Monday, May 23, 2011

The Gardens Past and Present, Sparse and Overgrown

Catching up on the gardens this week we've lots of pics of the plants this spring of 2011. It's good but there's some horticultural editing needed.

Pic of the Day

So the gardens of Serendipity Shore have matured, changed, gone out of control in some places.

Below, a picturesque tour of the gardens..

First, two older pictures of the gardens, below, the azaleas and the wigelia.

Below, a tour of the gardens this spring in this Year of Our Lord, 2011.


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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The 2009 Garden Success Is a Vertical Triumph

The gardens of 2009 grow well here in Serendipity Shore.

A native plant helps to create a living fence and a flower that had always refused to grow adds stunning vertical interest to the gardens.

With pics, of course.


Pic of the Day

Gardens Bloom Fine Despite Neglect

I didn’t expect much from my gardens this year in that 2008 was a horrific year here in Serendipity Shore. Husband came down with a terrifying brain infection and I had a quadruple coronary bypass. It wasn’t that working the gardens was forbidden to me as it was, indeed, encouraged for the exercise.

But husband needed intravenous IV’s some six times a day and was so sick that I had to carry the full domestic load. It was enough that I was able to get Fall’s leafage gathered to the compost pile in early spring 2009.

I had transplanted some bushes that were growing lackluster in various places on the lot. A native plant, a Swamp Rose, was moved from the center lawn garden to a spot alongside the driveway where I am creating my “living fence”. I have mixed emotions about this plant. First, it was sold at a plant sale featuring plants indigenous to Delaware and these plants always do better as one might expect. Problem is, the things grow a bit too well. In the first year of its planting the thing was sprouting everywhere as it turns out that it throws out underground tendrils and takes over the world. This would not do in a contained garden environment. So I spiked out all the annoying tendrils and put it in a spot where it can grow bejeesus to create a living, green wall alongside my driveway. Way I figure, it can give the huge hedge rose some competition.

My container garden looks great at street’s edge. The clemantis have grown better than I dared to hope. I’ve tried for years to grow these things and never could do it. I understand that they like their roots shaded and my logic was that the handsome obelisk lawn decoration I have would help to shade the roots of the vine.

In fact it is the leaves and blooms of the clemantis itself that provides shade for its own roots. The obelisk gives it a place to grow vertical and from now on this gardener will tout a vertical gardening feature as a must-have in all happening gardens of our era.
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Here's a well-written book by Edward Humes titled "Mean Justice".

The author tries to make a case that Pat Dunn was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife Sandy via a "mean justice" that includes lying witnesses, runaway prosecutors and a right-wing public with little patience to get at the truth.

Only there's gaping holes in the author's arguments and I take them on in this book review.

Bachelorette Jillian keeps looking for a "connection" in The Bachelorette series now with 7 contenders left vying for her heart.

The Wise I tells Jillian what she really needs to look for in these contenders and first she needs to find out what the hell a "pizza entrepreneur" is.

With pics and video you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.

Two would-be Food Network Stars have been sent packing and in this update based on the episode aired 6/14/09-we review the remaining contenders, who looks promising, who desperately needs to go and the foods they serve get a close eyeball.

Brussels Sprouts Hash?

All with pics and video you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.

Two fine, fine liberal ladies show us their stuff to the innocent who mistakenly call them…LIZ or MA'AM.

Nasty names them.

In this THOUGHTS post we have the whole story of Elizabeth who shall destroy those who call her Liz and Barbara Boxer must NOT be called Ma'am.

Plus a letter that sums up the tea parties and the feelings of us peons across the fruited plains.

Good Guys of the Week, Bad Buys of the Week, Quips of the Week and it all Ends With a Smile.


Friday, May 1, 2009

It's the INDOOR Plants Now Shining in the Gardens. The Birds Make "Doors" in the Shrubbery

The INDOOR plants are now in their glory in the gardens of Serendipity Shore.

The brown thrashers have another nest in the hedge roses. But what's with these "doors" the bird fellows keep creating in the shrubbery? And does the robin really know when the dog is leashed?

Pic of the Day
little girl with collie

Creating “Doors” in the Shrubbery

I am delighted that the Brown Thrashers have again chosen my hedge roses for their nest placement, as they did last year, Blog post about this HERE.

I do, however, take great exception to the “doors” the thrashers, and other birds, keep creating in my shrubbery. The birds however, do not care what I think.

