Monday, April 28, 2008

Bedraggled Bird

The Turkey showed up again this afternoon. This time it was pecking around my front yard in the rain.

Wet Turkey

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Web Design

I've designed a few websites over the years:

My first (unless you count stuff I messed around with in college) was for
The Prospect Hill Park Advocacy Group, which I created as a volunteer. I put it together really quickly and never refined it to have nice colors or layout or anything. So, it doesn't look all that good.

Then I created one for my own business, Grove Hill Gardens. I like this one better, but it isn't perfect, and I haven't taken the time to update or refine it.

So, I just collaborated with a landscaping friend to create one for her business, and I'm finally satisfied that I can make a very pretty website:

The Gracious Gardens Front Page

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Turkey Dances

She's back, and this time, she sings and dances.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lap Cat

I had a nice time celebrating my Uncle's birthday this afternoon. (Happy Birthday, Uncle John!)

Me and Peanut

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Next Wave

The early spring bulbs are fading, but new flowers are replacing them...

Common Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris)

Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)

Can't You See the Turkey?

Wild Turkey Passing Through

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Up Close and Forsythia


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lilith's Day

Like most days, Lilith spent a lot of time asleep:

Lilith's Morning Nap

Keeping Her Nose Warm

However, today was unusual. It was the first escorted walk of spring.

Lilith Walking

Lilith likes to spend time outside by herself, but she really loves to go for a walk with a human. This generally consists of walking across the back deck and into the upper level of the back yard. She typically seeks out her favorite clump of grass, but needs to be patted several times on the way.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Aronia Buds: The Sequel

In February, I posted a picture of my aronia buds. They had turned bright red, and I was a little worried they were going to break early in response to some unseasonably warm weather. They were fine.

And now it's April, and they are breaking:

(Aronia arbutifolia)

Today's Crocus

I spotted the first of these opening under the yellowwood yesterday...

Crocus vernus 'Twilight'

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oh! Possum?

Matt went of to a conference this morning, while I happily stayed in bed... until Peanut started hollering.

He was talking to another cat, which I've heard before, but this time it was exceptionally emphatic, and continued longer than usual... so I got up to be sure nothing was wrong.

He was talking through the sliding glass door to a long haired white cat with orange spots (wearing a collar & tag) that I've seen in the neighborhood before. He was saying "You are on my deck and you should leave, because the minute I get outside I'm going to beat you up." The stranger was saying "I don't have to leave, and you can't make me."

Meanwhile Lilith was sitting on the spare bed, looking a bit concerned, but not too put out... and then Cally came into the room and was very upset about the whole thing, so she started growling, etc. She then tried swatting at me. I got out some treats to see if it would calm anyone down to have a snack, but no one was interested in food. (Shocking!)

Just as the stranger started very slowly to back away, an opossum showed up near the Brandeis fence! The stranger decided to go investigate, Peanut looked on with wary interest, and I ran and got my camera once I saw it was heading down the hill.

The possum on it's way to visit the neighbors
(That's ND's witchhazel.)

I almost had a perfect shot of it's face, but the camera's automatic light sensor thought I needed a flash for the second picture. That slowed it down and doesn't work through a window. Drat!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Early Bloom Gets My Attention

While continuing my spring clean-up, I discovered that one little bit of moss phlox has decided to open early.
Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue'

Also, it was nice and sunny today, so the yellow crocuses really opened up.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks'

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Theory into Practice

Shredded Leaves as Mulch

I started my yard's spring cleanup this week. It is a bigger task than in some years because most of my leaves fell only a short time before the yard was covered with snow. That means there's still a lot of leaf clean-up to do.

Ever since I started landscaping professionally, I've engaged in the silly practice of removing leaves from the landscaped areas of a yard, and then purchasing bark mulch for the bare areas of planted beds in order to prevent weed growth and provide organic matter.

That's going to stop.

Instead, the leaves are going to become the mulch.

This is a good idea because leaves break down into lovely organic matter, which makes better fertilizer than anything you can buy at the home improvement chains.

Last fall, I decided to test this at my house. Over the winter, my plan was further reinforced by the NOFA Organic Land Care course, as well as the Ecological Landscaping conference.

So, here I go... As I clean the leaves out of an area, I put them through the shredder, and then re-spread them. They need to be shredded and re-spread for a few reasons: 1. Large leaves can create something of a mat that can make it hard for perennials that have been dormant for the winter to reemerge, 2. The leaves will actually break down more quickly if they start as smaller pieces, and 3. They are less likely to blow around. (Also, I think it looks a bit tidier.)

When I buy mulch, I usually go for a very dark brown to black colored mulch, but I'm actually quite happy with the way the leaves are looking, even though it is a paler brown.

Iris reticulata 'Harmony' (planted fall '07)
Surrounded by Shredded Leaves

Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks' and Iris reticulata 'Harmony'