Sunday, December 30, 2012


The moon sets in the backyard.

And the sun rises in the front yard.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Seventh Day weekend

The Seventh Day morphed into the weekend of the 8-9 this December. Alden Township hosted its second Holiday Market on Dec. 8 -- that's where I got this wreath created by Karla, a very talented neighbor. 

Here's a look at the snowy garden.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Seventh Day on the 10th

Willow lights up on damp, gray days.
The schedule made it impossible to spend any daylight hours in the garden this Nov. 7. Instead, we were out a bit on Nov. 10, a cold, windy, rainy day.

Winter prep is either completed or under way: Goldfish are in the house; water lilies, umbrella plants and begonias are under the stairs; potatoes, onions and garlic are cleaned and stored; containers have been emptied; and netting and caging have been deployed. And thanks to Brian, we can look forward to lots of new lilies next year.

Here's a quick peek at November at sillydoggarden.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gotta bloom wherever I am

What's more reliable than a Christmas/Thanksgiving cactus? Here, a few cuttings of Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) jammed into a vase with water months ago, bloom on a shelf in a corner of the basement. (The mother plant is beginning to bloom, as well.) Info about care from Clemson University here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Seventh Day Project: October crab apples

The crab apples on 'Molten Lava' are now gone thanks to the grouse -- five at once on at least one morning. Take a look at October at sillydoggarden.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sci-fi flowers

Outside, the castor beans are toast -- ragged fragments of their former lusty selves. I cut some of the flowers, beating frost by a few hours, and am amazed at how long they're lasting. This photo was taken about two weeks ago and they're just starting to show some wear. Those are castor bean leaves in the vase, too.

Note to self: Grow more castor beans. This is the variety 'Carmencita'.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Closing out the season: Seventh Day September

 Fish feed in the small pond in the backyard. (Photo by Brian)

It won't be long until we move the goldfish from their summer resort back to their winter quarters inside the house. Here's a look at what was happening this Sept. 7.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The summer that slipped away

 The portulaca did well in this summer of extended heat.

June ... gone!
July ... gone!
August ... gone!
A series of bad timing and odd weather and now we're into September. Here's a peek at the garden on the Seventh Day August.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Plant sale

 White dicentra (bleeding heart) will be among the perennials for sale on Saturday. Flowers, above, and gallon-size container, below.

Alden Township kicks off its farmers market this Saturday and we'll be there with a selection of perennials freshly dug from sillydoggarden. The market is in its second year at the town hall on Laine Road. 

Open from 10 a.m. to noon the first Saturday of each month through the growing season, it's a casual operation and hard to predict exactly who or what will be there -- but that's part of the charm. 

This Saturday you can count on white bleeding heart along with some catmint, shasta daisies, euphorbia and sedum. Hmmm ... maybe some phlox and some penstemon, too ...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Weekend news of note

 The first magnolia blossom at sillydoggarden.

Two markers to document this weekend: 1. Hummingbirds have returned. They've been spotted working over the lungwort. 2. The magnolia has flowered. So what if it's only two flowers. You have to start somewhere.

The poor shrub has had a tough time settling in. It's a star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, probably 'Royal Star.' It's now four or five years old and we almost pulled it out after the first year. It died back completely after its first winter, but some new growth at the base persuaded us to give it another shot. Patience and persistence, again, pay off.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today's tulips ...

 Tulipa  turkestanica

... and last week's red-winged blackbird.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Singing along with Seventh Day April

 A chickadee perches on the Therese Bugnet rosebush in the herb garden.

The spring soundtrack is playing loud and clear around here. The forecast is for a little snow next week, but today is supposed to warm and sunny. The birds have been active, from the chickadees that stay through the winter to the sweet-sounding red-winged blackbirds that appeared in recent weeks. This week I saw my first cardinal in the yard ever -- a female.

Take a look at what was going on this April 7.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Flowers inside and outside the house

Amaryllis -- maybe 'Red Lion' -- that I overwintered and recently pulled out from its dormancy location in the closet under the stairs. Here it's backlit by the setting sun.

Crocus tommasinianus just starting to bloom near the side door.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seventh Day March: Marching into spring

 A lineup of dainty larch cones.

That snow you see in some of these images -- forget it. With temperatures pushing 70 degrees the past few days, much of it is gone. Oh, we still have significant pockets of white, but the palette is much more buff, brown and green. Can crocus and tulips be far behind? Check out the Seventh Day Project: March 2012.

(Thanks to Brian for taking these photos.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A mouthful of snow

What's better than retrieving big sticks? Trying to catch snowballs, of course.

With temperatures like we had today and what's forecast for the week, there won't be many more snowballs until next winter.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day snowstorm

The view through the living room window this afternoon.

Winter finally arrived today. Much wind and snow all day.
 The front yard.

 Drifts by the garage.

And drifts by the deck.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Composting and the law

These are three of our six composting bins. 
Six bins might be -- might be -- just enough to meet our needs.

Composting ordinances? Who knew! Minneapolis considers changes to its ordinance on Monday.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Seventh Day February ...

... is up for viewing. One of the crazy things about this February -- about this winter -- is the lack of snow. You'll notice patches of bare ground in some of the photos. Crazy, but true. See for yourself. (Or check it out at right.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Zone love

The USDA has updated its plant hardiness zone map. Some areas of the country are in warmer zones, some not so much. The zone at sillydoggarden is about the same. Entering the Zip code initially gets us to 4B (-25 to -30), but looking a little deeper on the map puts us into 4A (-30 to -25). These are average annual minimum temperatures -- we've been known to have bouts of minus 40 degrees.

The new map probably won't change our approach to plant selection. We've always used the zone map as a guide and not as gospel. Pushing zones is a time-honored tradition -- you can't go crazy, but there are other factors to consider when deciding whether to choose a particular plant. Drainage, light and humidity are just a few things to think about. And, of course, you may have microclimates in your garden that make a big difference in survival.

But the new map is nice -- there are both interactive and static versions. It's easy to find your zone if you know your Zip code. Try it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An offering to Pantone

'Autumn Flame' daylily blooms in late summer, early fall.

The color gods have decided that Tangerine Tango is THE color of 2012.

May I just say that a "spirited reddish-orange" has been in our garden in for some time. As evidence, here are a few riffs on orange/red that we enjoy.

 'Alabama Jubilee' daylily. This one has just enough ruffle.

Marigolds are easy to grow from seed. 'Safari Orange' is one of the mainstays of our annual garden.

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty.' After three attempts we found the perfect location for this perennial. Those are tiger lilies behind it.

Gaillardia is another annual that we grow from seed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Another year, another Seventh Day

We watched last summer as the robins built this nest in the bur oak. We weren't sure it was a good location for a home; it's not very high in the tree, just a bit over my head. But there it was and before long mama robin was spending a lot of time in the nest. We were looking forward to watching them raise their brood. But ...

... then came the squirrels. We watched several times as squirrels raided the nest and the angry robins chased them across the lawn in the woods. We rooted for the robins, but in the space of a few days, we found broken, pale blue shells on the ground.

The nest was abandoned.

Now that the leaves are gone, the nest is even easier to spot. See some of what else we saw on this Seventh Day. (Or go to the sidebar at right.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Over already? Not quite

The holidays slipped past way too fast. I meant to take a photo of our tomato-cage Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago, but only managed to get it done the other night.

How simple is this? Take a tomato cage, turn it upside down, wire the legs together in a point, wrap it in lights using twist ties at strategic intervals, secure it in a pot, and plug it in. This is sweet enough to light the door for weeks to come.