June 12, 2014

Thinking Outside the Drive-Way

There's nothing like a long, pleasant spring and a bunch of garden tours to motivate and inspire.  These tours always cause me to come home and look at my garden with fresh eyes.  After gardening in the same spot for fifteen years, I can easily become narrow-viewed to the potential for new ideas.

While touring with my friend Pam, I mentioned not having much space left to garden and she simply replied, "oh, there's always more space."   Such a matter-of-fact statement that she probably doesn't even recall saying caused me to scrutinize any available spaces. 

So I came home and started ripping out grass in a skinny little strip at the drive-way's edge.  The soil is beautiful after years of decomposing leaf litter.  It gets morning sun and is shaded by the house during the heat of the day.  In other words, this is prime gardening real estate!

Then I went in and shopped the house.  This old iron piece was perfect for vertical gardening.  It probably comes as no surprise that I happened to have a few plants on hand.  Gulf Coast penstemon, a red passion flower vine, red salvia coccinea and fall aster (not shown) were among my choices.  The name of the plant to the left rear escapes me...anyone know?  **Edit: Many thanks to Steph at Rambling Wren for her id which led me in the right direction; the plant is called Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'**

The passion vine is tender here in zone 8 so I will either grow it as an annual or if it's just too happy and I love it, I'll take a cutting this fall.

So far it's happy and I love it ♥

The best part of this new found little bed is that it sits right outside the laundry room window.  The transformed view is so much more inviting than the plain, worn fence ever was!

May 21, 2014

Owl Update: Pass the Cigars and the Kleenex

Today was the first sighting of a baby.  We won't be sure how many are in the box unless fortunate enough to see them leaving the nest.  The last brood we hosted had four young!

Sadly we haven't seen or heard the momma since Sunday evening.  Daily perched on the arbor in clear sight of the box, she vigilantly watched the goings on of the backyard. The poppa continues to sit in the photinia which also gives a clear view of the nest.  At dusk he leaves his roost to feed the young alone.

Momma (photo taken the Friday before she disappeared)

I fear she was prey to a great horned owl. My husband heard their nearby calls Sunday night when he was out in the yard with our dog.  I hope I'm wrong and she is just well hidden but given that I haven't heard her either, I fear the worst.

As my daughter says, they've all got babies with their beaks open and they've all got to eat.  She's right.  Still, I'm heartbroken.