Archive for the ‘Bad plants’ Category

Ok, I really like the idea of having a moss lawn that you don’t have to mow…trouble is, not all parts of our lawn are shady. And I will have to check to see if the city has any regulations against this, too (they are BIG on restrictions around here).

Check this out!

Also, I really would like to find these little fellas hiding among the mosses. Of course, I will probably have to pull out the old microscope to see them, but still…

Actually, it would be cool to make a tardigrade puppet for story times…hmmmm. Take a look at this picture and tell me that doesn’t look like a Muppet.

Finally, you really should take a peek at this video since you get to see a water bear wearing a scarf!

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barbara1 by rent-a-moose.
(rent-a-moose’s cool photo)

OK, so I went to a basic organic gardening class today. This was at the same place I recently went to learn how to make jelly from scratch and can it in glass jars (yes, I am feeling ambitious lately so it must be spring).

So, I thought this would be a pleasant little gathering of like-minded people. People who, like me, wanted to grow backyard veggies but were completely clueless or, in my case, just completely hapless.

My usual spring garden cycle goes like this:

  1. Garden catalogs arrive with their sweet siren song in late winter.
  2. Blinded by pretty colors and big ambitions, I order seeds & plants.
  3. Seeds arrive and I dutifully tend them in their teeny planter.
  4. Yea, they sprouted! Look at them go!
  5. Well, crap! Over half of them bit the dust.
  6. Double crap! More are dying…no worries, I have some that made it.
  7. Plant the ones that made it and care for them.
  8. Aaaagh! Why did they die?! OK, I’ll focus on the few left…
  9. Weed garden, tend plants.
  10. Weed garden, tend plants.
  11. Get lazy, go on vacation, see something shiny…
  12. Blkkkrk! Where did all these weeds come from suddenly?!
  13. Renew weeding with vengeance.
  14. Realize the weeds are winning no matter what I do.
  15. Rationalize failure (well, I’m just being a very natural gardener, yeah…uh, I’m returning valuable nutrients to the soil by letting them all rot there…right, and I am helping out all those groundhogs and rabbits).

In order to break this cycle, I decided to take the intro to organic gardening class. Again, I thought, “Hey, maybe we can all share some silly gardening stories and bond over our interest in organic thingies and whatnot.” But, alas, it was not to be.

Maybe it was the gloomy,¬†cold weather, but the majority of the people were none too friendly. Now, I’m not altogether a great people person…well, if you are above age 20 that is. I am much more comfortable around kids (hence the children’s librarian…) and although I can do great stuff when I am in “Librarian” mode at work, I really suck at interpersonal skills.

I really tried to make an effort to be outgoing. I smiled (but not TOO smiley…don’t want to give off that stalker vibe) and attempted to make conversation with my fellow classmates. And I even showered before the class ūüėČ

This is about how it went:

Me: “So, how did your soil sample turn out?” ::said companionably::

     ==stony silence==

Me: “Er…so, is your soil very alkaline?” ::said louder::

     ==stony silence AND cold glare==

And then there was OOOTBPG (Obviously One Of The Beautiful People Girl). I mean, who comes to a hands-on gardening class wearing ultra-low jeans (we all saw way more of her than we wanted), designer shoes and expensive shades tilted back on their head?!¬†OOOTBPG clearly felt she was just so darn cute that she could cut in front of everyone waiting in line (OK, it was a line for worms and not a bread line…but still!).

OOOTBP also annoyingly kept saying POE-tash instead of POT-ash like all the rest of us Midwesterners. I will, however, give her credit for at least willingly handling worms and dirt. There were several ladies there who were aghast at the mere thought. So, what kind of gardening were they planning on doing exactly?

The results of my soil sample from the backyard were pretty horrid:

highest possible alkalinity, lowest possible nitrogen, potash and phosphorus and clay soil

Hmmm, maybe I should just stick to making jelly….

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Vegetables Gemuese by Sandra Mora.

(Photo by Sandra Mora)

Stumbled across this and it is hilarious…Grocery Store Wars!


