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Old 11-01-2007, 11:17 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default fillin' feeders,serious lilac whacking encounters,findin' treasures,and stumblin' across Winter Hellebore fairies..........

Howdy, madgardener here......after careening through the countryside on
errands of vehicular kinds, I arrived back homewards to Fairy Holler and
went rootin' for the Japanese Soboten women's hand pruners, I was aimin'
for some serious encounters with half wakening lilac's and to finally
whack that fleshy stem that has been trod and driven over of a rather
exuberant Zebrina that has sprung up next to the heavily traffiked
sliver of island next to the driveway. Dawgs, all THREE of them (there
is a new muttley added to the Fairy Holler canine crew.......a little
what the hell that is terrier sized, marked like a lil'
Doberman/Rottie/?? who has been so dubbed OoDee, because he IS the other
dawg, and is the colors of both Sugar AND Smeagol...down to the curled
tail.....) were safely dropped inside, I didn't feel like puppers racing
through where I was going to be whackin'seriously on some lilacs.

Grabbed the camera to capture the images of up close and personal, and
the pruners and headed outside to the western side of the yard where the
most activities were. Underneath the desperately needing pruning lilac,
I spotted the other open snowdrop, which had spread it's petals wide
with encouraging's from the winter fairies, and got on me old 54 year
old knees, and set the camera to micro and snapped a close up and
personal picture of little petals that were perfectly formed and wide
with central "lampshade" center that had a little green dot on it. not
like the Galanthus that will arrive in true spring, whose petals and
hoop lampshade has a dot on every point of the droplet, this dot is
subtle. Near the base of this lone stem rising above brown leaves and
emerging shoots of crocus and squill and narcissus and volunteers I saw
up close and personal details of things.

Ice in the birdbaths floating with images of the blue sky above and a
trapped leaf. Birds overhead were fussing at me, and I remembered why I
had originally come outside. The feeders needed topping. This came
first while the light was good, so I tucked the camera into my back
pocket and took the pruners and laid them on the end railing and pulled
out the empty bucket and the half full one with the snap lids. The 50
pounds of black sunflower seed still rested in the swing, enticing the
raccoons to figure out how to open it, and I maneuvered the bucket just
to within reach of a tipped over bag and got out my pocket knife and cut
strings inside the thick paper of the 50 pound bag. Just enough to make
a pour spout, I swung the swing over to the lip of the bucket and poured
seed into the empty 5 gallon plastic container until there was four
inches left.

This one is round. The square one was a third full and I packed it
completely with the two scoops I use in unison. Carried the bucket over
and went and got the hosepipe and made sure no ice was blocking the
pressure. The first hard freeze had blown out the cheap connection to
the hose reel, I'll have to replace it this spring with something far
better and tougher.

While I was doing this, I had the hose running into the BBQ pit
frog/garden fountain to fill it up despite all the rains we'd had
recently. Then going to the side yard where the packed buffet was at, I
positioned the square bucket underneath the mesh feeders that collapse
and filled them to bursting. Then the glass and copper Natl. Geographic
feeder the birds snickered at when I first bought it. They had their
preferences. Only when I put the mesh ones and the square, simpler one
made of wood and hardware screening did they finally give in and take
the bounty in the more "proper" bird feeder. Overhead I heard the
scoldings of finches, titmice, wrens, chickadees, black caps and the
thrumming of a frustrated woodpecker. I bustled about and quickly
filled all the hangies, and made sure the suet baskets weren't in need
of another suet cake to shove in with the other one. I just add to them
and keep them tight for the various population of flying dinosaurs that
descend in feeding frenzies once they discover the suet AND seed.

All of them topped and tight, I looked at the fountain and saw it was up
to the top of the liner and shut the hose off and moved underneath the
cable that the wind tore out that needs restapling or nailed and moved
with purpose for the newer feeder. Metal domed top with screw, holds
three pounds and uses hardware screening, the assorted dinosaurs adore
it, and I've hung a round suet holder that packs three tight cakes into
it. Refill the square bucket, and picked up the round one, transfer the
scoops and then set the feeder inside on top of the seed and unscrewed
the top. The birds up FRONT were scolding me! Give an old woman a
break! LOL But I packed it too, and after tightening the nib with the
ring, I rehung it, and pulled up some vinca and threw it in the dogrun.

Back to the swing, nestle the scoops, and pour seed in both buckets
until it's to the edge and snap down seriously so no prying hands with
slight operable opposable thumbs can't get it open and I find little
piles of black seeds the next night from them rolling it around. Now
some pruning.........

My orange handled Japanese Soboten women's hand pruners were waiting and
I moved through the weaving pathways and stopped and took a picture of
the ice floating in the bird bath. Another one for the sandstone
looking one with the larger chunk of ice, then get on my knees and take
another picture of the snowdrop. Then start cutting the spend seed
heads of last years lilac's but sparing the wick shoots that had little
or medium sized buds on it indicating where I could snip.

