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.


Berry Extravaganza

June 23, 2013

When we moved into this house some years ago the only berries we had were the mulberries on the tree in the easement.  Since then we have been working to increase the berries in our yard.  Berries are a great high vitamin food and so delicious when super fresh and organic, too.  The strawberries have slowed down a little, but we still are getting a some every day.
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These are the berries I picked Wednesday afternoon.  Mulberries, serviceberries, and strawberries.  I had some rhubarb sauce that I heated up, added some berries and a little Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream.  Wow!  It was fantastic!

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Regent Saskatoon Serviceberries on shrub.  The berries on the Allegheny Serviceberry were all dried up this year for some reason, though they were good last year, but we have had a lot of berries on the Regent Saskatoon this year.   I only pick them when they get to the purple stage.  I have three of these bushes now, so a good crop.

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The mulberries are a huge mess, so we have to be careful not to track them into the house.  However if you want a lot of berries, there are tons on this tree and the birds love them.  They are also adding nutrients to our compost pile on the left.  I like to mix them in with other berries and only pick them when they are black and ready to drop from the branches.  People in the neighborhood do some foraging on this tree, too.

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Look at these beautiful berries on the Duke blueberry bush!  These we eat sparingly, but each one is a burst of flavor.  They go from green to pink to blue as they grow in size and ripen.

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Forbidden fruit – my neighbor’s raspberries that are not yet ripe.  My neighbor told me to help myself and does not seem interested in them, so I am excited as these are so luscious when very ripe.

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Strawberry flower.  This is on an older strawberry plant I have that is not very productive, but the pink flowers are so delicate.

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Hydrangea Incrediball – Hydrangea Arborescens.  Getting away from berries, I moved this hydrangea out of solid shade into partial shade.  The flowers get huge so I anticipate them flopping over soon.  It seems happy now.  Catmint and lady’s mantle on the right.  The tree is a chinquapin oak – quercus muehlenbergii.

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Bee in catmint.  Catmint walker’s low (nepeta) and lady’s mantle (alchemilla mollis.)

The temperature was only in the fifties today and although a lot is blooming I have not seen many bees in this cool weather.  The mosquitoes have been not too bad, which I appreciate.  I have enjoyed watching hummingbirds zooming around the garden and I come across earthworms tunneling through the soil.

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We planted one foxglove plant many years ago, but have always had babies to keep them coming back each year.  Foxgloves are biennials, so they flower on the second year and then die, but leave lots of seeds.

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Cream colored foxgloves in bloom now.  They like partial shade.  Behind them the Joe Pye Weed is starting to stretch out.

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The pinks have been in bloom for a few weeks.

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I pick the strawberries every day to keep ahead of the birds and slugs.

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The blueberries are coming along on the Duke blueberry bush.

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The yarrow is turning yellow now.  From the kitchen I can see the salvia and catmint in three different shades of purple, but I can never capture it in a picture.

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The lady’s mantle is blooming yellow with catmint behind.

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I pulled up the dead caryopteris and planted a baby caryopteris seedling I found in the garden in its place.  I surrounded it with leaf lettuce, since Dan is always asking for more greens!  I also planted swiss chard and more green beans today.  More food! More food!!

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Friday night when Dan and I were walking around the garden we spotted this baby robin camouflaged in the lilac tree.  When I checked on it the next morning it was still on the same branch.  Later in the day it was gone though.

Garden activities:  I put up tomato cages on my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cucumbers.  They are still small, but it is hard to get the cages on when they are big.

Plain Old Leaves

May 26, 2013

Flowers get most of the attention, but leaves can be pretty interesting too.  In the spring many of the leaves start out reddish or a very vibrant green.

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There are lots of names for this little tree.  Carpinus caroliniana, American hornbeam, blue-beech.  I love the details on the leaves.

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Catkins on our chinquapin oak.  I took this picture a few weeks ago.  You can see all the little pollen-bearing catkins hanging down from the upper branches.  I wonder when we will start having acorns.  This is the fourth year the tree is in our yard, so it is probably five or six years old.

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Fresh green leaves of Chinquapin oak.  I think the leaves get darker as the summer goes on.

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New spring growth on Hicksii yew shrubs.

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Ants and flies on American plum tree.  There must be something very tasty about these fast growing plum trees.  The sparrows were in the trees today eating something, too.  We have two trees next to each other.  One is growing so quickly that the branches are breaking from rain and wind.  They seem to be attracting wild life, though, so that is fun.

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Lady’s mantle snowflake leaf!  It looks like some insect took a bite of this leaf before it opened, making something like the paper snowflakes we make at Christmas.

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The slugs are out in the garden again.  So far it has not been too bad, but it looks like something was enjoying this broccoli plant.

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Romaine lettuce.  Just like the bugs we like to eat tender leaves.  This week we have been eating romaine and leaf lettuce, baby kale, spinach and tatsoi.

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Yellow crookneck squash.  On Mother’s Day there was a frost which affected my tomatoes, peppers, basil and this squash plant.  With good water and warm weather they all revived, except for two of the peppers, which I replaced.

What’s been happening?  I finished mulching my garden and tying up/staking tall plants.  I’m excited about my first sunflowers that have now sprouted!

August Rain Relief

August 5, 2012

Yesterday the rain started pouring between the time I left the back door until I got to the car door.  I was soaked but the garden was refreshed.  Today the sky was so blue as I lay on the lawn chair and looked at the puffy white clouds float by.

We had an inch and a half of rain!  I love the yellow heliopsis summer sun in the background….

Raindrops on leaves of lady’s mantle – Alchemilla.

