Friday, May 22, 2015

I added two rocks around my tree in the backyard

They don't look like much and I'm not sure how much they add, but there is a story behind them.

My grandfather (on my dad's side) traveled for part of his career and I was told that he would bring back rocks (big ones) and put in the yard.  The biggest collection in the yard covered an old cistern (we just called it the "rockpile").  These two rocks were by the little house (used to block critters from getting underneath) we had in our backyard so I like being able to have them in my yard.

 
Here is the little house...
 
 
And here is what we called the "rockpile"...
 

Monday, May 18, 2015

My milkweed is not "growing like a weed" (unfortunately)

I'm learning I have to be patient and nature plays a part.  For example, my strongest plants (from original planting in fall 2013) appear to have been "nibbled".  This could end up being a blessing because I've read you're supposed to "pinch" (pluck) the top few leaves to help spur more growth.
But you'll see I've had to take protective measures...

Here is how my two best plants looked prior to the damage...

 
Here is one of the tops off...
 

Here is both of them off...
 
 
And here is my effort to protect them (holding coffee "can" in place with four stakes from an old volleyball set)...
 

Cindy may be right that I'm obsessed.  I really just want to get some plants going and developing good roots.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Finally some American Goldfinch

I put a thistle sock in my front maple yesterday.  I've already had some visitors...



 

And a picture of Russ just because...
 

Time for new mulch

Time for the annual "freshening" of the mulch.  We went back to red this year.

I raked up the old mulch so the color would be consistent.
 


 
Here is the new...
 



 

We had enough to put some in the back.  First I had to get Rusty up from his "break"...
 

 
 

 
I put the mulch I raked up around my oak tree behind my fence...
 
 
Okay Russ, now we are done!
 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Update to my update

Here are two more photos from today.  The first shows my strongest plants measuring about 8".  I plucked of the seedlings to reduce crowding and you'll see it transplanted in the second photo (just to the left of the knife).

 

Milkweed update

I'm reading that plants do not flower until their second year.  I had hoped my planting last fall and this spring would work out better than my 2013 plantings.  I'm learning patience is key with milkweed.  So, the plants I gave up on (my first plantings) are the ones doing the best.  And some of plants doing the best this year are getting trampled or munched.  My neighbor has also apparently sprayed some weed control on a few of my spots on his way to a field that he manages.  I have about 20 locations I'm watching so hopefully strength in numbers.

Here are some pictures...

These are my strongest plants.  I will pull one for sure to alleviate crowding and will try to transplant.

 
Same plant as of this morning after clearing weeds around it....
 
 
This spot was looking good until something trampled the plants...
 

Notice above how the plants look strong.  One on the right got bent.  Now look at this photo from this morning.  They all seem bent.
 
 
 
I've lettered my plastic knives so I can keep track of progress.
 
Here's a picture from yesterday from another good area...(need to thin out)
 
 
 
I've seen plants at our church and at my neighbor's house (where I got my seeds) and the plants are much bigger than mine but it takes time.  Here is a picture I posted on May 17 of last year.  I am ahead of last year and I'm learning on the job!
 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Hosta" pronto!

"Hasta pronto" in Spanish means "see you soon".  Our tulips didn't do so well this year but our hostas are really doing well.