Bastard Squirrel!

There is a squirrel nest in my Ash tree. That stupid squirrel and his/her stupid friends dig holes all over my garden beds and uproot new plants. They taste-test bulbs and tomatoes, but never finish anything. And worst of all, like the rabbits, they destroy the pretty flowers!

This was my first bearded iris... I bought a "mystery box" of irises, daffodils and tulips on eBay two Falls ago. My first iris finally bloomed on Sunday. I went out yesterday to take a picture, but this is what I found.

There would have been four flowers! Dang squirrel took a bite out of one of the buds and just left the remnants on the stairs. Bastard.

Rebecca's Progress

Early May:

This is the backyard before cleaning up for the spring. Hard to tell anything is growing here.

After cleaning and now you can see the hostas coming up and other various plants.

This is the front yard. I won't be doing much planting till after I get the house painted around the first of June. Then I plan on putting up the window boxes and putting in some plants near the sidewalk. It is a very shady front yard, plus the pine tree makes the soil very acidic so choices are more limited.

Late May:

This has been a banner year for the spirea bush. My crabapples, on the other hand, did not really bloom much at all. My neighbor says crabapples bloom well every other year, and last year was certainly a good one. Next year will be the test, I guess.

This was taken just a few days ago. You can see considerable progress from the first photos.

Late Spring Update

The colorful tulips are all but gone. Only the free-with-my-late-Fall-order Queen of the Night tulips are left blooming. Not as tall as Karen's from last year, but that could be because mine were planted in a shady spot by the garage.

I planted another freebie in that bed-- a Northern Lights Azalea. At last year's neighborhood garden tour, some folks were giving away three of these shrubs as they needed more sun. I took one and for some reason I thought the new bed by the garage would be a perfect sunny spot for it. It actually only gets about two-and-a-half hours of sun a day. Before this week, I figured the poor thing was dead, but its got a few nice yellow and white blooms on it now!

There are a few other flowers out now. Surprisingly few of the daffodils I planted have bloomed. There's lots of green, just few flowers.
A Columbine and yet another freebie, a giant Allium are also in flower now.Like many gardeners, I enjoy purple plants. Several of mine are coming along. Penstemon 'Husker's Red' (I think) and 'Purple Palace' Heuchera.

I am looking forward to two new Geraniums planted last Fall. My 'Purple Emperor' Sedums should be a good size this, their third, year.I am also really looking forward to my three Clematis vines. The Huldine is on its forth year and the Clematis 'General Sikorski' is finally coming on in its second year. I just planted a third clematis, a 'Ville de Lyon' and have ordered a 'Niobe' that should arrive soon.

Tuilp Progress and More

I planted my 150 "perennial" tulips over ten inches deep in several areas of the yard. I think it is the deep planting that has made them more slow to bloom than those of my neighbors. Finally the flowers that the rabbits and squirrels have not eaten are blooming.

Half of the blooms by the front railing have been plucked or otherwise destroyed by the critters in my yard. For the third attempt running, there's no sign of the daffodils directly across from these.

The second largest area is in front near the forsythia bush. I had planted some Dutch Irises over top of the tulips, but they have not made any showing there or the other spots where they were planted.

Toward the end last Fall I found I might have over done it with the bulb orders. I ended up planting two sets of 30 and 20 in the grass! They seem to have found their way through the (semi-frozen) turf.

Our apple tree is in full bloom! The yard smells wonderful. Two years ago we had a ton of apples. Last year there were not as many. I tired thinning the apples out and bagged around 60 of them to keep the files from spoiling them. It worked pretty well until I found the squirrels had finished eating/wasting all of the apples up high and started to steal the bagged ones. In the end, we only got about 10 small apples. It seems that me might have a lot more flowers this year than last. I'm guessing we'll see another big crop of apples. The question is, who will get to enjoy them-- us or the squirrels?

I thought my General Sikorski clematis was dead, but some encouragement from the folks at gardenweb proved right. I found 3-4 tiny stems coming up from the base! My Huldine clematis is over two feet high with five stems!


Blooms everywhere!

Bleeding Heart:
Bleeding Heart blooms.
Cherry Tree: planted 2008—it didn't die!Cherry tree blossoms.
Classic Tulip: planted 2008—squirrels left the bulbs and bunnies have spared the blooms!Tulip.
Turkish Tulips:Turkish Tulips.
Rhododendron:Rhododendron blooming. Wake Up Sleepyhead Fern!
Fern. Garden Cat!
Garden cat.


