Category Archives: garden

Garden Report

We’re build­ing a lot of stone walls this year. When we first had the lawns and beds installed we didn’t have the time and mon­ey to build the bed walls that we want­ed so we used the black plas­tic edg­ing to keep the grass out of the beds (sort of) This year we’re replac­ing the plas­tic edg­ing with stone walls. We’re using cast stones (con­crete) in three col­ors. We’ve done a hand­ful of walls so far.

We did the wall around the bed behind the per­go­la last fall as a test. Then we bought 10 pal­lets of stones.

lillies and sea-pinks

The sea pinks are get­ting ready to bloom (mad­ly) and the lilies are com­ing up. I just have to remem­ber to put down slug bait on a reg­u­lar basis.

I’ve put a bunch of herbs in this bed as well. It’s con­ve­nient to the kitchen. There’s a space in the mid­dle for basil. Which I’ll put in when I get the toma­toes lat­er in June.

herb bed

We did the wall around the bird bath bed last week­end. Once up on a time there were some 40 or 50 tulips in this bed. Five years lat­er we got a poor show­ing of three blooms. Tulips just don’t last.

birdbath bed

The only thing that stayed in this bed are the peonies. Most­ly it’s peren­ni­als, cro­cisi­ma, ox-eye daisies, geums, and the like. The lit­tle tri­an­gle in the front has a few annu­als. Cal­en­du­la for col­or and stocks for fra­grance. Usu­al­ly I put nico­tiana in the front of the house but this year I’m try­ing stocks.

bird bath bed

BTW the word­press dic­tio­nary is woe­ful­ly igno­rant of plant names.

What’s Blooming

Last week in the gar­den we had:

Daisies every­where. The pas­ture is cov­ered with them. daisies in Jun

On the west side of the house we have the slen­der deutzia in bloom at the back of the herb bed.

slender deutzia

And sea pinks sur­round­ing the inceeas­ing­ly tall lily stalks.


My peonies are almost ready to bloom. Actu­al­ly this pic­ture is form sev­er­al days ago and the first two blooms have appeared. (And imme­di­ate­ly been cut and tak­ing into the house!)

peony  buds

Last week­end we cleaned up a few more beds. This is the one next to the garage. On the east side of the house it gets a lot of shade and stays fair­ly moist. So I have hostas, iris­es, and a cou­ple of grass­es in it. Also a bunch of stuff that I put in three years ago and am to lazy to go dig through the files to fig­ure out what it is.

bed next to the garage

My iris­es are odd­ly pale this year. The cat is a stan­dard issue gin­ger barn cat. So the col­or of the pho­to isn’t off by much.


Garden Report

From some­one else’s gar­den.

Here in Oax­a­ca you can buy flow­ers from ven­dors in the Zoca­lo. 45 pesos gets you enough baby gar­de­nias to fill two glass­es.

baby gardenias

baby gar­de­nias


Bird Feeders Are Now Up

Yes­ter­day I hung the bird feed­ers for the first time this fall. One hulled seed tube and one this­tle tube at the edge of the front yard next to a thick­et of ever­green trees. An ide­al spot.

bird feeders hung in the front yard

bird feed­ers hung in the front yard

I had put off fill­ing the large sun­flower seed feed­er (off to the left and not vis­i­ble in these pic­tures) in the hopes that the lit­tle birds would have a chance to dis­cov­er that the feed­ers were up before the jays descend­ed. That didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped.

first feeder visitors

first feed­er vis­i­tors

I know the lit­tle birds are out there wait­ing — I have seen them bustling in and out of the trees behind the feed­ers. Soon, soon…

Snow Day

It snowed last night. This morn­ing it’s bright and cold (27). This is my idea of what win­ter should look like.

Dec 14, 2008 approx 11:30 am

Dec 14, 2008 approx 11:30 am

Garden Report — The Aftermath

Now that most of the snow is melt­ed it’s time to have a good look at the gar­den and assess the dam­ages.

There aren’t real­ly any sur­pris­es. Most of the dam­age was done by the very cold tem­per­a­tures on Dec 19th (10.4F) and Dec 20th (4.1F)

Among the casu­al­ties:

what was a lovely varigated euphorbia

what was a love­ly vari­gat­ed euphor­bia

once again the jeruslem sage is taken back to it's base by a col

once again the jerusalem sage is tak­en back to it’s base

I don’t know if the euphor­bia will recov­er. The jerusalem sage prob­a­bly will. When I first got it I plant­ed it in one of the exposed beds by the dri­ve­way. It die back that win­ter with a low of about 20F. I moved it up into a bed close to the house and it has been fine for the last two years. But even the shel­ter of the house won’t save some­thing from the kind of lows we had.

Sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle dam­age was done to the gar­den by the snow load. One of the but­ter­fly bush­es got bro­ken. Most­ly my fault because I didn’t cut them back in the fall. Still they are tough as nails and even the snow couldn’t do the sort of dam­age a cou­ple of pan­icked sheep can do. (Long sto­ry — no pics sor­ry)

broken butterfly bush after the snow

bro­ken but­ter­fly bush after the snow

On the oth­er hand this weep­ing cypress was utter­ly and repeat­ed buried by snow plumet­ting off of the roof. Amaz­ing.

not broken not even a little

not bro­ken, not even a lit­tle

Some­things sur­vived both the snow load and the freez­ing temps amaz­ing­ly well.

mint  after the big freeze

mint after the big freeze

varigated sage still holding it's leaves

vari­gat­ed sage still hold­ing it’s leaves

I’m not sur­prised by the mint — it’s stuck in the wash­tub for a rea­son — con­tain­ment! The sage on the oth­er hand, I expect­ed to turn to mush long before the temps got any­where near as cold as it was.

And then there’s the dam­age that the snow and ice did to the gut­ters. We tacked them back up as best we could but it wasn’t always a enough to keep the rain and snow melt mov­ing along the drainage sys­tem and not plash­ing down into the gar­dens. (Also note that the frost heave brought all of the land­scape light­ing wires back to the sur­face. )

when gutters fail...

when gut­ters fail…

All-in-all not near­ly as bad as I expect­ed. It will be inter­est­ing to see how many of the pere­nials come back this spring and which ones go mys­te­ri­ous­ly miss­ing.

Garden Report

Hap­py Mother’s Day week­end. Gar­den­ing sea­son now begins in earnest in Puge­topo­lis.

We did our part to add to the may­hem.

Begin­ning with some addi­tions to the kitchen gar­den. A cou­ple of ser­ra­no chiles, four basils and an even dozen ran­dom let­tuce plants. If we cut only a cou­ple of sal­ads a week this will last most of the sum­mer. If we have anoth­er non-sum­mer like last year’s they will go until fall with­out bolt­ing. Not much else to do in this bed — except to replace the creep­ing rose­mary that per­ished last win­ter. (Rose­mary nev­er dies — what?)

the kitchen bed

the kitchen bed

We put a hand­ful of annu­als in the bird bath bed. Some Peru­vian bells, nico­tinia, and cos­mos, with dusty miller along the long edges. You real­ly can’t see much in the pho­tos the pants were all nurs­ery packs. Instead here’s a pic­ture of the only two tulips that came up this year. Jim likes tulips but we nev­er seem to get them plant­ed in the fall. Too much of the instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion kind of folks.

two tulips and the happy grass

two tulips and the hap­py grass

The long bed in the lawn that faces the pas­ture used to have white rock ros­es along it’s back edge (and weeds along it’s front.) The rock ros­es did well for a cou­ple of years and then died back uneven­ly over one hard win­ter. No amount of prun­ing could bring them back into to shape. We pulled them out two years ago and nev­er got around to putting any­thing new in. Yes­ter­day I replant­ed the bed. I start­ed with some of the var­ie­gat­ed Japan­ese wil­low that showed up on the mar­ket 5(?) years ago to anchor the far end by the ever­greens. Nad­i­nas, and cat­mint fill the cen­ter of the bed. I found one of the nanadins that is sup­posed to keep some of the bronze in the new foliage through the sum­mer. Cat­mint (not cat­nip) has always been one of my favorites but is often hard to find. The local Ace hard­ware had nice bushy ones for 7.99 each. Yay!

the long bed with it's new shrubery

the long bed with it’s new shru­bery

Unfor­tu­nate­ly the dark pur­ple but­ter­fly bush in the low­er right cor­ner appears to have died over the win­ter. In fact all of my dark pur­ple cul­ti­vars and sev­er­al of the pale pur­ple ones died. (The native pale pur­ple one is now clas­si­fied as inva­sive weed by the state.)

varigated japanese willow (Salix integra "Hankuro Nishiki")

vari­gat­ed japan­ese wil­low (Sal­ix inte­gra “Han­kuro Nishi­ki”)


nan­d­i­na (Nan­d­i­na domes­ti­ca ‘Gulf Stream’)

catmint (Nepeta subsessilis)  I hope)

cat­mint (Nepe­ta sub­ses­silis) I hope)

Also pur­chased and tem­porar­i­ly placed in hold­ing were these these sweet lit­tle hens and chicks. They belong on the back side of the rock wall once I’ve got­ten around to fill­ing the pock­ets in with soil. They may end up liv­ing here in the edge of the long bed for a while

hens and chicks (unlabeled sempervivum)

hens and chicks (unla­beled sem­per­vivum)

Feeling Nesty — Part I

Today we declared a scav­enger hunt day. We have a list of things we’d like to have for the house but haven’t found just the right one yet.

We were wild­ly suc­cess­ful.

two finds in the scavenger hunt today!

two finds in the scav­enger hunt today!

Our last gaze­bo was destroyed by the snow last win­ter. We final­ly found a gazebo/screen house that was small enough for the spot between the sal­ad gar­den and the house.

It comes in a long thin box.

amazingly compact

amaz­ing­ly com­pact

The last one was a right roy­al b* to put up. Oth­er than not being able to find one of the parts (we didn’t look hard enough) this one was pret­ty dang easy.

all ready for the table and chairs.

all ready for the table and chairs.

We have anoth­er find in the oth­er big box but right now it’s time to make some sup­per.