f***ing (yes, I know, those of you who know me are surprised that I didn't say it out loud) MOCKINGBIRD that tormented the bluebirds last year, and has taken over the back yard to the nth degree already this year, including chasing away the bluebirds and cardinals before my very eyes. I actually have a video of two mockingbirds having a territorial fight out back, but couldn't get it to upload.

All this started when I put out feeders this winter. Birds of all kinds came from miles around to feast in my yard during our four snows, until the starlings also arrived. And then the hawk. And then the mockingbird. But it all started with the feeders, and I'm sure the hawk was circling overhead and saw them all hanging out. So it's my fault. As for what to do about it, I don't know. I'm guessing that we can't shoot either bird (except in my dreams), so I'm at a loss. Any suggestions? Imagine, a nice big yard with trees, bushes, and flowers...AND NO BIRDS!!!

One last thing...I didn't take a photo of it but will mention it anyway. Did you ever make a donation to something like the Arbor Day Foundation, and get fifty twigs in the mail that you're supposed to plant? Well, last year, that's exactly what happened. I think I forgot to take them out of the plastic bag they arrived in, and they got soggy and moldy. I stuck three in a pot of dirt to see what would happened, and promptly forgot about them. Until this week. Lo and behold, what do you think is growing in that pot? A Sargent Crabapple, a Golden Rain Tree, and either a dogwood or crepe myrtle. The problem is that the color code has worn off, so although for some reason I still had the descriptions pamphlet within easy reach, I don't know which is which. Oh wait, I guess there is a drawing for leaf identification, so that might help. Except that the trees are very misshapen trunk wise (or twig wise I should say), so I'm not sure if planting them would be a smart thing to do. Though I guess it won't hurt to give it a try. They couldn't look worse than the trunk of the cherry tree!

Happy gardening to all! I'm enjoying seeing everyone else's spring flowers, and I look forward to seeing the fruit of YOUR efforts in the coming months.


ethelmaepotter! said...

I love the photos of your gorgeous flowers! We have one of those same cherry trees, and I've been out taking pictures, too. And your wood is so interesting-looking; is it driftwood? Makes me want to go out and hunt some up.

I started to say that we, too, went from winter to summer, and then I remembered that we're practically neighbors! Yes, this heat so eary in the year is terrible; I hope it doesn't portend of things to come this summer.

That hawk! I've never been able to get a picture of one, but then again, I don't have one that lives five feet outside my window. I have seen one dive bomb into a field of tall hay and come straight back up in a split second with a snake in its mouth. I'm not sure about Georgia, but here in Tennessee, it's illegal to shoot one...and those awful mockingbirds! We have two right now that are constantly fighting for territoriality...they make my cat miserable in the summer...they've even attacked my husband going out to get the newspaper. Dadgum nuisances.

Sorry, I didn't mean to go and on. Hoping your spring and mine gets a bit cooler and a bit less pollen-y!

Dan said...

Isn't it great to see the world come back to life this time of year? I love it. Thanks for the peek into your world down there.


Jeanie said...

We are a ways behind you in things starting to grow, but it is coming along. At least the grass is getting green and there are some flowers blooming. We could still get snow again, but nothing that will last. I have no answers about the birds, but what a shame that the hawk and the mockingbird have chased all the others away. I have been loving hearing all the birds singing early in the morning when I walk the dog. Your pics are great.. I especially love the tulips.

Wendy said...

Everything is so lovely!

We've got some daffodils and a batch of early tulips up. The crocus are already fading. And TODAY I'm building raised beds. I had the wood delivered on Tuesday and bought the deck screws last night. Woo hoo! (And thanks for the gardening inspiration.) I'm just waiting til it gets above 50 to get out there (oh, and maybe get a food post up).

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Ginger said...

I envy you having warm weather and flowers already. We still have some snow along the shady spots in the yard. I think we might get in the upper 60's though.
We have a lot of hawks and bald eagles. The eagles don't cause any problems but the hawks literally swoope in and grab Mike's roller pigeons out of the air. I've witnessed that, and I don't like it!! They will go right in the pigeon loft. I caught one in our barn eating a pigeon. When the farmer next to us harvests his alfalfa they go in the fields for the mice. (that's the only thing they are good for).
Enjoyed the tour of your garden.

Penny Sue said...


Thanks for sharing spring! Love to see those photos of new life!

Penny Sue

Wine and Words said...

My yard blossoms as well...opens to me in colorful abandon. isn't it lovely. There are some things that do not dim, cannot be colored anything other than what they are. Yeah!

lakeviewer said...

Love the idea of growing strawberries in hanging baskets. I like your idea too.

kobico said...

I don't know if I should say this, but that is one fat hawk! I love that you bring your plants with you from home to home. My transplanting track record is not so good. I tried moving a Meyer lemon last year and killed it!

Mattenylou said...

Thanks for the tour! I love how the witch hazel bursts into a bit of bloom in the Winter, gives us that bit of hope we need to wait just a few more months to really explode with blooms... nice!

I wish the hawks wouldn't frighten away all the songbirds, but I really don't blame them for hiding. Funny how they know to be wary of the hawks.

Penny Sue said...

Hey, I just got your comment you sent me a few of my posts back. I'm sorry if it seemed that I was ignoring you. So, in the beginning of your thyroid stuff did your blood-work show anything unusual? Just curious. I also have spoken to the social worker at the oncology department (a delightful friend) and just told her how I'd been feeling... the lack of energy and sluggishness, and she told me that she hears that so much. It's apparently very common for someone like me (been through breast cancer and treatment). She told me to just be patient with myself... and just take life at my pace. Only thing... life doesn't slow down for my pace. But, life keeps moving forward.

Please share with me how you ended up finally getting your diagnosis.

Penny Sue

Midlife Jobhunter said...

What a beautiful post. I think my favorite is the wood among the lamb's ear. We did the same thing - winter ugly to color - all at once.

I'm behind, as you can tell. Catching up.

Oz Girl said...

Yep, we've got hawks all over the place out here, although I don't think any have officially taken up residence too near the house... and mockingbirds, ohmigoodness, do we have those. And starlings. And sparrows. Yep, all those beautiful birds, LOL.

AND BOY did your paragraph about the Arbor Day trees make me laugh!!! I got my twigs last fall, or more like December (what the h*$$ am I supposed to do with them in December??!!) so they languished in their bag on our back porch (inside). Well, when I spring cleaned our porch a few weeks ago, I looked at them, and yes the biggest one DID have some green on it, but I figured they were all probably past dead, so I threw them out. I should have done what you did I suppose, just to see... you never know! I still had my pamphlets too, but I threw them away at the same time, else I would mail them to you. :-)

sewa mobil di surabaya said...

Love the idea of growing strawberries in hanging baskets. I like your idea too.