Monday, July 30, 2007

A Chandelier in the garden

Last year when our garden was featured on the local garden tour, this little number received about as many comments as the purple wall. It was Michael's idea, who has a knack for these things. The chandelier had been sitting in our basement for years. I had considered putting it inside the iron pergola in the secret garden but he told me he wanted to try something else. Just days before the tour (in fact, it may have been the day before!), he transformed the fixture into a hanging basket of sorts. The bottom portion of the chandelier was removed and a planter form was cut and fitted in. Potting soil and sphagnum moss was added and then, viola! A chain was added and draped over a branch and secured at the trunk of our massive pecan tree. It is very heavy so the only time I lower it is to replant it in the spring. It is watered with the spray from the hose and since it is hard to get to, I don't fertilize it.

I am still experimenting with plant materials. This year's planting of coleus, ivy and calibrachoa leaves a lot to be desired. The coleus has gotten way too large and the calibrachoa and ivy are puny. Last year I used New Guinea impatients and ivy which turned out nicer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Raccoon Round-Up

At first I thought they were cute. I started observing the little masked varmints about a year ago in my garden, usually at night, but increasingly during the day as well. I let the little guys go about their business and I’m sure our habit of throwing scraps out was welcoming to them. As long as they didn’t hurt my cat – they were fine with me. After all, I am a big animal lover.

About a month ago, I saw three baby raccoons playing around my waterfall. Adorable.

Then things started to get out of hand. They wouldn’t leave my birdfeeders alone and they have broken several, some beyond repair. Heck, the hummingbird feeders aren’t even safe because they love the nectar! Then we started hearing sounds in our attic. At first we thought it was probably squirrels but now we are wondering if it is the raccoons. That mystery is still not solved yet. Last week, I stepped outside to feed Isabella and heard a commotion of scurrying. I stepped back inside and observed a mother and five baby raccoons descending on the food dish. Okay, enough is enough! Our home is becoming "Grey Gardens II"!!!

My sister had loaned me a small cage trap so I tried to capture them but soon realized that the trap was too small. I called Animal Control yesterday and picked up a larger cage after leaving a $50 deposit. Last night I baited the cages and am happy to report that I caught three of them. They are crafty little buggers so this was not as easy as it sounds. I thought the mother would never go inside the cage and it was past 11 before she was captured. I took them out to a wooded area and creek about five miles from our house and released them. That is 3 down and 4 to go! Or at least 4 that I am aware of. The cages are baited tonight. I’m ready for action!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

July doldrums

This is not exactly the most exciting time in the garden. Since we've finally received some rain (FINALLY!!), the weeds are taking off and the grass is greening up. The humidity is down and this was a pleasant weekend but still a tad hot. This morning I mowed, spread some mulch and did some minor weeding. I took these photos this afternoon.

The paniculata (PeeGee) hydrangeas are beginning to bloom. This one is called "Pee Wee."

Not many roses are blooming right now, but "Belinda's Dream" has several blooms.

I'm beginning to see frogs around my waterfall.

I think this is a rain lily but I don't remember the name of it.
The color is fantastic. If someone can confirm this for me, I would appreciate it.

Containers around the mailbox include coleus, million bells and ageratum.

Coleus are truly wonderful plants for containers. This one is called "Saturn."

This is becoming one of my favorite annuals - Begonia "Dragon Wing"

This is the first time I've grown this annual and I love it. It is called Dichondra 'Silver Falls' and is a trailing plant with silvery round leaves - they remind me of coins. I put it in a shallow concrete basket which has always been difficult to grow things in but this is doing quite well.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Entering the Blogosphere

So why I am starting a blog? I barely have time to maintain my garden, read the ever increasing stack of books on my bedside table or watch all the dvds that are arriving from Netflix. For the past ten years, I've maintained a gardening website and I keep hearing from readers who say they would like to see more frequent updates. Perhaps by blogging, I can share more about my garden on a more steady basis (but don't hold me to to this!). I do think I can post photos and experiences that I might not have a place for on the website. Who knows how this will turn out or if it will be a worthwhile experience. I'm willing to give it a try!