Just a few things

I haven’t been taking pictures of much lately; mostly just this year’s Baby Cs, but…

Diervilla lonicera, and the reason I grow it. One of the reasons, anyway.

Standing cypress, and one look at the flowers explains why I grow that.

Toadally Awesome, escaping an incredible deluge over the weekend. Looks like he’s been eating well!

I finally got rid of the vinca out front. Well, I hope I did, anyway; I pulled it, and we’ll see what happens from there. I wanted to replace it with a native, but I don’t want to commit to watering there, so I needed something that would thrive on neglect and morning sunlight, since that’s all it’s going to get. C gave me some sedum that she believes to be ‘Angelica’. Not native, but not invasive, and it’s a fast-spreading succulent that has shallow roots that make it very easy to remove if it goes somewhere it oughtn’t. The vinca was controlled in this spot, but every time I looked at it, all I could think of was how much damage it can do if it does escape, so it had to go. Anyway, the sedum looks like shit now, but it’ll fill in, assuming it wants to grow there and doesn’t just keel over and die on me.

This entry was posted on 2019-06-10.

The Mother of All Poison Ivy

Five years ago, I noticed a pretty big poison ivy vine growing on the honeylocust tree down by the creek. I was busy, and didn’t have time to deal with it then, and then forgot about it. When I was clearing honeysuckle in the northwest corner, I noticed a few bits of poison ivy, and remembered the big one. Oh, BIG one indeed; that thing had grown to incredible proportions, and spread through the brush that I had to hack my way into to reach the base of the big one.

I don’t think I was even aware that poison ivy could grow this large!

Looking very healthy and happy up there, and I could see there were hundreds of unripe berries, just waiting to be eaten by wildlife and spread around.

I had to pull a lot of smaller vines just to make my way in to cut and poison the big one. Not an insignificant pile, and this isn’t all of it; there was some I didn’t get, but I know it’s there, and won’t forget for five years like I did with the big one.

I cut a chunk out of the big one to make sure it couldn’t “heal”.

I don’t think it can grow back together. 😉

Kind of hard to count the rings, but roughly 15-16, I think.

There was another one about 3/4″ around. I cut and poisoned that, too.

Cut and poisoned some honeysuckle while I was back there.

My assistant. He was right in my work area, and I didn’t want him harmed, so I moved him a few feet away. Compared to Roxy, this guy is a beefy beast, indeed, and very heavy! Roxy weighs 3/4 lb, but he’s probably double that. He’s shy, so the picture is not of his head. I love box turtle feet, especially the back ones. <3

The next day, the poison ivy still looked okay, but by the second day, it was looking pretty wilted. Good! Die, you giant bastard, die!

I’ll have to keep a close eye on that area, which I should anyway because I need to make sure nothing overtakes my elderberry. I can’t even go anywhere near it for the catbirds giving me hell; they know it’s elderberry, and they’re waiting for those flowers to turn into berries. I went in and cut out a bunch of honeysuckle, boxelder, black walnut, etc., after I’d taken this picture, but whatever. I love my elderberry “grove”!

Editing the morning of 06-07-19. This is the very best kind of poison ivy…the dead kind. Urushiol can remain active up to 5 years after the plant has died, though, so I think it’ll just stay right where it is until it falls of its own accord!

This entry was posted on 2019-06-04.

Miscellaneous

Just stuff that is cool. Creepy-crawly and rooted.  🙂

Something seems to be snacking on my Pipevine cats, and for that, I hope whatever it is gets a nasty stomachache, but I do have a few.

Convergent Lady Beetle, nomming red aphids (and Christ knows there are enough of them!) on cup plant.

Super-cool antlion on the door screen. I’m not sure whether I’ve ever seen one before or not, and didn’t have time to find out what species, but it’s an awesome-looking little thing!

Roxy…just because I love her.

My little freebie Virginia Sweetspire. I’m considering moving it to a place of honour out front.

Not that I’ll ever see one ripe–the birds will take care of that–but my struggling serviceberry trees (well, one of them, at least) produced a few berries.

Lavender. Pretty!

This entry was posted on 2019-06-04.

But wait–there’s more!

When it comes to that fucking honeysuckle, there’s always more! If you have ever planted Asian bush honeysuckle or Japanese honeysuckle, then FUCK YOU! Fuck you with a big, thorny stick.

I knew it was going to be 90F today, but it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and Sunday, so I had little choice. I started at about 0730h, determined to get the honeysuckle around the birbs’ elderberry (they planted it, so it’s theirs). There wasn’t that much of it, but it was rough going with osage-orange thorns, and took me 5h. So, I have spent 18h so far, eradicating that godforsaken menace. FUCK non-native honeysuckle.

