Monday, May 19, 2008

A budding Columbine flower

Columbine are dropping their buds. These widespread, bell-shaped perrenials, native and a favorite of hummingbirds and bees, are notable for their five "spurs" which begat both its latin (comparison to an eagle's talons) or common (comparison to a flock of doves) name. These spurs spread in the summer, exposing the flower's petticoat-like petals and long stamen in a very colorful display. They're an excellent, native plant for any garden, and will give you blooms from mid spring through early fall.

Columbine are extraordinarilly easy to cultivate given even the slightest bit of pre-planning. Though, being woodland flowers, they prefer damp, cool soil and a good deal of shade, with a good deal of mulch they'll thrive in anything short of full sun. Throw in a little peat moss and weekly watering during the hot season and they'll pay you back with interest, spreading across open soil in thick, verdant clumps of dark green leaves and red flowers.

Began work on the first of the "rocks" I will be using to cover up the pond filter, the remainder of my exposed pond tarp, and possibly the underwater pumps and plumbing. I created the first rock by layering hypertufa over a frame mesh. The 2 parts peat moss gave it a very porous texture, much more realistic to rock than standard cement would have been. Also cut a small 5X8 portion of land out of a chunk of my back lawn that had mostly been overrun by creeping charlie. Mixed a bag of organic garden soil and a shovel load of peat moss into the soil and am in the act of bordering it with some inexpensive edgers. Am hoping I'll have peppers, tomatoes, and watermelons by fall. Would love to be able to cultivate my own seeds.

Been seeing a lot of the Bluebird couple lately, and the Orioles have been draining my grape jelly feeder twice a day.

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