Saturday, May 31, 2008

Roly-Poly Problem

The blue-eyed grass started blooming this week. I took pictures a few days ago and all three of the plants appeared to be healthy. I was very concerned today when I noticed that one of the plants was nearly dead in the center. On closer inspection I noticed that the plant was full of pillbugs or roly-pollies . The grass was falling over and none of the pieces were firmly in the ground.

I gathered them up and planted them in other containers, hoping to salvage them. I checked other things in the gardens and noticed the spiderwort was looking distressed as well. I pulled back the mulch and noticed the pillbugs were all at the base of that plant too.

We have had a very wet spring, so that may be a contributing factor to the plague of pillbugs. I've always had them but have never had this many and I've never noticed them eating my plants before.

I've been having difficulty keeping any of my new plants alive because as soon as I plant them they are eaten. I don't know if the pillbugs are eating all of the young plants, but I know for certain they are responsible for the damage to the blue-eyed grass.

I researched on line trying to find a natural way to kill them. One suggestion was to wet newspaper, roll it up and lay it beside the plant they're eating. They will crawl inside because they like damp places and in the morning the papers can be collected and thrown away. I did this tonight and placed about 10-12 rolls of paper around the flowerbeds. I hope it works, but I can't imagine that it will eliminate them as quickly or as effectively as might be necessary. Has anyone else had this problem? What is a good, natural method for reducing the number of pillbugs?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fabulous Poppy

The poppies that I winter sowed are beginning to open. I have never grown poppies before, and even though I'm not usually fond of orange red colors, this little flower is fabulous! It is kind of like a crinkly crepe paper. The wind was blowing so hard while I was trying to take the pictures, so I stuck the container in a green bucket that was nearby, which is why it has the green background color. I was almost late for work because I had a hard time tearing myself away from the peonies and poppy. I'll have to post the peony pictures tomorrow because we are in the midst of a thunderstorm.

The Indy Zoo

I probably would have spent the day at White River Gardens and the butterfly exhibit, but the zoo had just received two koalas from the San Diego Zoo named Bamba and Coombah.

I had a close encounter with the koalas when I went to Australia in 1993, where I actually got to pet them and have a picture taken with one. I really wanted to see them again. These two are behind glass and they were both asleep, so the pictures aren't that great. They are so cute!

The zoo had their pink flamingo lawn ornaments.

The bald eagle.

The lioness.

Baby ducks.

I couldn't believe how much further along the flowers were at the zoo than at my house. My daisies have a few buds, but not a single one is blooming yet.

There is nothing more pleasurable than seeing little children laughing and having a good time.
We really had a blast at the Indy Zoo and White River Gardens!

White River Gardens Butterfly Exhibit

Yesterday, I went with my daughter and some little friends to the zoo and the White River Gardens. My favorite part is always the butterfly exhibit.

I had a wonderful day enjoying the gardens and the magnificent butterflies.

Today's feature is the butterflies. Tomorrow I'll share some pictures of the gardens.

This year they added some moths to the exhibit; this was the only one I saw.

The chrysalis is attached to a rod and they are kept in this box until the butterflies emerge.

Monday, May 26, 2008

"George" in the Milkweed

I have one lovely iris in bloom today. I bought a box of bulbs at Sam's last fall but they were terrible and only a few were planted. What a shame, it would have been wonderful to have dozens of these little beauties.

Last night and tonight I worked in the yard until it was too dark to see. Last night I planted zinnias around the mailbox, impatiens in the front porch flowerbed and worked on another large container. I hadn't seen "George" again since the first day he surprised me. Last night I was getting a few things to plant from the patio and spotted him in another winter sowing container. This time he was in #21 Milkweed.

He obviously was not very happy that I was so close and proceeded to jump to another container. Since he likes these containers, maybe I'll leave one filled with dirt on the patio for him. I'd really like for him to stick around.

This afternoon I spotted sparrows gathering Lilly's hair for nesting material. After brushing her, I usually throw the hair on the ground or put it in a suet feeder for the nesting birds.