In the process of disentangling honeysuckle from elderberry, I accidentally cut some new growth, and broke two older branches. Again, fuck non-native honeysuckle. One was too damaged to save, but I gave the other one a shot with a Tanglefoot Band-aid. Maybe it’ll live, maybe not, but it was worth trying.

Three of these motherfuckers grew together. Like I didn’t have enough that are bitches to cut already.

I didn’t take a before picture because I’d initially just gone down there to pull some Japanese honeysuckle, but it was well and truly taking over and would soon have choked out even enthusiastic elderberry. This is the aftermath of my honeysuckle rage. I pulled or dug what I could, and cut/poisoned the bigger ones. Drink up, you sonsabitches; have a nice triclopir cocktail!

The stems of the elderberry look good, and now the plants can spread all they want, and will get more light. Fuck Asian honeysuckle.

This entry was posted on 2019-05-24.

New baby Cs!

Well, potentially. Just a nest so far, but hopefully there will be ugly little babies.

I heard the female in the smoketree at night, so I checked the next day. Same spot as last time!

Poked the camera in. No eggs yet, but fingers crossed!

This entry was posted on 2019-05-20.

Creature Features

Just miscellaneous creatures I found while wandering the yard during Honeysuckle Horror weekend.

Roxy, recovered from her respiratory infection, and glad I’ve stopped picking her up to dump drugs on her face!

Male Eastern Box Turtle that I ran across while photographing weigela.

Teeny-tiny baby Pipevine Swallowtail cats on (of course) Virginia Snakeroot. These are a day or two old.

Slightly older ones.

Even older guy, also on Virginia Snakeroot. I have got to find more of that stuff!

Not technically a creature, but a refuge for creatures in the form of tree frogs. Made from leftover PVC that I used for the pond cover. I had 5 pieces long enough; three I painted green, and the other two are painted the closest I could get to the colour of the house with spray paint, but they aren’t up yet.

Random picture of the pond because it’s pretty with the Virginia creeper around it.

05-21-19 – Editing to add the other two tree frog tubes that I finally got drilled and put up. They’re right beside the downspout because tree frogs love to hang out there anyway. Colour isn’t too bad, considering one is faded house paint and the other spray paint for plastic!

This entry was posted on 2019-05-19.

Miscellaneous Pretty Things

As I was killing honeysuckle (and almost killing me!), I took short breaks to walk around and see all the stuff still to be done, but I was rewarded by pretty things, so there’s that.

Lavender almost ready to bloom. Bees will be happy about that!

Penstemon ‘Husker Red’ is blooming. Bees are happy about that!

Weigela out front. These are two “leftovers” that I got on sale at Buchheit. I didn’t really want them, but felt sorry for them. I’m glad I did; they need some pruning, but they are good bloomers! ‘Wine and Roses’, I think (not sure).

Irises that C gave me. There was only one, but not anymore!

Coral honeysuckle on the fence. It’s soooo pretty when it does its big bloom in late spring. No wonder the MLBs are doing their mating dances; Parview is a pretty good place to live if you’re a hummingbird!

I found this little tree over on the north side, while doing an invasive honeysuckle inspection. I thought it might be, but checked with Flower Checker just to be sure, and it is wild black cherry–yaaayyy! Birds must’ve planted this for themselves. About time they contributed. 😉

More weigela in Sarah-Flah’s Giant No-Mow Flowerbed, which is already a jungle. No wonder the MLBs hang around that area; it’s right by the fence of coral honeysuckle. Tubular flowers everywhere!

Baptisia. I still have the one I bought, somewhere in the Sarah-Flah jungle, but this is one that I grew from seed, so it’s special.

Pipevine is going crazy again this year. That stuff is almost scary, but the flowers are cool-looking, if not showy.

This entry was posted on 2019-05-19.

Honeysuckle Horror

I took last Friday off because I’d finally decided to break down and kill the honeysuckle in the northwest corner. I knew it wasn’t going to be fun…and I was right! I started with basically a solid wall of Asian bush and Japanese honeysuckles.

Just to test my battery chain saw, I’d cut a few little bits earlier in the week. Not that it mattered because I jammed my saw on the first cut I tried to make (dead, dry osage-orange), but I can fix that when I have time. Anyway, I didn’t cut enough to really make a difference anyway.

It was pleasant on Friday morning, so I got started early, but it was hotter than hell by 1330h, so I quit for the day. It’s hard, physical labour, and I’m old and tired. 🙂 I did get a lot done, but there was just sooooo much of it, and it wasn’t clear sailing because the tree guys had dumped branches (and actual logs) down there when they cut back the osage-orange; I told them it was okay because I do want a brush pile for wildlife cover, but it’s all so overgrown with honeysuckle now. Anyway, I chugged along, cutting and poisoning, and made progress.

Pretty big pile of honeysuckle. I separated the Japanese because it roots so easily it needs special attention.

Working on a slope is not fun.

I still didn’t get it all–I’m not sure I even can get it all because there’s one right by the creek that’s the size of a fucking tree–but I made a pretty good dent in it. I think I’m going to have to use Roundup on the Japanese, but I don’t want to, and even if I must, I have to wait for a time when there’s no rain forecast for at least a week because I don’t want Roundup running off the foliage and down into the creek. Anyway, it looks a mess right now, but I don’t think I’ll plant anything; I think I’ll just wait and see what plants itself first.

I found a couple of skinny, leaning walnut trees that the squirrels had planted, and one I think is green ash. I left them all; now that they can get more light, I can probably straighten them, and I don’t care if the walnut is allelopathic because I don’t have anything specific I want to plant there, and I’m sure something that isn’t sensitive to juglone will volunteer.

I tripped over a fucking Japanese honeysuckle vine, fell, and my lopping shears hit perfectly on two sides of the bark of one little walnut, so I had to make it a Band-Aid from Tanglefoot and brown paper towel. I thought of that a couple of years ago when Onje made a BANZAI dive into one of the Grey Sticks, which worked out very well and saved the broken branches. Anyway, the damage wasn’t too bad, and I repaired it quickly, so I think the little tree will be okay.

 

 

This entry was posted on 2019-05-19.

Omnomnom

Guess who lives at my house? The Very Hungry Caterpillar…Caterpillars. I will hazard an educated guess that the culprits are Silvery Checkerspot cats, and while it looks like they’ll kill the coneflowers, they won’t. The foliage will recover, and the flowers will bloom to produce nectar for the adults to do this again next year. When humans don’t fuck it up, nature knows exactly what it’s doing.

This entry was posted on 2019-05-15.

Finally–A Non-Invasive!

Last year, I noticed a couple of little seedlings with heart-shaped leaves. At first glance, I thought they were lilac because one is right next to the old lady’s lilac bush (supplemented with a couple of little stick lilacs I got for free), but when I looked closer, I knew they weren’t. I thought about pulling them because at our house, chances are pretty good that a volunteer is an invasive, but something kind of said, “Just leave them and see what they are.” I forgot all about them for the rest of the season because they’re in Sarah-Flah’s Giant No-Mow Flowerbed, and that’s a fucking jungle any time after June. This spring, I noticed they’d come back, and again, thought about pulling them, but instead, I submitted a few pictures to Flower Checker. With 99%-plus certainty, they said “Catalpa”, either speciosa or bignonioides. Considering there’s that big old speciosa down by the creek even if it’s too tall and the blooms too far up to see well, I’m going to go with speciosa. So, at long last (not counting my one remaining baby dogwood), I have a volunteer tree that isn’t either a trash tree or an invasive! I will have to move these ones because they’re in the flowerbed, but don’t yet know where they’ll go. Hopefully, they’ll survive the move.

When we moved to Parview, there were several random plants on the north side of the patio. Given the shit soil and the shade from the garage and the osage-orange trees, none of them was doing well at all. I recognized the leaves on a little string of a plant, but couldn’t place them. C happened to be here one day, and I asked her. She said they were clematis, so I gave the little string a sort of ghetto-looking trellis to climb, then once I had made the Bee Happy bed, I moved it over there. From a sad-looking string on the shady north side to the southwest corner of the house has done well for it!

I don’t have any floating plants yet (might just toss in a handful of duckweed and call it good), and when we stop getting rain, the jewelweed will croak, but for the time being, my pond looks…like it belongs. I’d moved some false Virginia Creeper over there to sort of half-cover the rocks so it wouldn’t look so much like I’d dug a hole in the ground, put in a black rubber liner and stuck rocks around it to hold the edges, and my plan succeeded. The creeper is kind of aggressive, but not too bad, and it looks really nice. I don’t mind the creeper, either, because if it gets enough sun, it’ll produce berries that birds will eat. I’ll just keep it from choking out my Allegheny Spurge, and Canadian Ginger, and that’ll be good enough. It looks so fresh and green.

This entry was posted on 2019-05-13.