There were a LOT of spent lilac seed heads. As I snapped the thick
stems, I was careful to not cut potential flower producers. The sounds
of scoldings was heavy in the air, and a small airplane went over head
above me and provided a little sound effects. The quiet was cut by the
rustlings of Maggie-Xena, the huntress kittie who terrorizes the
neighborhood of residents of Fairy Holler. I'd shooed her out when I
caught her sitting in the bottomless galvanized tub planted with catmint
but was half freeze burnt and some green patches that released scents
when sat upon. This is what she'd discovered.

I moved with purpose, snipping and pulling the individual branches down
to me (I'm still built low to the ground and the branches were more than
six foot above me in some cases). I snipped with purpose and tossed the
prickly seed heads into the galvanized catmint tub and onto the ground
for later clean up, and moved through and around the shrub. Being
short, I quickly realized I'd missed quite a few that were higher and
retraced my steps as I heard the teasings and laughter of fairies and
birds watching me.

As I got to the western side of the lilac, I noticed screaming magenta
pink threads enticing me and ignored them. I couldn't stop until every
dead cluster was snipped. This was the time before I was distracted
later on and the blooming buds were definitely bulking up to fragrant
flowers. I made a note to feed the shrub later on.

Once all the branches were snipped, I shut the pruners and pulled out
the camera and focused on the pink threads of the Pizzazz Loripedilum,
and got up close and personal. then I worked through the various secret
spots and kept finding treasures. Underneath the Vitex shrub/tree, the
hellebore that wowed me with a birthday blossom now had three mature
flowers, and more buds. I carefully knelt on the retainer blocks, my
knees clinging frantically as the steep slope started on the north side
and I caught sight of treasures nestled underneath the older leaves of
the other hellebore beside the blocks. I parted the leaves and there
were buds, buds buds! So snap, snap, snap, I hunkered down and go up
close and in their closed lips and tried to get details. White lips,
with faint purple freckles indicating the spots that would later be more
visible. ahhhhhhhhh, you gotta love Hellebore. Wonder if anyone wants
to try to breed a YELLOW one with RED or Burgundy freckles?? LOL

My knees protested as I clung and leaned and got closer still and parted
more stems of the older leaves to reveal younger growth and more buds!
This was awesome....so several pictures later, my mind had begun on
focusing on the emergings, when someone whispered, "since the
Loripedilum is blooming thickly, and it's a member of the witch hazel
family, why don't you check on your WITCH HAZEL, DIANE, and see if there
are bud signs???" Good idea my reply went out into fairy space and I
went down the sharp drop past the butt rock and stopped at the
variegated blue lace cap hydrangea to capture an emerging bud that was
frost kissed and had slight pink around the white and green bud, and
then stood quietly as I scanned the young branches of the Diane Witch
Hazel. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, HERE they were! So I got still and tried to
capture the slight pink lipsticked lips of closed buds just in the
makings. I may have my first flowers since getting the young tree-shrub
from Carrolle Gardens three years ago...

Check on the Pieris and Beautybush, the Deutzia is slumbering, but I
remembered the tree Peony and the bright reddish tongues were poking
upwards on the dead looking stems that reached for the tree tops like
gnarled fingers. Then underneath the deck, the broom needs staking
before spring with a rebar, over to the compost bin from Miz Mary, the
double althea is sleeping, having an epiphany on the black walnut tree
who has a thickening vine of Virginia creeper imbedding into the bark, I
realize the solution for the climbing hydrangea is right before me.
Shade, but rich soil, and a base spot to tuck the climbing vine, and
enough trunk to give support to the wide spreading arms of the
hydrangea, I will have to measure the girth of the truck first. I might
have to settle on a Jack to embrace the climbing Hy.

Underneath the balcony, stop and admire the Jane magnolia, see the signs
of Blackberry corydalis shining blue-green and columbine leafed through
leaf litter and I also see the ragged edges of Pulmonaria indicating
it's alive and well, and the emerging tongues of green of stubborn bulbs
tucked in at last minute intervals two years back. I was on a mission.
Since I'd found more Hellebore buds than I'd imagined, I was determined
to see if all the other Hellebore residents were also in bud making mode.

I moved with purpose to the black cherry gardens, stopping and admiring
the variegated Pieris, spotting ethereal strands of a fern that I adore
whose name eludes me, all green and saucy, but to the right, even more
for my searching eyes. The baby Hellebore I'd tucked from sowing and
discovery outside the bed last year that I'd shared with Karol and
Ethyl. BUDS!! WOO HOO!! I got carefully close and took a picture and
saw these were more white. No freckles yet.

Moved to the corner where the spent stems with the little triangular
seed pods of the perennial begonia dangled like old summer oriental
paper lanterns. I carefully moved my hands to part the older leaves and
was rewarded with more buds, only smaller. No worries, I snapped a
picture and noticed I needed to prune the Valley Valentine in Brudder
John's memorial pot with the heuchera. Snip snip, I heard the echos of
calls of birds higher up in trees, the quiet was wrapped around me with
the cold buffering the notes of assorted birds, the crunch of
Maggie-Xena chasing her mentor, Pester's the Krusty through the parked
vehicles and obstacles of lots of black cherry hair shaking as they
winds have loosened up dead branches and twig ends.