This evening was beautiful, the temperature was perfect and I "embraced weeding". Carol, from May Dreams Gardens said, "You’ll be a happier gardener and have a happier life in the long run if you just accept weeding as something you will always be doing. " It's a good thing I find weeding relaxing, because there is so much of it that needs to be done that I might literally, "always be doing" it, as in never getting finished.
I hope to spend a large portion of the day outside tomorrow weeding and hopefully, getting the rest of the flowers planted.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rainy Day Pictures

Between the cool rainy weather, the lingering virus, my new job and neighborhood volunteer work, I've not had as much time outside this spring as I would like, nor have I had as much time or energy for blogging. I was able to get a little accomplished yesterday. Now that the perennials are getting larger, I needed to move some things around. I'm really glad for the cooler rainy day we had today, it was perfect weather for those stressed plants that were moved.

I finally got a few more container plantings finished. This one is on the front porch. (I really need to repaint these planters; that may be a project for this fall.) I used Anna's container soil recipe. Hopefully my containers will be healthier this year.

This container of superbells and trailing vinca is on the front porch railing.

I went out for a few minutes this evening, it has been raining off and on all day and was still sprinkling as I walked around with my camera. I love to take pictures in the early morning or evening after a rain.

The 'Raspberry Surprise' dianthus is blooming.

An allium bud.

The colors are so much richer when you take pictures on a cloudy day or in the evening.

Several clematis plants are blooming now. I didn't prune back the clematis on the mailbox last fall. It has more blooms, but it isn't as pretty this year.

I finally have foxglove! I grew these from seed last year and am finally seeing the results of the labor. Out of the hundreds of plants that germinated only three of the plants survived this long.

After the rain the robins have worms aplenty.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not So Sweet

My neighbor behind me planted a hedge of trees and shrubs a few years ago and they are just now beginning to mature. I saw this robin in one of his trees and took a picture. When I looked at the picture after downloading it on the computer I noticed this tree for the first time. I wanted to scream when I recognized it. It is an awful sweet gum tree! Our next door neighbor in Alabama had a huge one at the edge of their property and those nasty spiny balls fell into our yard by the thousands. Now this neighbor has planted one, possibly two, at the edge of his property. With all of the wonderful trees available, why would someone choose to plant this messy tree, especially on such a small lot?

This morning, before work, I was standing at the kitchen window and noticed my first hummingbird of the season! I didn't see it stop; I think it was just passing through. When I got off work this evening, I made some more sugar-water and cleaned the hummingbird feeder. I'll be watching the feeders very closely tomorrow. Hopefully it'll come back.

I had a little time this evening to fix one container of plants on the front porch. I'm off for the next two days and finally feeling better, I hope to be able to get some other planting and weeding done.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Very Late Bloom Day Post

I've had an upper respiratory virus and have not felt well this past week. I've enjoyed visiting other blogs, but did not feel creative or energetic enough to post on the 15th for this months Garden Blogger Bloom Day, hosted by Carol, from May Dreams Gardens. So, here is my late Bloom Day post for May.

I bought this 'Karen' azalea last May, but the blooms were already past their prime. It has been so pretty this year and I'm thrilled to find an azalea that will grow here.

I have two Clematis vines that are blooming.

The dianthus is covered in buds and quite a few blooms.

I usually purchase pink 'Million Bells' Calibrachoa for the planters on the front porch. This year I found the purple and have mixed the pink and purple together. I think I actually prefer the purple.

The weather has been cool with temperatures dipping into the 40's at night, the lantana has not been very happy about that and none of the six plants I bought are doing particularly well. Hopefully they will perk up when the nights get warmer.

I'm enjoying this pink knockout rose bush and am now wishing I had purchased two more instead of buying the two red ones. They aren't as pretty, but then I am always partial to pink.

The red twig dogwood is blooming, at least, the one that the rabbits didn't eat is blooming, the other two are recovering from the assassination attempt.

Anyway, here is my belated bloom list:

Purple Wave Petunia
Dianthus - Cheddar pinks, Firewitch and Raspberry surprise
Purple Sage-
Red Salvia
Creeping phlox
Knockout roses

About to bloom:
Purple coneflowers
Rondo Bearded Tongue
Blue-eyed Grass
Lambs ear