Well, I have to be truthful - the above photo is not a picture of my garden – it is a vintage postcard from the turn of last century – but if I had placed a picture of my garden instead – I would not have many visitors come to this post because it is certainly not as colorful. We do not have a garden.We have a wooded lot and some potted plants. As I mentioned in earlier posts, we are in the middle of our little rain forest. This is what one can see from the road – with more trees on both sides. (Please click on the photos to enlarge them as they look so much better.)
When we bought the house there were less trees in the front yard. I planted a rose garden – I had 150 rose bushes then. The trees grew and with more and more shade the roses did not last. We bought the lot next to ours and it is covered with trees. The other problem is that the soil is mostly red clay and rocks. We planted a couple of new rose bushes last year in a spot with a little morning sun.
Just to dig the two holes for the roses my husband had to first remove the rocks shown below.
All these trees certainly give us a lot of cool shade in summer. It is also a bit scary during tornado times when the trees wave wildly – one fell on our vehicle once, and totally flattened it. My husband is an environmentalist by profession and always wished to keep the land in its natural state- so that’s the way it is – au naturel. It is very green in summer and attracts many birds.
(Click on collage then on each picture to biggify)
When I yearn to look at pretty flowers and nice gardens, I look at the gardens shown on my friends’ blogs. They have graciously let me copy some of their photos so I can place them on my post. Vicki Lane from the blog Vicki Lane Mysteries lives on a farm in the North Carolina hills. She has a big garden with vegetables, flowers, herbs and wild animals, like the little turtle below, and domestic animals such as her sweet cows in the second collage. Her pictures of flowers and of the sunrise or sunset she can see over the hills from her window make me dream. Below are some of her photos.
Then looking west, my friend Naomi of the blog Here in the Hills lives in a house perched on top of the Hollywood hills.
Naomi has a wonderful view of Los Angeles and extraordinary sunsets but she has also a stunning succulent garden. Some of her cacti have grown very tall. She has a large amount of exotic plants such as Euphorbia and Cereus. Her lovely blog shows her garden often. Below are some of her pictures.
Going even farther west, to Alaska, my friend Elaine of the blog Arctic View lives in Fairbanks and has a green thumb. Her summer season is short but she has a colorful garden. Her plants grow fast during the long daylight hours. She took the top two pictures in the collage below shortly after midnight. We went to Alaska and it is strange to be outside at 11 pm and still be in daylight. Elaine also has wildflowers in her garden.
Now going the other way, to France, my friend Diane of the blog My Life in the Charente has a lovely and comfortable house in that region of France. She grows luscious looking vegetables as you can see by her collage below
and her flowers are quite vibrant as you can see below.
In our “garden,” we have some vegetable which is just a great variety of wild mushrooms, but I hesitate to cook them as I do not recognize them.
We also have wild fruits – muscadine. Muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia) are native to Georgia. They are like large grapes. The skin is thick but they do have a nice flavor, not too sweet. The vines and fruits appeared one day on top of some trees. I usually have to wait for the muscadine to fall on the ground as I cannot reach them.
Years ago a friend gave us suckers, or shoots from two of his trees – a fig tree and a black walnut tree. We planted them and forgot them. Now we have a large crop of figs and many black walnuts. I make jam with the figs but don’t know what to do with the black walnuts. They have a heavy shell which I cannot remove from the nut. The picture below shows the nuts in the tree, when they are green, but after they fall their skin get black. My husband tries to pick up the figs before the birds eat them and he also picks up the muscadines for me (he does not care for them.) The fig tree has grown so much that it looks for sun over the roof – I wonder if we should prune it?
There are also some wild flowers in our yard (I just can’t call it a garden) such as violets and honeysuckle in spring. There is also a pretty lavender flower and a trumpet like flower – don’t know their names.
In the front yard we have placed some pots with easy growing plants and flowers. There is a bit of sun in the morning and it keeps them happy it seems.
My husband also planted some flowers and herbs on the patio in the backyard. We had to keep them close together so they could catch a bit of sunshine in the afternoon. The plants of basil and rosemary are strong and the herbs taste delicious in many dishes.
We have not had to water the pots often as it has been raining several times a week. We placed our house plants in the back yard and they are looking lush. We had to prune the pot below once already as it is growing too large and won’t fit back in our den.
The area I like best for our potted plants though is right in front of the kitchen window under a pine tree. We placed plain shade loving plants like impatiens there and they bring a nice spot of color among all the green. In the spring my husband planted several pots and they were doing fine and were expected to grow well.
But when we came back from one of our trips the flowers were all gone. We moved some of the pots to the front yard and planted some more flowers but left some pots in the back to see if we could find out what had happened.
Before we left we had seen some new visitors – ducks. There is a lake not far from our house, maybe they came from there. Of course we always have squirrels eating the bird seeds. In the photo below, taken before our trip, the flowers are still there (in the upper right hand corner of left photo.)
But several days later I saw something moving in a couple of pots – I took my camera with the telephoto and this is the series of photos I took, below. They are squirrel bandits with no shame. They were rolling in the pot dirt in pure delight, then stopping, looking around. Then after finding the right spot – they stayed there for a long while looking the yard over. What a nerve!
I bought new bird seed feeders- guaranteed squirrel proofs. If a squirrel sets its foot on the feeder perch, then the opening closes but will stay open for little birds.
As I took the photo above I saw our squirrel bandits arrive in the yard. In no time one had chased the bird and came on top of the feeder. As I was watching I saw the squirrel open the top of the feeder with his teeth…
So I tapped on the window. The squirrel stopped and watched me while munching on a seed. I yelled at him and called him names : “Will you stop eating my seeds – you rodent thief!” So he moved away from the bird feeder and sat on the bar for a while looking at me – he had the same look people have when they can’t understand my French accent. So much audacious effrontery, I say! Then he went back down, stopped and stared at me in disgust. Insolent animal!
I told my husband that if he could catch them I would make him a nice squirrel stew with wine gravy, potatoes and herbs. But he said he found them charming. So, goodbye pretty flowers! I guess I’ll just have to keep looking at my vintage postcards as our “garden” (sort of) … will never be that colorful.