Things planted so far: a King Sago Palm (which is actually a cycad, not a palm) in one of the two whiskey barrels, and a variety of annuals -begonias, caladiums and wave petunias - in the other. We (well, I) named the Sago "Elvis". Extra begonias got tucked in around the camellia and near the back steps.
The two concrete planters on the wall got "Miss Huff" Lantana, which we dearly love but have to treat as an annual here in zone 6. It was a perennial in Atlanta and we had some big beautiful ones at the end of our old deck. The butterflies loved them, and Gulf Fritillaries in particular. The wisteria we planted last summer has greened up and is blooming all over, so here's hoping we get some height out of over the next few months.
I had some extra Lantana and added it to the butterfly area which contains Yarrow (Achillea 'Summer Wine'), Echinacea ('Warm Summer') and Asclepias ('Butterfly Weed'). The latter three I ordered from Burpee, the first time I've ever done plants by mail. Very curious to see how they turn out. I carved out an area where the phlox was pretty much running rampant, edged out the two major phlox mats and killed off the rest. I'll get some pictures up at some point.
The rest of that area (a strip running along the outside corner of the yard and ending under a flowering cherry) is crying for an iris bed, and as it happens, there's a large-ish iris nursery not more than an hour from here.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Also on this morning's ride: plenty of bluebirds here and there chasing bugs and an eastern meadowlark on top of a telephone pole.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The purple-flowered trees you're seeing along the roadside in the fields - the ones with the long spiked clusters of blooms - are Princess Trees, Paulownia tomentosa. Native to Asia where they're prized for their wood (among other things), they are naturalized here in the southeast and considered invasive as all hell. I see them while I'm out and about and was always curious about them.
Monday, April 2, 2012
When you lead Cub Scouts on a hike, you can pretty much forget spotting birds or mammals that aren't already dead. We hiked to a river overlook and back, a little over a mile, and made it out just as the sun went down completely. We did manage an interesting moth, several millipedes, one grody-looking fish, and some crawdads. We spotted and named a few trees (redbud, cedar, shagbark hickory). The trail, while paved, was beset on all sides with mayapple, poison ivy, woodbine and occasional bits of color. The wildflower pictures have their own posts above and below this one, thanks to some flickr/blogger foolishness.
Nearly a year. That's quite a hiatus.
Herewith an update.
I spent a goodly part of yesterday taming the wild phlox that grows along outside corner of our yard. Creeping phlox, I believe it's called, though a more accurate name might be 'Viking Plant, Marauder Of Lawns'. It seems to be turning up pretty much everywhere. How in the hell it got into the back yard is beyond me, but it's all over the place. No worries, though. When it gets hot enough for the bermuda to start growing full-tilt, I expect a reckoning.
I carved a large chunk out of the middle of the original (and still nicest) phlox mat and planted the stuff that arrived from Burpee last week: asclepias, yarrow and some interesting echinacea. We're trying to attract butterflies and whatnot. As these things (hopefully) grow and spread, I can keep displacing the phlox and maybe some of the damned liriope.
I can't say enough about the Knockout roses out front. If you want a largely trouble-free and idiot-proof rose, head over to your local nursery or big-box store and grab a few. We have some yellow ones out by the mailbox and I think they've probably quadrupled in size since we planted them last year. I'm hoping that by summer's end, they'll be close to mailbox-height. Occasional fertilizer and a bit of water when the summer gets to be really hot, and that's about it. No problems with disease or insects. Great stuff.
Out back, the wisteria is off and running, and the remaining climbing rose on the fence is manfully struggling along. The lawn has filled in last year's construction damage, though I plugged a few bare areas with some bermuda clumps to see how well it does when I want it to grow someplace. Some kitchen herbs in a small trough. Two concrete planters that we're eyeballing for some lantana which is unfortunately considered an annual here in Zone 6a. There are also the whiskey barrels, one of which will receive a cycad palm. The other one will be stuffed with annuals at my bride's discretion. Those are slated for next weekend.
Birds: one of the kids saw a turkey walking down the road yesterday. Saw a likely Cooper's Hawk while driving the other day. On Saturday, several cormorants while at the lake. The cedar waxwings have come and gone and we're inching closer to hummingbird season. The local grackles, robins and jays are all frantically building nests.
Insects: we are beset on all sides by the annual crane fly hatch. Fortunately, this won't last for too much longer. Butterflies: some small whites and sulfurs.