Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Late spring soaks..


I can almost hear the Texas limestone soaking up the buckets of rain from the last few days. My rain barrels are overfilled, which means I should order a couple more for overflow. Superstitiously though I worry that would make the rain stop! My chickens have been foolish enough to stay out, huddled under sunflower plants looking bedraggled, but they dry off quickly enough.. The new plants look happy.

As I look at my pictures I realize my theme today is how nature chuckles at my attempts to corral plants into where I want them. She usually has other ideas...

My pride of Barbados lends a low-maintenance tropical vibe up front. I might end up with a thicket of these- I have three volunteers wedged up against the sidewalk steps (impervious to my attempts to dig them out) and three other seedlings tucked innocently in the rest of the bed. The seedlings are only 3 inches tall now, but the bushes can get 4 feet wide easily so I may need to move them to other places. One is squished against a new salvia- I can picture the salvia getting starved for sunlight in a year..

A St Johns Wort plant that has the happiest blooms. This guy grows on the edge of the gravel driveway, gets ignored, sprayed with fence stain, run over by the car and still bounces back..

Part one of my "use my husband's bent bike rims" trellis project to channel the unstoppable Carolina snailsneed into something pretty..

Every year this pale purple morning glory pops out and tries to take over the rosemary. Since the rosemary is 5 feet long by 3 feet wide I humor the morning glory.. Funny how when I try to plant other varieties from seed nothing happens..

What is this yellow flowered plant??? In the wildflower  patch in the back, 3 feet wide, half smothering an evening primrose. After an hour of searching plants databases (for wildflowers and weeds) I'm still not sure what it is.. maybe a Yellow Meadow Beauty Rhexia lutea? But those grow in marshy areas and the back back is anything but..

Go away bamboo! You are only 6 inches tall, but I'll hack away at you as soon as the rain stops..

Maximillian sunflowers? Or just annual local sunflowers that like my yard? Not sure, but the pretty store packaged seeds come out tiny, pale and weak while these volunteers grow to be 6 feet tall covered in blooms. This year I'll enjoy sharing the seeds with the chickens!

Society garlic looking great with the rain (notice the knocked-down by squirrel sunflowers blooming resolutely in the background). Bent stems? No worries, they thrive on!

The planned plants need more babying..

My veggies are requiring quite a bit more protection than those tough volunteers:

A sign I made for the driveway chicken fence..

The chard is coming back in the front, woo hoo!

How I have started cucumber seeds : large crate on top to keep the hens away. I'll need to make some chicken wire hoops next weekend once the plans grow taller. There's small zinnias and nasturdiums in there as well..

Lemon boy tomatoes... one with a hole munched out!! I cut off the chewed bit and ate the rest :)

Green bean plants finally producing! The hens have left these alone so far..

Speaking of the girls..

The three teenagers are getting big, definitely bigger than bantam Ruby by now. They happily prowl around eating everything, including this juicy caterpillar I found in the kids sandbox.. 

It was a feisty caterpillar, too, thrashing this way and that until Dottie stole it from Houdini and gobbled it up. I looked it up and various candidate species are all drab moths, so I don't feel bad about depriving nature of a rare butterfly..

Handsome girls Houdini and Dottie making their rounds in the weeds.

Silverwing's feather patterns are becoming more distinct as she grows up- Silver Laced Wyandotte's are beautiful!

Ruby in her oregano patch nest. She was almost broody this week- I hope that she doesn't go completely broody since she just started laying!