Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tomato-stealing squirrels versus Iris, part 2

Squirrels are now three for four. None of my dangling of tin can lids or hanging of vinegar-soaked rags or sprinkling of coffee grounds deterred them from snatching my bigger-than-a-golfball heirloom Cherokee Purple, even though I’d carefully wrapped it in a piece of pantyhose and tied it to the stalk. Mercifully, they overlooked this smaller one:

After more research and some advice from Jenny of Rock Rose and Renee of Renee’s Roots, we’re now trying bird netting. Using pieces of bamboo my neighbor put out for bulk trash pickup, husband Kurt constructed these cool teepee things, over which he draped the bird netting.

The netting is secured at the bottom with various bricks and a piece of wood. It’s been almost 24 hours with the new set up and that smaller heirloom is still intact. The only other possible deterrents out there now are a big, gaudy twirling flower ornament and some dangling stars.

nice lashing skills

I also have about 20 green cherry tomatoes, Sun Golds, growing naked on three other plants. Kurt said he would make bird netting teepees for them next weekend.

In the super sunny front yard, I stuck some potted tomato plants, two of which are volunteers and three of which are either Black Krims or Green Zebras I grew from seed (forgot to label them.) So far, the squirrels haven’t noticed them, but I’ll probably end up covering those in bird netting, too. Really, I’m not obsessed.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My tiny tropical paradise

I usually rely on drought-tolerant natives and adapted natives, but I couldn’t resist creating this little back yard bed of cool flowers, with which I have no experience. They just seem so tropical—ahhhh….

Peter Pan Blue Agapanthus (dwarf Lily of the Nile)

Scutellaria hybrid Purple Fountain (can't find its common name)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tomato-stealing squirrels versus Iris, part 1

The squirrels are two for two right now. So, at the moment, I have no tomatoes, only some flowers on several plants. Husband Kurt is planning to build some serious tomato cages this weekend, but until then, I’ve put out some deterrents.

Well, I hope they’re deterrents because I spent at least three hours researching this stuff online and, because I didn’t want to sprinkle cayenne and risk getting it in my cat’s or dog’s eyes, I decided on the following recommendations for part 1 of my quest:
pantyhose feet stuffed with tree tea oil-soaked cotton balls
vinegar-soaked rags
shiny ribbon things that move in the wind plus a few dangling tin tops (from cat food cans)
coffee grounds

Apparently squirrels don’t like “stinky” things, or coffee grounds, or shiny, erratically moving things near their potential spoils. Maybe they just don’t like ugly pantyhose feet, rags, and tin lids. Because they're all ugly.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tomorrow’s Yogurt Shop Murders hearing canceled

I was looking forward to attending the bond hearings scheduled tomorrow and Wednesday for Yogurt Shop Murders defendants Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott because witnesses were supposed to actually testify, presumably DNA experts from both the state and the defense.

But the hearings have been canceled for several reasons. Read details in the Statesman story here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Garden bloggers’ bloom day

We have already had several days of temperatures in the mid-90s and virtually no rain lately. Oh, and did I mention the high humidity? Just lovely. So, I’ve been dragging the hose around and am happy to have some nice blooms today! You can see lots of other bloggers’ blooms at Carol’s May Dreams Gardens.

vitex tree


victoria salvia

cosmos in front of rhea salvia

mexican bush sage

santolina with rosemary

society garlic at back of veggie garden

impulse purchase: scutellaria hybrid purple fountain

closer up scutellaria hybrid purple fountain

another impulse purchase: bougainvillea (with rhea salvia)

impulse purchase whose name I forgot to write down
Edited 6:07 p.m.--thanks to NellJean for identifying this Ageratum, "Blue Horizon"

purple coneflower in the veggie garden

jerusalem sage

cucumber flowers

Also blooming now are indigo spires salvia, dwarf pomegranate, pink skullcap, purple and white ruellia, lantana, verbena, and turk's cap.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Verbena butterfly

Sometimes I just luck out chasing a butterfly. Literally. I was not using a zoom lens when I shot these photos, but I did look funny erratically crouching around the front edge of the yard in order to get close. What a great subject! Would love to know what kind of butterfly it is…

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Surprising santolina

We’ve had several of these gray santolinas in the front yard for two years and really like them for their silvery color, nice roundish shape, and drought tolerance.

On our France vacation last summer, we saw these same santolinas in a huge public garden, but they had some cute little yellow button-type flowers on them. I assumed those Parisian yellow buttons were a result of the more temperate weather and a bit more rain.

the santolina in Paris' Bois de Boulogne

But look! Ours are now covered with yellow buttons! I’ve planted five other gray santolinas in the past year, but they’re still button-free, so I guess they’re just one of those plants that doesn't bloom for a couple of years.

close-up of santolina blooms

santolina and rosemary by the sidewalk

Surrounded by verbena is one of the seven newer santolinas that hasn't yet bloomed but still provides a nice color contrast.