Thursday, June 19, 2014

Peonies and the Rain

Luckily, I was able to cut these beauties before the big rains started.  I knew a storm was coming and as usual the peonies were blooming.  It always happens.  I think the heavy humidity before a storm helps to open the buds.  I wrote a post about this very same thing in 2007.  See it here.   And seven years later, it's still frustrating me.  Besides the rain, I am fighting rose bugs, which I have never had a problem with.  I guess I'll have to be grateful for being able to save a few to bring in the house.  Regardless, of how  many I had for my indoor vase , the fragrance was fabulous!!

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, & Grabbin' A Bite,

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Daybreak or Saucer Magnolia?

  Two years ago I got a new tree -- it was a gift, and quite expensive.  I was so excited. 
 The glorious Daybreak Magnolia. (See my previous post here.)

  As you can see it was planted in the early spring of 2012, but we had waited until well after frost, or so we thought.  Shortly after planting we got a freezing rain and then a thaw and then another freezing rain and then a another thaw.  First, all of the blooms browned up and died and then the leaves fell off.  Each time new buds would form, the next freeze would hit.  My tree struggled to stay alive and finally produced some leaves.  It was a set back, but all would be okay.
  Or would it?  We babied it and then prepared it for winter, by putting stakes around it and wrapping burlap around the stakes.  Come the spring of 2013, I once again eagerly waited for the first leaves and buds to appear, only to be zapped by another late frost!  The buds and leaves fell off, and this time for good.  I decided I wanted to leave it alone to see what would happen, but all I got was some sprouts from the base of the trunk.  The main tree was dead.  It was a costly loss.  
  We cut the main trunk down as low as we could and let the sprouts grow.  I knew it was a grafted tree and decided to wait and see what was actually growing.  
This is what I have this year.

It's a beautiful green shrub.  I was wondering what to do with it, so I asked a tree specialist if he thought I was growing another magnolia.  He said Daybreaks are most definitely grafted and just as I thought the new growth would return to the mother tree, but he is not sure if it will be a Saucer Magnolia or a Jane Magnolia.  Both are much less expensive trees, but at least I have something for three years of waiting.   Now I have to wait one more year to see if it blooms.  If it produces nothing, then out it goes!

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, & Grabbin' A Bite,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pinks and Purples

Yes, I know I haven't written in a long time.  First it was winter and a very long one, and then my husband had health issues which took a lot of my time and energy.  Besides all of that, the gardening season is a month behind schedule. The ornamental trees are done blooming now and at last we have flowers in the garden.

I took a walk around yesterday with my camera and noticed that almost everything is pink or purple.  I began to wonder if I chose to plant these colors in perennials, or is it that they are more prevalent in the spring/early summer?  Anyway, take a walk with me and see what I see. (please ignore, the bare ground.  I don't have fresh mulch in yet.)

                                          Salmon Rose Columbine  
                                           Perennial Pansies

                                          Cranesbill Geranium


Clementine Dark Purple Columbine


A new one, Pow Wow Wild Berry Coneflower

Cheddar Pink Dianthus

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, & Grabbin' A Bite,

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Favorite Bird Seeds

   Every Fall we load up on bird seed.  We come home with large heavy bags and then transfer each variety in a separate container with a tight lid, trying to keep it away from those pesky mice that always show up in our garage in the winter. We like to use garbage cans, or those large plastic tubs;  anything works as long as it can't be chewed through and the only one able to remove the lid is a human.

   No matter how well we plan, we never seem to purchase the correct amount to get us through the winter  -- or maybe we are just trying to save money on that particular day.  Anyway, about this time of year we begin to run out of seed. Now we have to watch for the best prices.  We drive from hardware store to farm store, and then also check out the big box stores. Usually our local farm store ends up with the best prices, and we can buy in bulk there, weighing out just the amount we want, bagging it ourselves, and paying by the pound.

   The next step is to decide what we should purchase. We know for a fact that sunflower seeds are number one in any bird's book. But I also know when birds are hungry they will eat anything they can find.  I found a list of the best seeds to purchase to attract the largest variety of birds, so I thought I should pass it on to you. So here we go:

1.Black-oil sunflower seeds (I can tell you from personal experience this one is the Number 1 favorite.)
2.Black-striped sunflower seeds
3. Hulled sunflower seeds
4. White millet
5. Peanuts
6. Red millet
7. Golden millet
8. Canary seed
9. Corn -- whole, cracked, or milled
10. Thistle ( also called Niger) seed (favorite of the finches)

   If you are unsure of what to buy, go for the sunflower seeds.  It brings in the biggest variety. You can also buy a small amount of several different kinds and mix them together.  Watch your feeders to see if any is left behind by discriminating birds.  Then make a note of it and next time leave that one off your list.  Maybe it doesn't appeal to the birds in your area. Or maybe you are attracting something other than birds, like squirrels or racoons, and you would rather not be feeding them.

   Next time I'll give you a some recipes you can use with these seeds.

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, & Grabbin' A Bite,