Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Wild Back Yard 2015

I am someone who loves a manicured yard, but one has to admit there can be some charm in an unkempt spot that has suffered some from neglect. Hard as I try I just can't keep up. 
The geraniums in these terra cotta pots did add a splash of color on the back porch. There are some I planted in blue pots on the front stoop (mental note to get a pic of those) and about 4 still in the original pots from the garden center. There was a time when my decks were dressed in as many as 14 pots of various colors. I am lucky now to manage a few.

Who doesn't love snapdragons? Even I was surprised to see the humming birds investigating them. The flower bed is weedy. Every time I come across a toad I stick them in the beds. I figure they are my little helpers, eating what bugs them and me. They were nice and standing straight before the last rain.

Same with my half dozen tomato plants. They are all in wire cages but out grew them and became top heavy. The heavy rains did help to make them grow and bend them over.

When my daughter Meghan had her hot dog party (did I blog about that?), she had some neat things going on, one was to have giveaways and I won this blue bowl that had in it all kinds of stuff for a little herb garden. I got a slow start with planting it. I will leave it outside as long as the weather permits. I could transplant everything to my big herb garden bed but look what an over grown disaster it has become.....

The chives are way out of control, just look at them! The original bird bath got broken (was it a racoon?) and so I found this galvanized serving tray at Walmart and placed a brick in the center before filling with water. The small concrete bath is not even where it should be. There is a terra cotta toad abode situated in the forest between the two. The basil, sage, parsley, oregano and mint have taken over, and I have taken leave of my senses. Mint, heavens, don't even plant it in your herb garden. If you have it and love it for various things keep it in the pot. It will send out under ground runners and the root system sends it all over the place. I ripped some up 2 summers ago and threw it on my compost pile in the middle of the old garden spot. Needless to say I have mint growing out there. Every time I run over it with the lawn mower I get a whiff of it.

The base of the birdbath needs adjusted, I had to put the pan off center. It needs cleaning out. See how the mint has left the bed and the roots have sprouted more between the bed and fence?

Look at my bittersweet vine. It is 4 years old and doing well, so well that it has decided to climb on the lower branches of the sugar maple tree. It had a rough first winter. The rabbits decided to gnaw at the base and chewed trough several shoots at the base. Last fall it lost its leaves and was loaded with bright orange berries. So pretty, I love it.

 I find feathers from time to time, not surprised one bit since I feed the birds all year long. There is a hawk in the area and when he comes around the little birds hide from him. They warn each other. They are so smart. They often see what I do not.

 My over grown flower garden. This is what I see when I look from the herb garden toward the one side of the back yard. The open gate leads to the outer yard. Can you believe I have pulled weeds in this spot twice this summer? It does need re-mulching and I have 40 bags just waiting in the garage. 

 This is what I see when I stand in from of the flower bed where the snap dragons are planted. My hosta look great. They sure need a good thinning but that needs to be done in the spring when the plants are about 1 inch high. I have had a hummingbird feeder for many years but this was a first too, the hummers checking out the blooms on the stalks of the hosta. Those flower stalks are woody late in the season and easily pulled up. I usually snap them in smaller pieces and they can be used for kindling when starting a fire in the fire pit.

Between the over abundance of rain a couple weeks ago and the dry period afterward my flower pots look sad. I don't have the heart to be rid of them yet. 

How many of you have a favorite spot in your yard? For me it is this set of steps leading to the lower deck when coming from the wood shop. You have to walk under the red bud tree that is shady and cool. Look at the lattice work under the deck. Rabbits chewed the heck out of it and that patchwork of slats was the solution for the time. It stays shady most of the day and I would like to transplant hosta there come next spring if God willing and I am up to it.

See my feeders? I love to watch the birds. I get a large variety all day long. They sit on the fence, they hide in the trees and also the bitter sweet vine. See my compost bin to the right? It will tumble around if you want to hasten the breakdown of the peelings and weeds. Right now it needs to be emptied to make room for more. Amazing, the black compost you will get from all sorts of veggie peelings. It is proof positive that were are eating dirt. The plants come from the soil and so did we. Incomprehensible, amazing and so far beyond our understanding.

