Archive for the ‘Fur and Feathers’ Category

Providing Water for Bees, World-Class Pollinators

March 30, 2015

Make a bee waterer to help hydrate pollinators.  Especially in drought conditions, bees need water.  Simply place marbles in a very shallow dish and fill with water to top of marbles.  In a divided dish like this one, I can fill some sections higher.  As water evaporates, there is always one section that is filled adequately.

The marbles are important.  If bees don’t have a place to land while drinking, they easily drown.

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I’m Back!!

March 30, 2015

It’s been a few years since I posted.  There is a very long story attached to that fact but here’s the Twitter version:

Hard freeze.  Hard freeze.  Drought w/ water restrictions strictly enforced.  Hard freeze.  Almost nothing left of my beautiful garden.

I’ve summoned my courage.  This weekend, I started restoring the Labyrinth Garden to its former glory.  This is going to take a while, and you are welcome to join me in the journey.

Labyrinth Garden.

This is looking along the back fence. The Labyrinth path lies through that white trellis. There is no room to pass the wild rose that has overgrown on one side, while the passion fruit vine on the other has withered.

Deck across to start

View across Labyrinth from outside of the outer ring toward the beginning of the Labyrinth on the far side. The Labyrinth has lost its visual shape.

From Gated Trellis

View of the Labyrinth from outside the outer circle looking toward the far side of the labyrinth. The gated trellis is a part of the outer edge of the Labyrinth.

Second ring

These are the outermost 2 rings of the Labyrinth. The path is overgrown so that it is difficult to tell what is path and what is garden bed.

 

I wanted to share a few updates since the last time I’ve actively blogged in case you are curious:

ANIMALS

My best four-footed friend Alex, who appears in so many past photos, died in 2012 at age 19.  His heart finally just gave out in old age.  He did not suffer.  My neighbor told me that after I had spoiled Alex so much for so many years, he might find Heaven a bit disappointing.  Hopefully not.  He is sorely missed and still much loved.

Elsie, my beagle, is now 9 and 1/2.  Since Alex passed, she and I have become very close.  She was always stand-offish before but has since tried valiantly to fulfill Alex’s “lap dog responsibilities”.  She’s very very sweet and healthy.

My friendly squirrels that I loved so much died in suspicious circumstances that I have never fully unraveled.   That family has lived peacefully on my property for 15 years.  All of them were struck by cars in the road on separate days, but within 2 weeks of each other. I am unaware of any reason they should have become suicidal, and so suspect foul play.  A friend suggested that perhaps someone in the neighborhood put out poison for mice or other pests and the squirrels ate some, thereby slowing their reflex rate and speed as they crossed the street.

The birds that were so plentiful when I spent a lot of time in the garden have all but stopped visiting.  Maybe they will return now that I’m out and about and there is activity there.

My wonderful hummingbird visits most of the year (except winter), and the butterflies continue to come as well.  I was a bit surprised at this since the volume of flowers has drastically decreased.  Maybe it is a sign that they have faith in me.

PLANTS

We went through some extreme weather for several years which coincided with work-related busy-ness on my part, and I didn’t manage to save most of the plants.  The trees are fine.  Some of the roses survived.  Several invasive plants took over like passion flower, pineapple sage, clover, and a wild rose.  It’s not a national disaster, but it’s so disorderly and unkempt.

FUTURE CHANGES

I’ve tentatively decided that I’m not going to continue to use Lasagna Gardening as the method of choice.  I have had difficulty starting seed, and taller plants don’t seem to have a strong enough base.   Also, I hesitate to put perennials in since the organic materials will cover them in winter and I worry about bark damage.

I am also considering gravel rock for the path.  I’ve always used wood mulch, but constantly replacing it year after year is expensive.

And with that, we’re off!!

It’s Not Pretty, but it’s Progress

May 23, 2010
Alex hanging out while I work on back wall of Labyrinth Garden

Alex hanging out while I work on back wall of Labyrinth Garden

I have been focused on structural additions to the Labyrinth Garden this year.  The photos of my progress aren’t very pretty but I’m going to include a few for the record.  The photo above is Alex hanging out while I add concrete bricks to reinforce the outer wall of the Labyrinth.  I’ve got four blocks in, only the first one has a cap so far.  This is the bed where I buried so many bulbs earlier this year.  The blocks stacked on top with jute rope at the left are part of the support rigged up to straighten the Bradford Pear tree as it grows. I’ve included a better view of the 4 bricks below.  They will all be capped and potted plants set on top of them by the time the wall is finished.

Outer wall of labyrinth for bulb bed, 4 bricks in place.

Back wall of Labyrinth, lining bub bed, 4 bricks in place so far.

Coyote Comes Calling

February 18, 2010

Coyote beyond the fence around Labyrinth Garden

My dogs were barking incessantly so I went to see if anything was wrong.  A coyote was just beyond the fence around the labyrinth, having lunch.

Cardinal has his Standards for Dining

February 12, 2010

Cardinal doesn't let a little snow stop him.

I had provided food in plates on my deck since the bird feeders were covered in 4 inches of snow.  Not wanting to eat off the floor, this cardinal just brushed snow out of his way and ate off the plate!