Thursday, January 31, 2008

Odd Weather Related News

It was reported in the news yesterday that over 100 ducks and geese were killed during Tuesday night's storm in central Indiana. The ducks and geese that lived in a neighborhood pond, were found littering the nearby yards. One was even blown through the window of a house.

This is the same storm that blew down Lisa's pine tree. There were 100 mph straight line winds in the Avon area where this destruction took place. I don't believe that I've ever heard of that many, really any, ducks or geese being killed in a storm before. Maybe it happens all the time and this time it's news worthy because of the sheer number killed. I just couldn't imagine looking out after a storm and seeing the ducks and geese from our pond littering my lawn. How awful.

Verbena Bonariensis

Hands down, Verbena Bonariensis is the most popular perennial here at Robin's Nesting Place.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Eye Candy - Favorite Pictures of Annuals 2007


~~~~~~~~~~~~~Scarlet Sage~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



~~~~~~~~~Purple Wave Petunias~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~Osteospermum, African Daisy~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~Calibrachoa, Superbells~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~Swizzle Zinnia~~~~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~Scarlet Sage~~~~~~~~~~~~



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2007 Garden Projects Completed

During the first few weeks of January many garden bloggers had "looking back at 2007" posts. I'm a little late to the party, as usual, but I wanted to look back at some of the garden projects that were completed in 2007 at Robin's Nesting Palce.

The largest and most satisfying project, completed during early spring 2007, was the patio wall. It really made a huge difference to the look and feel of the patio. It was worth every penny spent and every sore muscle. Thankfully, my 15 year old son helped me with this project.

This birdbath project was small compared to the patio wall, but was very big on impact and enjoyment for me and the many birds who visited Robin's Nesting Place. I used materials that I already had on hand, left over from other projects, that were just taking up space in the garage.

There was nothing planted here but the maple tree. I removed the grass and created a flower bed around the birdbath.

By the end of the summer, surrounded by zinnias and lantana, it was very pretty and brought me so much pleasure.

Here is a picture of the patio wall in progress and another project I was working on at the same time, (I have a tendency to have too many projects going at once). I actually began this project in the fall of 2006. We had nothing planted on the left side of the patio. I removed the grass, made a raised flower bed and brought in bag after bag of manure, humus rich top soil, peat and a little sand to amend the soil.

This new flowerbed extended from the corner of the house to the patio. I planted three Arborvitae on each side of the patio wall to give a little more privacy. I don't particularly like them, and am wondering if I really want them there. For right now they serve the purpose intended.

Here is another picture after the perennials were added.

The flowers grew quickly and filled the space very nicely. I also planted flowers that would attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

The only area in the backyard that had flowers was the flowerbed on the right side of the patio. It started at the patio and extended to the corner of the house. I didn't like the shape of the existing bed, and decided to curve it around the birch tree instead.

Which meant removing grass, laying down newspaper and hauling in mountains of stuff to amend the soil and fill the bed. I didn't plant anything in this new area because by the time I finished the project we were already having drought conditions and were on water restriction. I did however plant spring bulbs and can't wait for them to bloom.

As you can see in this picture we are very close in proximity to the neighborhood common area, which is very loud, unsightly and affords us very little privacy. Also the children have a tendency to use our yard as a path to get back and forth and will actually ride their bikes through the yard.

So, began the project to clearly define the property line by planting all the way around the perimeter of the backyard. As I said before, I don't particularly like arborvitae, but they are inexpensive and add an element of enclosure and privacy. I never have liked the look of a hedge of arborvitae so I mixed these with ornamental grass and perennials and like that look much better. (It is very windy here and we had a difficult time getting and keeping the arborvitae straight.)

We brought in a truckload of top soil and mulch for this project because I wanted the area to be raised a bit and also because we have terrible, hard clay soil, we actually did this, (soil and mulch), part of the project in the fall of 2006. A few years ago we planted six maple trees around the perimeter of the yard and a few other trees, that and the right side patio flowerbed was basically all that was growing in the back yard before the fall of 2006.

The left side of the yard was pretty bare and we definitely needed privacy and our view shielded on that side of the property too, (I'll spare you the details on this one). I planted shrubs, a few trees, ornamental grass, and perennials. I didn't bring in soil for this side, (wish I had), I did amend the soil as I planted though. I also didn't remove the grass or lay newspaper to kill weeds. My son and I used the free mulch our community provides and ran out of time and decent weather before the project was satisfactorily completed. I have a strong feeling I'll be focusing on this improperly done project come spring.

Another project for 2007 was tackling the side yard that faces the street, (we're on the corner lot). For some reason we only seemed to be able to grow dandelions next to the house and it was looking pretty unsightly.

I removed the grass, or rather, I should say dandelions, (all by hand with that small scraper tool you can barely see under the water spigot), and created a raised bed connecting the front yard flowerbed to the right side backyard flowerbed. I laid newspaper and again brought in a mountain of cheap top soil, humus, peat, and manure to fill in this long narrow raised bed.

In the fall I transplanted hostas, echinacea and a few other perennials in the new side yard flowerbed. I also planted a few spring bulbs. I'm not entirely happy with the raised bed since it isn't perfectly straight and I need to do something to have better access to the water spigot. A good project for 2008.

When the builder built these homes they used the cheapest light post they could find, and they are ugly. Ours needs to be replaced, but in the meantime I created this flowerbed and planted ornamental grass on either side of the post, I later added salvia and mums.

Another small project I completed in 2007 was enlarging the flowerbed around the mailbox and and replacing the brick with this more attractive border.

Now that I've recapped the projects completed for 2007, I need to think about what I want to accomplish for 2008. Thankfully, I think the most labor intensive part has already been done.