The Tiny Garden vs The Squirrels (but mostly the rats)

First thing, my yard is very small so things are close together.  Second thing, I have a low rock bulkhead and rats and mice just love to crawl around in there. Yuck.  I have been trying to keep rodents of all sorts out of my bird feeders but no matter what, I always end up with some loss of food.  Sometimes at night I can hear rustling around the feeder, I turn on the outdoor lights and there is a big rat daring me to come and get him.

squirrelcairoSquirrel lounging on my fence

For the most part, the best feeders have been the tube type with metal feeding holes (to discourage chewing by squirrels).  My current tube feeder is succumbing to the very rainy weather we have and the screws holding the bottom on (which allow me to clean the feeder) are rusty and cannot be removed anymore.  I searched around online the other day and discovered The Bouncer, I purchased it on Amazon.  As you can see in the photos, the perches of the bouncer “fall” when anything heavier than a smallish bird tries to land on it or grab it, there are also nice clips to keep the top secure and it looks fairly rain resistant.  Also take note that the feeder is 6x6x27 inches, rather huge compared to the usual store bought feeders.  Now as you will also see in my photos, I do not have the appropriate post to hang my new feeder on and I think that will allow unwanted guests.  So far I have witnessed a couple Stellar Jays snacking.  Check back later because I have plans to install a post/pole that will foil all those nasty creatures.  I must make a Lowe’s run soon!

birdfeeder10 birdfeedercollage3

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Rainy Days

October will be here before we know it and in this part of the world that means rain.  I actually enjoy the rain most of the time and I don’t enjoy it when it gets too hot around here.  I can tell you I am getting a little sick of dragging the sprinkler around too.  So bring it on, but maybe give me enough time to get the deck stained.

I Dream of Yard Work

This morning I had a dream that my home was attached to my neighbors home, kind of like a duplex.  In my dream I woke up and saw through the window that the landscapers there were working on all the yards on the street.  Yikes, they spread bark over MY flower beds, what are they doing, noooooo.  I tried to quickly make myself presentable and ran outside to confront them.  They told me they were hired by the association and tough luck, they were doing my yard work now.  I turned to look at the front of my home and this is when I discovered that the two homes were attached AND that they had been painted.  What a horrible dream.  At this point I really did wake up.

I wonder if I had this dream because my son and I were doing yard work yesterday.  My dreams are usually filled with things that have recently happened.  My son and I did lots of weeding, I did some pruning and clean up.  It is now September and things in the garden are winding down.  The bleeding heart is drying up and the clematis are flowered out.  My poor pruners were a bit sticky yesterday so I gave them a scrub and oiled them a bit with WD40, what a difference.  I am a bit ashamed at the abuse I put them through, I know that they should be cleaned often but I am a bit lazy.  I must say though that Fiskars tools are the BEST.

The Tiny Garden was still quite the jungle yesterday.  From the right we have a volunteer fern and Mexican mock orange, on the fence… clematis, jasmine and then my butterfly bush.  For such a little space I do keep it quite crammed with plants.  The bank is covered in creeping thyme with hosta and creeping phlox here and there.  Believe it or not I actually have a “shed” back here somewhere.  I will post about that another time.  Next year I will have to split all the hosta and sell the extra.  I can actually make a few dollars off this tiny garden.

New Kids on the Block

My tiny garden does not have much room so I don’t often bring home new plants but I could not resist buying a couple things on my last visit to Flower World in Maltby.

First, I can’t resist the color and texture of this Silver Mound Artemisia.  It is a lovely gray green and feels so soft to the touch and has a light, airy look.  This plant is a perennial and prefers sun to partial shade.  The spot up on the rockery in my back yard should be perfect.  And a little thing I learned about the care of this plant is to not remove the foliage until spring as it acts as winter protectant.

Second, I can never resist a new variety of Hosta.  This El Nino variety was introduced in 2002 but just discovered by me last month.  It is described as having iron-blue (my favorite color) foliage with ivory edges.  In spring the edges emerge yellow and quickly turn to ivory and it sports violet blooms for several weeks.  I look forward to being able to split this hosta and sharing it with others in the next year or two.

This was originally posted on Thursday September 22, 2011.  As of today, both plants are doing great.  The Artemisia has about doubled in size and the hosta is about the same as when I planted it a year ago.