Gardens Home & Garden

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

  1. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    I don't think cowboys books ever go out of print! :)

    Had a Major Incident just now. I went out front to sit and maybe get some photos of the birds. Saw a sweet little common finch come down and sit on my fencing, so I started taking photos of her with the real camera and zoom lens.

    All of a sudden, there were two of them. They were on my driveway.
    IMG_20230606_160213097.jpg

    Sorry for the photo quality - I took a photo with the camera of the photo I took with the real camera.

    Mama got him hiding under one of my catmints and then left
    IMG_20230606_153341508.jpg

    Unfortunately, the neighborhood cats are roaming around and like my yard, so he was not safe there at all. So I got a canister lid and put it and him in the tree next door
    IMG_20230606_154303954.jpg

    I think that's where he fell from, but don't see a nest and most of the finches are in the trees across the street - but I don't see her luring him across the road and he seemed to come from under the suv which is next to this tree.

    Mama came back once already, but didn't see him. I've told him to call real loud when she comes back. He's watching out for her
    IMG_20230606_163527611.jpg

    I have a call into the local wildlife rescue - their recording said to put him in a bowl in the tree. Hoping they will call back and give some more advice.

    I hear thes finches all the time, but this is the first I've actually seen them.
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  3. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Good luck little bird.
  4. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Well mama came back. She was calling for him but she didn't hear his replies (I did, so I'm not sure why she didn't). Then she left again. I got worried that I really screwed up.

    I did some research and found this chart:
    Screenshot_20230607-084916.png

    So, I just left him be and after a while she came back again and found him. They foraged around together on the ground and then she left again. After a while, I went back out to check and he was gone.

    That chart really helped. He would have been OK had I left him in the bush for a while as long as I watched out for the cats.
  5. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    Really useful chart. Will save that.
  6. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    So I now have a crop of maize growing in the backyard. The sparrows toss the kernels from their bird seed. It's now growing. I've got an email in to Wagner's to make sure it's a "safe" plant for the dogs. If it is, I'll let it grow.
  7. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    Lots of kibble brands have maize in them. If it was GM I don't think it would germinate. My guess would be that you're safe - but you could end up living in a forest!
  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Yeah, I expect it's fine, I just figure it's good to ask for sure. I did look online and it says the plant is non-toxic (leaves, stems and flowers). I think I just really want to be sure it IS the maise plant (I used a photo to identify it with PlantID).

    Yesterday, Tornado-dog happily chewed on a few leaves with no ill effects.

    So far, it is only growing in the area directly under the birdfeeders, so hopefully it will just be a small forest.
  9. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    After over a week of scorching temperatures we now have high humidity with heavy showers of rain. Everything that I bought in is doing so well that I wish I had provided them with larger pots! I planted 16 Cornflower seeds - in two's as the online instructions suggested - and I have 16 plants, 100% germination, most with flower buds already! I feel like a proud parent. :007:
    I felt the slate desert needed another point of interest and decided on this shiny spinner.
    Screenshot_20230615-110323.png

    However, this is what has arrived,
    IMG_20230615_103337.jpg

    I got in touch with the supplier to report that there were no instructions in the box. Their reply was that I shouldn't have a problem following the sketch in the advertisement. That's a job for the next wet day then. There are so many small sections, and nuts and bolts, that I think it could well rattle itself apart in a high wind. I think I might try to pre-empt that by putting a spot of superglue on every nut and bolt!
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Ugggh. I hate when they just include a sketch and say that's enough. Especially when pieces look exactly the same except for one little hole or bump, etc. Even worse when the sketches are too small for The Borrowers (aged us there, I did).

    It does look like a cute spinner.

    Yeah on the plants!! I have a tough time with "increasing pot size". With my current little plants, I went ahead and planted them in the pot to fit their full size, but I focus the water on just the immediate area by their main stems. So far it's working.
  11. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    So yesterday afternoon I went out front to check on the plants and to refill the birdbaths. I found various rat parts in the big bath - identifying part was the tail. I cleaned it out and discarded the parts.

    I thought maybe an owl or hawk. The bath is too high for a cat or dog to drop parts into.

    This morning I went out and checked - baths all clean and fresh. Just now I we nt to see how the plants were doing and, yep, therewas a small bone floating around in the big bath.

    So it seems I have a local hawk (or other day time raptor) who is hunting in the area and eating his/her lunch above my bird bath.

    I guess I should be happy it's landing in the bath where I can deal with it easily rather than in among my bark and plants???
  12. Helidale

    Helidale Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    A gruesome find but useful pest control. If it's happening at night I would suspect an owl - a rather large owl at that!
  13. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Helidale likes this.
    It definitely happened at mid-day to early afternoon yesterday. So not an owl.

    My guess is a hawk. I see them around the neighborhood every once in a while.

    He is welcome to come hunt rats any time!
  14. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Well things are picking up in the front garden. All but one catmint is blooming. There are three that haven't done any growing yet (one is the non-bloomer).

    Two of the fuchsias are blooming.
    IMG_20230620_185040059.jpg

    IMG_20230620_185048048.jpg

    One of my Poco Orange poker plants has a small bloom
    IMG_20230620_184724805.jpg

    And my over achiever, one of the backdraft poker plants has FOUR blooms
    IMG_20230620_184637261.jpg

    Meanwhile my backyard smells like peppermint - I squirted it all around my back patio where Tornado-dog has been smelling a rat. Don't know if it will work, but I did see a beetle leave very quickly...

