Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Feeding foibles

"Uh, do you mind, lady?" These photos are taken through my kitchen window.

On the way to the loo at 2:30AM this morning, the dawn of light struck - and it wasn't the sun shining yet.

I don't remember why I even walked over to my kitchen window, because normally I wouldn't. My neighbor has a large property behind mine and it backs up against a woods. I imagine this is why they have a giant security light that floods the whole area, including my back yard. It lights up everything so I can see things out there if something might be moving around, so I don't mind.

"Maybe if I hide, she'll stop taking pictures of me."

I have a critter - I think it's a possum - that tries to get into my garbage can on my back porch. Learned this lesson in a very messy way. That was months ago, but I see fresh prints all the time all over everything out there as he rummages for food.

I finally broke down and bought a bird feeder. I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing all the birdies enjoying breakfast - lunch and dinner.

Last week I filled the feeder and was surprised when I saw it empty just a couple days later. I told those birdies "I can't afford for you to inhale this stuff, especially with spring eats all around you".

"Num, num, num, num - I better fill up now before the rest of those hogs show up"

I know you know where this is going......

So I'm in front of my kitchen window this morning, and I look out and see this large dark image foraging in the bird feeder. It had the lid off (I specifically tightened it on just yesterday!) That possum was very gingerly eating the seeds out of the tray the way the birds do.

I wasn't having it - I went out the side door and opened the very loud creaky door to my porch - and he disappeared.

He's sneaky because I think if he tried getting the seeds during the day the birds would be attacking him and squawking like crazy. But they sleep at night and he sleeps during the day - just right for nighttime raids of bird feeders and garbage cans.
"Don't look now, but I think we're being watched!"

Yes you are, dear little birdies. Thanks for the show. Oh - and happy nest-building, except not on my porch please!

How do you keep the critters away? I'd love to have a comment from you!

Happy gardening, my friends,

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Winter survival

My backyard on a gorgeous winter day in Northern West Virginia Photo: me
Hi everyone! I hope you've all had a great winter. Thankfully, it hasn't been horrible here in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia - except for these last few weeks of on-again off-again nice weather. This is the stuff that really causes havoc to our plants. That first stretch of warm weather caused my plants to bud and leaf out. Then the temps did a nosedive and killed off the new growth. I think this has happened two or three times.

As I walked in my back yard garden and looked at the things I planted my heart sank because they didn't look too good. A lot has to do with the fact that, being on the retired person's budget, the plants were small and possibly never had a chance to fight the erratic weather patterns.

The other thing is that critters chewed down the few small trees and bushes I planted, which were nothing but one or two sticks to begin with.

Here's some photos (not mine) of the things I planted:
Variegated willow bush

Variegated redwood dogwood
Variegated redwood dogwood in winter - well my sticks are still bright red, so I'm taking that as a good sign!

American Redbud - mine was a 2 foot stick and now is chewed down to the ground...will it sprout up? I have faith....

I did a poor job of protecting my plants - never thought the trees and bushes would get 'et. Bummer! I need to get a roll of chicken wire to wrap around the tomato cages - maybe. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! How have your plants fared this winter?

See you soon!

Happy gardening my friends!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September garden

I haven't been around lately due to trying to heal from my shoulder surgery. It feels 100% better and I'm able to get out and dig!

Here's what I'm working on:

I planted almost all of the shrubs I got last summer in the front garden and they did very well, except for the azaleas. This garden gets sun the whole day, so the azaleas looked pretty beat up. The one I put behind the Knockout Rose got completely blocked and didn't grow much even though it wasn't burnt up. I removed the three azaleas and I'm going to plant them in my back yard where most of the yard gets shade at some time or another.
Our lack of rain didn't help my azaleas much either.

My two Crape Myrtles are still alive! I was so thrilled when I got three more from WalMart for 2.00 each. I gave two to my daughter and planted one in my back yard. It looks sad.
These Crape Myrtles are doing pretty well. They bloomed a beautiful dark hot pink.