A rose in a corn field is only just a weed. Sometimes they are a welcome spot of color. Sometimes they make you want to take out every chemical you own, plus a flame thrower, and boiling oil. My neighbor adores creeping bellflower and I continually rip it up whenever and wherever I spot it. Here are my thoughts about a few chosen weeds I'm encountering.

I don't have any photos of purslane because, for some reason, I can't grow it. I have tried. I've even purchased seed for a larger English variety. No real luck. I love the way it tastes. It's great in vinegar with onions and cucumbers. Sigh.

I have a fondness for many weeds. I adore clover. I have wonderful memories of sitting in a patch of clover in the yard, hunting for four-leaf clovers. One patch was sure to offer up such a find. My sister even found one with five leaves once. I envied her all summer. In fact, I think I might have stolen it from her. My grandfather had a large planting of clover in his back yard for his honey bees. I've planted clover in my lawn (back when I had a lawn.) I think it's a huge asset: it blooms and it doesn't grow too high.

Every year I end up yanking out clump after clump of violets. And it makes me feel terrible. I love violets. I have a few clumps of the freckled variety that, since I purchased them, I feel I can allow to spread in their slow, slow, slow pace. But the ones on the boulevard and in the cracks in the sidewalk have to be removed eventually. But they are so sweet when they bloom. And you can eat the flowers.

Creeping charlie
I'm not sure how I feel about this one. It's really rather pretty blooming in small amounts in yards where the grass is having a hard time growing in the shade. The smell reminds me of my grandmother's house. And you can make gil tea (not really very tasty) from the plant. But the winding, tenacious little creeps need to get out of my flower garden. I do enjoy the feel of pulling out a really long vine of the stuff. It's a little like carving a long single strip of apple peel when preparing to make apple sauce. Truly satisfying.

I apologize for hating columbine. I feel terrible about it. But they are everywhere in my garden. I can't get them out of the strawberries. They never keep their foliage because the leaf miners and inch worms totally destroy it. But the plants manage to get their blooms up and matured so seeds can go everywhere. I did enjoy when Black Bart and Nora Barlow hybrids mixed. But enough with the prosperous offspring of the wild variety. Seriously. No more columbine. If you visit and see it in anywhere in my garden, you must rip it out.

Garlic chives
These suckers are going to send me to the nut house. Everywhere. I'm going to have to dig up the narrow strip of rock garden all along the side of the house so I can get rid of the suckers. Then next year I'll probably have to do the same. You see I really love to use garlic chives in my culinary pursuits. I use it often enough to keep the flowers from even opening. But every year I must miss a few. I have onion chives on the terraced slope in back of my house. I found them while whacking down to size all the bushes planted there. I found twice as many chives as I did dandelions.

Milkweed, elm trees, buckeye trees, plantain, nightshade, mallow, buckthorn .... I have to stop now. My blood pressure seems to be going up just a bit too much. But before I go, here's a good resource for identifying and getting suggestions for eradicating local weeds: Control Options for Common Minnesota Lawn and Landscape Weeds

Evidence: Exhibit A and B

Flower petals on a rock.
I love bunnies—they are cuter than cute. I say that even though I've had my first true bunny flower massacre. I didn't have anything growing worth munching until last year but the great Hail Storm of 2008 beat the bunnies to my prized gardening efforts then. Above you'll see Exhibit A of bunny shenanigans. Below, Exhibit B. You be the judge—is this the work of bunny foolishness?

Flower petals.
I think the evidence looks suspiciously like the ONE tulip (out of six) that has lived long enough to bloom...

They're Multiplying!

[updated below]

Rebbecca and I took at trip to Menard's this afternoon. As we were unloading my mulch from her car, we startled a couple of rabbits near the fence. I looked over and saw a nest of brand new baby bunnies! Grr. Now I have to be nice to them. I had chased off three rabbits this morning. I guess they were getting ready for the birth. The nest was not there yesterday.

The mother rabbit kicked one of the babies out of the nest as she ran off to hide. Rebbecca used a stick to shovel it back in with its siblings. She got this picture with her iPhone.

By time I got back out side with my camera, around 15 minutes later, mom, dad and aunt/uncle looked to have pushed the babies all further into the nest. Either that or they decided to move them.

[update, 5/4/2009]

I checked this morning and this evening. No sign of the bunnies. The front of the nest does look like it was disturbed, but otherwise there is not any sign of an invader. Some sites say mother rabbits can't move the babies, others say she will relocate if she thinks the nest is not safe. There doesn't look to be any fluffy bunny fur lining the nest. I put some twigs in an "X" over the spot to see if it is being visited by the mother. Who knows.