Raindrops on daisy leaves.  I have been having trouble with my camera for a while when I try to focus on small things, like raindrops or bugs.  It might just be me, but I might try getting a different camera…

Again, I had trouble focusing, but here is a japanese beetle.  This is the first year that we have really seen many japanese beetles in our yard.  They are most attracted to the pole bean leaves, canna leaves and here to the serviceberry bush.  I wonder which of the predators in the garden will be interested in eating them.

Between watering and rain we have a lot of cucumbers coming!  The other vegetables looks good, too, with little disease at this point.  Some of the grass is starting to green up again, also.

Food treat this week:  We boiled up our one cob of corn and split it four ways!

It is great to have an extra day to relax!  The temperature is hot.  Added to that I got a bug bite on my ankle again, which swelled up, so I am off my feet for the day.  Good day to seek some shade and chill with a book.

Sometimes the color combinations in the garden are a surprise.  This year I have three shades of purple and lavender blooming at the same time that I can enjoy from the kitchen window.  It is really very hard to capture it in a picture, though. On the right are two shades of purple salvia and behind the oak tree is the light blue catmint.  The yellows are yarrow in the front and lady’s mantel next to the catmint.  The pink is the foxglove and the white in back is goat’s beard.

No flowers here, but I like the foliage contrasts.  In the front is an ornamental grass, I think my favorite, Panicum Rotsrahlbusch, a cultivar of switch grass.  The dark foliaged plant is very agressive, but always pretty in the spring.

I love the first Gaillardia of the season.  The colors are so vibrant!

This pretty plant is Green’s Red Choi and is a vegetable.  I think I should replant it in the garden, but it seemed to need a lot of water so right now I have it in a planter by the faucet.

Romaine lettece.  We have been eating the outer leaves of the romaine and a lot of leaf lettuce.  Recently we have been putting lettuce in the blender in our blueberry drinks and Dan finds it a good way to enjoy lettuce.

We have a sunny yard, so the neighbor gave us his old umbrella he no longer uses.  Dan’s project was to put a pvc pipe in the ground to drop the umbrella into it.

While taking my kitchen scraps out to the compost pile I hit a snake when I prodded in the pile with my hand shovel.  The snake writhed and I was shocked and ran into the house.  Here Dan is putting the scraps in the compost pile.  The snake was long gone. Although the snake was small, it was larger than I would have expected.  We have a lot of toads in the yard and many tasty critters in the compost pile, so I imagine he is well fed.  I usually try to make a lot of noise when I go to the wilder areas of the garden to give the snake a little time to get away….

Beauty in Diversity

June 12, 2011

There is a lot going on in the garden.  Other than planting a couple of annuals today, it was a good day to just relax and enjoy being in the garden.  It was in the high 50s much of the day so I had to stay in the sun to keep warm.

I love the contrast of color, shape and texture in this part of the garden. Front row:  Lady’s mantle, plum pudding coral bells, coreopsis – moon beam.  Middle row: purple coneflower, Korean feather reed grass, pink turtle head plant.  Back row:  Joe Pye Weed – little Joe, Joe Pye Weed – gateway.

We have three kinds of corepsis in our garden.  This one is tickseed.  Coreposis need a lot of deadheading, though I have heard that moon beam does not…

The third coreopsis is early sunrise, that is just starting to bloom on the right.  The purple flowers are spike speedwell.  Behind are black eyed susan and morning light miscanthus.

Viburnum – raspberry tart.  This flower is so intricate and will soon produce dark purple berries for the birds.

The first gaillardia is blooming.

Toad suns himself on the ground cover.  Or maybe he is getting a good lunch of bugs here….

The silver maple helicopter seeds have all fallen are are sprouting all over the yard.  Here they are growing in an empty pot I left on the patio.  Last weekend we cleaned out tons of them that were growing in the gutter of the roof.

The rain gauge showed 2 inches of rain today and I can hear the thunder as I write.  Everything is growing.  It is fun to see some things grow so big and others are tiny, but beautiful.

The catmint will take over if I let it.  I had to move several plants this year so they would not be lost in its shadow.  The yellow lady’s mantel in front is just starting to bloom.  Straight back you can see a large patch of johnny jump up violets that will soon have to be pulled up to make room for the cantaloupe.  Further back on the left the purple Salvia are starting to bloom and attract the bumble bees.

Rhubarb – another aggressive plant with huge leaves.  What we do not eat is great for the compost pile.

Pinks – This tiny plant catches my attention from the kitchen window and brightens a large green area.

This very first cantaloupe flower will hopefully turn into a delicious melon…

Zucchini is the most aggressive vegetable, soon to take up half the vegetable garden.  Here the small seedlings look innocent enough.

Last year we started making a tiny meadow around a bluebird house, by not cutting the surrounding grass.  The wrens experimented with the house, but the wasps were the one who finally moved in.  No hope of any bluebirds.

Yesterday morning I saw my first bluebirds ever – checking out our bird house!  The local sparrows were giving them a hard time and I do not see them around today, but I was thrilled that I had created a habitat that they like – a sunny meadow near some trees with tall grass for grasshoppers and other bugs.  It is pretty hard to see the birds in this picture, but the one sitting on the roof is definitely a bluebird.

Yellow and Orange

June 7, 2010

This week I am displaying some of the yellow and orange flowers that are unfolding in my garden these days.

Nasturtiums are starting to bloom all over the garden.  I save the seeds each fall and love how they keep going all summer.

I planted this butterfly weed last year and was so happy when it came back this year as it was quite bug infested last fall.

I have coreopsis in various places around the garden.  I believe this variety is Early Sunrise.  Here it is near Gaillardia and yellow blooming sedum.

The yarrow is so horizontal and fresh at this time of year.

This picture of Lady’s mantle in bloom is from about a week ago.  In the background is Catmint and in front just a bit of plum pudding Heuchera.