Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas in the Garden?

Well, as always in North Carolina around this time of year, my garden is confused.

Is it already spring?  My daffodils seem to think so.

Is it still fall?  Many of those flowers are still blooming away, despite the fact that it is officially winter.

Is winter actually coming?  Some of my Gaillardia are finally starting to look affected by the chill.

However, I'm quite sure that the blooms of my Sweet Alyssum is all the white my garden is going to see on the ground this Christmas holiday.

Well, no matter what season my garden thinks it is in, it is time for a holiday break for this gardener.  I will be away from my blog for a couple weeks spending time with family and friends.  I wish you and your families a safe and merry Christmas season and a blessed New Year!

Yes, even you squirrels..
(though maybe not the voles)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why My Birds are Hungry

You turned my bird feeder upside down and are shaking out the birdseed?!

Ha, I've caught you this time!

Oh, don't give me that story about being framed!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Operation Vole Control - Setting up a Defense Perimeter

It's been a battlefield out there.  All year we have been besieged by that family of organized rodent crime - the Vole family.  Every single one of them has proven to be a serial plant killer, and these tunneling mice-like fiends are apparently also masterminds at avoiding all efforts to trap them.

We have finally pushed them back using deterrents made out of castor oil, but let's be honest - we know it isn't going to last.  

We need to set up a defense perimeter.  

Okay, troops, this is the plan:  we are going to surround our borders and valuable plants with what we hope will be Vole kryptonite - plants that are either poisonous or distasteful to Voles.  Daffodils have been trucked in by the dozens, and other plants resistant to these little monsters have been purchased.  

It is our solemn duty to see that our garden is protected - let's turn it into a veritable minefield for these creatures!

****Bulbs and Vole-resistant Plants included in our defense perimeter****
Daffodils, Alliums, Hyacinths, Grape Hyacinths, Snowdrops, Summer Snowflakes, Star Flower, Fritillaria, Hellebores, and Mountain Mint.

Other Vole-repellant plants for future consideration include:
Glory-of-the-Snow, Squill, Autumn Crocus, and Goldenrod

If any other Gardening Soldier out there knows of any other plants, intel is always appreciated.  

Disclaimer: This Garden Commander does not guarantee all of these plants listed to be completely Vole-proof - when it comes to these nefarious plant killers, all bets are off!

To your trowels, Soldiers - Operation Vole Control is a go!

Monday, December 3, 2012

With this Kale, I now Pronounce that you have Turned into your Mother

As similar as I am to my mother, there were several things we disagreed on growing up.

I didn't understand why in the world we would need to make our beds when we were just going to sleep in them again that night.  I vowed that when I grew up, I would never tell my children 'because I told you so.' Being forced to eat whole grain bread was cruel and unusual punishment (and let's not even talk about spinach).  And I certainly didn't understand how anyone could stand to watch that many episodes of the extremely boring home improvement show 'This Old House'.

Our differences also stretched to the garden.  Those blue Hydrangeas that my mom loved?  I informed her that blue flowers and green leaves do NOT match.  Irises?  Pretty flowers, but those leaves are too poky-looking.  And in the fall when she bought Ornamental Kale, I thought they were the ugliest plants alive.  Who in the world would buy a plant that looks like it should belong in (ugh) a salad?

Of course, now that I am grown up, my tastes have changed.  I love Hydrangeas and blue flowers of any kind.  I find myself looking for the types of Irises that my mom used to grow when I was young.  My dislike of Ornamental Kale, however, held out for quite some time...

...until this year when I was looking for something to fill a fall-blooming container.

Well, since planted the Kale has edged out most of the pansies and pushed a little Juniper to the side in its quest for Gigantic Awesomeness.  And you know what?  I find that I don't mind a bit.  In fact, I wonder how in the world I could dislike this plant for so long.

Oh, the brilliant fall color!  The beautifully veined leaves!  
And after a frost?  Divine!

So I do apologize to my mother for criticizing her planting choice for so long.  I am now off to go lie on my neatly made bed and watch some home improvement television after feeding my kids a healthy supper that included whole grains.

Hey, at least I didn't serve them spinach.

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