Sunday, May 31, 2015

Backyard Bliss??? Or Not???

Well, everything is coming on pretty fast now and some of the spring flowers have finished up. Even some of my Bleeding Hearts are fading fast.

This time of year is always so special to me. I love the song of the birds throughout the day and everything is so bright and clear on a sunny day. Of course that's after the pine trees and other trees have finished pollinating. When the pollen sacs on the pine trees are full, and the wind is blowing, you can see the pollen clouds around the trees.

My iris bed is doing a lot better this year than last year. Last year I didn't have one bloom in it. This year there are several buds and I even had an early one bloom last week. I think it helped that my husband cut down a tree that was half dead. That opened up the area to let in more sun.

Hosta garden that we started a few years ago.
The Sweet Woodruff (small white flower) ground cover has filled in around them.

What happens is that when you first plant your garden beds, that area is probably sufficient to provide enough sunlight for your plants, but over the years if you have other trees or shrubs in the area they will grow and possible impede the original sunlight intended for your gardens.

Some of the drawbacks of our gardens is that fact that we have lots of shade and lots of mosquitoes. But when the mosquitoes are bad I either spray myself up with repellent or sit on my back enclosed porch and listen to the birds.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit. This native wildflower appeared in our garden a few years ago.
 It was probably transplanted by a squirrel burying one of the seeds.

Kindred Spirits sharing secrets.
Remember that perennial I showed you in my previous blog post that I called my alien plant?
Here it is in bloom. Solomon's Seal. 

And that's not all of the backyard pests. There are moles, lots of moles, and chipmunks, squirrels, red and gray squirrels (the red ones are pests and they get into buildings), raccoons, rabbits, possums (which I think are so ugly), oh, and skunks, too. You never know when one of those critters are going to wander through your yard. You just hope that they keep on passing through.

Arched trellis made by my husband, Ted, a few years ago.

While I find the little critters cute, they can also be harmful to your gardens as many of you know if you have any of these guys visiting your gardens or buildings. Our neighbors had raccoons get in her attic. And we've had squirrels get in our pole barn and damage some items, as well as build a nest in one of the vehicles.

And then there are the deer. They can decimate your entire plantings in one evening's visit. But when the critters do stop by they can make for some great photos before you chase them off.

Ebony Jewelwing Dragonfly

Our gardens are not weed-free, and they are not elaborate. We worked with what we had when we first moved here several years ago. It was a house on a lot that was previously a pasture and later was planted with rows of pine trees. So a few of the trees had to come down that were close to the house. Then we just started making little gardens in different areas that kind of expanded on their own by out-growing their boundaries.

Some of our minitaure hostas. While that looks like snow or hail on the ground,
it is actually little petals from flowers on (wild) chokecherry trees. It looks like confetti and I love it. 

But everyone's garden is an individual thing. If it appeals to you, then that's all that matters. Whatever your garden looks like, whether or not it's a sunny perennial garden, flower pots on your patio, a hanging basket on your front porch, or a little green plant in your home- just relax and enjoy the view!

"I don't have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields."
~Queen Latifah

Feel free to leave a comment. 
Would love to hear from you ~

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Glorious Spring At Last!

Royal Star Magnolia Shrub

Wow! Everything is coming fully alive now! Some trees and shrubs still haven't fully leafed out yet though. Three weeks ago Syracuse broke a daily temperature and got up to 90! But yesterday it snowed in Copenhagen and Richland, NY. And tonight there are frost warnings in our area of Central and Northern New York.

And the pollen count is high in the northeast as well. What is contributing to it is the fact that a lot of the trees that come into flower early are late this year because of the cold spring temperatures so they are flowering the same time as the spring flowers. Double whammy!

We've been busy (like everyone else I'm sure). . . lots of gardening work to do. I'm trying impatiens again this year. After the impatiens blight of a few years ago where they recommended that you not plant them for a few years until the spoors died out, I thought I'd see how they do. One of my neighbors planted them last year, but she replaced all the soil in that garden.

Wild Trout Lilies (or Dogtooth Vilots)

And the dandelions are blooming in the lawn. I used to hate them, but now I realize that the pollinators need them for early spring food before the other flowers come into full bloom, so now I don't mind them so much.

These are the sprouts of Solomon's Seal. They look like aliens to me when they first come up.

We have used Milorganite on our lawn as a organic fertilizer. It's also supposed to help in discouraging the deer from making a meal on your flowers and vegetables. I have not found it to be that effective in discouraging the deer, but it could be I didn't put it on often enough. I think that if the deer are hungry enough they'll eat anything, even plants that are deer resistant like marigolds.

Wild Trilliums in the woods.

I had a nice surprise a few days ago. A tree that I bought a few years ago, a magnolia tree that grows in the north, had a few flowers on it. I knew that it would eventually flower, but I thought maybe it would flower after the leaves appeared on it. The flowers have such an unusual shape, too. It's called a Magnoila Zenii (Zen Magnolia). It didn't have that many blooms on it and they didn't last very long - but Wow! the flowers were exquisite.

Flower from Magnolia Zenii

My weeping cherry tree never bloomed last year, but it was beautiful this year. That poor little tree has been through so much. It was chewed to the ground (twice) by rabbits several years back, so this tree trunk is actually from one of the branches. You can tell how deep the snow was because the bottom branches are trimmed up from where the rabbits can reach them.

Weeping Cherry Tree

Flowers of the weeping cherry tree

A photo of our back yard in early spring

The daffodils were beautiful this year

Turn up your volume to hear the Wood Thrushes in our backyard. My husband took this video about a week ago. You can't see the Wood Thrushes in the video. They are very reclusive and spend a lot of time in the underbrush of trees and shrubs in deciduous woods.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of spring ~ 

No matter how long the winter, 
spring is sure to follow. 
~ Proverb

Feel free to leave a comment. 
I would love to hear from you!