Monday, May 26, 2014

My Cat garden has gone to the birds

I’m all set for a few peaceful moments alone in the garden, got my gloves, trowel, kneeling pad, and plants. There are some weeds out there with my name on them, the garden needs to be tidied up.  Just as I step off the back porch I hear…

Bootsie under Mugo pine
Coohoo coohoo.  It’s joined in by a loud trilling “keee keee kee kee”  that means the red headed woodpecker is wanting to drop by for a fly through. 

Fine, if the doves, and the woodpecker have decided that this is the perfect time for a snack, I can move elsewhere. 
I round the corner with all my gear, garden clogs slogging through the grass, and as I turn the corner I startle the nesting quail that have foolishly left their eggs alone for date night at the bird seed dish.
“Fine, I can regroup there are more then enough gardens to work in” I tell them.  His bobbing dark feathered headgear bouncing with annoyed distress as he flitters along the top of the chain link fence. 
She stays on the ground, pecking away at the seed, ignoring me from a few feet away.

They have gotten so used to us that unless we get too close, or startle them, they rarely leave when we are around. 
When they come in large groups there is always one acting as a sentinel pacing around to sound the alert.  Because the young, and dumb, can get a little too into eating and forget to keep one eye out predators.
Now don’t go telling anyone because I will never admit it, but I think I’ve got myself in too deep this year. There is too much to water, keep up, weed, and to keep organized. And it’s not even the hottest part of summer yet.

Gingko tree
This gardeners eyes are bigger then her ability to do the work. It’s grown beyond just sprucing up the place, making it ours, it’s changed the landscape front and back.
No longer the empty football field backyard of barren grass, with fir tree droppings, branches, dusty soil, and patchy lawn, it’s in the process of becoming beautiful, filling in more each year.

My goal is a natural but tidy paradise.  Butterflies, birds, pollinators, deer, cats, crows, pheasants, quail, eagles, hawks,  all visit here and are welcome [maybe not the bear cub again].
The problem might be that only one of us is a garden lover, the other is the labourer as “he” loves to tell the neighbours, who then share a look of empathy and understanding with him over the fence. 

But I think he is coming around nicely, and he really enjoys the birds.
It’s a lot to manage, and it’s growing all the time, there is the patio garden surrounding the corner of our back porch. It’s where my beloved Gingko tree, and Japanese Red Maple I’ve grown from teeny tiny babies now live. 
Along with a limelight hydrangea, clematis, and so many rambunctiously reseeding cleome, cosmos, and bachelors buttons. 
Because I can’t bear to pull them out they grow through the gravel between the cement pavers so there is only room to sit in there during the spring.
Shade garden
The “shade garden” off the edge of the patio contains most of the shade loving plants that once grew on my condo deck, now happily flourishing in partial shade and morning sun. 
The golden hops which is starting to strangle anything in it’s way seems to want to touch the sky, but settles for overcoming the chickadees bird house for now.
The “bird garden” is where all of the birds love to hang out and peck at the bird seed. We used part of last year’s fallen maple tree to make a rail fence that the birds love to perch on.
I’m hoping that the honeysuckle will fill in and wind around the railings as time goes by. 
This garden is filled with tough durable plants in it that serve as food, shelter, and a place to trash when they feel like chasing each other around in territorial disputes.
Next to it is the “cat” garden, which has a wonderfully rusted cat silhouette standing on a good chunk of maple tree branch. 
The wrought iron gate that my Dad made for me years ago will be adorned by clematis this summer. I’m also hoping that my neighbours gift of giant orange daylilies will have huge flowers in our summer heat.

The cat garden

When you have gardened in a limited amount of square footage for so many years, it’s like being a gardener in a candy store of plants, you go a little bit wild.  Building gardens right and left, there are many more gardens in my yard, but too many to write about in this post.
To think that these gardens were nothing but bare patches lacking even grass when we moved in makes my heart sing now. They are the heart of the back yard, where the birds hang out, and the cat watches the sun go down in the evening. They are the place my eyes go to each time I look out the window. It’s been a lot of work, and they may not look as full as they will one day, but they are coming along nicely.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams


  1. Total envy! *sigh* It sounds like a lush west coast garden you've created there and I love that the birds keep you company while you tend your little Eden. I was thrilled to discover that most of the flowers I planted last year survived our harsh winter. I have my eye on a clematis plant at the garden centre and I think it's only a matter of time (and money) before I bring it home...Boo is looking particularly handsome these days.

  2. I hope everything is alright with your parents, I will keep you and all in my thoughts, take care,
    such a beautiful garden, with the birds to keep you company, best kind of neighbors, except when the crows get squawk y!

  3. Good Monday morning Jen! Wow, your yard and gardens are looking wonderful. It's enjoyable to hear and see the birds around the yard as long as they aren't annoyed with your presence. You have created a beautiful oasis there in a short time. Enjoy!

  4. You have a beautiful garden, Jen. Looking forward to more. Hope everything works out in the family. Hugs.

  5. Yes, as gardeners we have bigger dreams and plans than we can keep up with. Everything is growing so well right now. In fact in just a couple of hours since I was outside checking on things the okra has poked through the soil. The wanna be grass is growing while I look at it and I'm called to all corners of the garden to pull some weeds. What could be better for a gardener ... well no weeds would be top of my list, but then how would I get all my bending and pulling exercise.

