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Archive for the ‘Bird Sightings’ Category

Next year I’m not even going to worry about putting in the summer vegies until May. It’s just not warm enough. The beans and peas finally started to really grow about three weeks ago after just sitting there.  On Saturday, Alex came out to lounge around.

Alex in straw 1

Alex in straw 2

Also, on Saturday morning, we saw out first quail ever on the property, and out front in the cultivated area instead of out back in the more natural west end.

QuailThe vegetable garden looking nice.

VegWe picked our first salad greens yesterday and ate them within a couple of hours after chilling them in the frig. Best. Salad. Ever. Parisian mesclun “cut and come again” mix.

Parisian mesclun mix

The roses are in full swing now, too.

Rosa mundiRosa mundi

Ferd. PichRose Ferdinand Pichard

R moyesii geraniumRosa moyesii ‘geranium”, courtesy Fickle Hill Old Rose Nursery. I’ve never seen it for sale from anyone else.

Some of the other flowers and beds.

Lollipop lilies“Lollipop” lilies.

PansiesPansies.

South side rose borderRose border, south side.

Tropical garden looking westTropical garden, looking west.

WisteriaWisteria being trained to go along wall of house and across gap towards garage.

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Sunday:

Seeds arrived from Thompson and Morgan yesterday.  I wanted Limnanthes douglasii, in particular and they seem to be the only company that has it. Ironic, in a way, since they are a British company and Limnanthes in a North American native plant. We saw it for the first time at a garden in England, absolutely covered with bees. It’s common name over there is Poached Egg Plant.

T&M really have an incredible seed selection to choose from, so while I was at it I got:

2 Limnanthes douglasii

1 Papaver Coral Reet- to be started this fall

1 Nasturtium Tip-Tip Apricot

1 Verbascum “Snow Maiden”

1 Bellis Tasso Strawberry and Cream

1 Dianthus Elegance Lavender

1 Dianthus Elegance Pink

T&M are also the only good source I’ve found for wallflower seeds, so I got:

1 Wallflower My Fair Lady mix

1 Wallflower Sunset mixed

1 Wallflower Kew Collection Sunset mixed

Wednesday:

Took a bunch of photos yesterday. Still battling the slugs, who seem to prefer the sunflowers and squash sprouts, but otherwise things are coming along nicely. Some of the new roses have their first blooms, so I finally get to see what they look like “in person”.

Scored nine yards of cedar mulch at a good price and almost have the Rose Border done. I ran out of gas on Sunday after about six wheelbarrow loads, but it sure looks nice!

We’re filling the bird feeders once a week and are currently getting American goldfinches and house or purple finches.

On to the photos:

South edge all nice and mulched with mixed nemesia and dwarf snapdragons blooming

South edge all nice and mulched with mixed nemesia and dwarf snapdragons blooming

Beans and Peas

Beans and Peas

Tomatoes coming along nicely

Tomatoes coming along nicely

Tropical garden with sunroses in full bloom

Tropical garden with sunroses in full bloom

Bulgarian allium- pretty much the only allium that is rated for zone 9; it's repeating well

Bulgarian allium- pretty much the only allium that is rated for zone 9; it's repeating well

Icelandic poppies and an unusual volunteer dicentra, which is growing in full sun

Icelandic poppies and an unusual volunteer dark pink dicentra, which is growing in full sun; an unintended and possibly "dire" combination

Leopard Lilies getting very lush; dig and divide this fall, I think

Leopard Lilies getting very lush; dig and divide this fall, I think

Sunrose

Sunrose 'Wisley Pink" with galtonia on the left and rose 'Duchess de Montebello' above

Hardy geranium 'Orion'

Hardy geranium 'Orion'

Persicaria 'Red Dragon' with flower stalk of a plant who's name I can't remember just now

Persicaria 'Red Dragon' with flower stalk of a dyckia fosteriana in front

At last, the Hamburger Phoenix floribunda rose nice crimson color with a small white eye

At last, the Hamburger Phoenix floribunda rose; nice crimson color with a small white eye

Rose 'Sappho'; floribunda; very clean white

Rose 'Sappho'; floribunda; very clean white

Rose 'Old Homestead'; found rose; deep purple-red; loads of petals

Rose 'Old Homestead'; found rose; deep purple-red; loads of petals

Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' bursting into bloom now

Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' bursting into bloom now

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Alex doing the rounds

Alex doing the rounds

Just had a quick mild jolt of an earthquake.

A black-shouldered kite has been showing up the last few mornings. Saw it flying off with something in its talons yesterday. Hope it wasn’t a frog.

