Gardens Home & Garden

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by Toedtoes, Mar 31, 2023.

  1. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    They were extremely organized. The plants were grouped by perennials, shrubs, ground covers, vines, trees, and succulents. And then grouped by sun, partial sun, partial shade, shade.

    There weren't enough carts to go around - many folks brought their own. As people checked out, they were calling names over the loudspeaker "there is a cart for you".

    With the sidewalk between the yard and the street, I've never had anyone unintentionally park on the yard. The neighbors who usually park in front of my house are good.

    We do get loose dogs a lot around here. And at night the local cats walk through during their rounds. Hopefully none will be destructive.

    Thanks on the house compliments. Years ago, I rented a place around the corner. Every day for several years, I drove down this street to get to work, etc. I'd drive past this house and say to myself "I love that house! I want it!"

    Then one day at the beginning of June 1998 a For Sale sign was put out. I had the keys by the end of the month.

    I love my house. I had so many people say "you should move" after the burglary and I kept saying "I love my house, I'm not moving!"

    You can't see from the front, but the previous owner added a second story at the back. It juts out from the original brick and sits on stilts like a beach house. That addition is wood siding (I painted it white, it was originally red).

    I will definitely post as the plants grow. Once they grow, I'll put out the bird baths, sundial and seating area. Too easy for folks to grab and run right now. My gargoyle will be a couple months coming - their mold broke and they're waiting on supplies to make a new one.
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  3. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    I thought I'd give an update. I've been blown off by two tree services. Finally have one that has so far been responsive. They'll confirm a date and time by tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, because the other two kept me hanging, I haven't been able to get the rest of the plants in the ground. I've lost all the California fuchsias, except one that may be coming back. And I think my Lion's Tail is coming back. So, this Saturday, I go to the plant sale again and replace the fuchsias and get the hummingbird sages that I didn't get last time.

    I am also getting my replacement tree. The service is going to kill the roots and say I can remove the stump within 10-14 days and plant the new one. I've decided on a Serpentine Coffeeberry (frangula californica ssps tomentella). It should appease the birds who have not yet forgiven me for cutting down the other tree. Fortunately, it doesn't grow over 20ft so tree trimming will be easy.

    Meanwhile, all the planted plants are still alive. My golden glow butterfly bush got trampled by a certain Tornado-dog while I watering the plants still in pots... He's not allowed outside while I water because of his obsession with hoses even if I'm watering in another section of the yard where he can't get to.

    One poker plant is not real happy, I think the ground in the flower bed is too damp. But he's hanging in - I'm not watering him until the soil dries out. I'm watering every couple days for the rest. Several of the catmint are blooming! I watched one get stepped on by a roofer's boot - smack on top of the little guy. I was certain he was a goner, but he popped back up in a few hours. The others are all happy and growing.

    Meanwhile, I ordered a cheap "agility set" with a tunnel, weave poles and an adjustable jump for Tornado-dog. Next week I take Cat-dog to the vet and their Aunt C is dogsitting the beast. This is a team building exercise for them. Aunt C doesn't communicate well with Tornado-dog - she just expects him to inherently know what to do. So I'm having them learn agility together. Tornado-dog is a quick learner IF Aunt C can communicate what she wants him to do.

