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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lessons Learned- Ramping it up a Slope September 20,2014

Lessons Learned- Favorite Plants for Ramping it up a Slope.   

Today I am linking with-

Lessons Learned hosted by Beth of Plant Postings

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma and Magical Mystical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

I have a ramp with part of it an earth berm, and have slowly learned what plants can do well there in a very xeric and sunny environment, that would also do well on a sunny dry slope.  This year in particular I have not watered it all summer, in our dry season, with record heat.

Some of my favorite plants there are Oregano and Marjoram.  Dwarf Greek Oregano is nicely flavored and makes a dense low planting, it also is very easy to spread as I can just break off a piece and stick it in the ground and it will usually grow.  

Oregano is a plant I am considering putting in a lot of borders to fill in and make a nice dense planting that keeps down the weeds and also blooms.  I have grown it from seed but want to try more to grow it from cuttings.

Some Oreganos and Marjorams are variegated or chartreuse and make nice bright additons.

Some can get rather tall

Rosemary is a very good herb too for a slope, it is very tough and useful for cooking year round, I especially like to use it in the pan when roasting lamb, salmon, or beef.   

Thyme is also good but with time has been supplanted considerably by various heathers.
Heathers do well on dry slopes, and spread slowly to make quite large patches.   There are many varieties, and various ones bloom at different times of the year, so with careful planning, you can have some heather in bloom for most of the year, including winter, at least in the PNW where it is supposedly zone 8 but ranges down to zone 6 or lower for me since I'm at a higher altitude than most of it.

Winter-blooming heather

Kinnickinnick, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Massachusetts', also makes a good ground cover on a sunny slope.   The taller shrubby growth is Rosemary.

Celeste close up-

Knickinnick has glossy dark green leaves and also has flowers in spring followed by red fruits.  At the bottom is another good ground cover, Rubus calycinoides, ground cover raspberry.

At the bottom of the slope, I have some Saxifrage 'London's Pride', which is variegated and has airy sprays of tiny pink flowers in spring.  It is very drought tolerant and rosettes can be broken off and stuck in the ground to propagate it.

There has been a long list of various plants I have tried that didn't make it on a slope.  Some are Anacyclus depressus 'Silver Kisses', Armeria maritima 'Splendens', Roman Camomile, Gaura lindera, Globularia cordifolia, Lychnis alpina, Raoulia australis, Satureja montana- Winter Savory, and Silene- Alpine Catchfly.  These were all cute and beguiling plants claimed to be drought tolerant and capable of living in a rock garden, but for whatever reason did not make it on my dry ramp.

For Today's Flowers, some roses continue to rebloom, such as the very delightful Clothilde Soupert, with many delicate petals and a heavenly vintage scent-

And also the delightfully fragrant Sweet Chariot mini rose-

It actually sprinkled a little this week, to the delight of the parched Pacific Tree frogs that live here, whose croaks could be heard and occasionally were sighted-

And I discovered this fat little guy hiding inside my duck tractor, he was apparently too scared to move while I took his picture-

An update on my cool season greens, planted August 23, they are growing very fast, a mix of 4 kinds of Broccoli raab, and winter radishes-

Broccoli Raab getting big, this is the first time I have grown this in many years, and didn't pick it soon enough before, so I am looking forward to trying some soon-

I hope cooler weather and perhaps some cool season vegetables will brighten your days and table.   Happy Fall!      -Hannah
                                                            or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.  I enjoy visiting your blogs and commenting, but cannot do that if google+ is the only option, so will comment here instead.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Actual Deer and Continuing Bloom September 13, 2014

Today I am linking with- 

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Mystical Magical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

Please pardon the poor photo quality, I carry my cell phone and it is handy in emergencies. It does well with still subjects but not with moving ones.  I've had a few strange encounters with a deer recently.   They like to come nibble my fallen apples.   Once I was standing near the apple tree and a deer I will call Dorene approached very tentatively wanting to go past me to the tree.   I waved the deer across and she looked at me then slowly went across in front of me 15' away to the tree, and ate apples while looking at me cautiously through a bed of raspberries, then went away to the woods.    Then possibly the same deer seemed to be headed into fenced territory under my ramp, I motioned for her to leave instead, she studied me a while then went the way I motioned.   I have no idea why this deer is not as skittish around me except that a group of deer ate apples last year not far from where I was working in the garden, so maybe she was one of them.

