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Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Garden in June

We've seen some extremes of weather so far this June.  We've had plenty of blisteringly hot and humid days -- those days I neglect my garden chores and take refuge in the air conditioned comfort of my office/studio -- and we've seen plenty of torrential rain. 

Take yesterday, for example.  The sprinklers had run in the morning as they always do, so naturally we had a downpour in the afternoon.  Not a long downpour, but heavy enough that water couldn't get down the downspout fast enough and was overflowing the gutters.

 But it didn't last long and before we knew it, it was hot and steamy outside again.

I'm not saying I haven't done any work in the garden recently.  I have, but I've had to be choosy about when I do it. Evenings would seem to be ideal, as the garden cools off as the sun goes down.  But for some reason, (could be all that aforementioned rain) the mosquitoes have been BRUTAL this year.  I made the mistake of staying out last week and was covered in itchy mosquito bites.

So I've been getting up early on the weekends to get my gardening in.

One of my recent tasks was to replant a volunteer Rose of Sharon. The original shrub was one that I brought cuttings of from my previous house. It's doing great here up against the wall, but the Southern Wax Myrtle is crowding it out a bit.

Just in front of it (see the black arrow in the center of the photo) is a seedling about a foot tall.  I realized it couldn't stay there so I looked around to find somewhere for it to go.

Further along the garden wall is the perfect spot.  It will have room to grow and as an added bonus, it will hide the ugly cinder block wall (see below)

I also planted some summer color in the new island bed, in the form of pink Pentas, white vinca and purple Angelonia augustifolia "Serena" series. The bed still looks bare, compared to the happy chaos of blooms in the other one, but I hope it does well this summer. 

For next year, I'm planning to divide the daylilies I have in the other island bed and move them to this one, so I'll have a happy chaos of blooms in both of them next year :-)

I've never planted sunflower seeds - not because I don't like them, but because it appears I don't have to!  I feed the birds by putting seed along the supporting rail at the top of the fence.  That allows more birds access, and also keeps the seed out of the range of the sprinklers (I noticed when I moved in that hanging feeders always seemed to get soaked by the sprinklers). 

 One unexpected bonus is that I get volunteer sunflowers where I don't expect them.  Isn't this a beauty?

That's all from me today, but keep a lookout for an update later in the week.  I'm on a nest watch at the moment. It appears we have a pair of Carolina wrens building a nest in a decorative watering can on the shelf on the patio.  I'll try and get some photos to share in my next blog post

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

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wildlife Update

Earlier this week I turned my Wordless Wednesday post into a "Wildlife Wednesday" post and included this photo of a corner of the garden.

A couple of people spotted the little visitor at the bottom of the photo -- a field mouse!

Here's a closer shot of him/her.  I seem to have at least two in the garden. One has dug a little burrow in the whiskey barrel container down by the wall.  Another one has burrowed into a hanging basket of fuschias.

I had been a little worried about them because we had such torrential rain last week I feared they might have been drowned.  But this photo was taken since the storm, so at least some of them are okay.

Now I have a dilemma -- This whiskey barrel needs to be replanted for the summer - the pansies I had in there have long since passed their prime and need to come out.  I'm reluctant to do any digging in case there are any babies down in the burrow.

I suppose I could get a few pots with annuals in and sit them on top of the whiskey barrel for a bit of color without disturbing the mouse family. Or is that taking "gardening for wildlife" a tad too far?

What do you think?

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday

I was going to make this a Wordless Wednesday post, but decided to make it a Wildlife Wednesday post instead.

There's something in this photo other than the volunteer sunflower just coming in to bloom, the tropical milkweed, the rampant spearmint and the last few blooms of the Star Jasmine.

If you can see it, post in the comments below. (you can click on the photo to see a larger version if necessary)

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