    If they do well at it, I'll enroll them in a class. Yep, them - not us. Cat-dog and I will sit in the air-conditioned car and watch Aunt C and Tornado-dog through binoculars doing agility in the summer heat. ;)
  4. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    I gave up agility with the Beagles - the only discipline that they have let me down at. Our induction classes were indoors, which I thought would solve the sniffing problem, but I hadn't reckoned on the possibility of dropped treats in the sand mix surface. Once they had discovered one, they realised there was the possibility of more so asking them to concentrate was almost impossible. Although search squares involve free-ranging, they were more successful at Trials. Although there was no food on offer they were happy to be using their noses to find objects and be rewarded off the test field.
    I also have a sick tree. Actually it is a Red Robin shrub that has got out of control. When everyone else's became bright red and mine hadn't produced any new growth I knew it was fatal. The gardener that removed my front garden and laid slate chippings is coming to drop it, when he has a spare half day. He thinks the Azelea which looks dead could recover but we can't think of any reason why these two, plus an Ivy on the concrete wall, should be so sick when everything else is doing well.
    I bought three heathers and a lavender this weekend. I have re-potted them and put them on the slate to brighten it up. Actually I'm holding one heather back. I particularly wanted an Irish Bell Heather to replace the massive one that I loved, but had to go in the clearance. I only had four pots to choose from and they all looked rather weedy - it is late for buying Winter flowering species and it doesn't really look good enough to be at the front, I'll wait till it has put out some new growth.
    I intended to plant Cornflower seeds today. I had prepared the pot and went in the garage to mix some nice compost to scatter over them. I must have spent an hour looking and I have no idea where I've put the packet of seed! Oh well, if it doesn't reappear, I'll just have to use it for a tomato plant!
  5. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    A co-worker (worked in a different office out of town) had adopted my shepherd/husky foster dog. I had highly recommended they take up agility or such to keep the dog's brain busy. They did. That dog outran and outperformed every dog in practice. She was faster than any other dog and never missed a thing.

    Then they'd go to trail. Walk in the ring, Kathy would give the start command, and that dang dog would run straight out of the ring to go visit other dogs. EVERY SINGLE TIME!

    I told Kathy: YOU know she can do it and SHE knows she can do it, so she has nothing to prove. That's the husky brain, she's gonna mess with your sanity simply because she can.

    Fortunately, Tornado-dog has a JRT brain. As long as Aunt C makes it the funnest thing to do, he will perform. He's not quite as hyper as a purebred, so hopefully he won't add any side trips to the course like so many JRTs do.

    I had to look up the Red Robin shrub - that is pretty! I'm sorry he's failed.

    Heather and lavender will be nice against the slate chips. Lots of blooms in strong colors.

    I see you have those rotten little sprites too - they are constantly moving things on me so I lose things. ;)
  6. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Oh I've had my share of run-outs at obedience tests. I used to get so embarrassed, until a fellow Beagle competitor told me that I needed to develop a thick skin and a sense of humour! She was right, and I enjoyed it more when I tried my thick skin on! She was working Test B, (with a Beagle!), and still had the occasional run out.
    The Cornflower seeds have turned up this morning - the packet was in hiding underneath a small bag of vermiculite.
    I have been dog-sitting for one of Tally's Army of walkers today. As he is 13 and misses his Mum a lot I got next to nothing done, but it felt good to have the chance to return a favour.
  7. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    The occasional run out is bearable. Meg (the dog) literally did it at every trail but never at practice. I told Kathy "she's got a husky brain and that's what huskies do - they mess with you!"

    I think Tornado-dog would be unlikely to do a run out. He enjoys doing things with you, so he'd rather play at the tunnel with you then go run off somewhere else. The exception being if he saw me. He loves me very much and would happily leave Aunt C to give me hugs and kisses. Hence Cat-dog and I hiding in the car with binoculars if they decide to take up agility.

    So, did the cornflower seeds show up before or after you planted tomatoes?

    Was it Beagle-sitting? Beagle-sitting is lovely. I once found a sweet beagle girl following a smell past my house. I was able to get a hold of her and brought her inside. I posted on craigslist that I found her. Then we took a nap together (Bat-dog was NOT happy). I got a call about an hour later. She was being beagle-sat and the family went grocery shopping and didn't realize the gate wasn't latched. They were very very very grateful I nabbed her.

    One thing I always do if I get a reward for finding a pet, is I donate the full amount of the reward X2 to an animal welfare charity. I figure that way a dog who wasn't so lucky to be found gets a second chance.
  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    The tree service called. I'm scheduled for Tuesday 11am to 1pm. Yes!!!! They're going to have the power shut off while they work. It will be nice to have that done and out of the way.

