Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Weeds and Wine

Sunlight is at a premium in my neighborhood.  Specifically, enough sunlight to grow a vegetable garden.  Most of the houses have mature trees that make for pleasant yards but not so great for high-light requiring veggies.  

My next door neighbor does have a raised bed that gets a lot of light.  They aren't gardeners - this was put in by previous homeowners.  It has laid fallow (a term that means full of mint and weeds) for years.  This year several of us who don't have much veggie garden space asked to use this patch of land.

Here it is.  The Community Garden.

We're mostly growing tomatoes this year.  We pulled out weeds and added cow manure and set up irrigation.

Since this is a community effort we agreed to weed on Wednesday nights.  This week I brought the wine.

We invited some supervisors.  The one on the left is Everyone Loves Ann.  The one on the right is Trouble.

This is The Mayor.

Many hands make light work.  And wine and good company makes the work fun.

And, now, because this is my blog and I can do what I want, a picture of the World's Cutest Cat.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting to Know the Neighbors

More accurately this post is about the neighbors getting to know me...

As my regular reader (hi, mom!) knows my main gardening area is in the front yard.  This means that every neighbor who regularly walks their dog, their kid or themselves has at least said hi to me.  Often they stop to chat.  This is a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because it's a great way to get to know the neighbors.  A curse because it can slow down my work in the garden when every person walking by stops to chat.

The street I live on has a very low turn over rate.  Most of the people have been here for years or decades.  So when they see me in the garden they ask lots of questions about who we are, where we work, where we're from.  I can't remember what everyone else does but it seems to have sunk in to the neighborhood consciousness that I am a Biologist.

I'm starting to get biology questions.

Don't get me wrong - I love being the Neighborhood Biologist.  I was a bit of a know-it-all as a kid and I never quite outgrow that.  I love learning new things and assume that other people do as well (what?  You aren't interested in the mating habits of slugs?  Seriously?  But it's COOL!).

I'm starting to have neighbors come to my door and call my name...  There's a snake...  I found an injured bird...  I think a rabbit got hit by a car...

Amazingly (to them) I actually DO know what to do about all of these events.  Snake?  Leave it alone or if it's in a bad spot I'll move it for you.  Injured bird?  There's a vet about 20 minutes from here who'll take injured wildlife.  Rabbit hit by car?  Sorry, by the time I got there it was too late.  Yes, it's sad.  Poor thing.  At least it didn't suffer.

Best of all is because I have years of experience dealing with wild animals I can help them.  The snake can be safely moved with minimum handling, reducing it's stress level.  The bird can be caught quickly and transported in a dark, quiet box to the vet.  The rabbit.  Well, I was just too late to do anything.

More importantly I can hopefully prevent human caused problems. 

If you store your bird food in a metal bin the mice can't get into it and if the mouse population goes down you'll have fewer snakes.

No, that's a fledgling bird.  It's normal for them to not be able to fly well.  The parents are around - you can just leave it be.

The skunk keeps visiting your yard because you feed your dogs outside and they leave food in their bowls.

Now if I can just find a neighborhood expert on plumbing...

Pretty picture of Coreopsis Zagreb for the heck of it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Visitors to The Edge

We had quite a few visitors to The Edge this weekend.  The Queen Bee and her Entourage came up for a visit.  She normally buzzes around the Experimental Garden down in zone 7 (North Carolina).  It's nice to have another gardener visit.  Not only can you get rid of pass along some plants but you also get a different perspective.  If you're like me you go out in the garden and see weeds, flowers that need deadheading, empty spaces that need filling, plants that are too big for their britches locations.  The Queen Bee saw wonderful color combinations, healthy plants and several plants she requested seeds from.  Oh, yeah, my garden does look pretty good, huh?

In the past couple of weeks we've been having to refill our bird feeders frequently.  I was thinking that it was the grackles and red-wing blackbirds so I adjusted the perches to reduce their ability to use the feeder.  Today I spotted another possible culprit.  She definitely enjoyed the seeds under the feeder and is too big to perch on the feeders but I wonder if she can hop up and knock seeds out by jostling the feeder.  She could empty a feeder pretty quick.

[sorry for the quality.  Pict taken through window]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I got back last night from a trip to California and I'm seriously jet lagged so this month's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is being combined with (mostly) Wordless Wednesday.  Thanks to Carol at May Dream's for this meme.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


When I moved from part time to full time teaching in January I also got space in an on campus office.  I seriously lucked out with one of my office mates, An Historian.  She and I get along like, well, like friends.  

An Historian has never been much of a gardener but after listening to me talk she is interested in trying her hand.  I went over to her house yesterday to evaluate things and found some poison ivy, taught her how to use a hoe to get rid of seedling-weeds, and planned out a massive shrubbery that she'll never put in but that would be my dream for her massive side yard.

Somehow I've become A Mentor.

I gave her a list of must-have tools and agreed to go with her to pick out plants to go around existing plantings, then show her how to plant them.  Not to mention giving advice on putting in a new bed.  Most important I gave her a list of really good web sites.  Sites like the Missouri Botanical Garden and Brent and Becky's bulbs (she loves tulips).  Now I'm working on a list of the others sites that might be helpful and on some good blogs to get her hooked.  

I will drag An Historian out of the past and into the garden.  And I will teach her the ways that I have found work best.  And she will join me on the Green Side of The Force.  Wait, I mean she'll learn to like gardening.

What a feeling of power responsibility.

Really.  I don't have a plan for world domination involving houseplants reprogramming DVRs.  And I certainly am not recruiting an Army of Dragonflies.  

I'm not.  


Here's a pretty picture to distract you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Wishes

I wish...

There was an easy way to keep grass from creeping into my gardens.

There was an easy way to keep grass from growing in between the bricks lining my gardens.

There was an easy way to remove grass to make more gardens.

I had a larger yard so I would have room for more gardens.

That the pictures of some of my favorite plant groupings looked as good in on-line photos as they do in the morning light.

That I would have more times with little wind so that I could do more garden photography (the curse and blessing of living close to the coast).

That the weather would finally get warm.  Highs around 70s sound nice but I'd like to open the windows!

I wouldn't mind a longer bloom period on my Tanacetum coccineum. What a bloom!

And if I'm really going out on a limb I wish The Husband's job would get transferred to South West Florida so that we could buy a house within biking distance of Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.