Monday, December 31, 2018

George Washington and me

I cannot tell a lie: I cut down a cherry tree. Or three, to be exact (one died on it's own). And four apple trees. I contemplated keeping one of the sweet cherries for the birds, but its location - too close to the back fence - would have meant continual upkeep in the form of pruning.

As part of my garden downsizing, I decided to stop growing food. Once upon a time, in order to eat organically grown produce, one had to grow one's own. No more, as it is available at most major grocery stores. Fort Wayne also has a year-round farmers market, and during the summer there is one almost every day of the week somewhere. Also, growing one's own food means preserving it in some shape or form. I am the only one here, so all that effort seems unnecessary.

While the trees are gone (except for the main trunks - I will ask my chainsaw-owning neighbor to help with those), the raised beds with their cement blocks are still there. That corner also hosts a raised bed for the madder plant, which I will probably dig up at the end of next year, and a large bed that has been taken over by common milkweed. The eventual goal is to turn it all back to lawn. I know - SAD! But I will add a shade tree of some sort.

BTW, I saved the fruit trees in lawn bags, as the bark can be used to dye fiber.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Da burds

The birds finally discovered the feeders in the front yard. Besides the usual sparrows and finches, there are jays and a red-breasted woodpecker and black-capped chickadees. There is also a squirrel. It tried repeatedly to find its way past the baffle, which was comical to watch until it finally made it to the big platform-style feeder. It hasn't cleaned the feeder out nor has it invited its friends (yet), but I will have to do something to discourage it. Shortening the hanger so that the feeder is a bit higher should do the trick.

I set up the heated bird bath in front of the picture window. About the time I gave up hope that the birds would decide it was okay, the sparrows and then some blue birds found it. I would not be surprised to see the squirrel there too someday.

The weather has been unbearably (to me) temperate. The ground just won't freeze and stay frozen, which causes one major problem with muddy dog paws. I spread straw over the worst places in the yard and invested in a Paw Plunger and limit the number of times the dogs can go out during the day, but the routine of cleaning them up whenever they want back in is getting OLD.

On the other hand, on nice enough days, I am out in the yard, piddling around. In today's rare sunshine, I cut back the catmint and blue false indigo. Earlier I cleaned out the garden shed. Bit by bit.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The lazy blogger

I can't believe it has been more than a month since I last posted. Part of the reason is the season - not much is happening in the yard and garden these days besides a little fall clean up. I don't make the beds all neat and tidy, but any time it is reasonably nice out, I putter a bit.

The barberry shrubs are getting hacked up quite a bit. They are supposedly invasive, but my primary concern is they crowd the big Gold Mop. Ditto for the burning bush, but it keeps trying to keep on. Some plants just don't want to say die even when the gardener wishes they would, like the yucca.

I stopped feeding the birds for a while, as the sparrows had driven everyone else away plus they were ruining the lower branches of the thin skinned tulip tree by stripping off bark for their nests. The dogs have the run of the backyard - and they like to chase away the sparrows (good dogs!) - so this fall I set up the bird feeders in the front yard, away from the tulip tree, where the old fashioned lilac once stood. The stump of that shrub refuses to decompose, so now it is surrounded with mulch and topped with the feeders. It is not a very popular spot yet, although the blue jays have been helping themselves to the unshelled peanuts. I'm still contemplating a spot for the bird bath.

Seed catalogs started arriving just before Thanksgiving, but they go right in the recycle bin. I am reducing my gardening footprint because it is becoming just too much for me to keep up. Instead of new plants, I plan to rearrange the ones I have. If there are holes to fill, I may use annuals for the time being.

In case it is another month before I post again, happy holidays!