Monday, July 19, 2010

Mornin' Petunia

It's about time! Late in the summer my dwarf petunia put out its first bloom of the year.  

I needed some purple. 

I don't have a lot of time as I am leaving in the morning for a few weeks at my sisters with her new babies. I can't wait to see what flora can be found in zone 4/5 this time of year! 
See you next summer, Texas heat!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A bird on the Hand

This cute young Mockingbird and I had a run-in at my front door and poor little thing was too scared to move! He stayed still as a statue perched on my gloves laid out to dry.  I actually took these photos from behind my glass door to try to avoid any further scare, but his mom was flying around squawking incessantly as if to tell her babe to "Get a move on!" (or warn us to stay away!)

Since he didn't move at all, we went out through the garage. It had occurred to me that the mom may attack us and I am never really OK with that situation. Bird attacks = not cool. 
Either way, they were both gone when we got home that evening, and can now be found in the backyard, where the baby is learning how to fly. How sweet! His hops are adorable. I hope to one day capture nature like that on film. 

Beneficial Bugs

Spiders can be some of the best natural predators to have around...provided you know where they are and steer clear of their webs. This garden spider is using a patch of monkey grass to spin its home in a nice out of the way place low to the ground.

The zig zag pattern in the middle alerts us that this is an Argiope spider, not a European garden spider.  Similarly, Argiope spiders are usually strikingly yellow and black whereas the the Europeans are gray and tan. Don't worry, there won't be a test over any material covered here.

I was shocked when I did my morning plant inspection and noticed this:

My dragon's blood sedum was covered in bugs! Yikes! I hurriedly snapped some photos for identification and went inside to research.  My anxiety lessened as I quickly learned this probably wasn't a bad thing, and in fact, could be a good thing.  These strange guys are assassin bugs, and I have actually blogged about their kind before here and here! I learn something new all the time. Anyway, assassin bugs are good in the sense that they eat/kill/assassinate pests from plants, and since my succulents seem a little susceptible to caterpillars lately, I am leaving nature as is. I am sure it will all balance out.  Gotta love good ol' Mother Nature.

The lovely Priscilla from Blossom Hideaway informed me that my comment section was not accepting comments. I reverted back to a simple boring template for now just to appease the comment Gods and plan to have a permanent solution sometime in August when I get back from vacation. Or maybe September. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

another Wordless Wednesday

[Albeit I have a lot to say, just not about my yard. ]

snail on watering can

dragon's blood sedum

Zwartkop aeonium

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I have made it!

To the blogroll on Blotanical, that is.  Blotanical is a site that lists tons of  gardening blogs and such.  I joined a while ago, but just received word this morning that all was approved and Yard Day's Night is currently listed as a new blog.  I started this blog for myself, mainly, so if others actually enjoy it, that would be a total bonus. Happy reading everyone!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A fungus among us

I have two oak trees who started showing signs of fungus about two days ago.
This particular tree stump has it the worst, and I wonder if it has to do with its recent chopping.  I don't know what effect, if any, would be had, but it was chopped down about two months ago and left about 4 ft. tall.  In total we have had about five inches of rain in just a few days and NOTHING will dry out at this rate. They say the rain is over for a while, but who really knows any more.

Some of the photos ended up looking like underwater scenes. As if the tiny mushrooms were all waving with the current of the water.

Let's hope this 3 day weekend brings us more sunshine!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lots O' Rain

I think sitting on the porch listening to and watching the rain is quite the reward with which to end a long day.  The other reward, of course, is photographing it. This week's rain has given me an excuse to post more rain photos...and take even more.  

Raindrops can be like diamonds to the open mind.

I'm not even sure what weedy grass thing this is, but today it was beautiful.  Every raindrop a sparkle, every sparkle unique. Sounds a little dramatic, I know, but it was really something in the sunlight.

These little dots are posing on the pointy tips of rose leaves.

Nerium Oleander blooms pink.  This bush is at least 10ft X 10ft and full of blooms. Well was full before all the rain...but always holds up well.  Did I mention it's extremely toxic? It is. bad. So beware and be safe if you have kids or animals who like to eat foliage.

White Rose of Sharon is also now in bloom.  Related to the hibiscus, the flowers are short lived but plentiful. My tree doesn't get all the sun it truly needs to bloom fully, but is very nice nonetheless.  It is also a wonderful butterfly and hummingbird plant, which you would know if you already clicked that link.

Purple Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi) is the hardiest version I know of the neat family of succulents.  I have several other colors, but this one is nearly unstoppable.

Thank you for indulging me..if you did.

I hope you enjoy your own raindrops on roses!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Life goes on...for some

The circle of life can be a nasty one. Just ask this fly.
predator and prey on  Variegated Aenoium Arboreum

Things like this normally don't bother me, but after reviewing the pictures close up, I found this to be a little creepy.  Vampire-ish if you will.

Closeup of this mutant bug's sucker sticking right into the face of the fly. Perhaps through his eye...hard to tell

Don't worry, no flies were harmed in the making of this blog. They were killed. Sucked bone dry. And good riddance.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My little Lamb

When I was little, I used to carry around a stuffed lamb lovingly (and cleverly) named Lamby.  Received upon my birth, he was bigger than me for many years and protected me from boogie men under my bed by always sleeping back to back with me.  Although still with me, Lamby and I haven't shared a bed in many years...but my love for him is still strong! And that's what my lamb's ear plant reminds me of: my sweet Lamby.

When taken out of context, it really looks as though this could be the ear of a little lamb. A green lamb, but still.  I don't think I've ever encountered a plant so soft. And willing to be touched!

Monday, June 21, 2010

...and it was all yellow

at different times of day
with different natural lighting

these wilted petals aren't quite as vibrant as the others

This particular stalk is growing fat from the bottom.

