October 19, 2018

DON'T TOSS THAT ANT GUARD FROM YOUR HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER

It's time to take down the HummingBird feeders but keep the ant guard if you had one on there.

I discovered a long time ago that the chemical used to keep the ants away is not important. If you will notice how this little contraption is made, there is no way ants can get to your feeder from the bottom hook. They would have to crawl down and up into the guard, then down and over the bottom piece to the top of your feeder. I have used the same guards over and over for years and I have never seen an ant to that.
I take my feeders down after a week goes by without any Hummers in our yard. I wash all the feeders with dish soap, including the guards. I store them in a cabinet in our studio until April the following year when Hummers usually return to Middle Tennessee.

I save a bunch of money by reusing the ant guards and have the added bonus of no harmful chemicals around the birds too.

For more about Hummingbirds see:

Hummers are scouting and Hummers and Woodpeckers...Who Knew??


September 28, 2018

Giant Coleus "Wasabi"

Wasabi and Me

This is an amazing plant! you can see from the picture on the left how big it is compared to the containers of Basil and zinnias beside it.

I have several of Wasabi Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Wasabi') around my landscape, all in pots. Not only are they huge but beautiful as well. The hot lime leaves seem to glow, especially in full sun. I have them in full sun as well as a couple in part shade. They seem to grow equally well in either place.

This plant will for sure be on my list to sell next year at Mimi's Greenhouse spring sales. In fact, I already have quite a few growing in the rooting beds.

I have actually underplanted miniature Hosta in the pots with the Wasabi plants. The coleus supply shade for the hosta and it's a good way to add to my hosta collection.

Some of the smaller purple and orange Coleus are a nice contrast to Wasabi in a mixed container or planted straight in the landscape together. 

September 21, 2018

My Little Pond


Honestly, it's almost too small to be a pond. I call it my little puddle. We had a big pond when I lived in the country so when Bill and I moved into my city house, I wanted another pond. We hired a backhoe to dig the big country pond but I only wanted a little pond this time. Bill and I thought for sure we could dig one. Well, we did, but it nearly killed us both! After digging for a couple of days in pure red clay, we decided that the pond was just the right size. 😅 We put a vinyl liner in the hole. We had also made earthen shelves to hold pots of flowers or rocks. The deepest part is about 30 inches deep and 36 inches wide by 4 plus feet long.

It has been nearly 8 years and I have thoroughly enjoyed our little puddle. We have a couple of big goldfish that are happy in there, I but a bubbler for them and made a rock shelf that they can hide under. The first fish we put in when the pond was new became dinner for raccoons. We live trapped those bandits and took them far, far away to a pretty creek out in the country.

Frog sunning on a rock
One year, grandson, Tad and I put guppies in the pond. They were very happy and had lots of babies. We had hundreds of guppies! We netted the prettiest ones out before winter and put them in an aquarium. We decided not to do it again because it was too painful knowing the ones we left outside would not make it through the winter.

This year I added water hyacinths. They have been very pretty especially when they bloom. I knew they would multiply like rabbits so I have a couple of old metal washtubs for the excess ones. I'll winter them over in the greenhouse and sell some and save some for me. Water Hyacinths are good for the compost too, so when I have my tubs full, I'll compost the rest. That's a real frog on the rock. The turtles are ornamental.

I don't have a water filter but the water stays clear and the fish are growing and seem healthy. The biggest problem we have is leaves in the fall. Bill has made a frame with screen wire in it. We are hoping it will keep out the leaves. We plan to put it over the pond soon because leaves are already dropping from our huge old oak trees. More pictures below:

I found this fish pot shelf that is perfect for my puddle! 

See how the Hycienths have multiplied. Coleus are happy too. 

September 14, 2018

I love Decorative Birdhouses


I collect birdhouses. They are all over the place in my yard. Sometimes birds actually build in them. 😏

Some of the houses are so old that I don't remember where I got them. Some have moved with me a couple of times and several were gifts from friends (like the blown glass one above, the butterfly one at left and the cute little house with the water faucet perch below.




Close up of the angel hanger on this one is shown below











The little copper house is showing it's age 
Wrens like this clay house. 
We moved it with us from Bill's house. 
It's the devil to clean out! It has no holes except the one on the front. 


I've had this one for years. I've moved it from 3 different homes.
Blue Birds have built in it before.

     
Speaking of Blue Birds, Bill made several bluebird houses this year and all but one had
more than one hatching of babies. 

If you are a fellow birdhouse collector, post your pictures in the comments below. 

September 7, 2018

What to do with an abundance of Cherry Tomaotes

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
It's September and I still have cherry tomatoes ripening every day. I've given them away, we are eating them every day and still, I have lots of tomatoes. In years past I dried them in my dehydrator and that was good but I wondered if I could use the oven somehow to preserve these yummy little tomatoes.

A Google search led me to a recipe for oven drying them. I tweaked the recipe to suit my taste and used some of my fresh herbs that are also abundant right now. The results were pretty good if I do say so myself. 😏



Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes
Approximately 1 pound cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs (I used Basil, Oregano, Lemon Thyme)
Olive Oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Olive Oil spray
Garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste (I used Himalayan Pink Salt and whole peppercorns coarsely ground) 
Ready For The Oven

Slice enough Cherry Tomatoes to cover the bottom of a disposable 8.5 X 12-inch baking pan. I used a disposable pan because I didn't want to ruin one of my good pyrex dishes. If you don't mind scrubbing a pan any medium-sized baking pan will work.
Pour Olive oil in the pan to cover the bottom. Cut tomatoes in half and spread in a single layer over the bottom of the pan. Chop fresh herbs and sprinkle over tomatoes. 
Use the Olive Oil Spray and coat the top of the mixture.
Bake at 400° for 30- 40 minutes. You want the tomatoes to be fairly dry.
Cool and eat right now or bag in freezer bags and freeze to reheat later. 

If you try this recipe please leave a comment below and tell us if you liked it or not. If you tweaked it, give us an update. 🍅 




August 31, 2018

IF I COULD ONLY HAVE ONE PLANT...

 It would be Denver Daisy (rudbeckia denver daisy).



Denver Daisy is perennial which means I don't have to replant every year, It is not invasive but will spread to fill an area over time. It blooms profusely from May till frost. Butterflies and birds love it. The Goldfinches eat the seeds just like they do sunflowers but Denver Daisey doesn't grow as tall or take up as much space as sunflowers. 

They do love full sun but I have them in the shade too. I even grow them in a big pot on my semi-shaded deck so I can watch the birds and butterflies from my dining room when we eat breakfast. It starts my day off with a smile. I usually have them for sale at Mimi's Greenhouse in the spring.