White Nose

Almost sounds like a Christmas song but White Nose is the name of a squirrel that frequents our yard and our back deck. He's a pretty big little guy with a furry white nose, hence his name. He feels quite comfortable partaking of our bird buffet. I really don't mind the squirrels visiting the bird feeders. The only bad thing about them is that they empty the feeders out fairly quickly, which is probably why most people don't like the squirrels in their yards.We have two furry visitors that come by regularly, White Nose and a little gray squirrel that we haven't named yet. There is a positive side effect to squirrels eating at your feeders; they knock quite a bit of seed to the ground which is good for juncos and other ground feeding birds.The top picture is White Nose himself! The bottom one is the little gray squirrel.If…

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Blank Slate

It will be fun to think of what next year's growing season will bring. The yard here is pretty much a blank slate still. I've done a few things, like making a garden bed or two, making a bird bath garden, and added trees but there is a lot left to do to fit my vision of what this yard could be. Everyday I can think of a new thing to add to the landscape. Today I started thinking about a small herb garden bordered with stone in the front yard near our walkway. I'll add that one to my to do list. Over in the right column of my blog I have the "Ever-Growing List." It's my to do list that just keeps growing, kind of like kudzu. As I knock off jobs I'll talk about them and post pictures of the process.I'm looking forward to starting on the…

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What were they thinking?

I had to drive our cat Amber to the vet today to get some tests done on her. She has kidney renal failure and we have to periodically see how her blood is. She's been doing really good but has lost her appetite recently. While I was up in town I thought I'd drive around a few minutes to see what new developments had popped up. Shopping centers and housing developments are popping up all over the place in our area. I noticed in between one residential area and a shopping center there was a plant creating a great screen. In fact this plant could probably grow 20 feet high or more creating a very good sound barrier as well as the visual screen it was intended to be. Only one problem...it's Bamboo! Bamboo can send runners out all over and can quickly tack over an area. Putting it as…

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From my window…

From my window I can see my homemade compost bin, unfinished as it is, with our poor ole jack-o-lantern resting its big orange head on the grass clippings from my last mowing. That relic of a Halloween come and gone will come around again next year in some way. Either as broken down black gold or in the seeds that he left behind. His progeny will most likely grace us next season with lots of little orange gourds ready to be carved and given personalities of their own! Soon I'll add some leaves to the top of the bin and won't be able to see our old friend Jack, but he'll be there. In fact he might even be in my tomatoes next year, who knows?

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Landscape Plan: Memorial Garden

With the growing season coming to a close its time to start planning for next year's landscape. Every now and then I like to design landscapes for people. Here is a sample of a small garden design that I made for a couple friends of ours. Its actually a memorial garden and is suitable for almost any corner of a yard. Its small so its also perfect for small yards. It uses one of my favorite trees, the Yoshino Cherry! The spruces in the picture could be replaced with a yew that has a conical shape.

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Invasion!

It's the invasion of the lady bugs! Or really the Asian lady beetle. They are coming! As I write there is one on the windowsill in front of me. These beetles are great in the garden, they eat pests like aphids but when they invade they home they can become a problem. They go everywhere and leave yellow stains behind. Not to mention they shells when they die. As for what to do about them try vacuuming them up or preventing their entry by sealing up cracks around your house. I wouldn't personally go so far as pesticides for them but it is an option. The University of Kentucky Department of Entomology has a great article for more information!

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Daffodils

Today my little 2 year old daughter and I went out and planted daffodils. She did pretty good, dropping the bulb into the hole after I dug it out. Initially Grace kept trying to rearrange the bulbs all over the bed. Then she started taking the spade I was using to dig the holes. Eventually we got a process together and soon we had planted 40 daffodil bulbs. Now if the squirrels and other critters don't get to them we'll have some great flowers to look at in the spring!

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Out and About

I enjoy periodically just walking around the yard and seeing what there is to see in my landscape. Today was a bit of an overcast day probably in the lower to mid 60's F. Its always a good idea to walk around your yard so you know what's happening. Today I took a camera and shot a few pictures. The fall colors are out on some of our trees.These pictures are of our backyard. We have about an acre with a tree line to the south, a bit of a wild field area to the west between us and our neighbor's yard, and another neighbor on our eastern side. In the Spring we planted this maple tree in and attempt to add some future shade to the yard. Its an October Glory maple. It has some good red color with some hints of orange.This tree is just a nice maple…

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Seed Collecting!

Time to gather your seeds! Get a good paper or clean plastic bag and head out to the garden. If you have more than one type of plant to gather seeds from you should grab some extra bags. After your perennials or annuals have finished for the fall, collect the dead heads on them to use next spring. Just cut the dead flower heads off and let them fall into your bag. Keep only one kind of seed per bag and label them with what the parent plant is. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee the seeds will be true to the parent plant, but sometimes the variations can be interesting. Clean off the dead flower petals and let them dry if needed, then store in a cool, dry place. It is important that they are well dried before storing. It may help to add a moisture reducing…

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Favorite Trees for Fall Color

The colors are out and some trees are spectacular! There are all sorts of colorful trees for the fall that just can't be beat. The maples are some of my favorites. Here are some suggestions for trees with great fall color:Maples: Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum): beautiful yellow orange foliageRed Maple (Acer rubrum) red foliage (of course)Japanese Maples (Acer Palmatum).Sweet Gum (Liquidambar): Purple to red are common but beautiful to look at.Oaks: Red Oak (Quercus rubra)Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)Ginkgo Biloba or Maidenhair Tree has a bright golden color.There are many varieties of the maple trees to choose from including October Glory and Sunset maple. A mature Ginkgo tree can't be topped for its golden colors. Just make sure you find the male of the species, the females drop very messy fruits.

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