Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christmas Cactus Blooms

 For the first time ever, we have a Christmas Cactus blooming.  We got the plant as a cutting a long time ago and for some reason it decided to bloom this year.  We've put it outside every year and brought it in before the first freeze and this year we were rewarded with some remarkable red flowers.

Monday, November 16, 2015

First Hard Freeze

 Just a couple of days after moving all the plants into the greenhouse, we had our first hard freeze of the season.  The beautiful Elephant Ears out front show how it only takes one night below freezing to make the leaves droop, sag and turn brown.  Pretty soon they will collapse to the ground and I'll cut them off.  Meanwhile the Croton got too large to come into the house this winter so it is banished to the unheated garage.  The garage can get below freezing if it is really cold so I suspect it won't survive but we won't count the survival instinct out until it is over.  Now I just have to remember to water it weekly.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Plants in the Greenhouses

 With winter approaching, it is time to move the plants into the greenhouses.  With the warmer November, we are about 2 weeks later than usual so the plants got some extra time to soak up sun and rain before the move.  The larger plants are in the large greenhouse where we hope they will survive.  Last winter was very cold and we lost a number of plants.  The pond plants and smaller plants are in the greenhouse on the deck next to the chimney.  Being sandwiched in the brick helps keep this greenhouse a little warmer.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Impressive Mimosa Tree

The Mimosa tree in the front yard is doing just great.  Comparing it to the picture from the June 20 post, the branches are twice a long as they were.  My concern is if we get heavy snow or ice - can the branches hold up under excessive weight.  We were surprised by the huge Elephant Ears that grew up around the tree.  The bulbs were in the root ball when we transplanted the Mimosa last fall.  The color contrast between the Elephant Ears and the Mimosa creates a beautiful display.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Nighttime Pond Visitor

 We were wondering who was eating the plants in the pond so we put the camera nearby.  We found a large cat coming by in the middle of the night.  I'm guessing the cat was hunting for frogs or fish rather than plants.  The next day we caught the culprit and it was a squirrel.  Here is the squirrel sitting there nibbling on plant leaves that he chopped off the Mexican Petunia. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Beautiful Deer and Beauty Berry Plantings

 This week we were lucky to get a great picture of a young deer in the side yard.  This deer posed perfectly for the camera.  Meanwhile just around the corner in front of the fence, we are trying to plant Beauty Berry bushes.  A number of years ago, we planted the scraggly looking bushes but they have never grown.  Since the Beauty Berry is doing so well on the other side, we thought we'd give it a try.  We mushed up the Beauty Berry berries to expose the seed and planted them between the sad looking bushes.  We are also going to try to transplant a couple of Beauty Berry bushes later this fall.

Monday, September 21, 2015

More New Oak Leaf Hydrangeas

 We liked the way the last Oak Leaf Hydrangea looked in a corner of the fence, we planted two more in another corner of the back yard.  These were also rooted from one of our other Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.  They are small now but if they take off like their parent plants, they will fill this corner very nicely in a few years.  The trick now is not to let Mother Nature take over this corner with a bunch of vines and weeds. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Beauty Berry Abundance

Ever since I realized the bush at the corner was a Beauty Berry, I've enjoyed seeing it go from bare to full leaves to purple berries.  This year is one of the best with large bunches of berries. hovering over the Elephant Ears.  In the past few years, the Beauty Berry has spread so we are going to try moving some to other locations where we hope they would do well and enhance the display.  Meanwhile at the end of the deck, a volunteer Morning Glory has been greeting us with large flowers every morning for a month.  The flowers don't last too long but are great for a few hours.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Interesting Insects

 Mother Nature has been showing off some of her critters the past couple of days.  First is a Marbled-Orbweaver spider who built a web from the fence to a branch.  Quite a colorful and scary looking spider but supposedly not dangerous to humans.  Meanwhile I was surprised to see a six inch long Praying Mantis on the back door.  The dog was sniffing him and the dog seemed more afraid than the bug.  He hung around for an hour and then move on somewhere else.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Clown Flower Volunteers