My latest adventure, a couple of smaller deer came around near where I was, then they retreated to the safety of a bigger deer, I assume Mom.   I tried to photograph them with my phone, cat Tortie was there with me.

 The deer retreated.  I then entered my big front fenced vegetable bed.  From there I saw a deer, possibly Dorene, coming across toward my front beds, following my cat.

Dorene kept following the cat until Tortie reached the edge, next to a trash can, and they appeared to sniff noses-

Possibly Tortie swiped Dorene on the nose because she startled backward and the cat dove into the bushes.  Very strange.  Then Dorene headed off-

One bed in which I have made some weeding progress is enclosed in deer netting and was planted with Amber Ghost Japanese maple and burgundy Heucheras.  It also had lots of very invasive plants, or weeds- Forget-Me-Nots, a small violet, grass, dandelions, Ajuga, etc.  It looked OK while the FMN were blooming, but then the weeds overtook them and it turned into a mess-

Recently I planted some Alpine Strawberries and Lupines. This spring it became engulfed in weeds, then I weeded the plants to the ground.   I put paper layers down then covered with chips.

 I think this is the first time this bed has been under control in a long time.  It has irises planted along the front edge, and some Monarda citriodora that has not yet bloomed-

and this year I planted Coreopsis lanceolata 'Sunburst', which took a long time to bloom and while pretty is taller than I would like.

I still don't know what I could plant there with so many invasive plants to fight.  I may start more Alpine Strawberies for a nice border and just leave the wood chips and Heucheras.

Evelyn, a fragrant Austin rose used for scenting soap and lotion-

A very fragrant tiny flower, Lonicera syringantha (lilac-flowered honeysuckle), is reblooming a little-

It makes a berry too-

A final square and  the whole quilt from the fair, made by someone else, as a gardener I appreciate all the artistic flower designs-

Just one week left of summer, how it has flown by except when the heat and drought seem to drag on forever!

Hannah                                                        or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy reading your blog and commenting but if google+ is the only option I cannot, but will comment here or on an email link.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Deer plus Continuing Bloom Plus Critters September 6, 2014B

Oops, the deer will be next week.  Today I am linking with-

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman and Magical Mystical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

This week I had a few exciting glimpses of the Pileated Woodpecker, inspiration for the cartoon Woodie the Woodpecker, he is a very large woodpecker at 15" / 38cm, and therefore does not have a diet of only insects but also likes fruit.  I've seen him eat elderberries, but presently I've seen him on my apple trees, he likes to peck holes in them.   His loud jungle call echoes through the trees.  My grandkids were very excited to see him when they visited.   I was able to zoom in on him when I could barely see him in the tree, so the picture quality is poor, but you can get an idea of his size and splendor.

And a video from You Tube if you want to see him in action-

Another exciting thing for me is to grow Delicata squash for the first time.   The vines are very attractive, and they are setting on fruit well.   A couple of small ones broke off the stem when touched so I suppose they are mature.  I hadn't actually eaten them until last year, and was surprised how tasty they were, they also have the distinction of having very thin peels that can actually be eaten.   They are heavenly roasted cut side down with butter until they start to brown.

Another thing happening this week is the start of the dried bean pod harvest, so I've been doing lots of shelling.   The runner beans are magnificent large beans which have rather fibrous pods which are best eaten when the seeds have not developed much, but for a real treat I let a lot of pods fill up with fat seeds, and eat some as shellies and some I dry.  The shellies swell up to over an inch in length and have a wonderful potato-y texture.  I have been growing the red-flowering purple runner beans for a while, beloved of hummingbirds, mostly Insuk's Wang Kong variety, see the Gardenweb legume forum if you want to learn something about them.   I have bought a couple more varieties, one has very long pods.   But last year I also started growing one with white seeds, which I think are even larger and tastier than the purple beans as shellies.  Aren't they pretty-

Here is some progress on the sprouting of the Broccoli Raab and Radish seeds in my new cool season bed.   

