Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scarlet Tanager


There was a new feathered friend in my fountain yesterday. A Scarlet Tanager.
I thought I heard him earlier because I had just read that the call was similar to a robin with a sore throat. And it was -- sort of a raspy chirrup.  He stayed for quite a while, playing in the water.  He sat right on top of the bubbler and then flew to a nearby branch to dry out.
Here he is, spreading his wings to the air before taking flight.
And what's that?  I believe his pregnant wife is perched on a neighboring branch. I am thrilled!  There will be more scarlet tanagers to feed with my other bird buddies.
What a joy it has been to live in this new location and see new birds on a daily basis!
Welcome Scarlet Tanagers!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Daylilies - I Miss My Babies

Golden Compass

My daylilies are my babies. Since July arrived I've missed going out in the garden every morning to see what bloomed. My daylilies are currently living at my daughter's house, so I have to drive about 8 miles to go see them.
I must admit it was exciting to see how well they are doing there. We found a few tags that weren't in their correct places; that seems to be the case every year. I think as the plant gets larger throughout the season you tend to move the marking tag out so it can be read easily.  Then by the next spring, it's no longer near the base of the plant, but seems to be floating out there all by itself.  We righted a few wrongs and everything else looks great!
Outrageous
Soon I will start posting pictures of the spot in the yard I have planned for my new garden, and then as the black dirt moves in and the splitting and transplanting begins, you can follow along. I'm hoping to bring as many of my daylilies babies home as possible this fall, so my daylily love can fulfill me once more..

Farmer's Daughter

Friday, July 22, 2011

Count Your Bees


Have you visited Your Garden Show yet? They joined with The Great Sunflower Project. There you will learn all about bees. I know, I'm not a bee fan, either, if they are stinging me, but I  know the value a honey bee has for our world. This project would like your help in counting the honey bees in your garden. In case you didn't know, all around this country the bees are mysteriously disappearing. Here you can create your own chart and report their numbers, so Your Garden Show can track them and try to learn why our friendly pollinators are disappearing.
Without the bees cross-pollinating flowers, our crops could dwindle away. In Michigan we depend on the bees to do their work, so we can watch the apple, pear, peach and cherry trees bring forth their fruit.  And the honey that is derived from a mixture of these fruits in scrumptious!
We live in a bountiful land.  Let's keep it that way by protecting our honey bees.
It's very easy. Just pick one of the flowers on the list that might be found in your garden or neighborhood, then keep a close watch on the bees that visit daily. Next you'll send in your report. It's all set up for you and is ready to go. Just sign up and get started.


How to identify a honey bee:
* Are about the length of the nail on your thumb (an inch)

* Have gold to dark brown or black shiny abdomens with subtle stripes
* While they have hair, the hairs are sparse
* Have hairy eyes
* Females sting once and then die
* Are found year round
* Are not native to the US
* Carry pollen on their hind legs

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Just Too Hot


It's just too hot.  I don't like the heat, never have;  we are not used to 93-95 degree days here. It's been going on for over a week now.  I don't go outside unless I have to.  It's too much like winter, being caged up inside like this. 
I water the planter flowers in the morning and hope they don't fry before the sun dips below the horizon.  We water the grass knowing it's a waste of energy  because any moisture we try to put into the earth will just evaporate before it has a chance to do its job. Soon our lovely green Michigan woods will become dry and brittle.
Call me a wimp!  I don't care.  I never worry about what people think of me, anyway.  Just give me back my 70 degree days so I can garden again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wilderness Lantern Birdfeeder - Giveaway #7

Now here's a birdfeeder for you folks who live in the woods.  Maybe you'd just like to be in the country and you dream of a quiet place with deer all around. This Wilderness Lantern style Seed Feeder from Perky Pet is just perfect.  It's the same great qualtiy construction as the Sun & Star Lantern Seed Feeder which was featured last week on Giveaway #6.
The oversized roof helps deter squirrels.  (I love those little guys, but I'm not fond of spending all of my seed money on them.) And the perches adjust, allowing a larger bird to sit and stay a while.
What else is new at Perky Pet? 25 % off of all tube feeders AND if you spend over $49.99 the shipping is free. Sign up for their free e-newsletter and you get 10% off of every order. Wander around the site, you'll learn all kinds of things about birdwatching and attracting them to your gardens.  I just love this place!! I could browse their site all day.

This wonderful birdfeeder could be yours.

Here's how to enter:

If you subscribe in more than one way, leave a separate comment for each.

1. Leave a comment after visiting the Perky Pet web site about something you'd love to own. .

2. For a second chance to win, sign up as an e-mail subscriber with Feedburner, Feed Blitz, or become a Google Follower (see sidebar.)

3. For a third chance to win, blog, Tweet, or Facebook about this contest with a link here.

4. For a fourth chance to win, subscribe to the Perky Pet  eNewsletter.

5. If you're not a blogger, be sure to leave your contact e-mail address like this to avoid spammers: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com. If I don't have a way to reach you or you don't respond in three days, your name will be disqualified, and I will choose again, picking my favorite answer.

