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Yard and Garden Talk

Where we were Twin Cities suburbs, the mosquitos were not so bad, and there at least you could feel them land on you, Here in Houston, we have stealth mosquitos. They land, feed and are gone before you realize. Consequently because of associated diseases as a matter of routine, I wear bug spray in the summer when working in the yard.

Here it's fear of Lyme disease, with deer and mice the vectors. So bug spray for us as well, and body inspection after walking in the grass.
 
Ref: Wild flower strip by driveway- I threw down 2 ounces of seed and got an explosion of growth. There is one established plant that seeded the edge of the neighbors lawn, so I went over and weeded, got about 20 plants and was delighted when the roots came up with the plants. So they all got planted in the wild flower bed. :)

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new growth


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Unidentified plant I should know the name…​
 
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Puzzle palace fodder: why does one irrationally gravitate towards reading seed catalogs the day after a three-day blizzard?!

Well as a variant option while snowed in, I have bumped into a piece in the New Yorker by Jill Lepore, an American historian and yes, a gardener!


As she is a historian, Lepore doesn't just browse seed catalogues, she gets into their history, as well as the sadder history of capitalist agriculture's devolution into patented hybrid seeds that force farmers into buying them anew every season, and the brighter side of that which is of course the rise of "heirloom seed" providers who are fighting off the near-100% hybridization of so many vegetables.

Hybrid corn made up less than ten per cent of the corn grown in Iowa in 1935, but ninety per cent by 1939 and a hundred per cent by 1946. Of the more than seven thousand varieties of apple grown in the United States in the nineteenth century, Janisse Ray writes in “The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food” (2012), eighty-six per cent no longer exist; nor do ninety-five per cent of cabbages, ninety-six per cent of field corns, ninety-four per cent of peas, and eighty-one per cent of tomatoes.

Farming is foundering. Gardening is growing. In the nineteen-fifties, seed catalogues sold hybrids, miracles of science: new and improved, bigger and better! In the twenty-twenties, when there are too few birds and butterflies, and too little of all kinds of wildlife, seed catalogues sell heirlooms with a promise to save the planet: old and endangered, but pure and free of corporate control. They’re selling you the idea that you can solve mangel-wurtzel-size problems —climate change, biodiversity loss, the farm crisis, and a looming food catastrophe— with a packet of seeds and a patch of dirt.

She winds up the piece with a reminder of how appealing it is to raise one's own beets. It is indeed quite simple if one doesn't mind doing the ground-prep work ahead of time and then a little weeding as the season progresses. Makes me head back to the seed catalogs!
 
I went out back to work in the yard and this Chickadee ((I think, small black and white bird) was flitting around under our gazebo apparantly in distress and every so often I would hear this best described as a screech, but could not identify where exactly. I thought it was on the roof , and along this particular wall we have 3 potted snake plants. I looked into a thick growth of snake plant spears/leaves, saw nothing, then I rotated the pot and there was a juvenile bird maybe 2” long which had gotten itself wedge between 2 of these leaves. It was stuck. So I pried it loose, grabbed it and took it to the back side of the yard and set it on a ledge. It seemed tired, or maybe what do I do now and it sat there. Before long the mother found it and they flew away.

Besides that having fun straightening out, cleaning up the back yard, a huge crop of energetic weeds striving to inundate everything withe their presence, Need to do this before the baking days start.

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Mr Lincoln


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Honey Suckle, Mandavia, Yellow shrub rose
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Wife likes roses because they love the heat.

 
Here it’s just nice enough that I was able to put on a pair of old shoes—suitable for walking through my still somewhat damp back yard—and pick up a bunch of branches that’d fallen from our mighty oak, as well as rake the numerous smaller ones that are spread all throughout our lawn.

Our oak is old and its bottom losing more branches every year. Winter and numerous strong spring gales have conspired to weaken and break off several of its lower, weaker limbs. A few years back we had this tree pruned, but the time has come to do it again. Had I a few thousand $, I’d have the whole thing cut down…but at the moment that money is dedicated to other landscaping and household projects.
 
A nice gift from the WaPo, sifting through the apps for plant (and bird) identification so we don't have to.

They name four free ones developed by scientists...

These 4 free apps can help you identify every flower, plant and tree around you (paywall lifted)
I recently discovered that your iPhone has the built in ability to identify plants. It does not appear that my iPad shares this ability. From your photo album, select a picture of your plant, touch the ”i“ icon at the bottom of the page, select the leaf icon-“look up plant”, and voila an identification with images of possible matches will appear. :)
 
the built in ability to identify plant


Yeah and I've been going around wearing bug spray and carrying root diggers to fetch up the stuff I don't need an app to tell me what it is.

Same old collection of dandelions, bishopweed, thistles and jewelweed I have to deal with every year in the corners and edge habitats where those pesky plants think I'm not watching and so maybe they can get a leg up.

