Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rats, I Guess I Need To Try Something New

Some years ago I started hanging small pots on the fence where I could see them out of the family room window. In the central valley of California small pots dry out quickly and taking the drought into consideration I opted for succulents as an easy to care for choice. I like the look of senecio rowleyanus, or string of pearls, and sedum morganianum, burro tail plant. The hanging strands made a big impact and they grew well for a couple of years. Then at some point I started finding lengths of stems that were missing leaves and big pieces of stems lying on the ground under the pots. It took me a while to figure out the culprits...rats were eating the juicy fleshy leaves.

Hanging on the strands was making them break off.

While the roof rats that are a fact of life here gross me out I am hesitant to poison them given the local raptors who would be the secondary recipients of the poison if they ate the rats. So I have ranted about them and been upset and just kept replanting the severed pieces. For some reason it has taken me over a year to step back and realize the rats don't seem to be attracted to all the succulents...it is mostly the ones that drape. So I am trying something new. All the fence pots are being replanted with crassula ovata, jade plant, and a few other seemingly less attractive succulents which thus far have not been snacked on by the rats. It is worth a try and we shall see if they just move on to the new offerings when their preferred choices are not available or if I have figured out one way to have my containers and not poison innocent raptors.  And in any case, where the leaves have been nibbled off, new strands will eventually form. Just like these already are...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Garden Blogger Bloom Day February 2016

Plans to leave town for a few days, garden cleanup, and tax paperwork make for a quick, drive-by Bloom Day but since the garden is starting to really wake up I took a walk and gathered some blooms. 

Several hellebores are now blooming...I am a recent convert so only have a few that have more than a couple blooms but I do love them. And they bloom for a long time!

This month is mostly about narcissus. Lots and lots of them. Little ones.

Big ones. In yellows and whites.

They brighten up everything.

The Burgundy Plum is just bursting into bloom...I am hoping the tree will hit some sort of stride this year and produce enough for me AND the birds instead of just the birds.

And the variegated lemon tree has redeemed itself...barely...by producing 3 lemons last year so will live to see another crop. Hopefully a little bit bigger.

Razzleberry loropetalum is such a nice jolt of pink in a fairly shady corner and is paired up with

camellia Chandleri Elegans.  Guess they shouldn't have been right next to each other but at least that spot is cheerful.

Leucojum aestivum is our answer to snowdrops (which are not happy here).  These are quite happy here and like to spread their happiness pretty much everywhere.

A scented geranium is beginning to bloom, soon to be followed by many more as spring truly arrives.

Clematis armandii blooms on the front garden arbor. Although it doesn't think much of our soil and water, and therefore ends up with brown edged or totally brown leaves by summer's end, the beautiful blossoms make it worth the cutting back and cleaning up.

Lavandula multifida is a super trouper and has bloomed all winter. This particular plant isn't even in a protected spot although a Tight and Tidy felicia aethiopica (also blooming) does run over it a bit so maybe that is all the protection it needs. Up until this year I only grew this in what I considered well protected spots.

For more blooms elsewhere around the world please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens and see who else is blogging on this Bloom Day!