Let's take a walk out to the far back of my property to the apple trees shall we? Last summer there were no apples because I gave the trees a haircut. This spring a few blossoms showed up and there are maybe a dozen apples. Unfortunately something loves apples just as much as I do and has been pecking at them. Then come the ants and of course the bees and hornets will be next.

Three weeks ago Meghan was over to help me mow grass and do some clipping. She discovered this honeycomb on one of the apple trees. It had a bee working on it at the time. She motioned me over (I was on the riding mower) and sure enough how neat was this. It is know that bees do not take kindly to being disturbed by noise and I don't think he appreciated my showing up. As log as I kept my distance everything was okay.

Sadly in the past 2 weeks I have not seen one bee come back here. I blame myself. It was not worth disrupting a work of nature in progress just to have a hand's length view of this awesome undertaking. Look how perfect those little circles are, look how perfect the design. I could not even draw that on paper unless I had tools to do it yet the bee knows what it needs to do and even if it means abandoning a work in progress because it feels threatened. It has the overall shape of a tear drop. Sorry little bee, it seems all your hard work was for naught.

Meanwhile back on the deck I have been fretting over this. Some of you have mentioned trumpet vines and here is a prime example of their invading ability. As much as I hate using Roundup it has come down to that. The home made remedy fighting weeds, that Dawn Dish Soap, vinegar, salt solution works for about 2 weeks and then you are faced with the problem again. I keep the trumpet vine for the hummers. It grows rapidly. The seeds are contained in large long pods that dry up and then burst open. Many are located high up on the vine, far from reach. When they open the wind carries the seed and what happens next is just the nature of all seeds, they reseed  and you are left with a battle. Here they are coming up between the cracks of the lower deck. Oh I could crawl under the deck and pull them up but I am not crazy about snakes and other critters that like to hide under there. So far this summer we have trapped 3 ground hogs and a racoon that decided to take up residence under there. 

Now for my progress with the scarves for charity. I have decided on 25 being the number to make and send. I have about 20 done. I have added a couple more to the stock pile since taking this pic. This undertaking has put a nice dent in my stash of yarn and that makes me happy. The very idea of helping the less fortunate is a good feeling too. It is right to do for people who can not repay you in any way but happiness. I can be at peace knowing that. 

I'm gonna close this post out with what my oldest found this week while skimming her pool. It was huge and she thought at first it was just hairy, until she got it out of the pool and it jumped on the deck. It was carrying it's babies on it's back and they all scurried between the cracks of her deck, OH NO!!!!!!!!! It gives me the hebie jeebies just thinking about it, YUCK! 
Hope all of you had a good week and your weekend is coming along just fine.
Love you all. God Bless You and your loved ones.


  1. I'm glad to see that you are enjoying your yard. I thought about you today when you said you passed up a trip with your SIL and a friend. You really should grab onto those invitations! The yard will wait. That's my my 2 cents. Have fun! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  2. All of my gardens are overgrown too - I just can't seem to get my rear out there to clean them all up. Besides, there's a vine growing on our fence that is covered with bees and I'm not going anywhere near there. Oh my gosh - that last picture freaks me out just looking at it. And to think it had babies on it. {{{{shudders}}}} Take care Susanne. :)

  3. Well, for a "wild" back yard.... it looks pretty tame to me, Susanne! You have a big place to manage by the looks of it. It's just as well you have a ride-on mower. My boy mows our lawns though I have been known to do them myself if push-comes-to-shove. Love your big pile of scarves btw. What pattern do you use?? Hope you are having a nice day! {{hugs}} xo

    1. I plan to make my next post about the patterns I used, so hang tight and I'll try and answer that question sometime this next week. I will be finishing the scarves up soon.
      Susanne :)

  4. I think your back yard is just fine....hey let me tell you about will keep spiders, ants and mice out of your house....just plant it around your house...I had some planted..but my mother in law..bless her heart..thought they were weeds and pulled them all up, and planted I like flowers..I just prefer plants that have a purpose around my keep the mint..I plan on replanting it in the spring....

  5. I once rescues a very large spider on my deck and took it outside by the plants to see a million babies jump off its back. I was appalled and amazed all at the same time. Love your garden, it is beautiful.

  6. Your yard is not that bad at all! I think it still looks pretty neat. It was fun to see all your plants and flowers and critters! I hope I have a better yard to share next summer. I will have to get my ass in gear next spring like never before! Have a good week.


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