Monday, February 21, 2011

Crop Circle

Over much of North America at this time of year there are very few crops planted.  Certainly none around here.  So the local Crop Circle Aliens (the CCA) have to find something else to do.  And they do it in my yard.

They make a crop circle in the snow.

We moved to The Edge two years ago and each year in late winter we have noticed that the snow cover melts first in this particular spot.  This isn't caused by the dogs and it's not a spot where the sun hits longer than other areas.

During summer the grass here does poorly.  You can also see that the ground is not the same level as the surrounding ground.  It's subtle but it is a small depression.

Last summer I put down a layer of mulch and spread fresh grass seed.  

This winter?  Crop Circle.

I wonder if the ground is depressed because the CCA have their secret lair under there?  That might also explain why grass does so poorly.  They have an elaborate structure to store and repair their flying saucers!

I'm going to have to haul out the night vision binoculars and start a vigil to confirm this hypothesis.

I wonder what they look like?

No, silly, that's a cedar waxwing - they've invaded this week and are feasting on holly berries.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

I took my Houseplant Bloggers Bloom Day Pictures on the 14th last week.  On the morning of the 15th, as I was rushing out the door, I noticed that my Meyer's Lemon buds had finally opened.  Right on time but a bit too late for me to post.  So here it is.

[I'm never very happy when I have to use my flash]

I don't think I'll let it go to fruit.  The plant is less than one year old (in my house and I bought it in a 3 inch pot so it really is quite young) and needs to do a bit of growing.  I'd rather it put it's energy there.  Plus I don't think the stem could support one (or more) full sized lemons.  If it sets fruit I'll just prune them off.  Maybe after a summer outside it will be ready.
The Husband is developing Late Winter Fever.  It's been a long hard winter and he is anxious for the snow to melt.  So he's been shoveling patches down to the ground.  His idea is that sunlight hitting the dark surface of mulch or grass will cause the surrounding area of snow to melt faster.  I'm trying to convince him to remove snow from the corner of the driveway where I can't see when I'm backing out. 

I haven't told him that I'm planning to pile snow up on top of my Mexican feather grass to provide better insulation this week.  It's only borderline hardy here and the winter has been really harsh so I'm expecting to loose it.  But I'll try keeping it covered for a bit longer.
I'm suffering from Late Winter Blues (it doesn't help that The Queen Bee has had temperatures in the 60s and 70s - she lives just up the road a piece from where I used to live).  Like The Husband I am sick of snow and cold and being stuck indoors.  So I pulled out my catalogs and ordered some plants from Bluestone Perennials.  The first bed to go in this year will be on the Mad Side of the house where I'm planning to put in a shade bed.  So I ordered some Wood Fern and several types of Astilbe.  I have a few heuchera in the area as well, to go under the office window.  Once we get the snow pack down some more I'll have to walk around and look and see if I really do have enough space for everything I ordered (or more space that I'll be able to fill!).  I'm going on memory and at this time of the year that's just not reliable.  

I thought I had taken notes (and photos) of every part of the garden I'd need to look at when it came time for ordering but I guess not.  Oh well, if it's too much I'll have to put some around back when I want to put in some Hostas.  Large, blue leaved Hostas.  I'm hoping to find them at an LGC this year.

Tomorrow I hope to take photos of our New England Crop Circle.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Houseplant Bloggers Bloom Day

We still have nearly two feet of snow on the ground here on the Edge.  So once again I bring you Houseplant Bloggers Bloom Day.  I'm hoping that some of the crocus I planted in my hell strip will be ready for photographing for next month's Garden Blogger Bloom Day.

What do you think my odd are?

I still have four nice cyclamen in full bloom (most of them are in my office at work).

My rose begonia did not do as well this year as last.  This is the only one I still have and it's clearly infested with something.

At least I have this spectacular Anthuirum (Anthruium cheapus)

Almost....  (Citus X meyeri, Meyer's lemon)

My forced bulbs are not producing much of a show yet.  I did start them late but even so!  This hyacinth is the only one that has produced any blooms and they aren't very impressive.  They did produce a nice fragrance, which is really appreciated since I haven't been able to open the windows for months.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams for this meme.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Help! There's an Assassin in my Kitchen!

The weather here is frightful so I was spending a quiet afternoon messing with plants.  I went to pot up a couple of cuttings I had started on the kitchen windowsill and found...  Drumroll please...  An Assassin!

Well, an Assassin bug (family Reduviidae).

Isn't he a little beauty!  Assassin bugs are very welcome in my garden but in my kitchen?  And what do I do with him?  There's about 3 feet of snow on the ground, he's not going to be able to find food and shelter at this time of the year!  So he can't go outside where he belongs.  Should I catch him up, stick him in an unused aquarium and try to feed him crickets and mealworms?  What if this species is a specialist?  Some of them are.  In fact some specialize on cockroaches. 

I hope this isn't a sign of a cockroach infestation. 

What is it even doing alive in February?  Most assassin bugs are dormant as eggs over the winter.  I see small assassin bugs early in the spring and summer but the adults I see in the late summer and fall. 

I guess all Assassins should be mysterious and this fellow surely is!  I think I'll name him Bob Dillon.  No, not after THAT Bob Dillon, after THIS one.  And I'll have to re-read Pest Control (by Bill Fitzhugh) again.  

Oh, and all of ya'll complaining about winter?  This bird feeder support is over 6 foot tall.  Imagine how much fun I have digging out a path to refill it. 

I'm officially over winters in New England.  How long until Spring?