did I leave the gas on?

No, I’m a fucking squirrel.

squirrel eating a maple tree whirligig in the front yard

This little guy was hanging out on the front garden today, eating maple tree whirligigs. I say, eat up! Just go poo somewhere else so the seeds don’t take – we already have an army of seedlings growing out there.

Life’s been really busy the past couple weeks! I haven’t posted nearly as much as I’d planned to, so here’s to catching up.

The common mullen that I’ve let go next to the front door has gotten huge and is starting to flower:

common mullen

common mullen

I realize that mullen is generally thought of as a weed, but it’s helping keep the yucky yucca at bay (not entirely, of course, but somewhat) and I was kind of curious to see how big it might get. From what I’ve read online, it is a biennial, so it’ll die after it blooms this year anyway. Apparently if you crush the leaves, you can use the sap to treat insect bites. I haven’t tried that yet.

This week I came home from work one day to find that the twelve purple leaf plum hedge shrubs I planted had been pulled out of the ground and were scattered on the neighbor’s driveway. I suspect, though the adult neighbor denies it, that their evil spawn did it. They leave him unattended all the time and the whole family seems to be lacking in the smarts department. I would not put it past them to lie to my face. Anyway, I soaked the roots and replanted them. Hopefully they’ll still survive.

purple leaf plum hedge along the side of the house

In happier news, a bunch of the things I planted from seed up front are sprouting! We’ve got black hollyhock:

black hollyhock

(thanks to Charli for those seeds!), a large area where I mixed several kinds of seeds – white swan echinacea, creeping baby’s breath, a white flower mixture (thanks to Charli for all three of those!) and purple dark opal basil:

mixed seeds: white swan echinacea, dark opal basil, creeping baby's breath, white flower mixture



and bee’s friend:

bee's friend

The edibles I planted up front are also sprouting. I’ve got alternating red velvet lettuce:

red velvet lettuce

and mammoth red rock cabbage along the front walkway:

mammoth red rock cabbage

I also planted some Sunberry seeds along the neighbor’s driveway, but I haven’t seen any evidence of them sprouting yet. We’ll see.

So those are today’s photos. On to older ones. Last weekend K hung the bat house on the side of the garage – it only took us a year to actually put it up!

bat house

We painted it black last year, so hopefully it will get nice and toasty and attract plenty of bats. We hung it high (it’s actually over a window – which K repaired the screen in before hanging the house – he was able to insert some 2×4 pieces into the window cavity so we had a nice solid place to mount it), which bats will apparently be attracted to as well. Our neighbors have about six hundred bird baths and other surfaces in which they allow water to stand so it would be awesome to have some bats in the ‘hood to eat up all the mosquitoes that breed next door.

Lots of the veggies in the back garden are growing like mad, which you can check out on Flickr. I’m mildly concerned that something is snacking on some of my potato leaves

is something eating my potato leaves?

Ants, maybe? There’s not a lot of damage yet, but if anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them.

In totally non-garden-related news, we’re doing a kind of neat project for the summer at the ‘brary. Our theme for summer reading is Get Creative @ Your Library, and staff members can volunteer to create something which will then be raffled off to patrons who participate in summer reading. I decided to make a Grumpasaurus, who I have dubbed Grumpasaurus II: Electric Grumpaloo


I made him a little bigger than the original Grumpasaurus, who still lives in my office:


I tried to make G II a little less sinister-looking than the original, and I also played around with his spikes a little, making them bigger at the top. Hopefully someone will want him!

more photos at Flickr


front garden planted!

Things are going very well in the front garden. I received most of the stuff I ordered online, and put them in the ground this weekend. Most of the plants don’t look like much yet, and some of them are actually not even really visible yet (rhizomes and stuff), but here are the ones that you can see.

Salvia Plumosa:

salvia plumosa

Snow in Summer:

snow in summer

Purple Verbena:

purple verbena

White Creeping Phlox:

white creeping phlox

Blue Girl Rose:

blue girl rose

Black Knight Butterfly Bush:

black knight butterfly bush

Snowdrift Aster:

snowdrift aster

I also finished mulching the area in between the neighbor’s driveway and our house, and planted some Purple Leaf Plum Hedge (they’re the nearly invisible sticks along the left edge):

mulch finished!

I’m also very excited because the veggies I planted along the front walk are sprouting!
Red Velvet Lettuce (you can tell the poplars are shedding):

red velvet lettuce

Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage:

mammoth red rock cabbage

All in all, it’ll be awhile before the front garden really looks like a garden, but it’s progress, so I’m happy!


tall plants

And finally, the tall plants, things that are four or more feet high. With the plants I’ve been looking at (of all heights), I am going to have to make some choices – not all of them will go in, at least not at first. I’m sure that along the years I’ll also find new things to add.

Purple : Black Knight Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) : 6-10′ : full sun to part shade : shrub : blooms midsummer to fall
Black Knight Butterfly Bush
from Michigan Bulb, Spring Hill Nursery

Black : Black Beauty Sambucus, Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) : 8-12′ : full sun to part shade : shrub : blooms midsummer
Black Beauty Sambucus, Elderberry
from Dutch Gardens, Jung Seed

Black with white flowers : Currant Consort Black (Ribes nigrum ‘Consort’) : 3-6′ : part sun
Currant Consort Black
from Burpee, Nature Hills Nursery

Black : Black Magic Hollyhock : 4-6′ : full sun : blooms June-August
Black Magic Hollyhock
from Gurney’s, Michigan Bulb

Purple : Helmond Pillar Barberry (Berberis thunbergii Helmond Pillar) : 4-6′ : shrub : full sun
Helmond Pillar Barberry
from Jung Seed, Spring Hill Nursery

Purple (white flowers) : Purple Leaf Plum Hedge (Prunus x cistena) : 6-8′ : part sun : shrub : flowers early spring
purple leaf plum hedge
from Four Seasons Nurseries, Spring Hill Nursery, Direct Gardening