I had to use my castor oil formula a number of times on the beds but am still having some mole damage, which I hope will lessen as the plants get larger.   My son came and helped pound in some T-stakes so I got a better fence done and added some bamboo poles, and welded wire fencing.   As an improvement on my usual deer fence which is just running several horizontal lines of wire up to 8', I am hanging plastic mesh trellis webbing with multi-filament plastic-coated clothesline wire at 8-9' which would be impossible to jump through.  I haven't had much trouble with deer jumping into this bed, just once I forgot to close the gate and a deer came in, when he saw me coming he managed after 2 tries to jump through between the lower wires and the fence, after crashing into the fence and bending it.

My Cardoon plant is blooming for the 3rd year, it is in the thistle family and the stalks are eaten, tasting rather like artichokes.  It was covered with bees, apparently a good nectar source.  

Here is a Canadian thistle for comparison, a bad weed that I'm perpetually fighting and I try to keep it from blooming and pull them up as much as I can.  I found that the flowers actually have a delightful scent.  To see my post on the biological control insect Thistle Tortoise Beetles, click here.

Here is a garden spider from the underside, somehow his posture reminds me of a person in a costume.  They get rather annoying with their webs everywhere in the fall, especially when I walk into one with my face.  I'm hopeful they are clearing out all the pesky insects and not the bees.

My Browallia americana, a favorite annual last year, managed to self-sow and is blooming now on short plants.  

This year I am also growing the shorter and larger-flowered Browallia speciosa, which does wonderfully in a container.

Another square of the big quilt someone made for the local fair, Happy Blue Monday!

Have you seen any interesting birds this week?          -Hannah

                                                                                       or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy visiting and commenting on your blog, but if the only comments are through google+ I am not signed up for that so will comment here unless you provide an email link.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Continuing Bloom Plus Critters, August 30, 2014

Today I an linking with-

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman and Magical Mystical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

These are my conspicuous, easily found moth caterpillars, Tiger caterpillars of the lovely delicate Cinnabar Moth, Tyria jacobaeae, which I see rarely flitting around the garden but have not succeeded in photographing, here is a great photo.  The Cinnabar moth has been imported from Europe to here and various parts of the world like Australia as a biological control for Tansy Ragwort, which can poison cattle.   Sometimes there is a population explosion and they will be quite thick on the plants, so that they totally defoliate them and are left hanging on blackened dead stalks, so I take them and find a fresh plant for them.  This year was not a very populous year for them, but I did find new plants for a few.  Tansy Ragwort gets tall and has bright yellow flowers for most of the summer, I allow them to grow for their sake, but remove the seed heads to keep them from spreading too much.  Later I noticed a tiny hostile visitor over the lower caterpillar's head.  They are so bright, relaxed, abundant, and conspicuous because they are poisonous-

In honor of Blue Monday, hue modified, clothifiy, cartoon, in Gimp

Some roses are reblooming, the golden Julia Child with myrrh fragrance-

A surprise, Vernonia verticilata started to bloom, I had grown it from seed last year and forgotten about it; it took me a while to figure out what it was, I hope it will develope into a clump-

A flower that has been blooming and wafting its sweet perfume all summer is Daphne 'Summer Ice', can you see the tiny skulking predator-

It is a nicely rounded and evergreen shrub, and blooms continually from spring to fall-

A star of the fall bloomers is Anemone japonica, for carefree growing adapted to our wet and dry season, and for dependable bloom from late summer through fall-

And Anemone tomentosa-

Another square from the quilt from the fair, I didn't make it-

A wonderful performer in my garden, a dark red seedless grape, Vanessa-


I hope you are experiencing the fruitfulness of late summer, we had a little rain last night so it has cooled down here delightfully.  What's fruiting in your garden?    -Hannah

or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.  I would like to visit your blogs and comment but can't do so if Google+ is the only option, I will comment here or could use an email link.