At least today we're getting a little rain for a change, so I'm free to contemplate indoor chores instead or at least take a break from all the weed patrol. Funny how we need the rain but I'm tempted to complain anyway... just because for once we've been having a gloriously warm and sunny spring.
 
Hey LizKat! Good to see you.

We’ve got some mint coming up outside, really grew in a hurry, so gotta figure out how to use it so I can clip it to let it grow more.
 
Hey LizKat! Good to see you.

We’ve got some mint coming up outside, really grew in a hurry, so gotta figure out how to use it so I can clip it to let it grow more.

Hah, more like better brick it in so it doesn't take the place over. I have mint and chives standing each other off, both bricked in...

I love fresh mint in a tabbouleh. If you don't like tomatoes, shoo the critics out of your kitchen and use cucumbers...
 
Yeah and I've been going around wearing bug spray and carrying root diggers to fetch up the stuff I don't need an app to tell me what it is.

Same old collection of dandelions, bishopweed, thistles and jewelweed I have to deal with every year in the corners and edge habitats where those pesky plants think I'm not watching and so maybe they can get a leg up.

At least today we're getting a little rain for a change, so I'm free to contemplate indoor chores instead or at least take a break from all the weed patrol. Funny how we need the rain but I'm tempted to complain anyway... just because for once we've been having a gloriously warm and sunny spring.
My son bought a house in Whicita, Kansas and the front lawn was full of sprouting thistle. :/
 
My son bought a house in Whicita, Kansas and the front lawn was full of sprouting thistle. :/
That stuff (the thistle that grows in the USA) is really hard to get rid of because of the underground rhizomes that run out like 20 feet... Good luck to him!
 
Maybe roundup if they still sell that, would have a tough time with it… :unsure:
The only other (non-chemical) way to really kill off a weed like that is cutting it off right at absolute ground level every time it sprouts at lawn surface. Obviously for a widespread situation, this won't work since you can't mow a lawn to zero inch height. Keeping it mowed pretty close though and overseeding can help. Probably he'll have to settle for that. "From a distance" when it's mowed close it will still look like lawn...
 
Over the weekend, pulling some Saint Augustine trying to grow out across my driveway, in the hot of the morning, before the baking period of the day, I disturbed some fire ants, took it nonchalantly and ended up with about 10-15 bites, wearing flip flops too, no socks. I vanquished all the attackers. I don’t normally do yard work in my flip flops. This was by the driveway on my way to the car. Went back to the garage to fetch some fire ant killer and sprinkled that around the site.

Fire ant bites are individually feel little bitty burning sensation, not so bad, but a couple of days later in the middle of the night, the itching woke me up and of course that had to be scratched vigorously and you feet are not the most convenient location. :) I’ve always said that pain is better than itch. Two days of on and off itching is worse than the original bites!
 
wearing flip flops too, no socks.

Arggh. Severe Itching IS pain, eventually. Hope you found something to ease the reaction.

Sounds even more dangerous to garden in flip-flops than to wear them or go barefoot in the kitchen while cooking or prepping for cooking...
 
I‘m watching Gardener’s World. (BBC) and they featured a garden based food coop and I had a vision of Station 11 a simpler time in my imagination when people worked together in small groups for the common good. It was appealing and here one was and strange that it would take a post armageddon scenario or colonizing another planet, to possibly see that on a broad scale, the planet scenario would likely be high tech, but who know? :unsure:
 
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This summer has been miserable and the hottest in the 10 years we have lived in Houston. :( I’ve learned that some plants, specifically succulents, you know “the tough plants” in heat, not all of them can handle the combination of heat and sun. Several potted plants I’ve brought in. We had a very lovely donkey tail (succulent) devastated, last year it sailed through the summer, some small chicks (succulents) burned up. Is it ironic if I call these dark times? 😳
 
Is it ironic if I call these dark times?


Curious to know if you tried portulaca as an annual ornament to your gardens. They are supposedly good in sunny arid climates, not sure about really high heat though. I used to stick them into the edges of a sunny-side rock garden and trust the lingering heat of the rocks to help keep the portulaca from getting too cold in our chilly August nights. They come in a variety of bright colors, are fun to start from seed and will tolerate transplanting well. Anyway maybe try them next year!

https://www.epicgardening.com/portulaca/
 
Curious to know if you tried portulaca as an annual ornament to your gardens. They are supposedly good in sunny arid climates, not sure about really high heat though. I used to stick them into the edges of a sunny-side rock garden and trust the lingering heat of the rocks to help keep the portulaca from getting too cold in our chilly August nights. They come in a variety of bright colors, are fun to start from seed and will tolerate transplanting well. Anyway maybe try them next year!

https://www.epicgardening.com/portulaca/
Last year some wild Portulaca popped up along one my garden paths, I almost pulled it out befire I noticed it’s succulent nature. I left it , and looked up what it might be and discovered it was portulaca. This year it’s all over and I can attest it is some tough stuff regarding heat and lack of water. Actually on occasion if it is looking sad I give it a drink. :) Needs to be trimmed off the stones:

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