    Meanwhile, I've customized my sundial. It is one that sits on the ground and I really liked it but want it up off the ground. So I found a plant stand that fits it perfectly and epoxied it to the top of the stand.
    IMG_20230428_132446332.jpg

    Then I decided that I really should put a plant on the bottom shelf. So I've added a Sunset Orange Glow Ice Plant to my purchase list for tomorrow. I've ordered a pot for it to fit on the shelf. I'm hoping it will hang over the sides of the pot a bit.

    The sage that I thought was dead in the flower bed is growing back. There are a couple leaves coming up. However, I realized that Home Depot told my yard guy these were hummingbird sage but they are just purple sage and only grow to 12-18 inches. So, I'm gonna end up re-planting the three of them in the backyard and get the actual hummingbird sages tomorrow.

    So Tuesday evening, I will be planting the rest of the front yard.

    I should be able to put down the bark by the beginning of June since the catmint are growing so quickly.
  9. Helidale

    Helidale Member

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    That looks good, I love the dragonfly gnomen, and if you wanted to use it for its original purpose you would be able to adjust the positioning. I gave up on the idea of an accurate sundial when I read how much was involved in the siting. Anyway my sunny rear garden is really for the 4-legged family members to do their jumping, weaving, searching, scratching, weeing and grass eating! I am wondering about setting a small, shallow pool, into the golden chippings which we laid years ago as a dog toilet. It is on the large side for one small dog, and the wildlife might appreciate it.
    I will need another focal point for the slate front garden though.
    I haven't bought any tomato plants yet. I have never done well with them but my neighbour got so many off a single plant last year - and the flavour was superb. I think I'll ask him for some guidance and give it another try.
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Thanks. Yes, I wanted to be able to move it around if needed. I am hoping it can stay in the front yard without someone thinking it's free to take - but I won't put it out there until the plants grow up and block access from the street. I'm hoping I can get it positioned to be fairly accurate, but if not at least it's attractive.

    I ended up getting pots for my purple sage. I've placed them on the edge of each of the porch steps (where the plastic pot is in the sundial photo).

    I was on a roll at the plant sale this time. Brought my own wagon and was 2nd in line. Found everything quickly - except the lion's tail, they grew a lot in a few weeks and I didn't recognize them. They opened for members at 8:30 am. I was through the checkout and headed to the car before they opened for the public at 9 am.

    I have this bird bath to go out front also:
    upload_2023-5-1_8-46-6.png

    It's very pretty and the copper will oxidize in time for an aged look.

    A shallow pool would be nice in the chippings. I'd love to have the frogs chirping all the time. But a certain unnamed beast is obsessed with water and I can't trust him not to mess with a pond. My dad had two ponds in his yard. A nice one set in a natural outcropping rocks with a little waterfall and and a second one by the back patio. My corgi mix used to climb in the nice one and wade around in a circle lapping at the water. She'd get a whirlpool going and all his plants would tip over. I only brought her over when he wasn't home so he wouldn't see her doing it.
  11. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    One tree cut down and 14 plants planted!

    Swimming pool cleaned out (it was yucky).

    And the rain returns.
  12. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    It's been one month since I planted the first group of plants.

    This was then:
    IMG_20230408_190747264.jpg

    And one month later:
    IMG_20230502_151425753.jpg

    Some growth but not too much.
  13. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    So, outside of the catmint which has been blooming like weeds, I finally have two blooms!