I purchased the bricks for around the Crape Myrtles and just stuck them there temporarily, as you can see. My goal is to make two layers (larger circles than what is there now). I will put in some garden soil and humus in the circles. I want to get a few tulips and plant them and see how they do, or if they survive the critters! I'll then fill the circles with mulch, making sure I leave a space free around the trunks.

The Knockout roses have all gone wild and have bloomed literally all summer long. I really love them.
The other Knockout that is growing like crazy. I deadhead them every few weeks.

I am somewhat disappointed in my clematis - it was a combination of two - a dark purple Jackmanii and this pale pink or violet. But early on in the summer I think something ate the Jackmanii - more than likely a mole or vole. I don't know the name of the pink one to know what its leaves are to look like, but it seems in need of something because the leaves don't look very hardy
The photo on the right is a close-up of the fresh bloom on the bottom of the plant. Most of the upper blooms have been small even though I fed it.
( The single bloom photo is on the right as I write this, but shows up on the bottom when I publish it!)
Well, now I know what does well in the heat and drought for next year: snapdragons and zinnias. A pathetic little tuft of my favorite flower peeks out from behind - cosmos, but most have died in my pots.

I received some used bricks for my garden and laid them down in front of the main garden. I need a few more, but I'm happy with how they look so far!

My poor Datura is not looking great, either. I  moved it to a shadier spot, too.

Until next time have fun with your Fall gardening. I would love to hear from you. Comment below, or write me at  .

Happy gardening,

Monday, August 1, 2016

Torrential downpour bunny

I love to see the wildlife in my yard. We have bunnies running around and I have looked out my window to see a couple playing with each other, racing around like maniacs trying to catch each other. They never do.
Here's the little bunny that got stormed on sidling up to my beloved moonflower - not looking great due to lack of rain.

It’s interesting because we have cats running in the neighborhood, too. I see the bunnies once in a while and often they’re different-looking than the ones I saw earlier. I kind of wonder, of course, if the earlier versions met their demise at the hands – or paws of the cats.

We’ve been very, very dry lately and everyone, especially us gardeners, have been praying for rain. Finally our prayers came true over the last couple days.

One of the bunnies who had been visiting regularly to relieve my lawn of all its clover was out there the day the rains started. Then we had a horrible storm move through with thunder,   lightening, wind and pounding rain. I worried about my tree in my back yard losing limbs.

I looked out at the tree and barely spotted something on the lawn that looked like the bunny. It was. He just lay there getting pummeled by the storm. His ears were up high and eyes wide open. I was beside myself. I ran out in the storm to my back porch and yelled and screamed at him and clapped my hands. He was frozen – couldn’t move. Those big eyes gazed my way. It was so sad.

Well, hello!!!
I went inside and kept looking out the window. It seemed like forever, but he finally disappeared. I don’t think he’s been around. I hope he didn’t die.

I’ve been looking for the bunny. This morning I looked out and there were two bunnies cavorting around. I thought they looked a little strange.
This photo was taken with him looking at me, but there's a kitty about twenty five feet away getting ready to make a move.

I sneaked out with my camera and the one was gone, the other was behind him, but turned around and started running right toward me. Wait – he’s not even the same kind…is he a jack rabbit? A kangaroo? Strange-looking little critter.

I hope my rain-soaked guy is all right.

I'd love it if you would leave a comment, or email me at Or share - whatever you care to do!

Until next time, happy gardening my friends,

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Party in the front….business in the back

Party in the front......

Yes, the saying is reversed and this post isn’t about mullets! It’s about my back porch. I just wanted to share with you this year’s flowers. If you click on the first photo, you will get a slideshow and the photos will be larger.

Beautiful large coleus

Love this coleus

Looking out on the backyard

"Don't take my picture!" says Holly

Someday there will be a beautiful flower garden out there!

Happy angelic couple

Healthy plants....

Ferocious protector.....

Bath time

My favorite place to drink a cup of coffee and chat with a friend

This coleus may be "Chocolate Mint" - It sure is gorgeous!

The porch overlooks the back yard. Holly enjoys a bath.

Angel Wing Begonia -  one of my favorites

and Business in the back......

I couldn't put this old buffet in the house, so it makes good storage and a surface to work on if needed.