Good Luck!!

Open to US residents only, 18+.

Winners will be chosen by random.org.

Email addresses will not be shared with any third parties.

This Giveaway ends on Sunday, July 24, 2011 at midnight ET.



Birdfeeders.com provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose; nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oriole Fruit Salad

I love Baltimore Orioles!  Previously I had only seen a few in my life, and it was always exciting to see their beautiful, bright orange color and hear their lovely song.  Listen to their call here.  Since I moved to this wooded area they are numerous.  We sometimes have two or more on the feeder at the same time.  Yesterday I watched a mama Oriole feeder her youngster a piece of orange. I never knew before a few weeks ago that Orioles like all kinds of fruit.  I found this recipe for Oriole fruit salad.  I can't wait to try it, but I think I'll cut it in half.  In this heat I won't want to put out too much at a time.
If you give it a try, let me know your results.  I'll be interested to hear how it works for you.
1 c. cherries
2 oranges
1 c. raspberries
1 c. grape jelly
2 c. diced peaches
1 c. blackberries
2 c. diced pears
1.2 c. cornmeal

Use fresh, frozen & thawed, or canned fruit
Cut oranges, cherries, peaches, and pears into small beak-sized pieces. 
Toss all the fruit together in a large bowl. 
Heat the jelly in the microwave for 30 sec. to 1 min. until thin. 
Stir the jelly then pour over fruit. Mix until the fruit is well coated. 
Sprinkle cornmeal over mixture and stir again. 
Serve in a shallow dish on a separate table feeder. 
Refrigerate the remainder in a container and use within a few days.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Herbs and Container Gardening

Yes, my herbs in the blue and white container (it's really a Chinese foot bath) are a sad bunch.  I "rescued" them from the sale rack. I was really missing growing herbs so I thought I'd plant a pot full on my deck. With a little patience, they will soon be full and green and ready for harvesting for my favorites recipes.

This is one way you can grow herbs without a garden.  Just make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of your pot. If there are none, you can drill some open yourself.  We purchased a ceramic drill bit and then I put my husband to work. Two or three holes is all that was needed. Most herbs prefer a well-drained soil.  Some actually like the soil quite dry; therefore they really do well even if you are a "forgetful" waterer.  But remember, plants in pots don't have access to the moisture in the ground around their roots.  There's no where to go for water when the container is dry, so it's up to you and Mother Nature to watch out for them. If you get a big rainfall and the pot doesn't drain fast enough, you may need to tip it a little and release some of the excess water.

This pot contains, parsley, thyme, mint, and basil.  Next year I hope to show you my new herb garden which is being planned out in my mind and on paper at this moment, but for now container gardening will have to satisfy my love of herbs. And I am perfectly content as long as I can run my hands over them on occasion and smell their pungent fragrance on my fingers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stargazer Lily?


One thing fun about moving into a different house is discovering what the previous owner left behind in the garden.  In my case there wasn't much, but I think this might be a Stargazer Lily, one of the more popular forms of Oriental Lilies.  What do you think? I've been waiting a long time to see what these blooms would produce, and I was thrilled to see the pink color emerge. I was lucky it opened at all because Oriental and Asiatic lilies require full sun and sandy or loamy soil.  This one is in shade most of the day and the soil is very hard-packed.
  The "gardener" who lived here really didn't take time to create a picture; she just plopped things here or there. As you can see, this lily is standing all alone in a rocky bed with no mulch to cover the barren and hard ground.  Grouping it with the following plant would have made a beginning to a lily area, and then each lily could work in harmony with the others. My philosophy is always plant in 3s or 5s; odd numbers work best.


This lily was also planted alone by my front steps.  The buds look like they will produce white blooms. It's possibly a Casablanca Lily or maybe even a Madonna Lily. I'll let you know when this one blooms and we can guess at its name together.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sun & Star Lantern Birdseed Feeder Giveaway #6

We've gone back to the birds!  It's the All Summer Long Garden/Birder Giveaway and this time the prize is a Perky Pet Sun & Sun & Star Lantern Seed Feeder from Birdfeeders.com.
I can tell you from first hand experience that this is a quality feeder.  I love the sun and star design -- of course, that's just to please humans, but the birds love the chance to get at some great seed from the easy to fill container.  You can fill it with mixed seed or safflower seed; I personally prefer black oil sunflower seed. It seems to attract every kind of song bird there is.  I learned this from my Dad.

This feeder is strong and good looking.  You'll be proud to hang it in a nearby tree or on a shepherd's hook. The winner will also receives a Perky Pet Metal hook which is great for hanging the feeder from a branch. 

So hurry up and enter.  One lucky person will be chosen. 

Here's how to enter:

If you subscribe in more than one way, leave a separate comment for each.

