Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bad week for Bunnies good week for roses

I'm sad to say the bunnies aren't doing so well. They left the garden yesterday, unfortunately their timing was really bad. Bodie was out in the yard and caught one. I was yelling. Lovely husband got him to drop the bunny and I took Bodie inside. Husband took bunny out of the yard and put him on the other side of the fence in the shelter of a woodpile. He said the bunny looked ok, we're not sure if he made it or not. Husband found another one (deceased) in the yard. We don't know what happened to him as Bodie was confined to the house for the evening.

On the garden front: I planted the Zinnias (Cut and Come Again) that I had started from seed. There were 22 of them. Bodie stepped on one and something ate another one so I'm down to 20. I love growing plants from seed-it started out as a necessity as I was poor and couldn't afford to buy plants and I wanted a vegetable garden (much more economical than the produce section). I started in 2002 with a shop light hanging from the clothes rod in an empty closet with plant trays on top of the ironing board. I had a great garden that year. The biggest challenge was keeping Bodie the puppy out of the garden- he loved to play with the eggplants. 2003 Veggie garden wasn't as successful-I was dating my future husband and I was in luuuuuve-the garden suffered. No veggie garden 2004- I put my house on the market and realtor said that veggie gardens aren't buyer friendly. Garden was replaced with grass-so sad. 2005 we moved from NC to NY- no house, no garden. 2006 Veggie garden started from seed, husband was very good about keeping everything watered when I travelled for work. Too many paste tomatoes that year. Eggplants didn't do well. Last year I didn't get off my butt in time to get things started. I had to buy my plants-way too expensive! Back to seeds! This year things started out slowly-I got very frustrated, I couldn't figure out why everything was so slow. I had shop lights on timers, heat mats, I made newspaper pots so I could be a little "green". Dear Husband the non-gardener had an idea: too cold in the basement, I should move ghetto BigLots plant stand and shoplights up to the spare bedroom and see if that improves the little seedlings dispositon-Brilliant! That did the trick! Plethora of tomatoes have hardened off, now bunnies are out of garden we can plant! I have some eggplants, habanero peppers (seeds were free Aji Dulce peppers didn't make it), cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, zinnias, cosmos and marigolds. I might make some more newspaper pots and start some other flowery-type stuff.

The rose situation is looking up: Eden, Heritage, Distant Drums (the new one!) and Capt. Sam all have buds. Capt. Sam the oldest rose at 2 years, has a buch of buds. Eden and Heritage have only been in a year so it might take them another year to get established (?) Honestly, I have no idea as I've never grown roses before. Fingers are crossed. Winchester Cathedral is doing great, I planted it bare-root (grafted) in April. Distant Drums and Gruss an Aachen are both doing well, they've only been in a few weeks-they seem pretty happy. Sweet Promise is another story. It's growing, but it's really short. I think I may have a problem: it's grafted and I'm thinking that the new shoots are coming from the root plant. Who knows how that will end up? I'm looking forward to seeing what happens!

Side note: I spent the weekend at my Aunt and Uncles house in the Finger Lakes-Beautiful! Uncle's rhododendrons are gorgeous(see picture above)! Lilacs, Columbine and Iris were blooming too, their gardens are really breathtaking. Uncle is a professional photographer and Conservationist (and writer like Aunt). Check out his website to get an idea of what the Finger Lakes region is like:

This is the deal: there is a Native American legend that says the Great Spirit found the most beautiful place on earth and put his hands there to bless it. The fingerprints filled in with water and the Finger Lakes were created. The story is actually much better than that, I'm giving the Cliff Notes version. I was very sad when I lived in North Carolina. It's hard to grow up in a place as beautiful as this and then move to a place that's all concrete and highways, glass skyscrapers and strip malls- no soul. The whole state isn't like that. The mountains are gorgeous, the beaches are really nice. Gas and taxes are a lot cheaper there! Luckily, North Carolina has been invaded by New Yorkers and met my husband who is from here too and wanted to move back as much as I did. People in NC thought I was from a place like Manhattan-no way! That's a good 6 hour drive away! Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there!
Blooming: Miss Kim, Paul Thirion, Beauty of Moscow Lilacs. Lily of the Valley, Allium (giganteum?), Chives, Bleeding Heart, Weigela. Some weird plant in the front that has pretty blue flowers. Previous owners planted it. I plan on moving it after it finishes blooming-it's too close to the new Japanese Maple, too pretty to toss.

About to bloom: Allium moly, culinary Sage (!), Salvia, Lady's Mantle, Peonies, Iris

Getting going: Buddleia, crocosmia is peeking through!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Foxes and Bunnies and Birds, Oh My!

My sister emailed me this week- she came home one evening and a fox family was playing in the yard. The parents ran into the brush when her car pulled up but the 2 kits kept playing. They romped around for about 10 minutes before disappearing in the bushes. They've come back once since then around dusk to play in her yard. My sister is a bird lover, she has feeders and birdhouses all over. She was so excited to see that bluebirds were building a nest in her bluebird box. She checked later and there were eggs in the nest. The eggs hatched and she had a bunch of babies. Unfortunately, as the week progessed the babies weren't doing too well. She just called and said that none of them has made it. Very sad. It's been very cold for the past few days-high 30's (F) during the night and mid 50's during the day. She didn't think the parents were able to find enough bugs and other critters to feed the babies.

