Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Best Reforestation Assistants EVER!

Not only do they enjoy doing a useful job, but they can dash around as much as they want!

And they get to freestyle some high-nitrogen-content fertilizing, while they’re at it…

From GreenMatters:

Last year, forest fires in central Chile wreaked havoc in the El Maule region with more than 100 different wildfires sweeping through the area and destroying over a million acres of forest land. It was the worst wildfire season in the country’s history, taking several lives and created an estimated $333 million of dollars worth of damages. The animals were forced to flee to safer areas.

The job to replant endless acres of forests seemed like a daunting endeavor. That is until three unusual workers took up the task. Six-year-old Das and her two daughters, Olivia and Summer are three Border Collies who have been trained to run through the damaged forests with special backpacks that release native plant seeds. Once they take root, these seeds will help regrow the destroyed area.

It turns out that Border Collies are an ideal breed for this specific type of job. Bounding through miles of forest terrain requires not only speed, intelligence, and endurance, but also a willingness to stay focused and not get distracted by wildlife. Border Collies were bred to herd sheep, so they’re not as likely to run after or hurt other animals in the forest…

This system is also more efficient than having people spread the seeds manually. These speedy canines can race through a forest and cover up to 18 miles a day. Humans, on the other hand, can only cover a few miles each day. These pups can scatter over 20 pounds of seeds, depending on the terrain. While robots or drones might be able to disperse seeds too, dogs aren’t as pricey to handle. Most importantly, they leave a lighter carbon footprint…

For Francisca, bringing trained dogs into the forest made sense. She runs a dog training facility and community called Pewos. While they receive some donations, she and Constanza pay for most of the seeds, supplies, and transportation themselves. Despite the hard work, their labor of love is already paying off…


What’s on the agenda in your gardens, this week?

Feral Bobcat In My Backyard

A while back one of you wanted a picture of my backyard before I get everything fixed (although the deck and everything are on hold now for obvious reasons), but I am still bringing in some dirt to level things out. At any rate, here you go:

Here’s another picture. As Tams said, “I spy with my little eye four pets. Can you find them?”

I’ll give you the easy one:

Re: the backyard, on the left you can see the honeycrisp and mcintosh apple trees (the mcintosh is a pollinator) the chestnut tree in the middle of the yard, and in the back you can see the compost bins (“we” built the new one for 68 bucks, the “we” of course being royal, because Gerald built it as I am not allowed to use power tools). All around the compost bin are blackberry shrubs, blueberry bushes, and two fig trees. In between the chestnut tree and the compost bins is where I am going to put the pollinator garden for bees and butterflies. On the right are the raised bed gardens, two of which were salvaged from the old property. The big green house is my parent’s house, where I lived from age two on.

I think I might actually put some peas and broccoli in today, maybe the maters and other stuff next week. I think we might finally be out of the woods regarding winter and freezes. I think I am just going to let the cucumbers and watermelon and what not roam free on the other side of the fence, because it’s pointless to try and put them in a raised bed and just a waste of space- they go wherever the hell they want, anyway.

Got off the phone with the pet hospital about an hour ago, and Lily is doing well, her weight is holding steady, her vitals are good, she has not demonstrated any negative side effects of the chemo yet (it’s only been 16 hours), and the nurse says she has a pep in her step, is eating, pooping and drinking and her tail was up and she pranced around when they took her outside. The fact that she used the word “pranced” brought a wave of relief to me, because Lily has never “walked,” she was always a little prancer, and the nurse using that unsolicited by me means that her essential nature is the same.

We’re going to head up so we can be there around noonish for a consult and maybe to bring our girl home (fingers crossed). Once again, I want to thank you all for your kind words and support. I’m really lucky that have a lot of IRL friends, but the kind words and overwhelming generosity you all have displayed, well, I’m at a loss for words.

Thanks for having my back:

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Spring Is Sprung

From faithful Northwestern gardener OpieJeanne:

This little guy is a little over two inches long. Part of the chorus that sings us to sleep.

Been too busy this week to spend any time even *thinking* about gardening, but the angle of light has changed to the point where even a raw day with temps in the 40s feels like ‘spring but nasty’ and not ‘still winter, dammit’…

What’s going on in your garden(s) / planning, this week?

