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Thursday, March 24, 2011


It is with a  heavy heart that I have to report that when I got home from work tonight and looked around the garden, I noticed the bird house lying on the ground under the vitex tree. No sign of the chickadee, eggs or nestlings.

I have no idea what happened although it has been a little windy here.  I think, with hindsight, that the hook supplied with the birdhouse wasn't suited to the task, and I was too inexperienced to know that when I hung it up.

I'm probably silly to get upset over it, but I did. I'll sign off for now, as I have tears in my eyes again.

Hopefully I can post a happier blog post at the weekend, and confirm if the wrens are nesting in the container on the patio.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Urge to Plant Something

This past weekend I, and seemingly most Tomball area residents, headed to Lowe's Garden Center as "spring fever" hit and the urge to plant something took over.

I was feeling a bit guilty really, having just had a week of "stay-cation" which would have been perfect for a garden project, but during which I didn't do much of anything but relax. However, it was a wonderful Texas spring weekend, with temperatures in the low to mid 80's, so I couldn't wait to get out there and plant something.  

I think my enthusiasm must have been contagious because my husband joined me and spent the afternoon pulling thistles out of the lawn while I planted in the flower bed.  

(Yes, I *do* realize I have a husband in a million, and No, he's not for rent!)

I concentrated my efforts on the bed outside the dining room window where the daffodils are winding down. I kept it simple and planted a Heuchera hybrid Coral Bells "Midnight Rose" and a couple of Iberis sempiverens, Candytuft "Snowflake", along with a six pack of Senecio cineraria, Dusty Miller.

Here's another view of the same bed -- this is as you walk into the back garden from the front gate .

The other project that was accomplished  (a joint effort in that I offered advice and my husband did the heavy labor, i.e. digging the post holes) was this support for the Mars grapevine.
Last year we had this vine propped up with some plastic trellis, but it wasn't up to the task and the whole lot collapsed. Not only that, but even though at one point the vine was covered in little grapes, every last one of them disappeared the same night the trellis collapsed.  

We're thinking the local raccoons had a grape party.

We hope this support will a) hold up the vine and b) allow us to utilize some sort of netting or other deterrant to keep the raccoons away from the grapes.  Any suggestions will be gratefully received.
In the previous photo, you can see how close we were to the birdhouse that has the nesting Carolina Chickadee, as my husband was digging and I was "heeling in" the posts.  That was when we met the occupant, who sat on the Vitex and scolded us for bouncing her house around.

Here's another shot of the birdhouse - the Vitex is really starting to leaf out compared to the photo of the bird house I showed you last week.

To end my post tonight, I thought I would share a photo of flowers in the front garden.  Another of the Gaillardia "Fanfare" is blooming, and there's also a lot of Verbena blooming.  The problem is, I have been all through my garden journal for last year and find I completely omitted to make a note of what variety it is!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

For Rent: Desirable Residence, UPDATE

 It's official -- we have a Carolina Chickadee nesting in the bird house hanging in the Vitex tree.

I've seen her fly in and out a couple of times and when  I look in there (from a discreet distance) I can see her on the nest.

I tried taking a pic with my zoom lens but you can't see anything just a black hole.

I'm looking forward to seeing the babies when they fledge. I'll keep you posted

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Macro Flower Saturday - Gaillardia "Fanfare"

I've been watching this Gaillardia "Fanfare" (Blanket flower) for a week or so, since I first noticed the buds. I was thrilled when I got home from work last night and saw the first bloom fully open.  And I was surprised at the size of the bloom.  It's almost 3 inches across in the photo above!

There are several of them along the border in the front garden and they're all starting to bloom.

Also, the bluebonnet that I showed you last week, and lamented that I didn't see any flower buds on it, is now putting out flower spikes.

I'm entering this post in Macro Flower Saturday, hosted by Maia because I feel the first photo fits that meme. Visit this link, or the button in the side bar, to see more great macro flower photos

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - March 2011

It seems like it's been a while since I did a post for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  

When I don't post it's for one of two reasons.  Either there is nothing -- zip, zilch and nada -- blooming in my garden that particular month on the 15th, or I just plain forget.

