Gardens Home & Garden

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

  1. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    I ended up getting a post surgery shoe for my toe. It has helped a lot. I unwad a cotton ball and wrap it around the toe, then wrap all the toes in vet wrap - just tight enough to keep them still and then wear the shoe. It is working. No pain. At night I remove everything to let my foot breathe.

    Today, my hummingbird garden has officially made it on the Hummingbird Tour.

    Yesterday, a calliope hummingbird came to eat. And today, I had a male rufous hummingbird and a male anna hummingbird and a female anna hummingbird all come to eat. The anna female even came to the front door twice chittering and looking at Tornado-dog through the security door. Getting the butterflies and bees too.

    I'll get out my camera and try to get some hummingbird photos this week.

    In the backyard, I have planted 15 of my ice plants in the tiered planter.
    IMG_20240417_135013128.jpg

    They are starting to grow and bloom.

    I also ordered 4 cliff maids (2 sunset strain and 2 little peach) online and they arrived.
    IMG_20240417_134932296-1.jpg

    I'm currently painting some old cinder blocks. I'm going to make a small wall with them (4 on end side by side, 2 laid on top with the holes upward, and 2 laid in front with the holes upward) and plant the cliff maids and ice plants in them to create a rock garden of sorts.
    IMG_20240417_133020454-1.jpg

    4 of the blocks will be "bird song blue" (pictured) on the outside with "niagara falls" blue (very pale blue with a touch of green) on the inside of the holes, and 4 will be the reverse. I've got 3 painted so far. I'll set them up on my patio once we move the gazebo.
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  3. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    I'm thrilled that you have attracted hummingbirds! Don't you just love it when a plan comes together. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures.
    I'm sorry you are having so much pain with your toe. No breaks but I have arthritis in my toes, and wrists and thumbs, so I wear slightly larger shoes to allow for slices of memory foam. Feet are my least favourite body parts.
  4. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    It's definitely a thrill seeing it fullfilled. I spent over a month planning out the yard and selecting plant varieties to cater to hummingbirds. Then all the work my yard guy did removing the topsoil, cutting down the privet, removing the stump, laying weed barrier (which in hindsight was not necessary), digging the holes for my plants, and delivering the paving stones. Then my work in buying the plants, planting them, laying the paving stones, and keeping everything alive (I did actually do some of the work) for a year. So seeing multiple hummingbirds come, and different types, just makes it all worthwhile.

    And Tornado-dog was very polite to the Anna (maybe she was the one who kept glaring at my cameras and convinced me to do it all).

    I always hear the sparrows and finches all day long every day year round but have rarely heard hummingbirds. Today, I've been hearing the hummingbirds chitter all day so they seem to be hanging out.
  5. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    I finally finished painting the blocks:
    IMG_20240421_105716615.jpg

    And planting the plants. I left the two top centers empty because I want to put Jewel of Desert Topaz delospermas in them but haven't been able to get any yet.
    IMG_20240421_115512381.jpg

    The planter box on the left has my Loch Ness blackberries, Nova raspberry, and Chester blackberry. The sapling straight back is the honey granite myrtle. The western redbud and slim bottlebrush are to the right of it. The rest is in limbo until the trees grow and I can see how the sun exposure changes.
  6. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    Loch Ness blackberries are a new one to me. We have blackberries tripping us up anywhere that isn't under cultivation but they don't have names. A good idea to keep them contained by blocks. Surprising though, depending on where you pick them, blackberries do have different sizes, shapes and flavours. Chas and I had a favourite bramble patch in the country park that had a distinct flavour of blackberry and apple, rather than just blackberry. Raspberries are my favourite fruits - the bigger and jucier the better. Good with whisky!
  7. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    I never knew there were varieties. I just remember the ones between our house and the neighbor's when I was growing up. We spent hours sitting out the eating them.

    Both blackberry varieties are thornless and the raspberry is supposed to have fewer and smaller thorns than most. They are varieties that apparently do well in this climate. Both blackberries are UK varieties. The Nova raspberry is Canadian (Nova represents Nova Scotia).

    They should be fairly contained there - under the planter is actually concrete in that section. That should also cut down on rodents trying to build burrows under the brambles.

    I'm thinking about pickling them. I found some recipes for cold pickling fruits and it says you can use balsamic vinegar. I have a bottle of a strawberry peach balsamic vinegar and thought that might make a tasty topping for ice cream or even shortcake and whipped cream.
  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    My first photos of my Anna hummingbird and her mate.