  6. You are amazing keeping up with all that you do. I have limited gardens but they seem to take up more time than I have. The weeds grow like crazy, and it is already so hot out things are going to die very soon, in Florida!

    Hugs to you,

  7. Good for you Jen! Sometimes the creating and design part end up being most enjoyable! You'll look out each year and smile . . . and think, look what I made. A warning though, each year there still will be cleaning and weeding to keep it lovely . . . this I know.

  8. Oh I understand completely, I just had the best idea for new garden beds... but I think I'll wait till next year...maybe

  9. Your garden is beautiful! You have turned garden with bare patches into paradise, and it's still growing :-)
    Great idea to use fallen tree to make rail fence for birds to perch on. It must be so much fun to watch birds and critters (except for bear!) visiting your garden.

    I hope your dad is getting better. Continued prayers for you all.

  10. Your gardens are lovely! I felt much the same way as you - I suddenly had this palette to play with and I kept adding garden beds! But who can blame us? We also had a visit from a bear cub, by the way - a few years ago. A little too close for comfort!


  11. Jen - Your gardens look so luscious and green! How long have you lived where you are now? I think your plants have done a remarkable job at filling in everything.


  12. I'm always looking for spots to put "just one more kind of plant - 3 or 4 or 5 of them" in my garden, but alas, I have no more room. Your garden is looking delightful. I think quail are the most fun birds to watch with their wobbly head dresses.

  13. All those birds! I love watching quail, but have to visit my in-laws' big rural lot to see them. Good luck keeping up with your garden.

  14. Oh, my Dear, what a dream your garden is, I can hear the birds and smell the fresh air and the solid! Wonderful!
    Have a sunny time

  15. It's such a treat to read what's happening in your garden! The flora and fauna. I think we all bite off a little more than we can chew...I'm already dreaming up new garden beds and I've yet to plant my tomatoes! :)


  16. Yes, it is coming along nicely, and I always say one can judge the health of a garden by how happy the birds are. I love the vignette of hosta, bleeding heart, fern and creeping jenny!

  17. Beautifully written, Jen. I could see it as you described it. You're branching out into big gardens and I've downscaled to a patio. Where once I had the gardens and you had the condo. There is a time for everything. For everything there is a season.

  18. Your own touch of paradise. Fortunately my other half does like to garden and work outside. We have far too much to tend to. Won't those baby quail be cute? But do you worry about the cats getting them? And thank you form the goggle pluses. I do appreciate your kindness.

  19. Your garden is a delight. But I agree we do make hard work for ourselves - gardeners don't seem to know when to stop putting in more and more plants that need tending. But just think of what a haven for wildlife you have created - it has got to be worth it. Anything is better than a dusty, weed-ridden patch.

  20. You are creating a slice of paradise! Love that shot of Bootsie!

  21. Your garden is looking wonderful Jen! Everything looks so lush and green.
    Here's to a perfect season for beautiful flowers and plants!
    Have a happy week!
    xo Catherine

  22. Your garden looks so lovely Jen. I'm still digging out goutweed. J

  23. It looks beautiful there :)

    I was mowing grass at 7:15 before it got too hot and humid and then crawling around under bushes on the side pulling up what could be a field of sunflowers :) All that feeding the birds over the winter ....:) While I would like a few sunflowers here and there I don't think the bushes would be happy later if Ieft them ALL there : )

  24. It is beautiful there and your gardens are coming along nicely! Your Bleeding Heart looks awesome!! :)

  25. Beautiful. I am so glad you share from the heart. That is just what I love about reading your blog. :-)
    Our prayers.

  26. Oh, it's all looking so good!! I know you and the animals are loving hanging out in the gardens!!

  27. Absolutely love this idea!!! Absolutely perfect for your garden!! The beds are amazing as well.

  28. Your gardens are all looking beautiful, Jen and I am having garden envy. I am loving every minute of our summer weather. xo Laura

  29. The birds are gradually taking over and every step is taken so carefully now. Your gardens are looking gorgeous - so much enjoyable work to be done! Have a wonderful week xx

  30. Several words come to mind, but the one that sticks out is grit. You and your indentured servant (he will at least get a chuckle out of that one) have performed a miracle from what was barren. Absolutely beautiful, Jen.

  31. Great post, Jennifer. Gardens are never instant. It takes time and patience. And I don't think you would be "normal" if you didn't have a few hesitations about your ability to keep up with it all. I love your kitty and garden photos. I hope you have many, many pleasant moments tending your little slice of paradise.

  32. Nice job! I know what you mean about the woodpeckers and doves sending their warning messages. We noticed their crazed calls, along with the red-winged blackbirds, this past weekend. Must be nesting time. ;) Your gardens look wonderful. I remember that freeing feeling of suddenly having a huge garden area to work with. Enjoy!

  33. I have always wanted a very lush garden that will pretty much take care of itself and refuse to allow weeds to grow and moles to invade. Unfortunately it does not work that way--darn! I pay someone to do the care taking while I enjoy the results!


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Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams