January 8, 2015

Meditation

Is it only me, or do other people save weird stuff for your gardens? Last fall, I collected a large bundle of straight, thick stems from my sunflowers as I took them down. They’ve been drying indoors all this time. I also saved several large tin cans with the labels off. My plan is to poke holes for hanging the cans, then fill them with sections of sunflower stems and see if my native bees will set up housekeeping.

Not only that, but I saved a few sturdy polyester containers that once held baked goods. With these I will start my next year’s seeds. Standard-sized potting trays are just a bit too large for my tiny work space, so my salvaged trays should be a little easier to manage.

I shall keep you informed of the results.

Events

I sent a group of native wildflower and grass seeds to my father in L.A. for Christmas, to help renovate his drought-stricken and neglected yard. He reports that he sowed the first seeds around December 28th, and by January 4th he already had seedlings. This is the great thing about wildflowers. If they’re native to your area, they’ll sprout in a jiffy. I eagerly await news of their progress.

Yardscape

The major revision for my landscape this year will be privacy screening on the east side. We have a narrow side yard, and the neighbor’s bedroom is straight across from our living room. My husband has offered to put up some of those pre-made lattice panels for vines to grow on. I’m also mulling some native shrubs such as elderberry or mock orange, to increase wildlife habitat and add some softer screening. More to follow there, I’m sure.

Sprouts

Like everybody, I’m champing at the bit. I have seeds and trays and peat pellets, and I’m not afraid to use them! Given the short days and bitter weather, I’m holding out until February to start my flowers, tomatoes and peppers. Cold hardy flowers can go out in mid- to late march, so that’s when I aim to have my plants ready. Tomatoes and peppers need until Memorial Day, so they’ll have plenty of time to pot up and get bigger.

Indoor Forest

Moving some of my house plants around in the aftermath of the holidays. I have a ponytail palm that I’ve had about 20 years that’s beautiful, but the cats keep nibbling on the ends. I hope it’s up high enough to recover a bit. Also would like a break from cleaning up after sick cats. Succulents and broad-leaved tropical plants are in the south facing windows. I’ve discovered that the cats strongly prefer skinny leaves and will let broad or thick leaves alone. That’s been my strategy for the past few years.

Wildlife

Recently, I discovered a flock of American robins hanging out in some Oregon grape shrubs near a golf course that borders on undeveloped land. That was a surprise, since I thought the robins actually migrated south from here. Apparently they just head for winter habitat and stick it out like the rest of us.

My small flock of finches and juncos continues to come by the feeder and water. I’ve dug out a pair of old binoculars to help identify them. About time to get more seed, though. They’ve run me out!

Until next time, keep dreaming of your garden to be!

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