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Monday, April 29, 2013

Three Firsts for the Year

One day last week I stepped out the back door just as a hummingbird had been coming to inspect the hanging fuschia.  I swear it stopped in mid-air and reversed when it saw me!

This past weekend I got around to whipping up a batch of sugar water and filling three hummingbird feeders to place strategically around the garden.

Within ten minutes we had a diner! Not a great photo I'm afraid, it would only give me a back view, not a nice side view, but with my new camera and a tripod, I plan on getting LOTS of hummingbird photos this year.

Another visitor to the garden this weekend was this rather battered looking Monarch.  Does it look like this because it has flown all the way from Mexico?  I don't know but it sounds like a good explanation to me!  

If you click on the photos to see the large versions, you can see how distressed the wings look.

And in the photo below, you can actually see the red bloom of the milkweed through the hole in its wing!

You can see the hole in this photo too, although the rest of the wing doesn't look so bad.

Remember I showed you our little veggie patch last week? Well look at this!  Another first!  Our very first pea pod!  And let me tell you, they were oh, so sweet!

There are loads more pods beginning to ripen now, we're going to have some good eating soon!

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

I was putting out bird seed today and became aware of a sound I haven't heard in a while - that wonderful summer sound of gently buzzing bees.

I was standing by the Savannah holly in the Bird Bath Garden and looked down to see it covered in little blooms which were being visited by three or four bees.

I got this photo of one of them (you can click on the photo for a larger view).  

I'm not up on my bees, so I'm not sure if it's a honey bee or something else. But whichever type it is, it's very welcome in our garden.  And it can invite it's friends too -- enter and pollinate!

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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Fruits of Our Labors

You'll have to excuse me if I get a bit excited about having edible items in the garden.  This is the first time we've ever had a veggie garden, now in it's second year, and although it's only small and very simple, we're already reaping some benefits.

Basically, we have peas, tomatoes, chives, parsley and lemon thyme, and some marigolds to bring in the pollinators. (I said it was small). 

Oh, and there are some strawberry plants in there, but the parsley has crowded them out, plus I now understand they do better when they are in a strawberry planter instead of in a flat garden. The ants and/or birds seem to get to any strawberries before we get a chance to taste them. 

The peas are doing great. They seem a little reluctant to climb the trellis we installed for them, preferring instead to tangle with each other and the cane teepees, but that's okay.  They're covered in flowers and we even have some pods forming :-)

We've enjoyed adding some fresh parsley and fresh garlic chives to our cooking - a first for us!

Back at the beginning of March, my husband planted a Seto Satsuma Mandarin to replace the one he hand planted last year and that had drowned due to being in a bad location.  We also planted a Naval Orange 

Throughout March we were blessed with the exotic sweet scent of their blooms and now there appear to be lots of tiny fruiting forming.  Since the trees are only 4ft high, we're not going to expect too much from them, but if at least a few of the fruits grow to a decent size and ripen, we'll consider it a success.

At one end of the island bed, we planted a Sam Houston Peach tree last year (we thought it an appropriate choice, given our location). 

It took a while to get going and we thought perhaps we had lost it over the winter.  However, it leafed out quite vigorously this spring and put out two, count 'em, two, blooms.  I assume that the fuzzy blob in the middle of this photo is a baby peach.  This is the bigger of the two,  perhaps a centimeter long.  It will be interesting to see how it does :-)

What I'm really looking forward to are some Roma tomatoes!  But alas. although the plant seems healthy and is growing, it's not blooming yet.  I'll just have to be patient, a virtue of which I am lacking sometimes!

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

Sunday, April 14, 2013


 As I reported here in this blog, back in August of last year, we sadly had to say goodbye to the mature pine tree that we fell in love with when we bought our house.  The arborist that had removed the tree came back in the fall to plant a replacement.

I will admit, we had a bit of a scare after "Junior" had been planted.   We started seeing lots of yellow needles and dropped needles.  For a while, we feared that we'd have to cash-in on the one-year guarantee that the arborist offered and get yet another tree.  We worried was it not getting enough water, was it getting too much?  

As my husband was watering it one day, from the faucet at the back of the house, something suddenly came to me.   We have a water treatment system installed and it was connected specifically behind the water connection for the sprinkler system and the faucet at the front of the house, so it didn't affect those water outlets.  But all the other faucets around the house were supplied via the treatment system.  Great if we wanted to drink clean water right out of the faucet, or have lots of suds when washing the car, not so good for watering plants because the natural mineral content of our water had been altered.

I mentioned this to my husband and from that point on, we started watering "Junior" either from the rain barrel, or from the faucet at the front of the house.

 I'm happy to report that "Junior" is doing very well.  The needles stopped turning yellow almost immediately after the change and this spring, it's vigorously putting out candles of new growth.

Of course, "Junior" has a long way to grow--it's currently about 20 feet tall, nowhere near the 80 ft + of the original tree. We just have to be a little patient. According to historic aerial photos of our area on Google Earth, there weren't any trees here about 35 years ago - it was farmland.

So yes, we just have to be patient, although the local bird population is eyeing it up already :-)


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