Makes an interesting specimen

But I should try to fix it.

This pic is a few days old, & this newbie bloom was wilting as of today. Sad.

I wonder if anyone notices that nearly all my blog titles are related to songs, poetry, etc. Maybe one day I'll start linking them as well. Either way, now you know.

[I said nearly all. Don't try to find a song named 'crabgrass killer']

Crabgrass killer

This stuff actually works! This AgraLawn Crabgrass Killer is an organic weed killer safe enough to sprinkle into your good grass...and IT WORKS! I bought mine at Barton Springs Nursery, but it's the same price online. (minus shipping)

Results: No explanation needed

It is pricey, since this bottle of powder covers about 200 sq. ft.  I bet spot treatments would be worth it though. 

Be aware, this treatment is a post-emergent, meaning after the weeds have emerged.  Each season, in order to be successful, requires both a pre and post emergent coupled with raising your mower blade to 2" or higher.  I am starting late, with this post emergent, so we'll see.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What's in a name? Information.

Where I come from, this would be called a stink bug.

Here in Austin, however, I always hear them referred to as 'leaf footed bugs'.
Technically both are correct. 
Although it's not a true "stink bug", these leaf-footed fellows can emit a foul odor when handled. In other words, they can stink. Yuck. Why on earth wouldn't you keep that information in the name? Selling this thing as leaf-footed really doesn't give one the heebie-jeebies it should.

I watched this particular one crawl around on one of my newly planted succulent pots. It was an incredible irritation since I politely removed him 3 or 4 times today alone.

The trouble is I don't see them until my face is just a little too close.  Makes me jump every single time!  At least this time I had my camera. I found myself a little too nervous to put my camera directly in his face so close and backsides it is!  It'll be like a whole new world when[ever] I get a new camera.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Make your own fireworks!

Well, not exactly make...but you can grow your own "Mexican Firecrackers" [echeveria setosa].

I was curious about the name when I acquired this plant, having not seen one bloom before. I get it now, although the name is a tad misleading, as this is about how far the flowers open.  Long lasting and showy though, which this lady likes.

It's a fuzzy type of succulent, which means it's not terribly cold hardy. Probably no lower than the 40s.  It seems most fuzzies are that way. I have a cotyledon that I adore, but the same is true for him.  Gotta love the look [and feel] of the fuzz though, right?

Although on the frost tender side, it does love the warm weather & sunshine.  My plant is on its second round of blooms for the season and I am proud.  They are susceptible to root rot and don't like being watered from above, and I was worried I over watered mine in the beginning...but all seems well in firecracker land.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Heads up

Go here
to see some funny photos on my other blog.

The many benefits of Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)

Common Yarrow, or Achillea Millefolium, is a shrubby like perennial with 1"-2" tall stalks of flat-topped flower clusters in summer.

The plant was first described for science by the great Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in his monumental Species Plantarumin 1753. Millefolium coming from the Latin for 'thousand leaf', and Achillea from stories of Achilles treating the wounds of his soldiers with the plant. It is even mentioned in Homer's Iliad

...and with warm water
wash away the black blood there, then rub on
fine soothing medication, whose use, they say,
Achilles taught you...

Not only are the flowers tall and showy, Yarrow is said to be beneficial to plants simply growing near it.
A few highlights:
  • Drought tolerant
  • Hardy perennial
  • Bright sturdy blooms
  • Nice long-lasting cut flower
  • Blooms in heat of summer
  • Pest resistant

Medicinal highlights as well! (Of course, some remedies require preparation of the plant)

  • Astringent
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Use in cold and flu remedies as well as:
    • eczema
    • asthma
    • hay fever
  • Headaches
  • Skin irritations/rashes
  • Immediate wound treatment - helps stop bleeding
  • Can lower certain fevers
  • Can prevent infection in wounds
After all that...I'll be honest; I only have it for the flowers. The insects love the bright yellow blooms too, so we all win.

Maybe one day I'll get around to using it for cuts & scrapes, but it's hard to tear off pieces of flowering plants!  Plus my yard still needs some serious help and color never hurts. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ending one week begins another

Two of my favorite things started off my weekend:
1. a clearance sale
2. sedum(s) of any variety

so YAY!

Lowe's had little six packs of assorted sedums for sale for $3! They had the same thing up front for around $8, but I always look for ones in need of rescue. So a few hens & chicks, some dragon's blood sedum, and another yet unidentified sedum join my family. I try not to buy plants from "big box stores" but I just can't help myself sometimes. It's a compulsion...obsession of sorts..for which I want no cure.

One day after my sale purchases, I found myself at the award winning nursery (& my favorite), the Natural Gardener. I was there to browse the plants, as always, but also pick up some dirt and decomposed granite for my new succulent plantings. They have the best displays of plants, and this trip had a neat surprise: a blooming artichoke. I haven't seen one in person before, and it was amazing. And taller than me.

Also while there, I also managed to snag a bag of mosquito repellent pellets along with a pheromone trap. The trap is to entice the ones brave enough to stay to lay eggs in something they can't get out of. And the pellets are made out of cedar so they are natural as well. And so far...fingers is working!

I also did something a little out of the ordinary this weekend: bought some annuals! They were on sale along with that sedum at Lowe's, so I couldn't resist some color for cheap. I came home with a pink zinnia and yellow gerbera daisy. *LOVE*  At my wedding, our mothers and grandmothers wore wrist corsages of hot pink gerbera daisies.

(I only took photos close-up cuz the plants need a little lovin' before they are show-ready) But hey, they were only $1.

Happy colors and succulents on sale...Yum!  And having no mosquitoes makes it that much more enjoyable.  
Weekend rating: Successful