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Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Weekend in January

Last week I posted about the Goldfinches flocking to the feeders in my garden.  Well, they're still here :-)

They seem to be roosting in the hedgerow across the street behind our house, but each morning they arrive en masse to gorge themselves at the feeders...

... before resting up in the Crepe Myrtle  ...

... Or in the Vitex tree...

They don't stay with us long, but rather refuel to continue their northward migration.  I have never seen an American Goldfinch in its glorious yellow and black plumage.  I only ever see them in their "olive drab", lol.

I didn't spend all weekend sitting around watching birds - I actually did some work in the garden too. 

The compost bin has been getting very difficult to fit stuff in because it is overflowing.  So I decided it was time to "harvest" some of the compost at the bottom of the bin, which would allow me to turn the rest, water it down and get the lid on properly.

I was sweating like crazy by the time I was done, but it needed to be done and I had a sense of accomplishment.  I got two loads like this and added them to the island bed.  

Before putting the lid back on, I used my secateurs to make sure all the garden waste that was sitting on top was chopped into small pieces that would break down more easily, added a layer of soil and watered it down.

During the week, I spent a long overdue afternoon attacking the front flowerbed.  As I was ripping out the nutsedge which is growing rampant along the back of the bed, I discovered that the milkweed I had trimmed back recently is putting out new growth.

So after admiring it and taking its photo, I set to work trimming back the rest of the milkweed and mulching, so the front bed looks tidy once more... at least for a while.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Seasonal Visitors

Shortly after Christmas, I realized that something was seriously wrong with my camera. It had been fine while we were in San Antonio before Christmas, but suddenly, it took to turning itself off every time I turned it on.

We tried replacement batteries to no avail and in the end, my husband offered to get me a new camera.

I selected a Nikon Coolpix P510 and to say I am happy with it would be an understatement!

Among many other features, it has a 42 x zoom capability and although I read in the customer reviews that no one ever needs that much zoom, I thought it sounded like the perfect camera for me.

 I couldn't wait to see what sort of nature photos I could get with it!

I had a chance to try it out this past weekend, as I stood inside the back door, watching the goldfinches in the crepe myrtle tree in the back garden. We have quite a few of them visiting at this time of year and I have some sock feeders out for them which are always a hit.

Last year I read an article that suggested leaving the seedpods on crepe myrtles, instead of trimming them all off.  The article said that the goldfinches would enjoy them.  Have you noticed them eating the crepe myrtle seeds before? I've never noticed if before and I was skeptical about it,  but our visitors certainly did seem to be enjoying the crepe myrtle tree! 

I love the way these photos came out and I'm looking forward to learning more about the camera and how to get the best out of it.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - January 2013

I wouldn't go so far as to say this is my New Year's Resolution, but I do plan to try and post a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post on the 15th of each month this year.

If I manage it, it will be a first for me!  Past experience shows that I have a bad habit of forgetting about it until days later.

So, even though it's fairly late in the evening now - at least it's the right day!  A good start, wouldn't you say?

As for blooms, well if I hadn't have gone out to Lowe's before Christmas to pick up some pansies I wouldn't have any color in the garden at all now.

But as it happens, I have three varieties of rather pretty trailing violas...

Nothing special about them, but they do add a touch of color to the "birdbath corner."

I do love them - such cheerful little blooms.

Wonder if I'll have anything to show you next month?

If you'd like to participate in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day or visit other participating sites, pay a visit to Carol at May Dream Gardens to see what it's all about.

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

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Welcome to Our Garden

Isn't it always the way?  You go into a store looking for a particular item and it's nowhere to be seen.  But your eye always seems to latch on to something else that you can't live without and you have to get it.

So it was with this garden flag I found in Hobby Lobby this week.  I went in looking for some art supplies and came out with this!

Rather appropriate, don't you think?

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

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year's Garden

 The weather for the past few days has been cold, grey and miserable - definitely not the sort of weather to encourage one to head out in the garden.  Today, however, the winter sun is bright and although it's still chilly, my mind is wandering out of doors!

There's a LOT of tidying up to be done - freeze damage to cut back, weeds to pull, beds to mulch. Being out in the garden on a nice, brisk day is invigorating.  And sitting on my scoot, pulling weeds, I can watch and listen to the birds in the garden.

I was happy to hear and then see a Carolina Chickadee - the first I have seen since the houses either side of us were built last year.  I had feared, with the loss of habitat, I'd also lost the little birds, so it was great to see they are still around.

The red-bellied woodpecker visited the suet feeder this morning too. And we have not one pair of Northern Cardinals but two, jockeying for position along the wall where I sprinkle bird seed each morning. And my beloved Chipping Sparrows are back en masse.

While much of the garden is brown, soggy mush, some things came through the Christmas freezes remarkably well.

The Homestead verbena, located up against the wall and underneath the Vitex, is a carpet of healthy green foliage.  I hope to see lots of purple blooms on that again in the spring.

The Silver Mound Artemisia is the only non-brown thing in the island bed. The Cat's Whiskers, which was next to it, is brown sticks at the moment.  I planted them too close together, so I'll need to do some rearranging and I'll probably move the Cat's Whiskers and hope it survives!

Under the crepe myrtle, the Spearmint is still going strong (I don't think it's possible to kill spearmint, is it?)  Luckily, it's confined in that area and I like how it looks, so I'm not worried about it being invasive.  I am very glad we didn't put it in the veggie garden, like we planned to!

Speaking of the veggie garden, my husband went out and did some clean up there last week. We're looking forward to planning and planting this year's garden.

While I specifically did NOT make any New Year's resolutions this year, I did go ahead and prepare my garden journal so that the pages are ready for me to add to them as the year progresses.  I had done really well keeping the journal, noting what I was planting and where, throughout 2010 and 2011, but it seemed like each time I was in the mood to write last year, I didn't have any paper, or ink in my printer.  So I've printed out a page for each week of 2013 and all I have to do is jot down my notes.

Finally, here's something else that's growing well in the garden - I'd like some help identifying it.

It's side yard, by the downspout.  Not only is it green now but it's blooming and has berries.  It almost looks like a wild, miniature strawberry.

Any idea what it is?

No more photos from me this week. My camera decided to quit working while we were in San Antonio before Christmas.  My husband ordered me a new Nikon Coolpix P510, which should be arriving Monday.  I can't wait to try it out!  

I'll show you the results next week! 

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