Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

All things horticultural, the very best gardens the District has to offer can be found here
User avatar
Lily left the valley
Revered expert in almost everything
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:07 pm
Location: Gardner, MA, USA

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Lily left the valley » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:41 pm

When Sean and I did our walkabout tonight, I noticed another a common whitetail dragonfly, but this one definitely had the obviously white tail of a mature male. It was too quick for me to get a picture.

As I showed him some of my finds along the rock wall, we indeed seem to have a very berry yard. This is wonderful even if I haven't ID'd them all yet. Since they are firmly planted in the border rock wall, I also feel like until they grow a bit our way, most of these we should not lay claim to if they turn out to be edibles. Two different plants, grouped accordingly below:
Image Image

Image Image Image


Under the side porch, this is growing like mad, and I am going mad trying to remember what it is. Trying to get a match through Google image is not working. I know I know what this is, but my brain is not yielding the info. That one spot per leaf is so distinct, how can I possibly not recall this? :angry-banghead:
Image Image

I forgot to mention that earlier, I noticed where we had found the dead egg in the nest in our garage overhang, two birds seem to be nesting there again. I keep forgetting to look to see if they pushed the old egg out or not, but the one was very verbal today when I was hanging laundry in two different attempts between showers today. (Two attempts worth it, though! All but the one hand towel were dry as I yanked them off the line a second time as the drops started to fall again.)

Last image for the day, was taking a random snap of the daylilies in the garage bed, and it wasn't until I uploaded it later that I realized...are those elderberries I see in the upper right corner? And, I'm not sure, because Shoobie is close by, but what am I seeing in the upper left too? Oh, and yes. Wild strawberries. Wild strawberries everywhere. We are going to be buried in berries in short order here. I still haven't learned how to can, nor do I have the supplies for such. :whistle:
Image


--Proud member of the Industrious Cheapskate Club
--Currently pondering ways to encourage thoughtful restovation and discourage mindless renovation.

User avatar
Lily left the valley
Revered expert in almost everything
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:07 pm
Location: Gardner, MA, USA

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Lily left the valley » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:42 am

Another week of "I might rain...or I might not. Oh! Are you trying to do something outdoors? Definitely raining then." :sad-darkcloud:

We have had some solid discussions while sitting on the porch edges and looking out. I don't remember exactly when it occurred to me, but I realized my hope of having a small tree on the curve near the driveway is pretty much dashed now that the water and sewer pipes are marked. :-(

I am getting a bit nervous as I realize how much we want to start doing has to wait until fall now. We have oodles of lilies. OODLES. Pretty much that entire east strip against the house is nothing but them, and they shouldn't be moved until fall.

We did decide despite that to ditch the idea of using the rough cut stones as a side stair up the slope on the driveway side. Instead we will clear out pretty much all the plantings along that east strip to lay a walk way that has a gentler rise, and less worry about anyone falling or needing railings as would the original plan. Once I dig out my cold chisel and can start separating those from where they are laid now (at least two layers high, possibly more), we'll find out if we have enough or not for the distance we hope to cover. We're also trying to figure out when we might flip the stair direction on the side stairs. It may wait until next year, as it's not a fire, and will cost at least something because of what will need to be replaced during the take apart stage. We still need to finish setting aside funds for attic insulation as a priority. So anything non essential that costs money gets benched for now until that's done.

The too short ladder episode put the weirdest procrastination excuse wrapper on any rain gutter work. (I did find a plan for a neat ladder with a flexible footing base though!) Well, that, and the :sad-darkcloud:. The forecast is starting to suggest more sun than rain coming up, so hopefully the rain chain will finally get hung.

As suspected, the rain barrel did still settle a bit despite my hasty earth moving and stoning under, but it's not enough to worry about by far. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how little it shifted. We'll fix it when we do the walkway.

I am still trying to find free rocks. I know they are out there. Meanwhile, I've started piling up some we already have so I can get an idea of how much of the west strip to start working on without having to worry I'm just going to be making a huge mud puddle.

As much as I love how meadowy the back yard looks right now, I know that has to change and soon. Still sketching out the plan.

The compost pile is starting to do its thing, and I know it's taking so long because I keep forgetting to turn it once a day. Getting more regular with that, though.