And here I am at 9:50 pm on the 15th and I just remembered about it!  So here are my offerings, humble though they may be compared to some. 

To see what else is blooming around the world, visit Carol's blog at the top of this post.

First, the fuschia I showed you a couple of weeks ago in my Dancing Ballerinas post is still blooming, although it's winding down now. I'm glad I spotted this at the store. Even if it only lasts a few weeks, I think it has been worth it.

In the front garden, the daffodils have finished blooming but I won't cut them back just yet -- I'll wait until the leaves are yellow and then tidy them up.  Around them, the pansies are still going strong.

These are Matrix Purple and Yellow Splotch (love that name).  They are so reliable, nothing fazes them.  Even the deer/rabbit or whatever it was that nibbled them back to nubs a couple of months ago couldn't kill them.

And waiting in the wings, the little Texas Bluebonnet is growing nicely.  I don't see any flower buds on it yet, which is rather disheartening, considering I'm seeing them in bloom along the side of the freeway already.  I'll keep hopeful though, and perhaps it will reseed some more for next year.

In the back garden, it's just the same old stuff I've had blooming for the past couple of weeks.

The Homestead verbena (seen above with a companion weed) is surfacing from under the pile of nijer thistle seed the birds dumped on it and has lots of blooms coming out.

I suppose it's just as well it made it through the winter safely because the cuttings I took last fall didn't make it :-(

 Anyway, that's what I have blooming in my garden this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. 

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

For Rent: Desirable Residence, All Amenities

 As I was browsing around the gardening, doing a bit of weeding this weekend, I happened to notice some grasses and other materials poking out of the side of the little bird house I put up last week.

Could someone have taken up residence already?

I wonder who it could be... 

If you remember, a pair of Carolina wrens made a nest and raised at least one youngster in a container plant on the patio last July.  

It seems a little early for them to be nesting now, if they nested in July last year. But perhaps they nest several times a year.  (I'll have to go and look up that information)

Or.... Eric and I were digging a couple of post holes on Saturday and I was amazed when a Carolina Chickadee hopped up and down a branch of the nearby Vitex tree, in which the bird house is hanging, and scolded us severely.

So perhaps the nest in the bird house is his, although I've been watching and haven't seen any coming and going since yesterday.

I hope we do get nesters - whoever they may be.  I'll keep you posted.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More Signs of Spring

 I've been off work this week--taking a "stay-cation"--and I had ambitious plans to get all kinds of work done in the garden.  Looking back on the week, it seems like I didn't do much of anything really.

OK, so my husband and I replanted a couple of things, and I potted up some verbenas I got at the garden center.  

But the garden still looks bare and brown...

... until you look closer...

The smaller of my Rose of Sharon shrubs is putting out new growth.

As is this unknown plant I received at a plant swap last spring.  It has since become separated from its plant marker and I just cannot remember what it is.

The Tropi-Cannas that I had to cut back to soil level because of freeze damage are starting to put out big healthy leaves.

And this little yarrow (Achillea), which was a passalong last year, is multiplying.  I hope I see some flowers this year.  I didn't get any blooms on any of my achillea plants last year.

I was surprised that the Homestead verbena has put out flowers already.  The one on the other side of the garden is a tenth the size of this one, and has no flowers.  Obviously this one has the prime location, but it almost got buried in nijer thistle seed hulls this winter because it's growing underneath where I hang the sock feeders for the goldfinches. 

I bought a new verbena at the garden center this week.  I potted this one up, rather than plant it in the ground, because I'm not sure where it would be happiest.  In a pot, I can move it around until I find its sweet spot.

Isn't it a lovely color?

I remember lamenting in my blog a couple of weeks ago that I might not get to see my blooming daffodils because I leave the house before dawn to go to work, and I don't get home till almost dark.  Well this week I got to enjoy them fully.

I thought I'd let you see them too.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.