Recent Entries to this Blog Panama's Dilemma
Posted: 15 Apr 2012
Spring is sprung!
Posted: 25 Mar 2012
To sleep, perchance to dream...
Posted: 04 Dec 2011
Rejected by Solarize, but undaunted......
Posted: 03 Sep 2011
Sometimes Self Deception Helps
Posted: 17 Aug 2011

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Cayuga Morning's Blog




Panama's Dilemma

Category: Our fine feathered friends | Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:28 am

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I am a 6 year old peach faced lovebird called 'Panama' by my mate. I keep trying to tell her that I don't care for that name, but she doesn't get my drift. She does call me 'Panni' which I much prefer, so that's alright. My mate is a bit slow on the uptake, but more about that later. She can't help it.

I started life as a wee chick, living with a fellow who would take me to work in his pocket. I loved his pocket. It was warm & cosy in there and I could peer out from its safety. Those were my formative years before I became the substantial bird that I am now. I have had other homes and I have had a true mate but those are days gone past and I don't like to talk about them.

On with my narrative and my current dilemma. Allow me to describe myself, because it bears on the dilemma. I am quite a handsome devil. I have bright green feathers (two tones of green) with blue feathers on my tail. My face is the requisite peach. Oh I am a beauty! I preen myself everyday. I eat a healthy diet. I exercise regularly. But, my mate is something else again. As I said, she is unfortunately a bit daft. She is a likeable sort and I can tell she tries. She plies me with treats (I especially like the baby carrots she gives me). And she talks and whistles to me in her fashion. We have good conversations, (although I don't understand a word she says). I ride around on her shoulder in the mornings. We do get up to some interesting things.

But, try as I might with her, she doesn't get me very well. Oh she will chirp back at me (in her fashion) and she will nod her head in the (less than) proper way, but when I try to feed her, she turns away! Honestly! I have tried and tried. I have offered her my very best regurgitated food and, yes, she turns away! I sit on her shoulder, I lean towards her beak. I am so close I can feel her body heat and she can feel mine. Isn't that enough of an aphrodisiac? My beak touches her beak (or whatever hers is called, it looks a bit different from mine). Between you and me, I think she was not properly socialized. She probably was not fed well as a chick and this is the result.

I have put up with this for a l-o-n-g time, but heaven must have heard my pleas because a week ago another possible mate has arrived. YES! My mate has competition now. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but this other girl understands me! And today, she accepted my food!!! (Ha! Base one accomplished! I do have the touch!)

But I do care for my mate. I am not really so fickle as to just jump ship with the first beckoning of a lady feather. But....this new lovebird is a beauty too. She preens herself and chirps with me. We can have true conversations. She responds to my body heat. She tells me her name is Peachie. Such a respectable name! But, I care for my old mate. I do not want to hurt her. I am torn...I keep flying back and forth from her to Peachie. Sigh. What is a poor guy to do?

Last edited: Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:30 am

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Spring is sprung!

Category: Perennial gardening | Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:55 pm

Yes it has! The forsythia is in full bloom, the white flowers of snow drops are nodding, and even my Abeliophyllum distichum is blooming for the first time this year (white forsythia).

As I walk around my garden, I do so love to see the small shoots of perennials and bulbs poking their way above ground. I have much work to do in the garden and of course this time of year it always feels overwhelming. But, inevitably as I step outside to "just take a peek" at the garden, I get pulled in, and find myself grabbing a rake to clear leaves or grabbing some gardening gloves to pull the first weeds that have appeared.

The start of spring is always filled with wonderful feelings of anticipation.

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To sleep, perchance to dream...

Category: Perennial gardening | Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:13 pm

I always think of Hamlet's soliloquy this time of year but more from the perspective that it really is not apt! Hamlet is contemplating suicide in his speech as he is so distraught to learn of his father's murder and his uncle's treachery. As I look out my dining room window at my garden at rest, I see the dying back of foliage, dead stalks, lifeless trees. By profession, I am a therapist and I regularly hear from my clients their very negative associations to winter being a time of death, of isolation, desolation. (I actually do hear these sentiments). Perhaps this is why I regularly scan for the very subtle signs of on-going life: buds on the rhododendrons, the still green foliage of the hardier perennials, the red tips of branches. I enjoy looking for these signs of life in all the dying back of plants, and my eyes rest on them, and in fact seek them out, rather than on the browning foliage.

Partly I also enjoy the subtlety. Garishness, bright colors, "a riot of bloom" as we are apt to say does have its place in the middle of summer, but so do the subtle hues of winter. I enjoy watching how the tips of the trees change color as winter progesses until early spring when it becomes quite obvious that something is just waiting to burst forth. Do you ever notice how oak trees hang on to their dead leaves for eons, much longer than other trees until finally shedding them in...?January?...(I will have to note this year when they finally drop them).

I think gardeners in particular are used to thinking this way. We know to prepare our beds for winter, to protect our (living) plants. To help them ease into dormancy, to feel glad that they have a good drink of rain before the ground freezes. Jerry Sullivan (Garden Stewer who breeds daylilies) has described the very black shiny daylily seeds that the rodents all crave. He advises those interested in raising daylilies to scarf these seeds up before the animals get them. They are indeed little germs of life amidst the dying foliage. A nice thought to remember in the coldness of winter.