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I’m on vacation this week, but as we are too poor to actually travel anywhere I will just post random stuff in between sleeping and reading.

This is pretty cool…and an unusual art process. Bozo would have been proud, bless his big red nose!

“Bending Balloons into Giant Flowers”

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Verily, our tree was smote from above!

First off, everyone hates us this time of year because we have a HUGE cottonwood tree in the backyard. This tree was growing way before they built our house in the 1920’s but no one cares. All they see are the tufts of cottonwood seeds floating down into their yards, screens, pools, etc…

 blizzard of seeds

OK, I admit, it is a blizzard of seeds around this time of year. However, it does provide great shade and the leaves sound pretty when the wind blows. Other than that, it sheds branches and leaves like crazy and is a general pain.

Yesterday,¬†lightning struck¬†the tree. While I was not home, my husband and dog tell me it was quite an amazingly loud blast…well, at least I am guessing that’s what the tail between the legs and whimpering means…and I think the dog’s scared, too¬†ūüėČ

Here is a picture of where the lightning met the ground (although doesn’t it arc from the ground up? whatever). You can see that it kicked up a big hole in the¬†earth.
don\'t sit under the cottonwood tree
¬†There are bits of shattered wood all over the backyard, the neighbors’ yards and even our front porch. That thing packed a powerful punch!¬†

shards \'o\' tree

Now, of course, we have to decide what to do…..we have an arborist coming out next week to take a look. I’ll keep you posted.



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fall dandelion

Yup. Found this perky little fellow blooming for all it’s worth the other day. Seems to be pretty frost resistant, as we’ve had a few chilly nights. Guess that’s why they are so successful (especially in my yard…the neighbors hate me for this…oh, and the cottonwood tree in the spring, but that’s a whole ‘nother post).

Look, I’ll go out and spray RoundUp on poison ivy (because I can’t seem to kill it any other way…and I’ve tried pulling, cutting, and everything else short of toxic waste!) but I happen to like some color in my lawn. Nothing cheers me up like a field of yellow (rather than boring, uniform green grass). You’ve¬†got to¬†admire a plant that is so quickly adaptable to its environment (notice the ones that bloom lower after the first mowing).

I¬†find it interesting that if you search for “dandelion” that the first thing that comes up in my smart browser (it’s so helpful it’s painful) is “dandelion+kill”….then “get rid of.” Must be a lot of foaming at the mouth over this little plant.

If you are looking for some good pictures and info on dandelions, check out this website.

(As always, please use commonsense before eating lawn-grown plants. Especially if you have dogs. And neighbors who spray or use Permagreen or whatever. Probably some extra zip you could do without). Basically, it’s a good leafy veg. In fact, it’s a multi-million business growing dandelions for the food supply (tell that to an irate neighbor) but mostly for European palates. Here’s some interesting info for farmers in Canada considering growing dandelions as a commercial crop…notice that you are NOT allowed to let them flower.

For your amusement, I offer up this wonderful series of Cruciferous Crusaders¬†trading cards form the Leafy Greens Council…collect them all! Yeah, like this will make any kid eat more greens….Escarole Rex….yeesh!

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Gardens Gone Wild!

weed patch

OK, maybe, just maybe, it’s time for me to consider weeding the patch out back. This was meant to be either a vegetable or native plant garden this past year. As you can see, um, that didn’t exactly happen. I’m using the term “garden” very loosely here, although it does have a wooden boundary around it so that’s a good start ūüėČ

Lately, it’s become a dumping ground for grass clippings, twigs, and pulled weeds. A few¬†mildly good¬†free plants¬†popped up, though. I have a small clump of columbine, a weedy bit of yarrow, some straggling Virginia creeper and an indestructible pile of pokeweed. I’m trying to get rid of the pokeweed, as it gives me contact dermatitis (I know, it’s good food for wildlife but they can look elsewhere).

I have moved “the grand plan” back to next year. What grows well beneath a pine tree anyway? I’m taking all suggestions.

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