Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Lost Robin's Egg

I was cutting back shrubs yesterday and found this Robin's egg under one of the shrubs.  The shrub that was I cutting back is quite overgrown because I didn't cut it last year.  There was a bird's nest in it, so I left the mother to hatch her eggs.  I didn't see a nest this year and went to work on the bush, but discovered the egg after I started trimming it.   

We've had high winds and torrential rains during the month, so I don't know if there was a nest and it was lost during a storm or what.  I hate that the egg will never be hatched.  It looks larger in the picture, I did a close up, but it is actually quite small.  It is true to it's name, Robin's Egg Blue. 

Everything Is Waking Up

My azaleas are starting to bloom. Azaleas are one of my favorite plants.  I love the burst of color that they give you in a shrubbery bed and they're easy to grow.

My Hostas have exploded over the past week.  I have several planted in this particular shrubbery bed.  They get huge with beautiful lavender blooms during the summer.  My day lily pictured on the left is coming to life too.  

I love my dogwood.  It not only has religouos signifance for me, but it's such a beautiful tree.  I had 2, white and pink.  I lost the white one several years and never replaced it.  Now that I'm adding additional bed, I think I may replace it now.  The tree actually does quite well in my soil.

My Bradford Pear is shaping up nicely.  I had it cut back several years ago, so this is the most blooms that it has had for a while.  So far I'm pleased with everything that's blooming. 

I'm amazed at how much my lilies have grown over the past few weeks.  We've had a lot of rain in the month of April, the plants thirst has been quenched for sure. 

This is a picture of some of my lilies from last summer.  I'll be cutting back shrubs this week-end and edging the borders so we can lay fresh mulch.  We'll finally going to have a week-end of sunshine! 

Visits From The Bunny Rabbits

I come home each evening to find these adorable little bunnies in my yard.  They have become quite comfortable, they don't blink an eye when I pull into the driveway.  As a matter of fact, they look at me as if to say go around me.  I'm not moving!  We have found ourselves a feast.  As a matter of fact, we've invited all of our friends to join us.  If your stupid enough to plant more Impatients around that tree in your backyard, we plan to take those down too.  Yep, that's a summary of our conversation.  Either the bunnies or the deer ate my beautiful lavender Impatients down to the ground last summer.  Each evening more and more Impatients would disappear until there were literally none left. 

I'm planting to put out a small vegetable garden, and I've had to figure out how to keep these little bunnies out of my garden.  One of the solutions that I came across was using grated ivory soap.   That's exactly what I intend to do.  It seems easy enough.  Ivory soap is cheap, and I can purchase a kitchen grater from the dollar store.    

As you can see, my bunnies are quite healthy.  They start nibbling early in the morning and continue their feast into the evening.   If you have tried this ivory soap recommendation and it has worked for you, please let me know.  If you use another method, I would be interested in knowing that too! 

Composting Black Gold

Rain, rain go away!  It seems that it has rained just about everyday during the month of April, so I haven't been able to do much gardening or yard work.  The weather is suppose to be great this week-end, so I plan to spend the week-end cutting back shrubs, edging the borders around my house, removing dead shrubs and clearing the fence line.  I'll also be starting my first compost bin. 

I did a little research and found this baby on eBay for $50.00 including shipping.  The compost bin that I was looking at initially was at SAMs.  It was a little larger 170 gallons, but almost $70.00 more.  The bin shown is 115 gallons, but I believe will do the job.  As soon as it stops raining, I'll move it from the deck to its permanent spot behind my workshop.  I love the fact that it has 4 doors at the bottom.  Each door lifts, so I'll be able to reach my black gold from all sides.  We put this bin together in about 15 minutes.  It snaps together fairly easily, and for the price, it's study and I believe it will serve the purpose.  We didn't believe that we could build one for $50.00 if you consider materials and time. 

Since I'm a beginner, I did a little research on what I should compost.  Depending on what site you go to will depend on what you should or should not compost.  The only things that all sites were consistent on were dairy and meat products,  dog and cat waste, and human waste. 

Since I want black gold quickly, I decided to play it safe and use the following greens and browns:


  • grass clippings
  • kitchen scraps (vegetables & fruits)
  • weeds from the flower beds
  • fresh clipping from shrubs

  • leaves
  • dried shrub clippings
  • shredded  newspaper
  • toilet tissue and paper towel rolls
  • dead flowers from the house
  • brown paper bags
I have lawn service so my grass is mulched and and spread over the lawn, but my neighbor has graciously offered her grass clippings and fall leaves.  Friends have agreed to save their newspapers, so I believe that I can come up with enough items to decompose.  Once I get this bin filled, I've decided to purchase another.  I'm hoping to have 2 nice piles by the end of the summer.  One I will use for my fall garden preparation, and the other will be ready for spring planting. 

I separated my piles so I can ensure I get a good mixture.  The first layer is suppose to be a layer of brown, twigs, leaves etc. to ensure the mixture gets air.  I used the dead flowers from my deck pots and twigs and leaves from my shrubbery bed.  I than added more browns, shredded newspaper, shredded brown paper bags, and shredded rolls from paper towels and toilet tissue.  Next a layer of freshly cut grass, pulled weeds, and shrub cuttings, which I topped with my kitchen scraps.  The final layer was more grass and soil from edging my borders.  I sprinkled each layer with a little water before closing the lid. 

I need to get a compost bin for my kitchen scraps.  For now, I'm using my stock pot, which can hold a nice pile of scraps.  I throw in cucumber peelings, tomatoes, lemons, potato peelings, carrots, and egg shells.  I decided not to compost bread or styrofoam.  Most posts on composting say not to include it.   

This is shredded newspaper and recycled copier paper from my office.  I shred the paper in my office shredder.  It's heavy duty, so it does a great job. 

This is a mixture of fresh grass  and clippings from my shubbery beds.  My neighbor deposited 4 bags of bagged grass on my lawn.  It's amazing how many weeds, grass and leaves one can accumulate, lol.   I filled the bin in no time. 
I'm going to continue adding to this bin until it's full, so I will have to turn it weekly.  I'll keep you posted on the progress of my black gold!  I would love to hear what and how you compost.  Please leave me a comment.