I have a garden related wildlife issue this week- I was moving my tomato seedlings to the garden earlier this week and Bodie kept trying to get into the vegetable garden. The only thing that's planted in there right now is lettuce- I figured he couldn't wreak too much havoc so I let him in and I went back to get more tomato plants from the side of the house. I came back to the garden and Bodie is outside the gate with something in his mouth. UH-OH- I tell him to drop it, which he does (shock and amazement) and he's got a mouthfull of fur that he's trying to spit out. So naturally the next thing I do is start screaming for my husband. Long story short- I put Bodie inside and got my husband a grocery bag and he picks up unidentified object previously in Bodie's mouth and notices that it's a baby bunny- remarkably unscathed but totally freaked out. So we start poking around the garden to try to figure out where he came from and we find a warren lined with fur under a pile of leaves. We put the bunny back in and covered him up. Husband isn't too psyched to have a bunch of rabbits living in the garden but what can we do? We should have dug up the garden sooner and turned the leaves under. Now were kind of stuck until the bunnies move out (which may never happen since they have a nice supply of lettuce in there) I think there are 4-6 babies in there, Bodie and I saw their little faces peeking out yesterday. I really need to get the garden put in.

On a non-wildlife related note: I got my Japanese Maple this week, "Green Cascade" a nice healthy looking 3-4 year old tree from the farmer's market. $50- good deal. I planted the Dahlia's I had started indoors on Sunday. The weather has been really cold (it snowed on Monday in Buffalo) but they seem to be doing ok. I also planted 2 more roses (Distant Drums a Buck rose and Gruss an Aachen) I got them from Heirloom roses-own root and bare root, very healthy. My Winchester Cathedral that I planted a few weeks ago is looking really good. I planted 2 Lady's Mantle that I got at the farmers market too. They look thirsty, I need to water them in the morning. Captain Sam, Eden, & Heritage all have buds. My salvia is also budding and should bloom soon. The crocosmia is starting to poke up through the soil. Nothing is really blooming in my yard right now except the Paul Thirion and Beauty of Moscow lilacs, and lily of the valley are blooming too. My mom's lilac is out in full force (she's zone 5 so a little later than we are)-gorgeous I was at her house last Sunday and we cut some blooms. I posted a picture-

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A bad week for the Roses

Aphids! I was reading Adrian Higgins' Garden Plot in the Washington Post the other day and someone wrote in about their rose bush being taken over by blackspot. DC is a few weeks ahead of us weather-wise so I thought if I started looking for it now I may be able to keep ahead of it. I went out and looked around the roses , I didn't find any black spot but I found a ton of aphids on my Heritage rose. I decided it was too late in the day to blast them with the hose so I pulled them off by hand and squashed them. Only the Heritage was affected. Sweet Promise, Capt Samuel Holland and Eden all look fine. I think I got most of the aphids off, I found and squashed 2 since the- thank you Adrian Higgins!

Captain Sam didn't escape the week unscathed either. While I was at the farmers market yesterday Bodie decided to check on his favorite chipmunk family under the deck. He ripped the wooden lattice work away and dug a big hole and got stuck under there all in the 5 minutes it takes for my husband to take a shower. So nice, clean husband had to dig him out and rescue him. Nice clean husband wasn't feeling very nice and wasn't very clean when he was done! This wasn't the first time Bodie has done this- so it's time to come up with a plan "D" (Plans A, B and C have all been foiled by Bodie). Anyway, during the melee my Captain Sam rose got banged up a bit- his trellis was knocked askew. He's a tough rose and keeps growing in spite of Bodie's excavating activites. Irritated, dirty husband wasn't inspired to take a photo of dirty, chipmunk-less dog, so I had to post a picture from another muddy incident at our old house in North Carolina. This is his "What's the big deal?" look.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I bought lilacs last weekend from Doc Lilac- 2 Miss Kim to replace the nasty Barberry bushes from the front. 1 each: Margaret Fenicchia, Beauty of Moscow, Paul Thirion, Silver King, and Adelaide Dunbar (left to right across the back fence). I got a great deal: All for $136 most are pretty healthy sizes. I think Doc took pity on me-I have caviar taste on a burger king budget. He knows I'll be back next year, I just need to rip out some more ugly bushes. I think he enjoyed having someone stopping by every 2 weeks since February asking a million questions! He's a great guy to talk to, very knowledgeable and has a wonderful sense of humor. You can visit his site at

I went to opening day of the farmer's market last week. Not a lot of veggies available yet-mostly lettuces and onions. I talked to a guy that grows Japanese Maples-I'm eyeballing either "Green Cascade" or "Kamagata" I came home to do some research. I have another space to fill after ripping out some more Barberry bushes. I think the weeping Green Cascade will look nice there. The prices at the farmers market are far more reasonable than ordering online and they are better than nursery prices. Plus the guy is local so if I have questions or need help he's just a few miles away.

One of the ladies in my pottery class brought me divisions of her primroses. I put them in the ground on a rainy day and they seem to be doing well. The flowers didn't travel well but the plants themselves look healthy.

I went again to the Farmer's Market today-it was packed! I should have gone first thing in the morning but I was lazy and went back to bed. I got some great deals: 5 pink Bleeding Hearts for $20, 2 big creeping phlox for my mom for $14, and the killer deal (I think) was a bag full of 14 bearded iris rhizomes and 4 Alliums in pots for $8. I know this isn't a good time of year to be moving irises around but I figure I'll keep them trimmed back so the energy gets focused on the roots and not on the flowers. The Alliums are looking a little peaked. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I didn't get the Japanese Maple today the guy didn't have the green cascade, I'll try to remember to call him later in the week to remind him to bring it.

What's blooming this week: Forsythia is really on it's way out. Cherry trees are pretty much depetaled. Magnolias are done. Daffadils are done, Tulips are out as are forget-me-nots and lily of the valley, Lilacs are just starting to open (Docs grandson said Highland park is peaking right now) Lilac Festival started yesterday. The leaves on most of the trees are almost fully out. Dandelions are out in full force!