Planting – Mango Season

The photograph is a bit blurry, but I think you can see the small mango sprout in the center. I have sprouted and grown mango pits in the past, but the small trees didn’t grow quickly enough for me, and I didn’t continue on with them. I’m going to try once again, and this time start an earlier fertilizing schedule. I’ll update later in the season.

Growing a Mango Pit

 

 

Perspective & Phlowers – Colors

“The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” Revelation 21:18-20

I love to imagine the colors and beauty of heaven. I am so often reminded of what will come when I wander around my garden admiring the flowers of God’s creation. I get excited watching a flower bud form and then bloom. God has filled the earth with such wondrous colors and sights, oh my, what will heaven be like?

Yesterday, unsure of the direction we were driving, we accidentally found a new garden center. (Sometimes the best moments/places/friendships in life appear when we think we are lost.) I am always on the lookout for a type of small dahlia called harlequins. These dahlias come in an array of bright colors. The feature that really gets me excited about this type of dahlia is the collar of ruffles around the center. I can’t wait to grow and press these beauties this year. The Harlequin Dahlias are my Flower of the Day.

I came upon a great article with growing tips for dahlias while researching this post. If you grow dahlias you might enjoy reading Longfield Gardens: 8 Tips for Growing Better Dahlias.

Pheathers – Brown Thrasher

I saw this beautiful bird near my feeder this week. He is not a normal visitor to my yard. Once again I relied on my camera’s zoom feature to get a good look at him. I was able to identify him as a Brown Thrasher. Cornell Lab of Ornithology has good information on the Brown Thrasher and also has song recordings. Click on the link above for more on this beautiful bird.

Many of the Cornell Lab’s Bird Cams give you views into the newly-hatched baby birds. Here’s a link to the Red-tailed Hawks. Across the top of the page you can find more live bird cams to visit. Cornell Lab Bird Cams/Red-tailed Hawks.

Photo Challenge – Slithering Orange

It was one of those idyllic sunshine days in April. I was with several of my family members on Easter weekend walking along the Chesapeake Bay in Elk Neck State Forest.

The girls were making sand castles with small shells and sticks, the guys were watching the sun on the water, I was looking for pieces of driftwood.  My husband eventually joined me and we walked further up the beach.

“There’s a snake.” my husband suddenly said. He dislikes snakes much more than I do, but let me tell you, when you hear the word snake, and don’t see it, you become very aware of the surroundings and your shoulders instinctively raise up toward your ears just a bit. It was a little eerie when I finally saw it lying motionless among the gnarled roots and pieces of debris. I wondered how long it had been watching us.

The Northern Water Snake species is harmless. It was probably an older snake. Its back was dark and the orange bands on the bottom of its body were faint.  The bands are brighter and much more pronounced when the snakes are young.

We went our way and I suppose he eventually went back to his den when the sun went down. The orange banding on the water snake is my entry in Traveling at Wit’s End Photo Challenge – Orange

 

Planting – Winter Sowing Update

My winter sown vegetables are ready to plant. They have done well, developing good root systems as they slowly sprouted and grew. They do not need to be hardened off before planting as they have grown in cold temperatures since day one.

The plants look small, but they will quickly grow in the loose soil of the Square Foot Garden. In a week or two they will double, maybe triple in size.  Planted this week are Arugula, Bread-seed Poppies, Milkweed, Mesclun lettuce, Black-seeded Simpson lettuce, Prize-head lettuce, Giant Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, and several varieties of beets. I will also be sowing many of the same seeds directly into the soil for later harvests.

One problem I did have was a batch of arugula and mustard spinach had already begun to develop buds in the recent warm temperatures. I discarded these as they would have had a bitter flavor once they flowered.

Quick Tip – Dollar Store Planters

I grow quite a few annuals that bloom best if they are routinely dead-headed of spent flowers and seed capsules. Johnny Jump Ups, one of my favorites, benefit from this type of grooming. I also use these small violas in my pressed flowercraft. To make access easy for pressing and dead-heading I like to be able to move the container they are growing in to a higher level. The dollar store oil pan they are planted in makes this easy, and yes, the pans are only a dollar. You can find them in the automotive section of most dollar stores.

I used several of these last year for my annuals. All I did to prep them was bang a drainage hole in the bottom with a hammer and screwdriver. (See below for my drainage hole trick) I found the entire bottom cracked and this made no difference at all. The bottom was hidden, and the wide cracks kept the soil well drained. Plants that don’t have a tap root do very well in these oil pans. Four to six annuals fill the pan and grow well for most of the summer.

Drainage bang out trick – To bang holes in plastic containers I place the bottom flush against the lawn. The grass gives the screwdriver/ice pick a stable area to enter after it cleaves through the plastic. This is an easy method that only takes a minute or two. The bottom doesn’t look that nice, but hey, who sees it anyway? Only you, me, and the earthworms will know the difference, and I”m not telling! If the hole/crack seems too large cover the area with a coffee filter before adding soil.

Pheathers – Phriday Pheathers/Bird Cam Time

It’s time to watch nesting hawks, cahows, hummingbirds, eagles, owls, etc.

PANAMA BIRD FEEDER LIVE CAM

You can find many more links on the Cornell Lab Live Cam pages across the top bar.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cams

HUMMINGBIRD NEST LIVE CAM

Explore Live Cams also has many links to live animal and bird cams.

Explore Live Cams

ISAIAH AND MRS JEFFERSON – EAGLE CAM AT DOLLYWOOD

CAUTION: You might find yourself addicted to these amazing cam sites. ❤

Plants – Pussy Willow Catkins

It’s that time of year! Pussy Willow branches are available in the supermarket. This year the catkins were fully emerged when I bought them. Hooray! In past years they have been tightly covered and I’ve had to help the furry little catkins emerge by hand.

Forcing Pussy Willows

I must have come upon the branches soon after they were delivered to the store. When I cut the ends I saw that further up the branch there was still a touch of green, a good sign that the branches might root and continue to grow for weeks.

Pussy Willows in January make me smile and banish the winter blues! They help nurture me through the long winter days. This post is part of Nurturing Thursday.

Perspective – Moss and My Pet Tree

I recently said to my sister that I’ve noticed in our area the earth heals herself with moss. I love moss…the whole spectrum of greens it grows in. I know, I know, there is some moss that is near mold and a bit loathsome, but I’m not talking about swampy algae-like moss, I’m talking about the glorious greens that fill sidewalk cracks and crannies with many shades of emerald.

Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Today, I searched my yard on the edges for some moss, that if taken, would not leave a noticeable scar. I found a bit, and placed it around my scrub pine Christmas tree, transplanted once again, this time in terracotta. I have loved this little pine so much, that even without its pretty ornaments, I cannot put it outdoors in the wintry mix of weather that will surely assail us soon. I’m keeping it! In my studio, I feel a need to decorate it again, this time with small birds. Updates will follow.

Quotes – The Heart of Christmas

“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.”

                                                      ~ Billy Graham

“Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love Divine; Love was born at Christmas; Star and angels gave the sign.”

                                                      ~ Christina Rosetti

“It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.”

                                                    ~ Mother Teresa

The red poinsettias in this post are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day

Pheathers – Backyard Hawk

It’s always a thrill to look out the window and see a hawk in one of our trees. The songbirds aren’t happy and scatter for hours when the hawk visits, but the beauty of the bird thrills me, especially when he poses for me so prettily. 

“A skilled hawk hides his talons.” 

                                                ~ Japanese Proverb