What happens, the birds fly in and out of the shrubbery, in one case my azaleas and in the case of the thrashers, the hedge roses, so much that the bushes simply, boom, do not grow where the birds keep flying.

My azaleas evidently provide fine protection in the winter. The azaleas are next to my front porch and I often hear birds from within the shrubs and/or see them flying in and out. This year I noted a huge “hole” in the front of the azaleas and I must smile ruefully. The azaleas do have foliage year round and in the winter this is of value to the visiting white-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos. I am proud that the bird fellows so enjoy my plantings but sheesh.

Same thing with the hedge roses and the thrashers. These guys have a front door and a back door in my hedge roses.

In both cases the shrubbery doesn’t seem to mind at all. The azaleas simply grow bushier in other parts of the bush and the hedge roses, goodness they are now as tall as a small building. The hedge roses use the energy they’d use for the foliage around those “doors” the thrashers have created to just, boom, grow taller.


One more item about the bird fellows in my surround. Do not tell me, as bizarre as it might sound, that the robin nesting in my yard somewhere doesn’t know exactly when I leash the dog during the morning exercise routine.

For the worms are indeed fat and juicy in that bare-grassed area that I use for the morning jog and fast-walk along with the leashed dog. Robins love short-mown lawns as well as bare ground for the ease provided in finding the worms.

Except dog does not allow any other living thing in the backyard beyond her own fine self, which includes squirrel-rodents, of course, and any birds that dare land on HER soil.

So when the dog is allowed to run the yard unfettered for that period when I jog and otherwise exercise without bother of tethered dog, the robin does NOT, pointedly, land in the yard. Should Mr. Robin choose to do so the dog in her freedom will chase it away.

Let me attach the leash to the dog for my final exercise stage of the morning routine, boom, there lands the robin who may then avail himself of the worms without bother of dog.

Don’t tell me that robin doesn’t know that the dog is now on leash and that he may now enjoy the worms he could not get to for the presence of the testy and protective dog that worm-hunting robins do not attack her owner’s person.

The robin all contentedly pulling worms causes the now-leashed dog to tug and pull that dog may be free to chase away the pesky robin one more time. I must then curse the gods of worms that this bird is smart enough to know just when to land and pluck the worms at his leisure as the dog causes me so much grief.

Hedge rose before bloom 2009

As for the gardens this mid-spring 2009, the indoor plants are now outside for the summer and early fall season. I took a picture of the plants and ponder that soon, very soon, they will have to go as they are getting entirely too big to keep inside the house.

Indoor plant montage 2009

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It's down to two on American Idol 2009. One is the beloved of the teenyboppers and one has talent and more talent.

Can the force of the 12-14 year olds really create a talent injustice that will forever cast a pall upon the very soul of American Idol?

All with pics and video you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.

There's little doubt who's going to win this year's Dancing With the Stars, 2009, competition.

For Gilles Marini is sexy, handsome and a damn good dancer.

So who will be second, Melissa or Shawn?

Some wry observations on this year's contest including a sarcastic little jibe at Melissa and her cute tiny lie.

All with pics and video you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.

Celebrity Apprentice and Hell's Kitchen 2009 are over now. We've got some memories with pics and video from throughout the contest.

Along with my own fine rants about why the winner of each is not believable and how this will adversely affect future contests.

Plus a review of BravoTV's newest reality show that leaves me giggling through the night. Not at the basis of the contest but at the contenders!

The sorry saga of Miss California should have taught us all about our future and those of us who dare to express our true hearts that would offend the very mean.

If only the Republicans would take the torture bull by the horns that entire joke would soon be past tense and the Dems would fall like dominos against the weight of a wrecking ball.

The Nice Guy of this Past Week, the Bad Guy of the Past Week in this week's Thoughts.

It all ends with a smile.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gardens-Bunnies and Garden Plots Run Wild; Review of a Product You MUST Have

We take a visit to the gardens during this growing season. We have a pic and a video of a baby rabbit. Okay, so it's not a movie of legend, it is cute.

The gardens grow wonderfully but we have issues with the growth. For a jungle does not a garden make.

Pic of the Day

Pets gone wild

Rabbits are very common in the spring and those rapid reproducers quite enjoy our gardens.

My gardens this year, with me handicapped with surgical wounds that burn and stab, have grown into jungles that cause passersby to mumble in shock.

A bed of fine clover had taken over a wide area in front of my happening gurgling fountain and one cute baby wabbit decided he rather liked this gourmet feast.

Below a movie of this little Peter Cottontail and below that, a pic.

