Monday, June 30, 2008

Corner Coop Update

The corner coop is progressing. This weekend the sub floor went in.
You can also see there are two more walls to keep our chickens happy.
The opening in the wall on the right is where the door will be doing. The nest boxes will be going in the long wall in the front of the picture. There is still a lot to do including building the nest boxes, putting in windows, adding a ceiling, wiring, and insulating. It should be done sometime before winter :)

Here are the chickens perching on the ladder. The chickens like to think they are helping to build their new home too.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Flowers on the Deck

My containers are filling out nicely. Here the petunias are taking off. Thorny Guy really like the Frillytunia.
The geraniums are full in bloom including one that I grew from a cutting over winter.
I have never really been a fan of begonias, but they do provide color to a shady nook on the deck. They are even more full now than when this picture was taken.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Turkey wants a friend

Yesterday morning we had a very curious visitor to the Corner Coop. Thorny Guy originally spotted this Wild Turkey hanging out by the pond drinking water.

Just when we thought he had left, Lady Bug found it "chatting" with the chickens. Most of the chickens seemed to be scared of it, although a couple were definitely intrigued. The turkey hung around the coop for quite awhile before Lady Bug and Thorny Guy got too close and it headed for the woods.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Problem

I am guessing that this is some sort of honeysuckle. It's flowers would be a helpful clue, but it has not flowered yet. It looks like the previous owner completely cut it down back and it has come up again this spring. I have been training it on the lattice, although it's stem breaks very easily. It currently has sun in the morning with afternoon shade.

Update 7/18: It is a orange Honeysuckle. See pics

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I declare war!

I spend most of last weekend weeding. The battle is on between me and the weeds. I feel that I should learn as much as I can about them in order to learn their weakness.

First up is the dandelion. I can usually get the whole tap root if it is growing in a highly mulched area with loose soil. Otherwise, the root breaks and I am afraid it will grow back. The chickens will eat there leaves though, so at least I have an alli.

I dislike Woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta) because there are so many of them and they are small. It is very time consuming to pick them all out. My strategy is to knock them over with the hoe and hope they do not come back.

This is a weed, which I know little about. It may be Wild buckwheat (Polygonum convolvulus) It is a vine which grows quickly. It also has little white flowers (yes some have flowered, I know it is bad). It has long thin roots and arrow shaped leaves.

Another threat is a thistle perhaps Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) which I have been unsuccessful in removing. It has a long tap roots and spreads by underground runners. It is very prickly so you need gloves when handling.

I also have Cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.) all over. I thought they were wild strawberries at one time.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is in the strawberry patch. It says they are edible so I will see it the chickens like it.

And many more I have yet to identify. I have to say reading some of these weeds descriptions is a great motivator for weeding especially when they say "one plant may shed 40,000 seeds."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Well Traveled Bell flower

This is a plant that was growing in our back yard in MD in the shade. I never knew what it was, but took it to MN hoping it would survive and it did. Not only that but seems to like MN better than MD.

This plant was going to be a Friday Problem, but I could not wait to look it up. I had a suspicion that is was a bell flower and it turns out I was right.
Campanula glomerata 'Superba'.
Height 2 feet.
Tolerates: Deer!!!!
Zone: 3-8
Light: Part Shade to Full Sun
It spreads vigorously, and soon forms large clumps.
You can spread all you want little guy! Grow and multiply!

Monday, June 23, 2008

White Peonies

In the back forty by the veggie garden there are irises and peonies growing near the woods. I am not sure if this was a garden at one time or just a place to throw plants with no home. Reguardless, it is a great place to take cuttings. Here I simply floated three white peonies in water. They have provided the house with a magnificent scent.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Issues in the Strawberry Patch

When I planted the berries back in May, I had visions of lush strawberries. So Thorny Guy and I tended to all their needs, we applied an inch of composted manure along the rows and mulched with straw.

Now the patch is in a state of disaster. Something, deer or rabbits, have eaten many of the leaves. The lady we bought them from said that rabbits and birds would eat the berries, but many leaves are now gone while the unripe berries remain. We did manage to harvest a few.

In an attempt to keep the weeds under control I bought straw from the local feed and seed store, not cheap I might add. Well that plan backfired as the expensive straw came with seeds and they have sprouted. To top it off, the straw did little to curb the weeds anyway. So I spend this weekend weeding the strawberry patch.

