Monday, June 15, 2009

more borrowed gardens



more heucheras

and more columbines

hostas in the background with Tradescantia in the foreground

more hostas

and more hostas

bugle weed in the foreground with hostas

ginkgo biloba

Japanese maple

mugo pine

Horse Chestnut

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Funky Nests Challenge!

Enter the Funky Nests Challenge!
You find them in hanging flower baskets…an old boot…a garage shelf…or under a bridge…birds build nests in the strangest places! That’s the theme for the newest environmental challenge from our Celebrate Urban Birds project: Funky Nests in Funky Places! As you may know, Celebrate Urban Birds is a free, year-round citizen-science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, focused on birds in neighborhood settings.
For the Funky Nests in Funky Places challenge, we want you to take photos, do a painting, write a story, or shoot a video showing a bird’s nest built in some out-of-the-way or out-of-this-world place.When observing nests please be sure to avoid touching them or disturbing the birds.
This one’s going to be fun, I think. We usually receive hundreds of entries for each of our challenges, and I can’t wait to see what your sent us this time and where birds have chosen to build their funky nests! I'm also attaching a PDF flier about the challenge you can print for yourself or pass along to others who might want to participate.
We have some great prizes, includig a Leica C-LUX 3 compact camera, bird feeders, shrubs for planting, and more. The first 50 entrants will receive a copy of the "Doves and Pigeons" poster by Julie Zickefoose and we'll post selected images and videos on the Celebrate Urban Birds website.
Here's how to enter:
1. Email your entry to Links are acceptable for videos.
2. Write “Funky Nests” in the subject line.
3. Include your name and mailing address.
4. Explain why you submitted your entry--what's the story behind it?
5. One entry per person, please.
Deadline for entries is July 31, 2009

Visit the Celebrate Urban Birds website for more information and to read the terms of agreement regarding all entries.

Thanks for taking the challenge!
Karen Purcell, Project Leader
(607) 254-2455
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Lab’s web site at

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The other day I wandered on over to the gardens at Parkwood Estate to borrow the garden for a while. Except for the fact that I couldn't get in there and get my hands dirty, I was able to wallow in the many shades of green, big and small, play my naming game and enjoy the colours there now, as well as the anticipation of other glories to come as the season progresses.

the white garden



irises and daylilies

Oriental poppies


is it catching?

I often wander into the gardens of Parkwood Estate so that I may borrow for a while a green space, wonderful trees and some flowers. And in my own obsessive way, I name the plants I see and wonder about the plants I don't know by name. It's an odd game: name, name, name, maybe, I wonder, name, name, name. Ah! Name! ... name. Very, very satisfying.

Having lunch with my Oldest and Other Favorite Daughter the other day, listening to her tell about the changes she has made in her garden recently, I realized that gardeners are an odd bunch. Of course, WE don't think we are strange at all. But I've had to face facts! Most people are probably -- and incomprehensibly in my mind -- only interested in having things look relatively neat, attractive and maybe even a bit colourful in the garden. O & OFD said that is the case for her. In her busy life, she only has room for pots of flowers and herbs near her kitchen door. She doesn't have time for the stuff gardeners willingly spend hours doing.

She thought it was hilarious that I understood exactly what Kim meant by the lovely horizontal branching habit of a double-file viburnum! (non-gardeners are rolling their eyes here if they have managed to read this far!!)

But, non-gardeners beware. It is contagious. As I am taking over the lawn in front of my apartment building bit by bit, other tenants are getting more and more interested. Other tenants have expanded upon the beds and more colourful bits of this and that are going in. I suspect even as the squirrels wreak mayhem and murder upon our tender plants, hopefully and bravely, we guerilla-gardeners are occupying more space. Tomatoes, herbs, roses, hostas and marigolds have snuck in somehow!

Even across the street, a large concrete bowl has appeared by the front step and it is filled with bright red geraniums. A rustic wooden bench has been placed out front and on it are a couple of clay pots filled with I'm not sure what, but it is GREEN! A building down the road has daylilies and hostas now in the shade under the maples and a colourful array of perennials in the narrow space at the edge of the parking lot behind the building!

Even what I presume are non-gardeners are paying attention to what is going on in the neighborhood. Other tenants in the building and passersby have given me compliments. Oh, and of course, there have been expressions of alarm as well. "The beds are too big." "The flowers will attract vandals." "The pots will be smashed or stolen."

The only alarm that I pay any attention to is over the squirrels. They are my personal fly in the ointment and I fear I'll soon be in danger of going over the edge with regard to their mindless depredations! (hysterical laughter!)

A taxi driver suggested the other day that I get a dog.

"But what about the digging and damage a dog might do?" I asked.

"I gave you a solution to your first problem!"