The remaining Oriental Bittersweet we could not reach is like a visual stab in my eyes. Sean has off on Monday, so I'm hoping no rain that day! :happy-bouncyyellow:

Looking forward to that moment when things start falling into place and progress feels more forward than stagnant. :confusion-waiting:
--Proud member of the Industrious Cheapskate Club
--Currently pondering ways to encourage thoughtful restovation and discourage mindless renovation.

User avatar
Lily left the valley
Revered expert in almost everything
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:07 pm
Location: Gardner, MA, USA

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Lily left the valley » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:20 pm

Saw a Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar today while dead heading the day lilies: Image

And not that I normally touch critters out of habit, but was rather glad I hadn't when I read this:
Touching these caterpillars can cause a rash similar to that caused by nettles or poison ivy. Symptoms can range from slight reddening of the skin to a burning sensation with swelling and pain. Some people may experience a headache, nausea or an allergic reaction.


Further reading led me to understand that the hairs break off, much like asbestos fibers, and that's what causes the reactions to a large degree. So they have urticating bristles similar to poison nettles. Pretty interesting!

This is what it will look like as an adult, which also has urticating bristles: Image
--Proud member of the Industrious Cheapskate Club
--Currently pondering ways to encourage thoughtful restovation and discourage mindless renovation.

User avatar
Lily left the valley
Revered expert in almost everything
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:07 pm
Location: Gardner, MA, USA

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Lily left the valley » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:37 pm

Also, finally confirmed...we have a pair of House Finches. I never have the camera when they are about. These images are from the site linked.
Image
Image
--Proud member of the Industrious Cheapskate Club
--Currently pondering ways to encourage thoughtful restovation and discourage mindless renovation.

User avatar
Manalto
Forgotten more than most know
Posts: 443
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 11:09 pm

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Manalto » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:28 am

Lily, you're getting some interesting nature coming your way. It's a good thing you didn't eat the caterpillar. :lolno: Seriously, it's fascinating how some insects have evolved devices to keep from being eaten - and then there are the mimics who are safe just because they bear a resemblance. I'm in awe of photographers who get great images of birds. 99% of the time they're just a silhouette against the sky.

Critters here are dragonflies, dragonflies and more dragonflies. All sorts of colors and sizes; sometimes they land so I can get a good look. I've spotted a few anole lizards, but tiny ones. My neighbor called this morning freaking out because a "huge" owl swooped his (small) dog. He was warning me about my dogs who are no bigger than his. I'll have to find out what kind of owl is big enough to carry off a 15 pound dog!
James




It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.
- Arthur Shopenhauer

User avatar
Lily left the valley
Revered expert in almost everything
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:07 pm
Location: Gardner, MA, USA

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Lily left the valley » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:18 am

Manalto wrote:Lily, you're getting some interesting nature coming your way. It's a good thing you didn't eat the caterpillar. :lolno: Seriously, it's fascinating how some insects have evolved devices to keep from being eaten - and then there are the mimics who are safe just because they bear a resemblance. I'm in awe of photographers who get great images of birds. 99% of the time they're just a silhouette against the sky.

Critters here are dragonflies, dragonflies and more dragonflies. All sorts of colors and sizes; sometimes they land so I can get a good look. I've spotted a few anole lizards, but tiny ones. My neighbor called this morning freaking out because a "huge" owl swooped his (small) dog. He was warning me about my dogs who are no bigger than his. I'll have to find out what kind of owl is big enough to carry off a 15 pound dog!
I think part of why we are lucky with wildlife is because almost all of our immediate touching neighbors and a bit further out still have mature plantings, and a fair variety of such overall. I do not think we'd be as fortunate if we lived in a newly landscaped development where everything was young and likely sparse. Pure speculation on my part, but there it is.

Even before I've dug the pond, we really do have a ton of dragons/damsels and other flitters of that ilk. Today I saw something I at first thought was a hummingbird, but it was some kind of moth ?!? that flapped its wings and swooped similar to hummers. It was feeding on the purple flowers of the hostas. Oooo! Found an image of what it looked like--stripes and all!
the large sphinx moths that feed on nectar from fall flowers by hovering in a fashion reminiscent of the hummingbirds. Below is a photo of the white-lined sphinx moth performing its hummingbird imitation while feeding on nectar from hosta flowers.

Image

Speaking of swooping, I'm interested to hear about the "owl". I wonder if maybe it's really a hawk or some such? I also got buzzed today when a bird snatched up some flyers I stirred while dead heading outside. Couldn't turn my head fast enough to see what kind of bird it was, but it sure buzzed me close! Startled me more than anything.