Baby rabbit in garden

The problem with my gardens this year is basically that everything is in the wrong place. And this year, what with my heart clogged up worse than a Mexican sewer, I could mostly just sit and watch what I thought were perfect plantings.

My gardens are filled increasingly with what is proudly referred to as "native plants". As a certified National wildlife Steward I monitor a local plant sale on behalf of the Delaware Nature Society. The DNS is the NWF's local representative for that group. So while I am not technically a member of the Delaware Nature Society, I am affiliated and certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

I do, of course, purchase a plentiful and varied assortment of native plants. I then must plant the things. This year, due to a little problem with my heart, I was unable to man that native plant sale booth for the DNS but all of my prior years' purchased native plants are happy and growing happy bejeesus in my gardens here in the swamps of Delaware.

The Swamp Mallows produces pretty white flowers that resemble the blooms of a Rose of Sharon. Both of these plants bloom at the same time as well.

Swamp Mallows are taking over my front porch garden and threaten to take over the world.

I don't want plants over six feet tall in my front porch garden because, duh, I sit on the porch and can see nothing with wild and wooly flora and fauna blocking my view of the world. These Swamp Mallows are not the first plant to be fondly placed in my porch garden to grow into a gigantic plant that catches one's breath.

Well hey, they ARE native plants. This means they're not, like oriental lilies or something which are not, as obvious by their name, native plants. Not that there's anything with oriental lilies but they're not plants native to this continent.

So while oriental lilies grow fine in the swamps of Delaware, a native plant, evolved in this area for many years with genes fine-tuned to the breezes and watery land in which they rest, will grow to heights unknown.

This is a good thing.

I got to get those Swamp Mallows out of there, they are driving me nuts.

I have so far filled my front porch garden with Lamb's Ear, which has to be the ugliest plant in the world if it gets wet and please don't forget I live in a swamp. Bumblebees love Lamb's Ear but is having a hive of hungry bees flying around where one wishes to sit and watch the porch TV a really good idea?

I plant annuals of petunias, marigolds, and red salvia every year in that front porch garden and they do a fine job and are perfect for the flowery, well-behaved garden I seek for that area.

A pretty coneflower, a "miniature" one which I purchased specifically for that garden, grows nice alongside butterfly weed which also keeps a low height and looks nice. The Swamp Mallows from hell threaten to overrun everything.

Coneflower and Brown Thrasher

Out in the center lawn garden I planted what is called a Swamp Rose and this thing is too taking over the world. All year I must constantly pull up bits of this plant that insist on growing everywhere. This thing is invasive but it's a native plant so this is fine.

Except I didn't want my entire center lawn garden to be one great big killer Swamp Rose. I am going to have to get that thing out of there next year.

I try to keep small, well-behaved bushes in the center lawn garden. Mostly I've been successful. There's a pretty variegated Wigelia in that garden and for a couple of years it was happy and well-behaved. With a couple of years of roots in the ground this Wigelia is threatening even the Swamp Rose.

Gladiolas and Clematic

The Clematis climbing my obelisk in my container garden is the flower hit of the season. Clematis want cool roots. I planted a Clematis by each leg of a white obelisk. This was last year.

This year, only the second year for this guy, it eagerly climbed that obelisk like one happy native plant. Only a Clematis is not a native plant.

This Clematis loves wrapping its tendrils around that obelisk. By the time those vines reach the top of that obelisk the Clematis leaves shade the ground below. Cool roots makes a happy Clematis.

What I am going to have to do, and I've done it before, is wait till all my heart wounds heal, which will probably be next growing season at the latest, get me a shovel, and completely empty those flower beds.

With a better garden plan, I am going to move the plantings to a more suitable spot. I have a perfect place for the invasive Swamp Rose and where I want to put the bush it can invade all it wants.

Those Swamp Mallows are going over by the fence.

All of these plants are now over six feet tall so digging them up and moving them is quite the job. I'm going to do it though.

Because I can't live happily in a jungle.

Finally, I'd written before about those Brown Thrashers which built a nest in my hedge rose. Goodness those birds even built their own "door" into the hedge rose and I bit my fingers but let the nest remain. I'd seen three little black birds in the nest but soon enough, boom, they were gone.

Below a pic of the nest. One egg, as one can see, did not hatch.

brown thrasher nest after use

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gardens and Birds-A May 08 Garden Tour and the State Bird of Georgia

Four weeks after quadruple coronary bypass and with THAT story told, time to pay attention to things that bring about an upbeat attitude. Not to mention an emotion so strong that it equates to nothing less than what life is all about and the joy of being able to live it.

