Tuesday, April 5, 2011


It's the newest buzz word in the gardening world - "Verticality".
I suspect that it's just a spin off of the current trend for Green Walls , and Green Roofs. Time was, a green roof was just some lonely, untended roof space that the mosses had moved in on, and the weeds had taken over. And now, people (some really smart people, too) are taking those unused walls, and empty roof spaces and deliberately planting all sorts of stuff. Ferns. Flowers. Vines. Cactus. Vegetables.
I have several empty walls/trellises in the Back 40, spaces with no redeeming features, but where the sun does shine, the birds hang out and most importantly, the deer can't reach!
One such trellis, hanging under the small deck where we feed the birds & squirrels, faces south-east. Good morning sun should make this space fit for some flowering vines to feed the bees, and hopefully attract a few butterflies.

In all the years that I've worked in this garden, I've only seen a few moths, and one Monarch, high in the tree branches.
So this is the plan:
1. Move the variegated Ivy from the shed to this trellis.
2. Find a Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervivens) to plant at the foot of the trellis.
3. Move the sedums from the front and side yard to this space.
4. Plant some blue salvias (deer don't like these), and some blue Bachelor Button seedlings (not sure how these will fare).
5. Make a small mud puddle under the trellis for the butterflies.

Did I miss anything?

Well, with a bit of sun, some compost and some luck there will be Butterfly Spotting happening in my yard this summer.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Something Blue Comes My Way

Yes, we have a new tenant for the back 40 - a hydrangea that has outgrown a friend's deck. She tells me that it it's a Lacecap, which would be terrific for this yard. That's one type that the visiting deer do not seem interested in (though I've seen the odd bite out of one or two leaves, but not extreme snacking being done).

Not sure if this guy's going to move into the back corner, where the sun comes round each afternoon, or perhaps it will take over the space left by the roses' move to higher ground (the back deck).


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Ground is Moving.....

..as I look down into the Back 40. Covered with brown leaves, dead bracken ferns and lots of fallen branches, nothing seems to be happening, and then, the ground moves!
If I stare at the moving part, I can just make out the shape of a bird - it's brown and black speckled, with just a hint of orange-red, if it lifts its head. Leaves are being flipped over, and branches moved by a small hoard of these "scruffle-birds". They're spread out across the yard, doing a neat clean-up.
Even the black squirrel is keeping his distance, while he scruffs around in the leaves.
Spring is here.

Wonder if they'd like a few sunflower seeds for dessert.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shows to Go Ya!

Remember how I was looking forward to digging out the old gardening gloves, and getting into my garden?

That was the day before yesterday, and then yesterday afternoon, this started.

My poor little sedums were buried.
Everything was buried. A whole foot of snow.

Looks like Mother Nature had other plans.

Just wish this snow had fallen before the -5C and -8C nights that we had last week.
That's the correct way for winter to proceed, but this year, things just seem to be backward.

Shows to Go ya.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?

As I go out the side door, onto the small deck, this is a welcome sight.
A small pot of pink Sedum, bravely sprouting up, in spite of the wind and rain, the freezing temperatures at night, and yesterday's hail storm. These little guys are real troopers in my garden. They survive nasty weather, drought (when I forget to water the potted plants), and all the bugs.
Even the deer leave them alone, unless they're really hungry.

In the front garden, the Pieris is starting to bloom. Its location as much friendlier - on the sunny west side of the house, and protected from the wind and rain by the roof overhang. These tiny little bells are supposed to attract hummingbirds & bees, but I think they'd need to visit a huge number of flowers to find a meal!

My pot of narcissus in the back yard is sprouting, too!
These guys are deer-proof, and don't seem to mind this on-again, off-again spring weather.
Maybe it is Spring.
Hmm... now where are my green garden gloves?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rainy Fridays

This is what I walk past each time I leave the house.
The remnants of my green mean vines from last summer.
They looked so good last summer, even after the slow start
during our cold, wet spring.
I sprayed them faithfully with pepper spray, and managed to
keep those pesky deer away for many weeks.
We had lovely green beans, and purple beans.
Then, in late August, the rains came, and I missed my regular
pepper spray routine, and that was the last of the beans.

Those pests were really sneaky about picking the beans, too.
I would notice a handful of pods, ready to pick, and then come
out later that day or the next morning, and find nothing.
Except for the pods that grew at the top of the teepees (~ 6 feet up),
those deer managed to find each lovely bean.
By the end of September, they were eating all the leaves as well.

So now, as I plan this years veggies, I'm thinking barbed wire,
motion-controlled sprinklers or maybe remay cloth tents.

Any suggestion?
I'm definitely listening.