    Here she is:
    Anna.jpg

    Anna closeup.jpg

    And here he is. His head and throat flash magenta, but he hasn't let me capture that yet.
    Anna's Man.jpg
  9. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    They are beautiful! What height are they feeding at? Do they come fairly close to humans.
    I have been watching some tiny birds, (probably blue tits, it's hard to see against the sky), that nest every year in the ridge of the house on the corner. They are so busy coming and going with feathers and other bits for their nest, but often a crow will sit like a sentry over their entrance, waiting to pounce. They are so clever at avoiding him, but sadly he does get the occasional baby when they emerge.
    Tally is moulting, so I put her hair combings into a feeding cage. It's never their for long. I'm careful not to use anything toxic on her coat.
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    They will go right to the ground. Yesterday, they were feeding from the catmint blooms just inches off the ground.

    The hummingbird sage in the photos has been rolled on by stray cats at night and was growing sideways on the ground and they would get down there to feed. I just caged the plant so the blooms are now higher up - about 3 feet off the ground.

    I was sitting in my chairs in the front for these photos so the female was within 10 feet of me and let me take multiple photos. The male stayed further away - maybe 15-20ft and takes off as soon as he realizes I took his photo.

    I'm hoping I'll see babies .

    Yesterday, there were also some house sparrows gathering twigs and stuff for nests. One morning I saw one on top of my trailer dragging about 4-5 squares of TP - don't know where he found it, but he seemed happy to have done so.

    The crows haven't been around much lately. I did have a pair of scrub jays throwing bark around the yard yesterday (looking for insects).

    And there's a rodent in the yard. It's not a rat or mouse. Looks more like a golden hamster. Might be a vole. Tornado-dog wants it bad.
  11. Toedtoes

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  12. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    @CaroleC to answer your question as to how high(low) they go to feed:
    Catmint Hummingbird Gold.jpg

    It's a Boy.jpg

    And here's a not so great shot of his head almost vibrant magenta:
    Glimpse of Glory.jpg

    And our scrub jays:
    Grubbing.jpg

    And for @who owns who, "Who's Watching Who:
    Whos Watching Who.jpg
  13. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    I didn't realise that they fed near to the ground. Must be risky having your beak in a flower with wildlife about!
    Your Jays are much prettier than ours, which are brown with just a blue flash. They are usually only seen in wooded areas but they are aggressive towards smaller birds.
  14. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Yeah. The scrub jays are pretty. Many people think they are bluebirds. They can be aggressive. Years ago when my cats were indoor/outdoor, I had a very sweet male cat, Raoul. One day, he was laying in the grass in the backyard and a jay flew to the fence and started jumping around and talking at Raoul. When he focused on the bird, another jay flew from around the back and whacked Raoul on the head. And they kept doing it to him. The sad thing is that Raoul was NOT a hunter and had no real interest in the birds at all.

    We had a good rain this morning. The sun is finally coming out for the first time today.

    One of my Loch Ness blackberries has fruits on it. A lot for the small plant size. The other berries are all doing well but no blooms or berries so far. My lemo sages in the backyard that I just got last month have blooms started. One of my Little John bottlebrushes in the front is blooming and my slim bottlebrush in back has blooms. One of my hot & cold poker plants in front has blooms. I planted my desert willow the other day but he is really stressed. I'm hoping today's rain makes him feel better. I'm not sure why he stressed out so much, he was doing great in his original pot.
  15. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    I went to the university clearance plant sale this morning. I did good.

    I got a new salvia leucantha 'white mischief' to replace the one the yard guy's assistant killed (all new plants are caged now to keep him from destroying them).

    Because there was only 1 of the above available, I had the Salvia × jamensis 'Sierra San Antonio' set as a replacement. I saw it first so I grabbed it and then decided to keep it after I found the white mischief.

    Then I got one salvia elegans and one salvia 'Fancy Dancer'. The former is going in a problem spot that nothing else has liked. The latter is in a pot.

    I had planned on getting just one clinopodium douglasii but it has a wonderful fragrance (sort of a combination lemon and sage maybe) so I got two. I put them behind my garage where an old brick structure had collapsed decades ago. This is a native herb commonly called yerba buena (you'll notice that name used for many Bay Area places, etc). It's a sprawling groundcover so it should be happy growing over and around the brick debris.

    I got two fragaria vescas (woodland strawberries).