    One of my hummingbird sages has a bloom:
    IMG_20230521_123402133.jpg

    And one of my Hot & Cold poker plants:
    IMG_20230521_123341366.jpg

    All the others are doing well. Getting ready to add the bark.
  14. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    It is coming on well. Is the the thing with the white blobs a solar light? I haven't seen one like that.
    I have got rid of my dead tree at the back now. I had done half of it, (it had a double trunk), before the gardener turned up and finished the job. It took me 3 days to do my half, took him about an hour - but I did chop mine into smaller pieces!
    The front looks like a slate desert. What I have put in so far looks lost, the potted heathers are out of proportion to size of the area. Next year I will re-pot into larger tubs. I have three containers of cornflowers to put out, but they are still at the seedling stage. You can't see, but the bird feeder is actually a scruffy dog sitting next to a sign post for Crufts. It reminds me of my old Tweed. The other dog is from the garden of my friend who died at Christmas '21.
    I have used the cheerier plants to brighten up the wall at the back, geranium, and pinks, (dwarf carnations). They are flowering freely and I see them all the time - which reminds me to water them. The mysterious violet plant has only just stopped flowering. It ended up 2 feet across and has made 10 inches in height. No scent, but I hope it decides to stay.
    The slate desert. (It is refuse collection day today!).
    IMG_20230523_105555.jpg

    The dog garden. Where everything does its own thing better than I can. Pardon the collection of tatty jumps, I really must spruce them up.
    IMG_20230523_105426.jpg
    Last edited: May 23, 2023
  15. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    They look great! Your slate garden reminds me of a camping trip I took with Moose-dog and Bat-dog. Moose-dog and I decided to let Bat-dog lead us on a hike. She took us along a path that was up above the creek. All of a sudden, we hit a cliff edge and decided to turn back... When we turned around the path was gone! Instead there was a steep hill covered in slate chips - looked like a quarry pile they were so thick. I looked for the path, but it was literally gone. Must have been a deer trail. We ended up having to cross the slate chips horizontally across the hillside. There was a steep rock cliff above and a cliff edge below. We managed to get most of the way across and then Moose-dog and I slid down the slate chips on our butts to the re-emerging path. Bat-dog just trotted along like it was nothing. It was decided that day that Bat-dog was not allowed to lead ever again.

    I'm proud of you for getting that tree down! It may have taken the gardener an hour, but he hasn't been incapacitated with bad hips. You did GOOD!!!!

    Someday, I'd love to put up a short brick wall like yours along the sidewalk.

    Yes, those are solar lights. They are on stems that wave in the breeze. Some can be set to flicker, but I have mine set to always on. There are 6 total and I've got them placed so they will sit in among the foliage of the bigger plants when they've grown up.

    We're doing the bark today. We'll get a mulch for right around the plants and the bark will flow around that. At some point we'll start getting the 100+ temps so I want the plants protected a bit.

    In the backyard, the one butterfly bush that Tornado-dog killed in his water hose obsession is growing back. It was broken off at the ground. Now there are about 3-4 leaves coming out of the ground. I ordered a replacement bush for that spot so I'll add it where we cut down a tree (several actually that have spread up over the years). Now I'm looking for some smaller bushes to add around the backyard for interest. The backyard is a bit weird. Prior owners added a concrete slab by the back fence for a small basketball court, but then left grass/dirt all the way to the house. I ended up adding concrete across the back of the house to fill in where the back steps just ended. Behind the garage is a dirt section - but after some poking around, it appears to be concrete underneath. However, it is not one slab of concrete, but looks to be a bunch of different uneven slabs. And some bricks tossed in. At some point, we're going to remove the dirt completely and get a good look at this section, but for now we're just removing the trees that have been growing there (I never knew it wasn't just dirt so let the plants grow at will).

    I realized the other day that the privet I cut down (and all its family that have been growing in the backyard) is not alone. It appears there are privets all over the neighborhood. Since mine appeared out of nowhere years ago, I can safely say that it grew from the roots of neighboring trees. So, killing the roots will be impossible. I'll have my yard guy remove the stump now. I'll have to watch for new sprouts, but there's no way I'll ever get rid of it completely. Argggh.

    I've been looking for some smaller bushes to add to the backyard, but so far everything I like is potentially poisonous. I may just fill it with butterfly bushes of various varieties. I've got five plus the new one so far.
  16. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Sounds like you will be at it for years! I think your privets are a different species to the ones we have, which used to be popular for hedging. The only hedge I have is cotoneaster, (not the herringbone one). They are hard to keep neat as the core becomes very woody, but I prefer hedges that are a bit natural looking. At present it is covered with tiny white flowers and the bees love it.