Last edited: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:19 pm

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Rejected by Solarize, but undaunted......

Category: Perennial gardening | Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:28 pm

My husband & I recently contacted a company to explore purchasing solar panels for our roof. Here is their response:
"Thank you for your interest in the Solarize program. Since the program beginning we have conducted a lot of site visits...we found that about 60% were suitable for solar. So now we are refining our criteria for site evaluations. If the house is amid tall trees, particularly pine trees, as Google Earth seems to indicate (about your site), we have found that the site is not ideal for solar.....
Therefore we would recommend not visiting the site. We can tell you it would be unsuitable for solar panels."

Sigh...The response from Solarize says it all. My garden is an island of yard floating in a mixed pine and deciduous woods on a north facing hill. It is ringed by tall white pines which tower over the yard and pool. In short, the sunniest parts of the garden get, at the very most, 5 hours of sun per day. This, per force, limits what I can grow. Veggies should be out, but I can't resist planting a few tomatoes every year. They limp along, producing a few fruits just before the frost does them in. Although what I harvest probably doen't cover the cost of the plant seedlings, there is nothing like having one's own tomotoes! Herbs do well, surprisingly. Perennials that can take 1/2 day sun also do very well.

So, while I can't change the light in my garden, I can choose plants wisely. I can resist the gorgeous heleniums and their ilk which love all day sun. I can read brochures carefully and select roses that can tolerate some shade (Rosa Zepherine Drouhin) or peonies that can deal with intermittent sun and shade (Paeonia obovata-Perennial Woodland Peony).

I can also be careful to match the plant to my soil and light conditions. Erythronium americanum (dog tooth violet) appreciates shade, but also needs a moist soil rich in organics. Planting it in clay-sand soil which gets baked in late afternoon sun is not a good idea. Armeria (sea thrift) loves the dry sandy soil of the garden around the pool. Trying to enrich the soil there is a mistake.

Each garden has its own microcosms and I am gradually discovering mine. (Is the bed on the south facing wall of our home actually a zone 6 not 5? Maybe I can grow that Paeonia obovata-Perennial Woodland Peony). Iris borers do not seem to like hot sites, hense irises do well in the bed along the hardtop driveway. Maybe that is the place for sedum as well.

I find discovering these microcosms is a process of trial and error. Some are obvious, others not so much. It has been helpful seeing other Garden Stew gardens. Seeing that solid patch of Monarda in someone's garden (Netty's?) has made me realize that I just do not have the right conditions for Monarda, much as I love the unique blooms. And I am gradually learning to give up on the plants that just cannot deal with intermittent sun. Well, almost...I have stopped buying monarda but haven't quite yet yanked out what I have, sparse though it is.



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Sometimes Self Deception Helps

Category: Perennial gardening | Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:34 am

Gardens are ever changing enterprises. To garden is to attempt to put our own personal stamp on one small section of this earth. Nature however has her own ideas. Just when a gardener has a section of his plot looking perfectly, the next year, it has, of course, changed. One perennial threatens to take over another; one plant dies out; another refuses to bloom; others pop up as volunteers which most of us are too kind hearted to eliminate. (How can you pull up a volunteer before you see it bloom?) And so the garden morphs gradually over time according to its own design.

The plants themselves contribute to this; they do appear to have their own agendas. A self-sowing rudbeckia has been travelling through my garden, marching from the back of the meadow garden right out the front and now down in the lawn and across the rail fence into the shade garden. Then there's that wildling campanula, very pretty, that actively resists being corralled. Whenever I try to contain it, it dies out in that spot. Luckily it resides in several places and I have learned my lesson. And what about those plants that just show up mysteriously in the garden? I have a Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck loosestrife) that must have piggybacked its way in on another plant. The lysimachia I can understand. It can reproduce from just a section of its fleshy root. What I can't understand is the sedum (perhaps 'Autumn Joy'?) that has similarly just appeared. A dropped leaf that rooted itself? Dropped from the sky by a bird? How does this happen? However it came, I am the fortunate beneficiary.

Of course nature does have some good ideas. The fortuitous self-sowed penstemon next to the stokes aster was not a combination I had thought of, but a grand one nevertheless. And when the rudbeckia sowed itself next to the bright red daylily with the golden throat, oh what a glorious sight! And so I attempt to accommodate myself to the whims of my garden and simply be grateful for its willfulness.
It helps that I lose track of how my garden appeared just two or three years ago. It allows me the self deception that these changes were after all, my idea.


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Plant collecting vs. garden design

Category: Perennial gardening | Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:13 pm

So...I have been a gardener for years. I find it relaxing and nourishing of my soul. I so enjoy starting and ending my day with a tour of the garden.

One thing I continue to struggle with is curbing my plant collecting impulses! I will buy or accept a new perennial because I love the look of it, without regard to where I will put it or if I actually can use it. I can become interested in a certain plant, then be attracted to all its various relatives...My garden ends up looking like a hodgepodge as a result.

One of the ways I have learned to curb this impulse is to take photos of my garden. There is something about seeing my garden through the lens of a camera that helps me pay attention to the design aspects. And, when I do, I enjoy my garden so much more....

Last edited: Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:08 pm

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