Squirrel, Berries and Lily

squirrel with strawberry
I caught this squirrel with a strawberry in his mouth (is it a wild strawberry or one of our garden strawberries – not sure, but it looks like the wild kind). So I grabbed my camera and decided to do Nature Notes. I confess, I haven’t been doing much observing of nature, though I have been gardening. My peas did very well in their cage this spring; I saw a deer walk right past the gardening cage (but the deer did take a chomp out of the tomato plants that were outside the cage).

orange lily
I did not plant this tall lily in this spot behind my pink rose bush. I used to have similar lilies in a different part of my garden; I probably pulled them all out by mistake when I was weeding. Or they died a natural death. So I was surprised to see a lily blossom elsewhere in my yard.

The raspberries that grow on old can are now ripening in our backyard. The ones on new cane are usually more abundant, and we get to enjoy those in August. Last year wasn’t a great crop; maybe this year will be better? I read somewhere that one should prune the raspberry bushes so they have space in between them. I tried to do some pruning last year. It is hard to photograph a raspberry – the camera doesn’t realize you want to focus on that tiny berry.

For more Nature Notes:
Nature Notes

Mexican Poppies Instead of Grass

Mexican poppies pink
In my front yard many pink Mexican poppies are in bloom. My husband remembers the days when he had to mow the front lawn – no more.

poppies and salvia
There is also purple salvia growing behind the pink Mexican poppies.

lambs ear with Mexican poppies
The tall green plants behind the Mexican poppies in this shot are lambs’ ear. I originally planted a few that I transported from my mother’s garden in Newton, MA. That was in 1998, so these have been reproducing for over ten years. I’ll probably pull most of them out soon and replace them with summer plants, maybe cucumber plants that I grow among the flowers.

These flowering chives are growing in a pot in my backyard, but since they are in a pot, I could easily transfer them to the front.

For more Nature Notes:

Nature Notes

Summer Basil

basil up close plant
I discovered this photo of basil I had photographed in September 2009 – now isn’t that a warm image to share on a cold January 2012 evening?

For more photos straight out of the camera:
Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Here’s a recipe for basil pesto and a recipe for basil meatloaf. What do you with your summer basil?

Nature Notes: Snapdragon Leaves

snapdragon leaves
snapdragon leaves in late December 2011 with drops of water

It’s been a while since I’ve done Nature Notes – I could blame both my work load and the gloom of early December darkness, cold and brown. Today it was a tad warmer, and I went outside to photograph some burnt red bald cypress leaves – instead, I found this snapdragon plant with bright green leaves and drops of rain water.

I have an idea for next week’s Nature Notes, but I need your help. Can you tell me which of Michelle’s many topics were your favorite(s) in the past year? Shh… don’t tell Michelle. Oh, is she reading this? Well, anyway, your comments on Best Rambling Woods Nature Topics are requested.

Nature Notes

Nature Notes: Heron and Seedlings

I finally got to see a heron while visiting my in-laws who live near the Jersey Shore. Wouldn’t you know it, I only had my little phone camera with me. My daughter called the heron a “gray flamingo.”

parsley seedlings
In more mundane news, the parsley seeds I planted in August have germinated. No sign of the kale seeds germinating. I plan to plant whatever I get in my little front yard so I have greenery in the late fall and possibly through winter (not counting when there is snow on top, but the kale has survives through the snow).

Update: I went outside to check on my few germinated seedlings, and an animal had eaten them. Or maybe they died of “damping off” – too much wet. Sigh. I moved them to our front yard, where we’ve had fewer animal problems, and the sun hits the area.

For more Nature Notes:
Nature Notes

Nature Notes: Catbirds + Gardens

flower garden in June
My flowers-instead-of-grass front lawn meadow is doing nicely. I believe the last time my husband mowed the front lawn was two years ago? Three?

berry - lone raspberry
In our backyard, the raspberries are beginning to appear. This makes our yard even more inviting for the birds.

catbird on tomato plant holder
About two weeks ago the catbirds showed up again in our backyard. They seem to love resting on my tomato plant holders.

Do catbirds like hydrangea? I like this white flowering shrub, even if they don’t notice.

catbird up close
Unlike other birds, such as the cardinals in the winter, the catbirds don’t seem to mind when I get up close with my camera.

catbird taking off
I think this catbird is about to take off. They make such endearing sounds, like a meowing kitten.

For more Nature Notes:
Nature Notes

Portulaca Late October – SOOC

portulaca late October
I planted portulaca (also called moss rose) from seed late this year (late means June), so I only got a few blossoms. Here is one that was still alive in October. These flowers are delicate, open only in late morning and die when it starts to get cold. Sometimes they reseed – hopes for next summer.

For more photos Straight Out of the Camera:
Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Thursday Challenge: Messy

compost heap with mums, orange peels, cabbage, leek
My compost heap: every now and then I do cover it with dirt.

Thursday Challenge theme is MESSY (Children, Rooms, Garage, Yard, Disorganized, Hair,…). Next week is CRAFTS (Supplies, Knitting, Crocheting, Woodworking, Pottery, Painting,…).

How to Grow a Radish

red radish from the garden
Red radish grown in my garden, May 2010

You need: 1 pack of radish seeds, some small plot of land or a pot of potting soil, water and tender loving care.

Prepare your soil. Dig it up a few times and mix in some organic matter such as compost or an organic mix-in available at a plant nursery or Home Depot. Either plant your seeds 3 inches apart or be sure to pull out seedlings that are too close together when they germinate. Put some compost on top of the germinated seedling about a week or two after germinating. Watch until a red ball appears in the ground, and then pull out your pretty red radish. Photograph the radish for Mary’s Ruby Tuesday meme.

For more photos with a little or a lot of red, visit:
Ruby Tuesday

Learn how to make delicious pickled radishes (made with umeboshi paste).

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