First, the state bird of Georgia decided to build a nest in my hedge roses. I was just so honored. We've got pics of both the hedge roses what took over the world and the Brown Thrasher which so availed itself of that thorny bush.

Second, a video garden tour. My gardens won't win the prizes from Better Homes and Gardens but I built it with plantings from the old homestead and new native plants. This year, the fifth year of my handiwork, it looks right nice.

There's also plenty of garden pics for those without video capability.

Pic of the Day

They never used steroids

The Garden Matures

It's now been five years since I moved to my homestead of Serendipity Shore here in the swamps of Delaware. I'd left a plot of land in neighboring state Merryland that I called Critter Cove. Critter Cove had the benefit of fifteen years of my gardening ministrations. My Delaware home had a lackluster garden with no lawn whatsoever when I moved in. Over the five years I've planted various plantings from the old homestead, plenty of new ones from native plant sales, and I've added a few new gardens.

In this year of our Lord 2008 I finally discover that I've achieved my first gardening goal from that moving day of five years ago. Only now I've got to un-do a lot of my handiwork in my Serendipity Garden now run slightly amok.

For a perfect garden would be one that has perennial blooms that bloom happily for each segment of the growing season. Said garden would be neatly planted with plants that have enough room to grow without crowding out the others with space for a few annuals to accent the collection. The plants should attract the birds, butterflies and critters to use, opportunists that they are.

If a garden matures well, blooms will accent the space in each applicable garden season, the plants will wax and wane with those waxing taking over for the waning. The necessity of mulch will be a minor thing as the properly spaced plantings prevent a wild undergrowth of noxious weeds.

Hedge rose begin bloom May 08

hedge rose day two bloom

Garden Montage May 08

Points of pride garden May 08

So I don't have to mulch every other day as I used to but now I face gardens that are, let me admit the truth, almost running away with plants wanting to grow and a few of them are selfish and don't want to share the soil.

This means, next year when my heart has healed and it is ready for the challenge, I'm going to have to dig out some of those plants and put them somewhere where they have more room to roam.

Below is the video of my garden tour of May 2008. Enjoy.

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What's the State Bird of Georgia Doing With a Nest in My Hedge Roses?

I knew that rusty, reddish bird with the speckled breast that had been hanging around my front yard was some kind of "thrasher". I'd seen these birds before but always during the March period of migration. They were mostly just passing through is what I'm saying here.

Yet this thrasher didn't appear to be moving through back home to Georgia. I noted it was hanging around the front yard and that, to my complete surprise, seemed to be spending a lot of time entering and exiting the thorny depths of my famous hedge roses.

Those hedge roses do defy the laws of Physics. They were little scraggly things when I ripped then out of the ground from Critter Cove's shadowy lot and gave them a new chance in a new state. As yon reader can see from the pics in the garden post above, the things have grown into a veritable mountain.

They are filled with thorns but fortunately I planted them in a real nice spot and hey, the hedge roses like it there too.

Birds regularly flit in and out of the depths of those thorns and I often sat on the front porch and marveled over this. I couldn't even reach over a branch to snip a spent bloom without burying a nasty thorn somewhere in my skin but the birds love that bush, winter too!

brown thrasher montage

It was right before I went into the hospital for my surgery that I realized that this very handsome pair of brown thrashers were, to my amazement, surprise and delight, actually building a nest somewhere in the depths of that hedge rose mountain! In fact, there was located, at the bottom and far right edge of the bush, what I referred to as a "door". It was an area where no branches, blooms or leafs of the hedge rose grew. This lack of growth was, as I figured out after much observation, was caused by birds endlessly flying in and out into the bowels of the bush.

By the time I got out of the hospital, those thrashers had babies in that nest and I spent many recovering hours sitting on my porch swing and watching the fledging.

It was mesmerizing to watch, as bird fledgings always are. I watched a parent bird sit on my Serendipity Shore sign and call the reluctant youngsters.

For reasons I don’t understand, I never got a chance to see one baby Brown Thrasher. I saw the parents all over the place and I heard their loud call and the soft warble they sent to their children, depending on conditions upon.

But they’re still out there so given time I might see the children thrashers.

This was one of the more delightful nests I’ve ever entertained in my yard and I intend to make a nomination that the Brown Thrasher be made the state bird of Delaware.

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