    I got one Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' to replace the chilopsis linearis that is not happy - it's by my other trees. I moved the chilopsis to a shady spot more like it had on the back porch.

    And I got one jasminum angulare to plant in a pot and grow up around this bird bath.
    IMG_20240417_163520694.jpg
    I'm not going to put a second plant on the stand so I may find a figuring to go on the top shelf.

    I couldn't figure out a spot to put the extra salvia, so I bought a large 49qt planter for it. At $20 from home depot, it was a good buy so I ordered a second one.

    I had planted the fancy dancer in an existing pot (10") but now I'm thinking I put it in the 2nd new pot and put those two salvias at the umbrella base and then pot the strawberries in the smaller pots and put them on a couple painted cement pier blocks.

    This is the last of my planting until fall. Now I have to work on cleaning the pool.
  16. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    My back garden is overrun with wild strawberries. All the dogs have loved foraging from them. They originally came from one small pot bought at a charity sale. Last winter I grubbed out the lot of them, but they are back again and are flowering. Oh well, Tally will enjoy them.
    Your Salvias sound lovely - do the Hummingbirds go in this area? I will have to look up Callistemon - is it a lily?

    Oh no, I see - a Bottlebrush plant.
  17. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    Good to know. So far Tornado-dog has shown no interest in the regular strawberry plant strawberries. He's not a big veggie or fruit eater - he turns his nose at most.

    I'm putting the strawberries in pots at this point, but will probably get a large raised bed for them like I did for the blackberries and raspberry.

    The callistemon is a bottlebrush. Most are red blooms but this one has pink and cream blooms. It grows to about 15ft.
    upload_2024-5-11_16-13-34.png

    The hummingbirds have been in the backyard but not as often as the frontyard.

    I also have salvia 'lello' from the last sale that I planted around the pool. They're blooming and are very pretty - a soft buttery yellow.

    The 'white mischief' salvia is a salvia leucantha (Mexican sage) - I also have the 'midnight' which is a bright purple.

    I need to get my 28-75mm lens out and start getting photos of each plant as they bloom.
  18. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Today, Looney1 came out back with me and the dogs. Looney2 voiced displeasure from inside the house, but when I reminded him that he doesn't like it when he's outside, he quieted down.

    While outside, the local squirrel decided he was going to snoop around the yard.
    squirrel standoff.jpg

    But Tornado-dog was on guard
    tornado-dog stand-off.jpg

    Squirrel decided he'd go find something else to do.

    A mockingbird came through
    on the wing.jpg

    But had no interesting calls to make. Last year one croaked like a frog all summer.

    And we had a new visitor
    newcomer.jpg
    newcomer2.jpg

    A cedar waxwing. He has a fancy mask and a fine looking coat.
  19. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    You are good with that camera! Nothing I take is really sharp these days, so I tend not to bother. Probably due to slight changes in my vision.
    I was looking at an online interactive birdsong chart last week. Your garden birds are completely different to ours, and much more interesting.
  20. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Thanks. I rarely ever use manual focus so I can't really take credit for the sharpness. I do have good lenses too.

    Funny, I think the same - that you have more interesting birds. I guess we get accustomed to seeing and hearing our local birds to the point we stop thinking of them as interesting.

    Although I do love listening to the sparrows and finches outside the window early in the mornings.
  21. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Looney1 has been enjoying his daily jaunts in the backyard - to the point that he screams bloody murder if the dogs and I go out without him. He has also taken to sleeping under the bed with Cat-dog at night. I think he's determined he's a dog.

    Yesterday, he and I went to sit on the front porch. Within minutes, the brown tabby tom from across the street came over and meowed at Looney1 and then attempted to spray my car tire - I told him to quit being rude and that HE was the tresspasser. He sauntered under the car, then came back out to meow at Looney1 again, then sprayed the bear's breech, at which point I told him to leave and he should be grateful I don't install motion detector sprinklers. He sauntered through the front and started to spray a hummingbird sage so I again told him to leave and he hurried away. What a hoodlum!

    Looney1 then sat on the table on the porch and ate the catnip plant. I have totally abused that thing - the pot was basically a lake all winter and the plant died down to nothing. Now it is big and lush. Looney1 enjoyed it very much.

    So, I decided I should get a couple more for the other cats who don't go outside. I ended up buying 2 catnips, a barbeque rosemary, an arp rosemary (both grow straight stems you can use for skewers), an alpine strawberry, a chocolate mint and an orange mint.

    I can't wait to see how Panther and Punx take to the fresh catnip.

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