    The neighbor's dog had a dead rat the other week, don't know if he caught it or found it dead. But I can't risk putting poison out between him and my big rat hunter. Not to mention the neighborhood cats and hawks, etc.
  15. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    I can see why you wanted the Fuschias, they look like an ideal flower shape for Hummingbirds. Strange how rats can be a problem some years and then remain out of sight for an age. It is several years since we had a problem but I'm sure they will be back. Co-ordinating your neighbours to all take measures at the same time can be a problem. One of ours told the pest control chap that she couldn't have bait on her ground because she had two dogs. At that time there were seven dogs living in the four neighbouring houses.
    My peeve this week is the heavyweight Wood Pigeons which have flopped on the mini roses and broken two blooms off! There is enough woodland round here - why invade my slate desert. I think I'm going to have to move the roses to another place. The Jackdaws were untidy but they weren't detructive!
    I find it hard to photograph plants and gardens, and my pictures always look dull, but here is an update. The lantern is a really cheap solar powered coil of wire covered in pastel coloured LED's. It is really cheerful, I have a plain white one at the back of the house too.

    IMG_20230622_115140_burst_01_kindlephoto-32619036.jpg
  16. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    That's looking really cute!

    Could you create a perch or two for the pigeons? Since the roses are fairly low the the ground, you could get a nice gnarly curved tree branch and screw both ends to a piece of 1x4. Then burrow the base under the slate. Might add some additional texture to the garden and give the pigeons a place to roost other than the roses?

    My next door neighbor is on board with me about the rats. Her exterminator guy told her to get rid of the bird feeder. Neither of us want to do that - we like our birds.

    I did a three-fold deterrent: natural repellent pellets down the tunnels the rats have made, then filled in with steel wool and then sprayed the wool and ground with peppermint. The neighbor is going to do the same. And I sprayed along the fence between our yards. I'm hoping that will send the rats in the other directions - away from us.

    Meanwhile, I found my birdbath culprit. A crow. Apparently he is soaking his dinner by purposely putting it in the water. I read they do it to bring water to the babies and to "age" their meats a bit... I found a good sized bone yesterday - maybe a possum.

    My other backdraft poker plant is upping the game. He has two blooms going currently and another two coming.

    And both my lion's tails have been growing a lot of little green balls in several bunches on each stem for almost a month now. Yesterday, I finally could see a little dot of red in the middle of some of the balls. I think they are going to be magnificent. And it was luck I got them. They were added right before the first sale and I decided to take one last look at the list.
  17. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    I had a friend who had problems with a rat in her rafters. It had made an access into the eaves of the bungalow from an adjoining high wall. At night she could hear it scuffling about on the other side of the ceiling above her bed. She eventually got rid of it by placing paper bags of heavily soiled ferret litter in a couple of locations along the rat run. She replaced it frequently as a deterrent, so you do need to know a ferret breeder.
    This afternoon I swapped the positions of the roses and the heathers - I don't think the Woodies will do the heathers any harm and the extra red around the stone mushroom, (the old country name is a staddle stone), makes the central area stand out a bit more.
  18. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    I had a squirrel in my attic once. Got a motion-detection battery operated floodlight and put it in front of where he was coming in from. Once I got him out, we put metal screening over the access point.

    No ferret breeders here - they are illegal to own in California. I have known several illegal aliens though and they were all charming.

    Glad the switch worked! Nice to have a simple solution be effective.
  19. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Helidale likes this.
    Both my lion's tails are now starting to actually bloom.
    IMG_20230629_131229279_edit_1688069667116.jpg

    And Bis has recovered from his shipping battle and has made his home on the roof peak
    IMG_20230628_180202549.jpg IMG_20230629_132241991.jpg

    He seems very happy now that he is on the job.

    Looking at my photos, I think I need some sort of architectural interest between the attic vent and the windows. Have to start looking.
  20. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    Saturday, I went to the university's first fall plant sale. I bought a new tree for the front yard - a pineapple guava. The fruits and flowers are edible, drought tolerant, and only grows to 20ft.

    I also got some plants for the backyard:

    Three tree/shrubs - slim bottlebrush, western redbud, and granite honey myrtle. All smaller trees. Planted them behind my garage - creating a more natural setting there because it's where an old brick structure collapsed before I bought the property. Once they have grown, I'll add some plants for the undergrowth.

    Then I bought 3 lion's tails and 3 french lavender provence. Planted them around the main yard. And I bought 2 Hummingbird sage 'Avis Keedy'. They have yellow blooms instead of the deep purple. They also have a very strong aroma.

    My last purchases were 2 Loch Ness blackberries and 1 Nova raspberry. Right now they are in planters on my front steps, but I think I'm going to move them to the backyard far corner. It's got a concrete floor, so I'm going to build walls to create a raised planter - I'll put in drain holes in the bottom of the walls. That will keep the berries from taking over the rest of the section.

    I'll keep watch over the sale plant lists. I still need an oven's wattle for my backyard but they didn't have them at this sale.

    I still need 3 plants for my hanging planters - full sun, little maintenance. I really want ones that will trail over and down below the planter.
  21. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Everything is going into sleep mode here. Thank goodness I chose the heathers - I'm going to get a couple more tomorrow. I only managed to ripen about a kilo from the huge crop on the tomato plant, just not enough sun to ripen them. I tried picking the fruits and putting them on the sunniest window sills but most turned beige and rotted.
    At the back, I have twisted a string of LED's round a plant obelisk, it is a roughly fir-tree shape, and gives a soft pastel light at night. I have fixed a solar-powered motion detector light at a low level by Tally's pebble area. She really likes being able to turn on the light when she trots down for her night-time wees!

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