1. Leave a comment after visiting the Birdfeeders.com website and tell em what your favorite feeder is or listen to a podcast and let me know something new you learned.

2. For a second chance to win, sign up as an e-mail subscriber with Feedburner, Feed Blitz, or become a Google Follower (see sidebar.)

3. For a third chance to win, blog, Tweet, or Facebook about this contest with a link here.

4. For a fourth chance to win, subscribe to the Birdfeeders.com E-Newsletter at the bottom of their page.

5. If you're not a blogger, be sure to leave your contact e-mail address like this to avoid spammers: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com. If I don't have a way to reach you or you don't respond in three days, your name will be disqualified, and I will choose again, picking my favorite answer.

Good Luck!!

Open to US residents only, 18+.

Winners will be chosen by random.org.

Email addresses will not be shared with any third parties.

This Giveaway ends on Sunday, July 17, 2011 at midnight ET.



birdfeeder.com provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose; nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Muskrat Love?


Who's hiding in the tool shed? A juvenile muskrat.  Was it Muskrat Love?  Not really.  He must have been in there all night long after chewing the new shed door up pretty badly. Even with the door left open, he was very shy and didn't want to come out all day long.  My husband finally had to move everything around him and give him a gentle push with a broom.  Then out he went, only to cower underneath a wheelbarrow. At some point during the day, he disappeared -- hopefully back to muskrat mama.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Havahart Spray Away Water Repellent

Having trouble with deer or rabbits? Does you neighbor's dog like to water your favorite shrub? Maybe you have geese leaving their deposits on your grass. What can you do to deter these critters without hurting them and the environment?  Water! It's just that simple with the Havahart Spray Away Motion Activated Water Repellent!
I've been giving this item a test run for about a month now. Although I don't have a flower garden yet, and there was too much to do for vegetable planting, I did plant some very special ornamental trees and 4 fruit trees (you might have seen them mentioned in past posts.)
We have a major deer problem here. So far I have only seen one rabbit and with not much to eat he didn't hang around. But the deer have stripped some branches of my young trees of their leaves.  That's when we decided it was time to give this new product a try.
The Spray Away is very simple, but I must say that I am not good with sprinklers of any kind so I enlisted the help of my husband.  Just attach it to a garden hose, and don't forget the 9-volt battery required. It took a few minutes of fussing to get the timer set the way we liked and also the aim. (at first, we were spraying passing cars - oops) 
The Spray Away is a motion activated sprinkler. It can shoot water up to 35 feet, which will cover 1000 sq foot area. It stays on for 3 seconds then pauses for 8 seconds, then resets it's randomness; therefore the animal will never know where it came from and when it will "strike" again. My little shih tsu, Teddy, was the target the first time. He crossed under the radar until we made an adjustment.  It was a hot day and he didn't mind the blast at all, but in the dark and in the middle of the night this could be a startling prospect for any wild creature.
  We were testing it during our yard sale, and many people wanted to know what it was and where they could get it.  In my opinion Havahart has a winner here  They also carry other types of wild animal control and  have an extensive learning center critter library online which I found to be very helpful. So if critters are getting to you and your garden, check out Havahart. Right now, all electronic repellents are on sale!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fireglow Japanese Maple




You know what's wonderful about moving?  Starting and planning a new garden; doing all the landscaping from scratch.  I thought I was done with that and really was hoping to find a house that had something I could work with, but this is the house we ended up with and we are as thrilled as if it's Christmas morning. The big question for me was where to begin in the yard, but first the unending unpacking had to be done and then the yard sales to get rid of everything we should not have brought with us.  That's all behind us now, so we can really start to enjoy our new digs. And digging we have done.
 The newest addition is this lovely Japanese Maple called Fireglow (Acer palmatum 'Fireglow') given as a housewarming gift from my brother- and sister-in-law who have impeccable taste.  This particular species will grow to 12 feet tall and 15 feet wide and it is said that when the rising or setting sun hits the translucent leaves it looks like it is on fire or the lights have been turned on. That is why we took such care in its placement.

There's a lot to consider when planting a tree. It's not like a plant that will only take up a small amount of space in the garden and can be easily moved.. What will it look like when it is mature?  Does it need sun or shade?  Should it be protected from the winter winds? That's why I placed the tree in its pot in the yard for a few days before digging it in.  I moved it and tweaked it, turn it this way and that. I stood out by the street and tried to imagine it at its fullest height.
 Finally I found the right spot. away from the roof so the snow will not fall off and damage branches, protected by a wall of shrubs from the west-to- east winter blast, next to the rhododendron for beauty and contrast, but where just enough sun will still strike it at least two times a day to bring out its color.  Now all I have to do is add some mulch, water it at least once a week, and hope the deer stay away! Soon it will no longer be a baby and it won't be so tasty; until then, I will keep close vigilant on the newest addition to my landscaping project, Fireglow Japanese Maple.