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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - Easter Edition

I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely Easter weekend.  It also happens to be the 15th of the month, so I'm linking my post up with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

I'm enjoying a long weekend, so I've been spending quite a bit of time puttering around in the garden. And of course I had the camera with me.

I think this first photo is my favorite.  It includes the Cleome that re-seeded in the island bed, along with the pineapple sage and I think some Salvia Greggi is visible in this one too.  I also see a Cosmos in there.  If you look closely, you can also see some garden porn -- a pair of love bugs, ubiquitous at this time of year, managed to photo bomb the photo.  Can you see them? (Click to see a larger version)

The penstemons have settled in very well. I'd like to get some more colors of this - perhaps a white, if it comes in white, to round out my collection.

OK - I have two mysteries in this photo.  First, I always seem to have a hard time identifying butterflies.  I'd appreciate it anyone could let me know which this is.

Also, I'm not sure if the plant he's visiting is Salvia sylvestris May Night, or if it's Angelonia. 

I know I had several purple Angelonias growing last year, as a complement to all the orange Profusion Zinnias I had everywhere.  But I did also plant some May Night Salvia for the same reason, but it didn't do very well (I actually planted it first, but ended up supplementing with the Angelonias as the May Knight didn't do well).  However, this lovely plant came up  in two places this spring and I'm really not sure which it is.  

That's it for my Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post.  Now I'm off to see what's growing in other people's gardens.  You can visit them too, by clicking on the link.

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spring is Springing

I do love the sound of birds singing out in the garden. One bird that has a particularly loud and beautiful song, especially for a bird of its size, is the Carolina Wren.

I woke up to hear the beautiful notes of his song and as I looked out the window I saw him approach the patio with a mouth full of nesting materials.  I later managed to catch this photo of him in the pine tree (and check out that pollen!!)

I was getting excited because it appeared that a pair of wrens were going to nest on the patio, this time in  decorative watering can, next to an assortment of bird houses on a bakers rack in the corner.

Unfortunately, last weekend, I thought I'd offer them some more nesting material by hanging a suet feeder filled with horse hair on the rack and as I did so, I accidentally bumped the rack and a bird flew out of the watering can.  To my knowledge they never returned :-(

I took a peek today after ensuring it wasn't occupied.  There's a perfectly complete nest in there.  All it needs is a bird family.

I do know though, that the male wren will build a selection of nests and then the female will choose which one to lay her eggs in.  I guess when I bumped the shelf she decided to pick a nest in a less trafficked spot.

Oh well, maybe next year....

I've been reading good news about the Monarch butterflies leaving their wintering grounds in Mexico and heading north so I wanted to be prepared for them.

A lot of our milkweed was damaged in the winter freezes and some of it never returned, so I got proactive and headed to Plants for all Seasons, where they had just received a shipment in.

I'm also going to get some more which will be kept in containers to go in the new Monarch nursery I just purchased.  The new on is taller than the one I had last year (which I will use also).  The taller height will allow me to keep container plants in it, instead of having to snip cuttings every day and keep them in water picks, transferring the caterpillars to the fresh cuttings as necessary.

When we first moved in here I planted a Vitex tree and since then we haven't really touched it.  It was a total mess with lots of suckers and criss-crossing branches.  Today we had our arborist out to take care of it.  He did a good job and carted off all the trimmings.  However the tree was such a mess, I still think it needs tidying up some more. (No pics today)

While he was here, he also gave one of the Live Oak trees in the front yard a much needed trim. Now my husband Eric doesn't have to do the limbo every time he wants to mow the grass underneath it.

The cosmos I planted last year has reseeded prolifically and is putting on a beautiful display.

We had been wondering what to do with the peach tree.  It had never really put its roots down into the soil and we could move it back and forth quite easily.  It suffered from the freezes over the winter too and when my husband asked the arborist about it, he literally lifted it out of the ground with no resistance at all.  Question answered!

I seized the opportunity, since there was room in the island bed now, to relocate the Angel Trumpets, that was in a half barrel and was getting root bound.  It too had frozen back in the winter, but I was happy to see some new growth, so I'm hopefully it will do well where the peach tree failed.

Around the corner in the veggie garden, the runner type beans I put in beneath a new bean tower have all sprouted (well a couple didn't but most did)  I'm looking forward to seeing these grow up the bean tower, which reaches above my head.

Also in the veggie garden, the "Sir Crunch-a-lot" cucumbers have sprouted.  I hope these do well this year, we've had mixed luck with cucumbers in the past including one year when we had precisely zero -- all the flowers dropped off.  I'll let these establish a little and then probably thin them out

It was so lovely being able to work in the garden when I got home from work today. First of all, the weather was perfect, something we don't often get here, and second - now I'm working locally I no longer have the grueling two-hour commute I used to have.

Life is good!

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