The plants also decided to send out runners already so I had to pinched those off. My visions of strawberries, might just have to wait till next year.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Perching 101

1. Choose the highest perch, but don't perch under another bird.

2. Choose a stable perch.

3. Perch next to a friend.
4. Make sure you can get down.
5. Turning around on a perch can be complicated. Try and avoid.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Problem

This is a shrub which is besides our garage. It is about four feet tall, but has been trimmed by the previous owner. It is in full sun. It just stared to get these small pink flowers which may be turning into berries. Click on Pictures to enlarge.

I would not say that I like this shrub. In fact depending on what it turns out to be, it might be chopped down. I guess if it produces berries for the birds, it has a better chance of staying. Any one have an idea of what it is?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Evaluation of the Hosta Garden

I need a plan on what to do with this shade garden. This is the view as you approach the garden from the house. The tree is a mature river birch, which some website say can live for 30-50+ years. The previous owner had a mod podge of hosta, bleeding hearts, one clump of siberian irises, and two mystery shrubs. My mom divided the irises and placed them sporadically around the circle and I added more hostas (see Hostas Everywhere). Thorny Guy also put daffodils and tulips in here last winter, but they were planted to deep and did not flower.

I am looking for a design, theme, or something. I do really like the bleeding hearts and they seem to like it. Perhaps I can split/propagate more of them for the other side. The two big shrubs, which are probably weeds are on probation until they flower and I can figure out what they are. Any suggestions on what plants to add, or design tip would be appreciated.

Here are the different views as you travel around the garden and close up of the plants.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New visitors

While we may be lacking in the area of butterflies, we have an abundant number of dragonflies in the garden. They vary in size and color, but the only ones I managed to capture were these tiny blue dragonflies. There were hundreds of them in the "North Garden."

My movement through the garden sends them scurrying around for a new place to land. Giving the effect of swimming in a sea of blue dragonflies. I have to say I lost myself there for a good twenty minutes. It was unfortunately impossible to capture the moment with a camera.

We also have a couple of new visitors to our pond including a pair of ducks and the smallest red-eared slider. Both of which are probably finding our tadpoles to be a tasty meal.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weeding the Veggie Garden

This weekend was a time for weeding. On Saturday, my dad and brother helped Thorny Guy plant the ornamental corn. It is never too late to put blue corn in the ground. They also helped weed the garden. We raked up the grass from the yard and mulched the tomatoes. Hopefully, the grass seeds will not germinate like the straw in the strawberry patch. Here are before and after shots.

Thorny Guy and I also weeded the woodland garden. It would be good if I could identify the weeds in order to help combat them, perhaps they will show up on a Friday Problem.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bloom Day - June 2008

I am a little late on my post for bloom day but I have been busy. Usually I take pictures of single flowers, since all the gardens are either brand new or the previous owners. However, I am risking the humiliation and showing you the overgrown weedy garden in its entirety. I welcome design tips or suggestions because this garden will be overhauled in the near future. Without further ado, I give you the "North Garden".

The irises are still in bloom. There are also several red and white peonies just starting to bloom. One thing that we have noticed is that ants are not attracted to these varieties. They also have no fragrance. The two weigela are a striking red.

There are also small plants like this dianthus tucked in here and there. I have moved a couple to another garden that had a few bare spots. This fall, I am definitely going to be dividing and moving a lot of plants. Also in this garden are small white flower in bloom, could very well be a weed.

In other gardens the following are in bloom:
Siberian Iris, bleeding hearts, coral bells, hydrangea anomala periolaris, petunias, vinca, allium, columbine, oxeye daisies, violets, wild geranium, Spiderwort, and many more unidentified blooms.

Thank you Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!


Thorny Guy was quick to capture this butterfly before it flew away. If there is one thing I miss about my garden in MD it is the butterflies. We use to have four huge butterfly bushes which they loved. We did manage to pot one up and bring it with us. It was stored in the basement over winter and is now on the deck. It is not doing much there, probably really confused about the weather.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Container Salad

I planted a small patch of lettuce in the garden by the deck which has already produced several salads. About two weeks later I planted another round in two of these containers on the deck. Don't they look great!? Another sowing went in the back forty garden about two weeks after these. It has been a good year for cold weather crops since it has stayed cold. I can not wait for peas.
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