    This is a proper view of the Dog Toilet. No home should be without one!! Now that I only have one dog it does seem a bit OTT, so I'm thinking of sinking a small randomly shaped pool liner into the half that is in front of my shed. As I recently found a baby newt in Tally's outdoor water pan - I could potentially attract newts or frogs, and a small lotus would be nice.
    IMG_20230523_194137_burst_03_kindlephoto-27977532.jpg
  17. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    It feels like that sometimes! I suspect I will always be cutting down sprouts, but hopefully it won't be too bad. Of course, the trees that my guy cut down last week are already covered in new growth, so I suspect this year will be a struggle.

    We have one more load of bark to add and then Thursday I'm adding a simple metal "animal barrier" fencing along the sidewalk and driveway. I just wanted something to help keep the bark contained and reduce the chances of anyone walking into the yard.

    I think my privet is in the same genus as yours, but a different species. Mine can grow to over 30ft and is definitely a tree. Both are considered invasive here in the states. Of course they didn't figure that out until they planted them all over the place.

    I prefer natural hedges too. I thought about adding one along the sidewalk, but I have neighbors across the street who watch out for me and it would block their view of any intruders, etc. And it would require me to prune all the time for passerby.

    Newts and frogs sound wonderful! The pond sounds like a wonderful addition. Hopefully the herons and egrets won't see if as an all you can eat buffet (my dad had a heron who kept coming to eat out of his pond).
  18. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    There is a country park with a large lake about half a mile further down the hill. The herons hang out there as there is plenty of cover for them around the lake. It's really annoying not being fit enough to do my favourite circular walk, and take in the waterfowl. My favourites are the Grebes, but there are seasonal visitors too. The last time I did the circuit we had Red-throated Divers over-wintering, and I believe there is a flock of Mergansers visiting at present. I must make the effort to get there before they leave.
  19. Helidale

    Helidale Member

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    I made it half way round the lake - no Mergansers! I asked a regular and when she said hadn't seen them, I turned back. I would have liked to go further, as she told me that the Divers, (she called them Cormorants, which they do look like from a distance), have returned. It was an effort, but at least Tally enjoyed looking out for squirrels. :026:
  20. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Half way round is a great start!!!

    I had to look up your divers. They do have a similar body shape to cormorants.

    This is the dragon I saw years ago over the river. (Actually a cormorant)
    IMG_0680a_filtered.jpg

    Today I finished the front yard!
    IMG_20230525_191337225.jpg

    I added a little wire fence around it. I'm hoping it keeps the bark in and most garbage out. It does look a bit more finished with it.

    I should have my rooftop gargoyle in the next couple weeks.

    With that done, we started working on the backyard. It's covered in oak catkins - the worst in years. I have a section behind the garage that is just dirt. I started poking in there at it looked like it might be concrete slabs in varying sections. Using a shovel and digging down, only the back 9-1/2 ft is concrete slab. The rest has some foundations running through and the dirt in between is riddled with bricks down a good 4 feet. It looks like there had been a brick shed attached to the garage and it collapsed. Since the entire area floods during the rains, I'm thinking of putting in a deck. But I think I have to focus of the rest of the yard first.
  21. Helidale

    Helidale Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    Amazing the difference the bark has made, looking more like a garden now, should look great when the plants are more showy. If you have old bricks behind your garage, why not put a line of them under the wire to contain the bark until it settles? Who is erecting the gargoyle? Take care!
    I'm rather stiff and sore today, so have declared it a Rest Day. Started cleaning up the jumps instead and set up a very elementary obstacle course for Tally - who I discovered last night can't really be bothered with jumping. As it is too much for me to lift her over walls and the like, I'm afraid she is just going to have to learn to leap!
    Tal's Mini Agility Course.
    IMG_20230526_155822_hdr.jpg

    Her little tail is just in view. Sorry about the clothes spinner post.
    She did agree to be lured round, but extra treats do rather defeat the main objective - which is losing weight. :100:

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