I also think that my habit of trying to go outside even for short bits several times a day, usually at least a laundry line hang in the am, maybe some gardening, then break until after that 11-2 sun hell time, then back out usually for two short bursts, the latter of which is near gloaming when we do our watering rounds. I think I simply see more this way too. Of course, I also look like the town simpleton because I do spend 3-5 minute spans just sitting or crouching and looking at everything that moves. :D

The other day, I saw tons of iridescent beetles mating that I had never seen before. Since that day? Not a one. Now I'm seeing...imagine a lady bug, but all browns. I've been seeing those for a few days now. Those and another brownish small beetle.

I forgot to try to pinch off the milkweed to prolong the blooms, and we're getting seed pods like crazy now. I want to try to gather some to keep over winter to "relocate" some of the spots they appear.

Oh, and lastly...our bee balm has powdery mildew. I thought at first it was just from Sean sometimes hitting the leaves with water when we do our rounds (we take turns), but now it's all over the bee balm leaves, regardless of height, stressing it. I'm going to remove some of the leaves that area affected when I dead head this week. We actually had one bloom that spawned a smaller bloom in the center of the first. Not seen something like that before.

We're due for another early week of more rain than not, which doesn't surprise me since although today was glorious(!), the wind had also shifted to Nor'easter. I just checked a windmap I use now, and it's shifted to almost straight eastern. So we'll see.
--Proud member of the Industrious Cheapskate Club
--Currently pondering ways to encourage thoughtful restovation and discourage mindless renovation.

User avatar
Manalto
Forgotten more than most know
Posts: 443
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 11:09 pm

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Manalto » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:39 pm

Lily left the valley wrote:Speaking of swooping, I'm interested to hear about the "owl". I wonder if maybe it's really a hawk or some such?


He seems to know the difference because we talked about hawks too. He described the owl as "on steroids" but I still can't imagine a bird whose diet is 2-ounce mice hauling off a dachshund!


Lily left the valley wrote:Of course, I also look like the town simpleton because I do spend 3-5 minute spans just sitting or crouching and looking at everything that moves.


Intellectual curiosity is conspicuously absent in simpletons. You probably look like a person who has a broad range of interests.

Lily left the valley wrote: Now I'm seeing...imagine a lady bug, but all browns.


Check out Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia sp.). That may be what you're seeing.

Lily left the valley wrote: I want to try to gather some to keep over winter to "relocate" some of the spots they appear.


You may want to distribute the seeds where you would like more plants right away when the seed pods crack open. Many seeds require stratification (a period of moist cold) in order to germinate. Storing them indoors would prevent that process. I'm not sure if milkweed requires stratification, but mimicking how seed dispersal happens naturally (with a little nudge into the "correct" locations) is simpler than trying to figure out storage and timing.

Lily left the valley wrote:Oh, and lastly...our bee balm has powdery mildew.


It would be weird if your bee balm didn't have powdery mildew. Monarda always gets it, even when it's growing in full sun. There are a few varieties that have some resistance, but I just see it as a characteristic of the plant. If it's in a spot where its unsightly appearance bothers you, you can cut it back - but it will be fine if you don't.
James




It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.
- Arthur Shopenhauer

User avatar
Lily left the valley
Revered expert in almost everything
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:07 pm
Location: Gardner, MA, USA

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Lily left the valley » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:50 pm

As predicted, today is a squally sort of storm day. Nothing too harsh so far, but constant. I'm hoping it eases off a bit as promised soonish, as I need to take a walk to the library with books due today. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get some last minute gleans of info from a 1966 book I can't renew a second time that's due today: "All about rock gardens and plants", by Walter A. Kolaga. It really is jammed packed with info. I'll most likely just check it out again later. I only had four books left to read when I did the first renew, and I've barely made a dent in any of them since then. I guess I've been busier than I thought. :?

Manalto wrote:He seems to know the difference because we talked about hawks too. He described the owl as "on steroids" but I still can't imagine a bird whose diet is 2-ounce mice hauling off a dachshund!
Out of curiosity, I did a search on owls snatching dogs. Great Horned Owls, apparently do this from time to time.
Rick Crouch of Wild Birds Unlimited doesn’t question that Sadie was grabbed by a great horned owl.

“They are big, strong birds that stand 24 inches from feet to tip of head. They have a great capacity to lift,” Crouch says. “They are nocturnal, hunting by night, easily picking up rabbits, cats or small dogs. They have a strange appetite for skunks.”