Earth Day was yesterday, but this is still relevant…

Sunday Garden Chat: Pink Perfection

Inspiration for those of us still waiting on our daffodils to bloom! From “a longtime lurker”, Anne K:

Some pics of camellias-

I am in the Ca Sierra foothills about an hour east of Trollhattan–

(The snow shows up one last time for the camellias almost every year)

Speaking of one last snow, the mailorder lingonberry and strawberry plants that showed up two weeks ago seem to be hanging on… for the moment… but the poor little blueberry bushes that weren’t already bare sticks have lost all their leaves. Oh, well, we’ll see how things look by Memorial Day, and then test Burpee’s supposed one-year return policy.

What’s going on in your garden(s) (planning), this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Spring in Athens


From indefatigable commentor / photographer Raven:

Earlier predictions had been yet another bout of ‘wintery mix’ for the Boston area on Saturday, but actually it was sunny and in the low 50s and gorgeous. Well, apart from the fact there’s only a few brave daffodils yet to camouflage all the considerable winter landscape damage. Still a bit early to start uncovering the beds, but there’s plenty raking and detritus-removal I could start even while the ground is still thawing…

What’s going on in your garden (planning), this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Spring Is Sprung


From the loyal & gifted Ozark Hillbilly:

Been cold and rainy for over a week, then Friday we had an absolutely glorious day of sunshine to welcome all the things that were just waiting for a reason to pop.

The rains return today with a prediction of light snow for Easter Sunday. Sigh.

First three pics are magnolia blossoms in various stages.

Fourth pic is peonies just coming up.

Fifth of course is daffs.
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Butterfly Assistance

My tiny yard, squeezed between a storage facility and a freeway exit, will never be much of a butterfly sanctuary. But I’m considering trying a puddler like the one described in the video; I already keep a shallow plastic saucer next to my ‘tomato garden’ (driveway extension) as a bird-and-chipmunk waterer, and I’ll be buying more composted manure for this year’s transplants anyway. However, since there are also mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits, racoons, foxes, and the occasional possum… no rotting fruit!

It’s amazing, and heartening, how far some people will go to nurse butterflies. From the Washington Post, “This costume designer repaired a butterfly’s wing, then watched in delight as it flew away”:

Romy McCloskey is a costume designer by training, with a specialty in intricate bead work that demands precision. She also raises and releases monarch butterflies at her Texas home.

It just so happened that these two skills intersected on a recent day when she actually performed surgery on one of her injured monarch’s wings, an operation that saved its life and allowed it to fly away to migrate…

The butterfly catastrophe-turned-victory tale began a few weeks ago when McCloskey was at her home in suburban Houston and looked over at her cocoons, only to see her house cat Floki swatting at them, thinking they were toys. Floki’s paw had knocked one down, fatally injuring it, and left another damaged…

A few days later, she watched as butterflies started to emerge, from the cracked cocoon and eight others. The one with the cracked cocoon came out with a mangled wing and was unable to fly…

She put a picture of the broken wing on Facebook, and a friend sent her a step-by-step tutorial video that showed how to fix it.

She took out the tools she needed: tweezers, small scissors, glue, a wire hanger, a towel and talcum powder. She also had a spare wing from a butterfly that had died days earlier. She had kept the butterfly thinking it was beautiful and that she might display it in a shadow box on her wall. But instead, she said she found a better use for it.

A migrating monarch — which can live for several months — doesn’t have nerve endings in its wings, so she wasn’t concerned about hurting it. As the video instructs, she immobilized the butterfly by placing a wire hanger over its body, then carefully cut the mangled wing away and glued the replacement wing on what remained of the injured wing. She waited for the glue to dry, then sprinkled a small amount of talcum powder on the wings to prevent them from sticking together due to any glue that had not fully dried.

The whole thing took 10 minutes…

Happy ending, pictures and video at the link. And, yes, there are multiple tutorials on YouTube!

Picked up a few acidantherus (peacock gladiolus) corms at last weekend’s Boston Flower Show. I’m too lazy/disorganized to ‘lift’ bulbs every fall, but there’s a brave handful of pink & white glads left over from before we bought this house (25 years ago!) which still bloom in a protected area of the front yard. Since the feral Siberian irises that share that bed are crowding each other and everything else but the rampant ailanthus shoots to death, this spring’s project is going to be digging up the whole queen-bed-sized patch and starting over… after the daffs have finished blooming, of course.

What’s going on in your garden(s) (planning) this week?