Showing posts from February, 2013

Up Close with the Garden Spider


Spiders! For many people the very word sends them running for a can of bug spray.  I admit, I do not like spiders in my house.  I really don't want the extra housekeeping chore of wiping down cob webs, but I do recognize that spiders play a very important part in our environment.  If I have a spider in the house, he gets sent out the door and not sprayed.

This past fall, I was working in my garden when I spotted the spider in the photo.  It is a common Black and Yellow Garden Spider or orb weaver. "Orb" means that it spins it's web in a circle.  The web can be about two feet in diameter.  If you see a zig-zag of white silk in the web, that was made by a male spider.  The male spider is smaller and he will make a much smaller web than the female. The web and can be found on shrubs, tall plants or flowers.  Males and females will build webs near each other or together. The web is normally two to eight feet up from the ground.

This spider is beneficial to the gard…

The Dragon's Eye

Several years ago, I was touring a garden in Ohio and I spotted this very unusual pine tree.  Luckily, the tree had a identification sign posted with it's name on it.  The tree was Pinus densiflora 'Oculus Draconis' or Dragon's-eye Japanese red pine. The tree was very unusual and from the distance it did indeed look like there were 'eyes' on the ends of the branches.  I never forgot that tree.  Dragon's Eye is a slow growing tree that can reach over 30 feet and spread between 15 to 30 feet.  It can grow about 6 inches a year and prefers full sun to part shade. It is very adaptable to different soil types as long as it is well drained. What makes the tree so interesting is that it has showy foliage and it has interesting bark. The needles are marked with bars of yellow and green. This variegation remains all year and intensifies late in the year. The bark is often orangish-red when young and peels off in scales.The trunk is often twisted giving the tree an…

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - February 2013

This Garden Blogger's Bloom Day does not find much blooming yet in my garden.  The Witch Hazel is blooming some days and other days the petals are curled up from the cold.  The Hellebores in the garden are starting to show some color in what will be blooms, but they are also waiting for warmer weather.  Yesterday was a good day to get out and start cleaning up the gardens and I did get lots of leaves cleaned up. Today it is cold and we have a few snow flakes that are coming down.  I have been digging up and potting perennials and shrubs due to a patio and deck remodel. It is not an easy job when the plants have not started coming up. Today the installers are taking down part of the deck and setting the post for the new stairs.  Next week another company will start installing patio pavers.  Once the pavers are installed the deck installers will start rebuilding the deck and stairs.  This project will be going on for several weeks depending on the weather.  After the pavers and de…

Add Some "Spring" to Your Containers

Spring is coming and now is the time to start getting that landscape prepared for it's arrival. You can start cleaning up the garden beds, picking up yard debris and pruning different plants in the landscape. Garden maintenance needs to be done early before many of the spring flowering plants and bulbs start to break ground and grow. As you start the process of spring cleanup, consider adding some color to that drab winter garden with some colorful containers of spring flowering plants and bulbs.  Many local stores will be receiving in pots of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, ornamental cabbage and pansies that can be planted in containers to give some much needed color to the garden.  When selecting containers look for ones that compliment the plants that you will be using.  Containers can be ceramic, cement, wood or other types of materials.  They should have good drainage, color and be frost proof. When planting your containers, use a quality soil designed for containers.  Use a…

Adding Warmth to the Landscape

Each year in my landscape, I take on a new project. Over the last 10 years, most of what I have been doing was adding plants, beds and pathways.  This year, I plan to take on an area of the landscape that has been very much neglected. I have been looking into installing a larger patio area. A warm inviting place where family and friends can gather.  Our current patio area is very small and not very appealing.   I have taken lots of pictures from different garden shows that I have attended, looking for ideas that I like and could use for the project.  One of the current trends is adding a fire feature to the landscape. I was exploring all the photos I have taken over the years looking for what would look good with my design.  After looking at all my photos, I decided to share some of them with you. If you are sitting at home on a cold winter day and planning your landscape for next year, take a look at some of these ideas.  I have lots of photos of different fire features in many pric…