Manalto wrote:Intellectual curiosity is conspicuously absent in simpletons. You probably look like a person who has a broad range of interests.
If this is the case, that would be grand!

Manalto wrote:Check out Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia sp.). That may be what you're seeing.
Hmm. Seems so. I immediately wondered if this could be an invasive, and found a link off of a mass.gov site to this site about tracking natives that may be disappearing due to competing asian lady beetles: http://www.lostladybug.org/

Manalto wrote:You may want to distribute the seeds where you would like more plants right away when the seed pods crack open. Many seeds require stratification (a period of moist cold) in order to germinate. Storing them indoors would prevent that process. I'm not sure if milkweed requires stratification, but mimicking how seed dispersal happens naturally (with a little nudge into the "correct" locations) is simpler than trying to figure out storage and timing.

It does require stratification. What I was thinking was harvesting the pods now, and "seeding" them before frost outside, so the stratification can happen naturally while I still get to pick where they could grow next season.

Manalto wrote:It would be weird if your bee balm didn't have powdery mildew. Monarda always gets it, even when it's growing in full sun. There are a few varieties that have some resistance, but I just see it as a characteristic of the plant. If it's in a spot where its unsightly appearance bothers you, you can cut it back - but it will be fine if you don't.
Interesting. None of the sites I looked at (not that I went to a dozen, but more than one) mentioned how common this was. All recommended removing all leaves with it, and some even said cut the plant back to dirt level! I was worried it might hurt all the bees and other pollinators more than anything.

Thank you for all the thoughts and info!
--Proud member of the Industrious Cheapskate Club
--Currently pondering ways to encourage thoughtful restovation and discourage mindless renovation.

User avatar
Manalto
Forgotten more than most know
Posts: 443
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 11:09 pm

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Manalto » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:13 pm

Lily left the valley wrote:None of the sites I looked at (not that I went to a dozen, but more than one) mentioned how common this was.


That's why I like the old Sunset National Garden Book, now long out of print, a spin-off of the venerable Sunset Western Garden Book and a great general guide. Southern Living (Southern Progress Corporation, of which Oxmoor House is the books division) now owns Sunset. They have recycled (and, presumably, expanded) the entries from Sunset, using the same format, but for the southern states only, as far as I know. Here is the general entry for Monarda, before they describe the individual species:

"Native to eastern North America. Bushy, leafy clumps to 2-4 ft high spread rapidly; can be invasive. Dark green leaves grow 4-6 in. long, have strong, pleasant odor like a blend of mint and basil. In summer, upright stems are topped by tight clusters of long-tubed flowers much visited by hummingbirds. Plant 10 in. apart. Divide every 3 or 4 years. Not long lived. Prone to mildew and other leaf diseases in humid weather. Deer don't care for them."

Lily left the valley wrote:All recommended removing all leaves with it, and some even said cut the plant back to dirt level! I was worried it might hurt all the bees and other pollinators more than anything.


For those with absolutely nothing better to do! Monarda evolved over thousands of years having mildewy leaves and it has been successful, so if it ain't broke...
James




It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.
- Arthur Shopenhauer

User avatar
Lily left the valley
Revered expert in almost everything
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:07 pm
Location: Gardner, MA, USA

Re: Baby steps towards the future gardens of Beebe

Postby Lily left the valley » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:43 pm

So Sean pulled a "hold my beer" on me today whilst we were doing our eve water walk and I went inside to wash some berries. (For folks who don't know the meme, it's the equivalent of being Cavalier about something that will be anything but simple once started. There is rarely a "thought this through beforehand" in such cases.) For the record, the AC shingles missing in the first photo were already missing. I did not remove them myself.
Image Image Image Image Image

I still don't know what the tree/shrub is, and at this point given how he hacked it so much to get it out of that corner, I don't know if it can be saved even if it was something native and good to have.

I'm trying not to be annoyed at how I know I'll be the one finishing what he started that was in no way part of my plans this month, and likely this summer--and not doing such a great job at that. :doh:

Manalto wrote:That's why I like the old Sunset National Garden Book, now long out of print, a spin-off of the venerable Sunset Western Garden Book and a great general guide.
I added this to my "look for" list. Thanks.
--Proud member of the Industrious Cheapskate Club
--Currently pondering ways to encourage thoughtful restovation and discourage mindless renovation.


Return to “Park Avenue”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest