If you have been following this blog at pardonmygarden.wordpress.com, this is the last posting.  My storage reached its maximum and I have started a new blog.  Please feel free to check it out at littlebackyardworld.wordpress.com.

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Male American Goldfinch makes a brief visit to the birdbath.

Thanks for visiting these past four and a half years.  I have learned a lot and enjoyed sharing!

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Prairie verbena flowers with foliage from geranium ‘rozanne’ and alchemilla mollis lady’s mantle.


Snow Angel

January 26, 2014

I know we have had some really challenging weather, but today I got up and bundled up in my warm jacket, long underwear, and boots, and took a wonderful walk around Lake Katherine.  It was a very peaceful walk, pretty much by myself the whole way.  There is something very thoughtful about the quietness and beauty of a snowy walk.  Then I wanted to make a snowman to put in the front yard, but the snow is too fluffy for that, so I settled for a snow angel!

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I can’t remember making a snow angel before, though I must have….

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I lay there for a while in my ski pants and super warm jacket and watched the clouds floating along.

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Thumbs up for a fun time!  My husband is my snow angel who took the pictures and who does a lot of wonderful shoveling for me.

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Another view of the birdbath.  This was before I made the snow angel next to it.  To the right you can see the sedum and hydrangea.  They have been snow-covered most of the winter, so that has made them more pleasant than when there is no snow and they look not so interesting.

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Snow on sedum and hydrangea.  I like the light and shadows in the snow this time of year.

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Here I was playing with my shadow.  The giant sacaton is the grass right behind the birdhouse.  It is kind of wispy and hard to see, but is at least 4 feet tall.

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Light through the fence on a winter morning.

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Red branches and buds of a duke blueberry bush.  The snow is so high that half of the bush is under the snow.  I think that is a good thing.

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Still our minds wander to warmer climates.  I got some books from the library and we wonder if we have enough free miles to fly south for a quick trip…

Happy New Year!

The title above is from the Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter.”  This is the coldest, snowiest winter we have had for a while.  There seems to be nothing new to take pictures of and few birds and squirrels have been active in the weather, which has been snowing through the night and day, and will be below zero F tonight and through the next few days.  Still, here are a few pictures of how things look here.

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The bird bath is a focal point and provides structure in the winter garden.  I am not sure how many inches of snow we have had by now.  It must be at least 6 – 8 inches and maybe more.

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It is easier to take pictures from inside, though I did venture out this morning to try to get some shots.  We also had a quiet family walk around the block last night, with the streets empty and the snow peacefully falling.

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Fothergilla bush in snow, showing the details of the delicate branches.  The snow highlights the architecture of woody plants and perennials of every kind.

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Black-eyed susans in snow.

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Snow art on gate.  I put in a picture of this last year, but it caught my attention again.

Activities:  Today’s activities will include shoveling.  Luckily we have two college kids home to help with this!

This past week I got out my vegetable garden plans for the past 6 years and laid out my plan for the 2014 vegetable garden on graph paper.  The main thing is to rotate the tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce and kale to keep the soil healthy.  The rest of the vegetables I just throw in where there is room.  Do I need to expand the vegetable garden to fit in everything I want to grow?  I should probably do a soil test, since I have not done one in six years.  Over the next weeks I will consider what other changes I need to make to the garden in general and do some online ordering, as needed.

I also made a few changes to this blog to increase the size of the photos and list my recent posts at the bottom.  I reached 10,000 visits to this site around New Year’s Day, and about 75% of the visits were in 2013, so thanks to everyone who visited and commented!



Springtime Yellow

April 21, 2013

Everything started to green up this week.  I am enjoying yellow in the garden this spring.

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I am not sure what kind of native bee this is, but it was exploring each daffodil trumpet and is carrying off yellow pollen.

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What a week of rain!  I guess the drought is over in our yard for now.  The daffodils have been long lasting with the cool weather, but a little beat down by the storms.

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These narcissus opened before the rain.  They are some of my favorites.

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The spicebush blossoms finally opened this week attracting pollinators and birds.

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Note the difference between the spicebush blossoms and these Cornelian Cherry Dogwood blossoms I saw blooming at Lake Katherine today.

Birds:  When I stand at the kitchen window I can see so many different kinds of birds.  They are all busy now, with spring so late.  Here is a robin enjoying our birdbath a week ago.

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Plant Resurrections

April 7, 2013

Following last week’s Easter theme, it is fun to see green mounds and shoots pressing up out of the cold ground.  I have been planting more bulbs each year so that my garden is starting to look cheerier in the spring as I wait for the garden to green up.  If there is something blooming then I am not as impatient for the coming of the lush green of spring.

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I love these dwarf daffodils!  Other daffodils are coming up and will be blooming soon, but these early ones are the most welcome.

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I have two patches of these dwarf daffodils naturalizing by the back fence.  Later the goldenrod and viburnum will hide them as their leaves fade.

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All the way across the yard I see the bright yellow daffodil blooms from the kitchen window.  I put water in the bird bath and took this picture this morning as a cardinal came for a drink.  The robins and sparrows actually line up on the railroad tie and in the oak tree for their turn in the bath.

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With such a long winter the crocuses have been lasting a lot longer.  I love the detailed design in this purple crocus.

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Another group of cheery crocuses dressed in their choir robes and singing joyfully!

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Rhubarb shoots.  A very small start, but soon to come are the giant leaves and then maybe some strawberry rhubarb treats.

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While in Wal-Mart I noticed a nine-pack of romaine plants.  I know it is early, but I put three in a container that I can bring inside if it freezes and put six in the ground.  I can always cover them on cold nights.  I am planning to grow a lot more lettuce this year, so I need to get started!

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Back inside I grow a few house plants.  I almost killed this one, but then I must have done something right as it seems very happy now.  I love all the hair on the leaves and the pink stems and undersides of the leaves.

Cooking news:  Dan is back to cooking a lot of greens.  Some of the most nutrient dense greens are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, swiss chard, bok choy and watercress.  We bought a bunch of organic greens this week and Dan keeps trying new recipes to find out how to cook all of these in tasty ways.

Crocuses and Daffodils

March 13, 2012

It must have been 70 degrees today and it should be even warmer tomorrow. I took a walk in the Morton Arboretum today and saw a flowering fragrant viburnum with bees buzzing on it in a sheltered spot.  In my yard the crocuses have been blooming for a while, but really opened up on Sunday.

Purple crocuses in front of the house on Sunday.

This purple bloom along the east fence attracted a polinator.  The little flies are easily seen now.

These crocuses just opened on the north side of the house.

These miniature daffodils opened yesterday.  The color is so bright from the kitchen window.  The taller daffodils are coming out of the ground.

Our brown ceramic bird bath cracked over the winter so I picked up this cement one at Walmart.  With all the birds arriving I did not want to wait another day to put out a water source.  I am hoping for another pair of bluebirds.  I did see bluebirds on a walk at the Danada forest preserve the other day, so it may not be too early…

 I cut down some of the ornamental grasses recently and the birds in the neighborhood have been picking up bits of straw for their nests.

Compost update:  I started a new pile for the dry leaves that have been blowing into the yard on these windy days.  For the piles that have been frozen over the winter I gave them a good turn to mix up the dry bits with the soggy bits and threw in some more kitchen scraps along with some earthworms. Go earthworms!!

April Showers

April 23, 2011

Spring has been slow this year.  This past week it was in the 40s and we had many rainy days.  We had frost one night and the bird baths froze.

It is incredibly green, however, and we are letting the grass grow long, hoping to give it an advantage over the weeds.

There is not much to do outside, with it so wet, but inside the zinnia seedlings are getting ready for their debut entrance into the garden.  I put them outside today to begin to harden them up.  I also got a baby basil at the beginning of March that is growing out of its small pot.

It warmed up today and the violets are brightening up the lawn.  I like the violets, but try to pull out dandelions wherever they pop up.  The most aggressive weed is creeping charlie, as it crawls over large parts of the back yard.  I don’t like to use weed killers, so I just need to boost the grass, so it wins the battle.  I am not sure how well that is working…

The romaine lettuce and lettuce seedlings survived the frost.  I am looking forward to when I can start eating my own lettuce for lunches.

This parsley actually made it through the winter.  I did not clean it up last fall and it started to grow back this spring.  Maybe I can attract some swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs here.  The birds have been taking the old straw and grass to make their nests today.

Today I looked over at the back of the neighbor’s house and saw a nest that I believe belongs to an Eastern Phoebe, a type of small flycatcher.  I have been hearing the phoebe call for weeks and now I am hoping I can watch the baby birds hatch.

Winter Snow

December 28, 2010

We had a white Christmas.  The snow is starting to melt now, but we probably have had 6 inches on the ground.

You came like a winter snow

Quiet and soft and slow

Falling from the sky in the night

To the earth below

Snow outlined every object and tree branch Christmas morning.


Last Warm Days…

October 3, 2010

I did not take many good pictures this week…

This is the time of year to start cleaning up the garden.  Everything diseased and with unwanted seeds needs to go in the bin and the rest can go in the compost.  I only have one yard waste bin so I try to fill it up each week.  This week was morning glories and zucchini leaves.  I  don’t think you want to see pictures of that!

Dan and I did put our jackets on and sat in the yard sipping hot chocolate.  We saw the hummingbird in the morning glories and then watched a sparrow swoop by and swallow a little moth.

This picture is not too clear, but on the bird bath is a male flicker on the right and a female flicker on the left.  A robin is holding his own and not giving up his spot, while another robin waits for his turn below to the right.

The toad stalks through the grass, but now is very still while I take this picture.  Our grass has a number of brown spots and we could still use more rain before winter comes.

Wild Life II

August 8, 2010

More butterflies and bugs.

Monarch on Joe Pye Weed.  There are so many butterflies I can’t identify in the garden.  I did see a swallowtail in the fennel this afternoon.

Monarch caterpillar on Butterfly weed.

I think these are two pairs of mating boxelder bugs. It was hard to get the camera to focus on the right thing.

And here are the boxelder babies…

It is a little hard to see the mourning dove on the bird bath.  We had so many birds this year at our two bird baths.  The most frequent are robins, goldfinches, sparrows, cardinals, and possibly a pair or pine grosbeaks or maybe they were purple finches….