Slight winds remind me it's a cold January day and I'm glad I am
layered. The undershirt that usually is worn in summer by itself is
keeping my warmth to me, as I hear the titterings of winter Hellebore
fairies urging me onwards, and the fuzzy micro fiber shirt has large
enough sleeves to allow freedom and give me grins as they filled up
earlier with sunflower seeds from the feeder toppings. My knees are
damp with the moisture of snows and sleets and rains, as I kneel on the
layer of fallen leaves and take pictures. then rise and move over
towards the NSSG (not so secret gardens)and deliberately search the
Hellebore leaves and sure enough, there are small treasures there too.
All the way to the spot near the Indigofolia, and remember to look at
the ornamental cabbage sitting now in the bird bath unplugged. Awesome
colors.....

A last look around and decide to break off the spent volunteer stems of
the Herbsonne rudbeckia and decide to take the sunflower tree over to
the pasture, since the Maggie cat used it for cover for the new bird
feeder to terrorize the visitors. The cows would make quick mulch of it
to see what it was as I tossed it like a lance or kaber. The clod of
dirt weighed easily 2-3 pounds and clung tight. Good rich soils and red
clay, I hefted it and launched it where it landed with a thunk and
instead of upright, it lay prone, all 20 feet of it. Any stray seeds
I'll watch for to transplant this summer.......

Cut through the tangle of dangerous Vinca major and see the Kerria
japonica that Ethyl gifted me with is doing JUST FINE thank you very
much and will surprise me with bright blossoms this spring. I remind
myself to lift a ramble of her sister, the single petaled one to blend
with her to maybe twine around.

The cold is starting to numb my knees, and everything is done for now,
some bodies of pulled vinca, spent broken tan and brown stems of
assorted tall and scraggly rudbeckia's and fat, stubby but heavily green
leaved Zebrina's who I cut through and tossed to be ground into the
driveway. Now inside as the fingers of dusk start to ruffle the
feathers of the birds as they scold me one last time as they snatch
seeds of the filled feeders and try to ignore me as I quietly walk
through the winter gardens. The faint sounds of traffic way over the
rising hills from the interstate remind me that the leaves are off the
trees, and I hear the thunking of an industrious woodpecker of unknown
linage working down in the holler. A cup of Rhubarb Blackberry tea is
in order with some raw turbanado sugar, maybe a few triskets with colby
jack cheese and spicy brown mustard for a quick munch. Tomorrow, I'll
get some dried apricots and dates and mangos to nibble for fruit and it
will feed the body as these findings and treasures today have fed my
eyes and soul.

The last think I check is the branches of the Lenii magnolia, it's
felted buds fat and way larger than Jane's, but worth checking on. the
umbrella like vines of the sherbet orange trumpet vine hovering
overhead, with open mouthed pods that I missed that have sprung open and
scattered fairies knows how many flat, silk threaded seeds. I'll find
out this spring when they quietly sprout and weigh like sinewy anchors
that will take a pipe wrench to grasp it reluctantly out..

thanks for allowing me to share the first of many musings and rambles
from up here on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, where it overlooks
English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36 (the temps
not as cold tonight and heavy rains moving in to further nourish the
emerging early arrivals, so some granuals are in order for sprinkling
before the sky's tears soak the already sodden cold soils)

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Old 12-01-2007, 04:57 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,092
Default fillin' feeders,serious lilac whacking encounters,findin'treasures, and stumblin' across Winter Hellebore fairies..........

On 11/1/07 23:17, in article ,
"madgardener" wrote:

Howdy, madgardener here......after careening through the countryside on
errands of vehicular kinds, I arrived back homewards to Fairy Holler and
went rootin' for the Japanese Soboten women's hand pruners, I was aimin'
for some serious encounters with half wakening lilac's and to finally
whack that fleshy stem that has been trod and driven over of a rather
exuberant Zebrina that has sprung up next to the heavily traffiked
sliver of island next to the driveway. Dawgs, all THREE of them (there
is a new muttley added to the Fairy Holler canine crew.......a little
what the hell that is terrier sized, marked like a lil'
Doberman/Rottie/?? who has been so dubbed OoDee, because he IS the other
dawg, and is the colors of both Sugar AND Smeagol...down to the curled
tail.....) were safely dropped inside, I didn't feel like puppers racing
through where I was going to be whackin'seriously on some lilacs.

snip

And we think we might be in for an early spring! Reading this makes me
feel so envious. I can say that we sympathise entirely with your battles
with Vinca - heaven knows how many yards we've pulled out of this place. And
I note you have Kerria. Hmmmmmm ;-) You've got it forever!
Lovely description of an energetic day, Maddy. Thank you.


Sacha
http://www.hillhousenursery.co.uk
South Devon
http://www.discoverdartmoor.co.uk/



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