Transplants

So far the plants I moved a few weeks ago are all doing fine. I’m glad I got them established as we’re in the midst of a record heat wave.

I had moved about about a dozen strawberry plants that were growing too close to the fence, and not only did they survive but every one of them is blooming! Even the littlest one has a nice white flower that came up during the week.

We’ve got a couple dozen plants now, all propagated from the few sickly survivors I rescued while clearing the forest of weeds when we bought the house. They responded well to getting more sun when the grapes were pulled up and last year produced a number of offshoots. The berries from the original plants are quite tasty and I have high hopes for the new ones, providing the slugs save a few for me.

The blueberry bush I moved has also survived and this week started to put out a few flowers. It isn’t the sunniest spot in the yard but better than before. If it does well I might move the other two next year into more sun near the raspberries, but I’ve avoided doing anything near the house since we’re getting a new roof in a few weeks and I figure there will be some plant casualties as they work.

If these transplants prove to be a success I’ll try something more challenging, like kidneys or livers.

Papa Smurf

An onion or garlic flower is about to break out of its casing and bloom

When we moved into our house, there was a forest of weeds growing under the grapes that lined the backyard. While clearing out the weeds, I found a few good plants as well, either remnants of an old garden or volunteers from some other place. I preserved as many of the good plants as I could but some of those were later casualties when I decided to dig up the grapes.

One such casualty was a cluster of onions or garlic, the bulbs got broken up by the shovel while digging up the roots of the grape vines. One survived as it grew on the other side of the little metal guard that separated the yard from the grapes. This picture was taken in late June of last year, the flower is just about to break out of the casing and fully bloom.

A Nice Quiet Weekend

The past few weeks at work have brought added stress even though my workload was usually not bad, as we knew layoffs were coming. I survived the axe once more but can’t say the same for some of my friends. A nice quiet weekend was just what I needed.

The weather here in Portland was projected to be beautiful so I got up before dawn Saturday morning and headed out to Ridgefield. No great pictures as the best subjects came after the first hour of sunlight when the light wasn’t so good, but it was an enjoyable morning nonetheless. The yellow-headed blackbirds have indeed returned, they stayed in the interior of the marsh but their singing could be heard from the road. Hopefully I’ll catch them near the road sometime over the next couple of months before they leave us.

The savannah sparrows were out singing in the meadows as well but I didn’t get the good looks I got last year. Two coyotes were out and about but just out of reach, one had something dark and duck-sized in its mouth. Red-winged blackbirds were numerous and singing, and while watching them I noticed a young bittern just a few feet away at the edge of the marsh.

As I was about ready to leave I spotted a river otter nearby in a narrow channel. I waited to see if it would resurface but they swim fast and can hold their breath for a long time, so it was probably already off fishing somewhere far away.

The rest of the day was spent in yardwork, as was Sunday afternoon. I can barely move but it was lovely weather to be outside. I moved a blueberry bush that was struggling due to lack of sunlight, as well as some strawberries that were too close to the fence. They are both survivors from when I weeded the forest of weeds that was growing under the grapes when we moved in, and from when I dug up the grapes as well.

The strawberries in particular have done well since I sent the grapes on their longest journey, there were only a few straggly plants but with the grapes gone they get a lot more sunlight and now there’s a whole patch of ’em. The berries are surprisingly delicious so I hope the transplants will survive.

The Fruit of My Labors

When we moved here a few years ago, the backyard was ringed by grape vines. Underneath those grape vines, as tall as I am, were a jungle of weeds. That’s not an exaggeration, it was a mess. As I spent the summer(s) pulling up the weeds, I came across a few small strawberry plants on one side of the yard, either escapees or a mostly forgotten remnant of a previous garden. I decided to save the strawberry plants and they offered up the occasional berry, although the bugs and birds and slugs got most of them. When I removed the grapes, though, the strawberries came into their own. They got bigger and produced more fruit last year, and this year they’ve propagated quite a few new plants (several times what we had a couple of years ago), and the older plants are producing some absolutely delicious berries.

The coneflower bloomed like crazy although they’re drying out, so I’ve started watering them on occasion. I suppose I’ll have to divide one of them before next year as it’s just gone insane with several dozen big blossoms. It’s my favorite flower so I’m happy to see them thriving after they were moved to the backyard. I cut back some of the daisies, they were overrun with aphids in the early summer and didn’t look too good, but hopefully the new batch will fare better now that the invasion is past. Some of the roses are doing great and some are on death’s door, we’ll see how they do.

A hummingbird has visited the back each of the past two evenings, so I suppose I should put up the feeder. I need to get an ant guard for it but for now I’ll put it up without one as I’d like to attract the ferocious little birds. The hummer certainly got the attention of the cats right away, even more than the neighborhood squirrels.

And now it’s getting dark enough back here that it’s hard to see Templeton as he moves about the yard, so it’s time to head inside. Scout has enough white that she sticks out like a sore thumb, but Templeton can really disappear in the dim light when he wants to.