 Once again this year, we are pleased to have several bunches of volunteer Clown flowers (Torenia).  They have popped up in three different locations with a couple of different colors.  Especially beautiful are the flowers in the deep purple coloring.  These flowers magically appeared a number of years ago and have continued to pop up every year since.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Frogs Galore in the Cisterns

 In the back yard, we have three cisterns that get progressively smaller and lower.  The largest one overflows into the next and that one overflows to the lowest one.  The frogs love these cisterns.  In the first picture you can just barely see a green tree frog in the overflow pipe from the largest cistern.  We never noticed this last year so it appears to be a new habit by the tree frog.  In the second picture is a frog convention with eight frogs hanging out in the lowest cistern.  It is hard to see because of the bright sunshine but they are having a great time.  In deference to the frogs, we've stopped taking water from the lowest cistern.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Oak Leaf Hydrangea

 Last year we transplanted three Oak Leaf Hydrangeas from out 10 year old plants that have done very well into pots.  This one rooted and thrived in the pot so we looked for a spot to plant it in the ground.  This corner at the chain link fence looked like a great location.  We used bamboo from our bamboo grove to define the planting bed.  Now it is up to Mother Nature to help this plant grow as large as the other Hydrangeas.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wonderful Buck Close-up

 One of the fun stories this summer is seeing several Bucks hanging around in the front yard.  I can't say if this Buck and Doe are having a smooch or an argument but they are striking a nice pose.  The second picture is maybe the same Buck posing for a picture as if he knew the camera was there just for him.  I hope the Bucks continue to come around as their antlers fully develop.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Watermelon Volunteers

 We have been making compost from fruits and vegetables for five years and using the compost to amend the soil in pots and gardens.  Every year we are pleased to see volunteers from the compost in the garden.  This year we transplanted a volunteer from the garden into a pot and watermelons started growing.  The first one in the pot shriveled after a couple of weeks but the one on the deck is still growing.  The vine doesn't seem big enough to support a large melon but we are hopeful.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Great Looking Deer Family

 Some great family photos in the front yard.  These pictures are two weeks apart and we aren't sure they are the same Deer families but there are two cute little babies in each. 

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Mystery Critter

 A couple of nights ago, the camera caught a picture of a mystery critter in the front yard.  Too bad the picture isn't clearer so it would be easier to identify this critter.  The bushy  tail and pointed snout looks a lot like a raccoon but the tail doesn't have the usual stripes.  Hopefully this critter will stay in the front yard and leave the back yard to us.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Two Bucks Staying Up Late

 Last week we captured a number of late night deer pictures.  Over a couple of hours, these two different Bucks wandered in front of the camera.  They stopped long enough to get a fairly clear picture of their growing antlers.  The second guys antlers seem to have a different form than the first guy who's antlers look more normal.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Buck and Doe

 Another picture of the Buck that has been hanging around this year.  His antlers are continuing to grow.  Here he is hanging around with the Doe.  I hope he still comes around when his antlers are fully developed so we can see how majestic they look.  Meanwhile our Poppers we planted last year are producing a bunch of flowers this year.  They are quite beautiful with the bright orange colors.  We bought two more that we planted behind these to increase the coverage.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Beautiful Mimosa Tree

 The Chocolate Chip Mimosa tree we moved last fall to the middle of the front yard is doing quite well.  We were afraid it wouldn't survive the move because of the large root that was cut during the transplant.  But here it is producing several delicate pink and white flowers and spreading it's leaf covered branches just as we hoped it would.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Here Comes the Elephant Ears

 The Elephant Ears in the back yard survived the cold winter and are coming back up in May.  Last fall we dug up the Elephant Ears in the front yard when we moved the Mimosa tree and stored them in the garage for the winter.  About three weeks ago, we planted them around the pump in the front yard and they are emerging.  We are hoping they will brighten up the area around the pump this summer.