Thanks for looking at this summer's plants. I love my porch because it's very private and quiet and always has a beautiful breeze blowing through. This means I have to water the plants more than usual, but it's worth it!

Until next time, happy gardening, my friends ~

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How to clean your bird bath

I hope you all have some water sources for the birdies out there. It’s been in the 90’s here in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. It’s hard for me to imagine how the wildlife endures extreme temperatures.

Here’s my bird bath.

It’s made out of resin and I’ve had it many years. I am concerned about keeping it out in the direct sun, but I know birdies love to take sun baths. I also know that in this heat, I walk outside every other day and the water is getting ready to turn green. If for some reason I ignore it longer, I find green water and lots of mold on the bottom. I truly try not to let it get this way.
Here's my other bird bath:

This morning I dumped the water out of this bath to clean and refill a little later. I looked out the window at it and there is a mourning dove flitting around it and finally settling in to the empty bath. I felt bad I hadn't yet filled it, but she seemed OK with it. She filled the whole bowl up with her size. I hurried up and filled it up but of course haven't seen her the rest of the day!

To clean my baths, I dump the water out and I’m left with dark slimy gunk on the bottom of the bird bath. What I have been doing is taking a gallon of water and putting a drop of Dawn, and a drop of bleach in it and dumping it in the bath. I get a scrubby and scrub it as much as I can. I rinse with another gallon of water, but then I let dry for a day, because I don’t know if my cleaners will harm the birds. Well, of course they would if they drank  them, but I mean after I rinse out the bird bath.

I decided to see if there was an organic way to clean my bath, and sure enough came across this recipe that might work:

4 and a  1/2 cups of white vinegar
½ cup water
Pour into the bird bath and let it sit for a while. Scrub and rinse it out with a good amount of water.

As far as the birds' drinking water, some resources suggest putting a cap full of apple cider vinegar in the water all the time, which will keep down the algae and also provide vitamins and minerals to the birds. I’ve got some inquiries out to see if this is an acceptable practice, too, so in the meantime I’ll stick to my bleaching out the bird baths and filling them with plain water.

It's also suggested to place the bath near bushes where birds can fly to quickly to preen and dry themselves off.
Here's a couple of pretty bird baths:
This is available at Amazon. I'd love to have a fresh water feature for my birds and others to enjoy.

What do you do to clean your bird bath?

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you leave a comment and share with friends and family.

Happy gardening, my friends ~


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Garden candy!

In keeping with my blog theme of writing about gardening on a budget, I thought I’d show you the wonderful finds I’ve come across – so far.

This is certainly the time of year to hit the stores to see what plants they’ve reduced so they can clear their shelves. I’ve been to Busy Beaver, Walmart, Kroger’s and Lowe’s.

Below are photos I found of the healthy specimens that I hope my sad plants will turn into. It'll be amazing what regular watering will do!

I paid way more than I hoped I would, but purchased plants that were on my Plant Bucket List: Crape Myrtles. WalMart had them 50% off for $7.50 each. They looked neglected, of course, but I snatched up the two best ones.

                                         Crape Myrtle (2):

                    Everything else below I got for $1.00 each:
Double Knockout Roses (3)- I do love these - they are so hardy. The three I planted last year all came up beautifully.

                                      Weigela Pink Poppet
This is a small one - only reaches 3-4 feet
                                      Dappled Willow:

                                     Japanese Painted Fern:


                   Penstemon Red Husker "Bearded Tongue" (2)


I love Coreopsis. I found them for 1.00 each. I was so excited I bought two! When I got home I read the tag -  Highland Blast Coreopsis – MOUNDING ANNUAL. I never knew Coreopsis came in an annual! Why did I buy TWO?! So, so disappointed. Lesson learned: Read the tag! Duh.

Annie’s Tips: Read the plant tag so you are not bitterly disappointed when you get home with that “bargain”. LOL

I listed everything I got on sale and planted last Fall here: I lost one plant and the rhodies did not bloom, but are healthy and look good.

What good buys have you gotten for your garden?

Thanks for reading and please sign up for my blog and share with your friends.

Happy gardening, my friends -