Tangled Branches: Cultivated
happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Cicadas: not gone, but much diminished. The birds are singing this morning and you can actually hear them. The squirrels are back and making a nuisance of themselves again, digging in my planters and hanging on the bird feeder. Things are getting back to normal.
Gardening: been ignoring the garden for the last several days, trying to catch up on some other things. Hope to get back to it today. The rosebay rhododendrons are blooming - need to get a picture. Seems we are in between blooming seasons here - the spring flowers are finished, and the summer ones have not yet started. 'Big Mama' Hosta is starting to bloom though, and the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is showing color.
Friday, May 21, 2004
Watching the Cicadas: and oh my, are there a lot of them to watch. They don't seem to be very skilled at flying. Or rather landing. They fly until they run into something and then hold on. Maybe. If they don't hold on, they fall. Maybe upside up, maybe upside down. It looks to me like the squirrels are hunting them, but I haven't actually seen a squirrel eat one. The bird feeder has been all but deserted since the cicadas starting flying. And the noise continues. Earlier I thought it sounded like lawn edgers and geese. Yesterday I thought it sounded like car alarms and geese. This morning, very early (5?), not quite awake yet, I heard a sound. Wondered if I had left the water running outside or something. No, it was the cicadas getting an early start.
Weather: we are supposed to get rain today, but they have been promising that all week and we have had only nuisance-type showers.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Container Crazy: I've been buying up trendy annuals for a couple of weeks now, and capped it off with a visit to Merrifield Garden Center today. What a great place - I could live there. Anyway, after that shopping trip, I have way more than enough plant material to fill all the containers I have and then some. So yesterday and today, I planted:
- Cuphea 'Tiny Mice'; Lantana 'Landmark Flame'; Salvia coahuilensis 'Saltillo'
- Salvia (dark blue, unlabeled); Lantana (orange, unlabled); Cuphea ignea 'Dynamite'
- Salvia greggii 'Raspberry Royal'; Calibrachoa 'SuperBells Red'; Cuphea hyssopifolia 'Allyson Heather'
- Salvia (magenta, unlabeled); Lantana camara 'Goldsonne'
- Buddleia davidii 'Royal Red'; Ipomea batatas 'Marguerite'; Heliotrope 'Fragrant Delight'; Ageratum 'Artist Purple'
- Buddleia davidii 'Potter's Purple'; Cuphea hyssopifolia 'Allyson Heather'; Heliotrope 'Fragrant Delight'; Bacopa (now Sutera?) 'Taifun Blue'; Ipomea 'Sweet Caroline Light Green'
- Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight'; Verbena 'Superbena Burgundy'; Calibrachoa 'SuperBells Pink'; Lantana (variegated leaf, unlabeled); Cuphea hyssopifolia (unlabeled)
- Salvia greggii 'Navajo Bright Red'; Calibrachoa 'SuperBells Red'; Angelonia angustifolia 'AngelMist Deep Plum Imp.'; Verbena 'Temari Patio Red'; Lantana 'Patriot Classic Desert Sunset'
- Salvia greggii 'Devantville'; Salvia hyb. 'Sierra San Antonio'; Abutilon 'Kristen's Pink' (saved from last year and the year before and the year before....)
Some of the plants were sitting here waiting to be planted for quite a while. Previous shopping trips were to Betty's Azalea Ranch, Cox Farms, and Norman's Farm Market (not what it once was, but I found some good salvias and cupheas there).
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Cicadas: LOUD! The singing started out quietly over the weekend, but has been getting louder each day. Today is the loudest so far. You can actually hear it in the house with all the doors and windows closed. I had planned to do some outdoor work this afternoon, but now I am not sure I want to. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said that the sound was like everyone in the neighborhood edging their sidewalks with an electric edger all at the same time. But today, I would say that the sound is like everyone in the neighborhood edging their sidewalks with an electric edger all at the same time while a huge flock of geese is honking overhead. I am sitting next to the outdoor unit of the air conditioner while it is running, and I do believe that the cicadas are louder.
Friday, May 14, 2004
Weather: continues sunny and hot
Cicadas: pictures from yesterday morning
Blooming: Peonies and Siberian iris, among others
Chores: moved some of the weedier, taller perennials and grasses (plume poppy and switch grass) to the back of the lot yesterday - this frees up some big containers for more hummingbird plants
Birds: Gave up on the new hummingbird feeder already - the squirrels wouldn't leave it alone, and as far as I know, no hummingbirds had used it yet. I bought some more cupheas and salvias, hoping to attract hummingbirds to their natural food.
Last evening while sitting outside before dinner, a robin suddenly flew from in front of me over my head and caught a cicada in mid-air.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Cicadas: Today is the day! They are just shedding their exoskeletons and are drying on the trees and plants now. Not really flying around much yet. Pictures later!
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Weather: hot for this time of year; we had a thunderstorm Sunday night (so I am told - didn't stay up for it myself)
Cicadas: just read about the Cicada Mania website in the Washington Post and decided to have a look. Seems pretty good. The cicadas are definitely emerging here in the backyard and have been for a while. The birds are eating them just about as fast as they emerge though, so I assume the main event hasn't happened yet. We were out of the country at this time 17 years ago, and really only saw the aftermath of the big emergence (broken branch tips on the trees) and a few (quite a few) stragglers.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
Weather: sunny; last weather of note was a gusty thunderstorm on Sunday night, and a rainy Monday.
Birds: added 3 new yard birds in the last couple of days. Yesterday around noon I finally got my Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but a female. She was back at least once later in the day and again this morning. Had a Gray Catbird in the birdbath yesterday early evening. And this morning there was a female Eastern Towhee under the sunflower seed feeder.
Planting: received my order from Song Sparrow on Friday - everything is potted so it can wait until I am ready. But yesterday I planted 3 of the 7 plants I ordered from them. Halesia 'U Conn Wedding Bells' went in back behind the little holly tree - hope I can see it from the patio door, but don't think so. Kerria japonica 'Honshu' went behind the Ilex verticillata - hoping to get a nice winter effect here with green stems of Kerria and red berries on Ilex. Hakonechloa went next to the little holly tree in back, where the big willow oak was removed.
Also received 2 azaleas from Shepherd Hill Farm yesterday - Kathleen Gable and Mildred Mae. Planted Kathleen in back between 2 redbuds, and Mildred Mae close to the birdbath where a big pine tree was.