Forced Flowering Quince
This long, dreary and very cold winter has me looking for tiny signs of spring. A couple weeks back I pruned the Flowering Quince and brought some of the trimmings inside. Here it is blooming in my dining room only with much lighter blooms than what it's doing outside.
Inland Sea Oats
The Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is starting to pop up causing me to dither about whether or not to cut the old stems off. Are there more hard freezes in the offing? Well even if there are, it's growing now so it probably won't hurt to cut them off. I'll do that this weekend.
New growth on chives
After the "Artic Blast" of early January the autumn transplanted chives looked horrible. Although I was tempted to leave them as is because of future freeze risks, I just couldn't stand the look of them wallowing in their sad bedraggled state. So I cut them back and now the dark green of new growth is poking through. Any light freezes to come will be okay (they've already gone through a few).
Cardinals and one Junco keeping the lawn free of leaves and seeds
There has been tons of activity at the bird feeders. Sadly we had only a quick fly-through by the American Goldfinches. In "normal" years they arrive at our feeders in early January and stick around until about mid-March. This year I had a quick siting of them last week, about 10 of them, and then they were gone.
White Breasted Nuthatch
I took this photo through my kitchen window of this White Breasted Nuthatch on the tree because he was just frozen there (not literally). All the birds had disappeared momentarily but this guy hung on completely motionless. I didn't spot any nearby hawks so I'm not sure what was going on. Which reminds me, don't forget about The Great Backyard Bird Count going on February 12-15. Click on the link on the right of my page for more information on how to participate. I hope to add this little nuthatch to my count this year for the first time. And for the first time, no goldfinches!
New firewood - willow oak logs
In contrast to the poor folks in Texas, Oklahoma, and elsewhere who have been pruning ice-damaged trees from last week's ice storm, we finally had the tree trimmers out to do a little rejuvenation on some of our older trees. First order of business was trimming some of the lower branches from our Willow Oak (Quercus phellos). This will allow more light to a crape myrtle as well as some beds. Below is the newly pruned oak and the crape myrtle to the left.
Willow Oak, Quercus phellos
We also wanted to lighten the load on our old and potentially dying pecan tree.
Pecan tree on left, red oak on right
We've lived in this house for five years now and have been babying the pecan tree for almost that long. It was never in good shape but it provides some great shade in that part of the yard. So a few years ago we had a red oak planted about 10 feet in front of it in hopes that it would take over shade duty when the time comes to remove the pecan. In the meantime we keep removing limbs in the pecan to lighten its load and prevent it from keeling over.
Red Oak, possibly a Shumard (Quercus shumardii)
Here's the lower part of the red oak. It's grown very tall in a few short years! I have such high hopes for it that I think this may be the pecan's last year. I better plan accordingly for the back "shade" garden!
This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.