May 2009

For a few weeks now we have seen as many as 10 eagles circling overhead at one time and we'd heard reports of a pair of them being back in the park near us. There was a pair there a few years ago that nested there for probably 5 or 6 years but their nesting activities ended up being the death knell for the tree they were using and when it died the parks department removed the dead tree. And the nesting site of course. We took a walk through the park a few days ago and witnessed a pair of them perching precariously on a fir tree branch near the very top.

May 1st we were out again and I brought my new Panasonic DMC-G1 digital camera with me with the long zoom -the equivalent of a 400mm in 35mm format- and one of the eagles was back to virtually the same branch it would seem and was being dive bombed by a crow. The crow gave up ultimately and the eagle flew off again a few minutes later.

This is the basket with succulents we put together during the workshop we took late last month. The focal point is a Lewisia cotyledon hybrid and might perhaps be considered by some to be a bit of an odd choice for the center of the basket, but, it works for us and that's what matters. The others include Sedum spathulifolium and Sedum rupestre.

One of the things we wanted to plant up were some pairs of shoeware that were not being used, like these 'duck feet' and the wooden shoes in the picture below. We just had to make sure we provided a bit of drainage by drilling some holes in the soles and I think you will agree they make a unique container for succulents.

We're looking forward to seeing how all these baskets and other containers will develop over the summer first of all, but perhaps even more importantly how they will come back next year. All the perennials chosen are very safe to use here with respect to their zonal tolerance, so that shouldn't be a problem. The biggest concern I suspect will be to make sure none of the containers and baskets get too wet over the winter and that may require us to move them under cover for the winter months, which shouldn't be much of a problem.

We'll keep adding pictures of these baskets as the summer goes along to keep you uptodate.

Whenever I see a spray of Dicentra spectabilis flowers like this, I am invariably reminded of the hairdo of the alien robot in the movie 'Mars Attacks'. Waita says they remind her of Pippy Longstocking!

While some Hosta are very much early risers compared to others, this 'Undulata' comes close to taking the cake though. Here it is, it's been up and at it for perhaps no more than 6 weeks and it's already producing a scape with the start of the flower buds on it, you can see it to the left side of this picture.

Last year I added to my Hosta collection through trades with a number of people across the country, including someone locally. This is one of the ones I received from this person, Hosta sieboldii and what I received ended up yielding 3 individual plants, all of which are starting to come around nicely this spring. One of them as a matter of fact is growing amongst what looks like 4 Dicentra seedlings, those seeds must have been in the planting mix. I'll have to remember to take a picture of them before I break up this arrangement.

You may recall we started this year with perennial hanging baskets. This one here was the one we did during the workshop that introduced us to some of the finer points of making those, about 10 days ago. I was looking at them yesterday and said to myself 'You know what, I think they're starting to put on new growth already' and sure enough they are. They all will look quite bit different, and better, in another month or so, can't wait.

All the Sempervivum varieties seem to have really enjoyed the drink of water they've been getting the last three days and it shows in the firmness of the leaves and the number of offsets they are starting to produce, just look at this one and all the babies its putting out!

For a number of years we've had an unusual chair -legs are kinda short, aren't they- and both Ace and Neka have taken part in the 'modification' of the ends of the arm rests. We'd talked off and on about what to do with it and took the bull by the horns on the 8th and turned it into a piece of 'garden art'. The corner it is now in was home to a Mountain Ash for many years, but it was unceremoniously taking down last year because it was looking rather spotty in places, with lots of weak branches. Most of last year we had a large ceramic pot there, perched precariously on the remaining stump. Said stump was taken down a few notches earlier this spring and covered with soil, so it now looks flush with the rest of the soil.

Originally the seat on this chair was cane but that had already been replaced by a piece of plywood -the chair was no longer in use for its intended purpose and was basically taking up space in our family room- and it was a very simple task to pop that off. Then the hunt was on for a suitably sized nursery container to go into the hole and a minor bit of surgery was needed to make sure we had a nice, tight fit. Then there was the matter of 'what do we put in it' and we landed on Hosta 'Guacamole' that had spent last summer in a nearby container.

Out came a bin with container soil mix, the Hosta was popped out of its 2 gallon pot and with the help of some moss to soften the edges a little we now have a new and unique addition to our 'estate'. This spot sees sun from about 8AM to perhaps 2PM and this particular variety of Hosta thrives in the sun, it's nicely fragrant flowered to boot.

The Heuchera 'Key Lime Pie' you see in the 1 gallon pot in front was just placed there to see if it would get a spot with the 2 Spicy Oreganos, and we haven't quite made up our mind one way or the other.

This Weigela 'Wine and Roses' started off as as small cutting 3 years ago, perhaps no more than a 2 or 3 inches and it has certainly done well for itself. Earlier this spring we decided it would look better in one of our large ceramic planters, matter of fact the one that last year was perched atop the Mountain Ash mentioned above, and the foliage and flowers end up contrasting very nicely with the green of the planter, which unfortunately does not show at all in this picture.