Our pond; about 40'x50'; 5' deep at one end; self-regulating

Our pond; about 40'x50'; 5' deep at one end; self-regulating

Cover used by frogs (red-legged) and fish (goldfish and mosquito fish)

Cover used by frogs (red-legged) and fish (goldfish and mosquito fish)

Peas up; Cosmos seeds planted outboard at base of plants

Peas up; Cosmos seeds planted outboard at base of plants

The seed order from John Scheepers has arrived:

One packet each

Pea ‘Petite Pois Precoville’- the classic French pea

Pea ‘Blauschokker Alauws Blue’- couldn’t resist the name and I was looking for a tall climbing pea; turns out they’re hard to find; I guess most people want bush varieties so they don’t have to mess with setting up a support

Bean ‘Blue Lake Pole’- what the heck, it’s a classic

Bean ‘Purple Podded Pole”- love the beans that are purple on the vine and turn green when you cook them; magic!

Cauliflower ‘Rainbow Mixture’- with luck, one will produce in our climate

Lemon Basil

Lime Basil

Morning Glory ‘Flying Saucer’- I think this one used to be called ‘Tie Dye”. I love morning glories.

1 pound of French shallots

Shady garden corner; caramel heucara, primroses, leopard lily foliage

Shady garden corner; caramel heucara, primroses, leopard lily foliage

Estelle Rjinveld tulips

Estelle Rjinveld tulips

Azalea 'Arneson's Gem"

Azalea 'Arneson's Gem"

David Austin English Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll'; first rose to bloom this year

David Austin English Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll'; first rose to bloom this year

the back of our house looking east; my studio is on the right

the back of our house looking east; my studio is on the right

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We took the collie boy for a walk at Hiller Park this morning, a place we like because most of it is off-leash if you have voice control. Then we went to one of his mostest, favoritist places, Miller Farms Nursery, where he always is showered with attention and treats. His humans, however, needed to start getting the watering system in order for the year, plus it’s time for more tomatoes (Romas) and also scallion starts, garlic and some summer squash and pickling cucumber seeds, plus a little something for the “tropical garden”.

Back home, lunch and out to the garden by 12:30. Got lots of little nagging things done- dragged the two pre-formed pond sections to where we might put them permanently, covered a planting bed that was veering out of control with black plastic (so there!), planted the dwarf giant sequoia (I just LOVE that) and installed a gopher thumper between two mounds that were next to some tulips (Salmon Impression) that I’d really like to not have eaten since they’ve come back strong for three springs now. David helped lay the black plastic and then made two pole bean support teepees out of lengths of bamboo and set them up.

On to the day’s plantings: I really want what I call The Rose Border to look nice for Open Studios, so it’s time to get some other things into the ground between the roses I planted yesterday.

Two six packs each:
Sundrops Mix Nemesia
Satin Mix Godetia
Solstice Mix Snapdragons
Painted Tongue (salpiglossis). So happy to have this one again. It’s not easy to find and is finicky to start from seed.

Also the six pack of papaver ‘Lauren’s Grape’ in the already established part of the border next to the parking area and the Papaver bracteatum in the veg garden..

I’ve set aside an area on the south side of my studio for what I call The Tropical Garden, inspired by the dear departed Christopher Lloyd’s tropical garden at Great Dixter. It’s where all the “hot” colors go. No pink need apply. I’ll post some photos of it and some other areas in the next week or so. Right now, spring bulbs are blooming: Kingsblood tulips, which are almost done (red), Princess Irene tulips (orange), Gavota tulips (burgundy and yellow), Tahiti daffodils, ‘Dickcissel’ daffodils (too cool a yellow; will be moved) a magenta species tulips, Estelle Rijnveld parrot tulips just starting, Now that I can see where the bulbs are, I can plant follow-ons. Today it was three Eschscholzia californica (California poppies) ‘Thai Silk Fire Bush’. The photo on the small sign that was with the plants suggests that they will be seriously red with a yellow center. Perfect.

The Birds:
“Our” black phoebe is back
The violet-green swallows swooped through
A woodpecker was working his/her way around the neighborhood
The usual gang of crows were doing their usual stuff and telling everyone all about it
Got zoomed by a few hummingbirds, probably Allen’s

And….
first butterflies of the year: Painted Ladies and a few white cabbage butterflies
some very large bumblebees

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This morning it seemed like the wind yesterday blew everyone in for the summer at once: 3 hairy woodpeckers, 4-6 violet-green swallows and a pair of purple or house finches, firsts for the year. Also around: song sparrows, Steller’s jays, northern flickers, Allen’s hummingbirds, a few robins.

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