Monday, March 23, 2009

More Greening Up ....

It was another lovely Spring day here today, though not as warm and a bit windy, but still a far cry from our recent frigid weather! We took Hanna and ran a few errands early today, then came back to do some more clean up out front before the rainy weather predicted for the next few days moves in ... we got the rest of the dead stuff cleared yesterday bagged up for city compost and filled up the last of our bags (we're up to 8 so far!). It's amazing how fast things are progressing now ... I found a few tulips had come up literally overnight in a couple of spots, and crocus just uncovered yesterday were blooming today! Unfortunately we were both so busy that we didn't have the camera with us, so didn't get any new shots ... so these photos are from my session after work from last Thursday (3-19-09). The first shot is one of our 'Blue Princess' Hollies (Ilex meserveae), which of course is one of our few evergreen plants (unless you count the messy Blue Spruce in the back yard) ... you'll notice there are no remaining berries on it ... either the birds or other critters cleaned it out over the winter, which is just fine by us, since we have little use for them other than as Christmas decorations....

This is one of our Leatherwood Ferns in the Woodland Garden ... it's greening up nicely, but still remains prostrate which is normal until the weather warms up a bit more when it will go upright. It's the first of our many ferns to come back to life after a long winter and is a truly tough plant deserving of its tough guy name. As you can see, its companions the Maidenhair Ferns are still looking pretty crispy and won't spring back for a while ... even though they are such a delicate looking fern, they are really hardy and good multipliers in the Woodland Garden where they form a great fairy canopy every year. Our next clean up project is to get around to this side of the house and clear out the dead material ... we did get the Ostrich Plume Ferns cleared out today, but ran out of compost bags and decided to call it a day before moving on further. Since this garden is slower to wake up, we don't feel such a sense of urgency to get it cleaned up as we do in the front boulder bed....

As you can see in this shot, our little heirloom Sedum sarmentosum is already up and proliferating in the front beds and by June it will likely be in full bloom. As I chronicled last year, this used to be a plant we tried to eradicate (it was here when we got here), we finally made our peace with it and cherish it now ... it's one of those little sedums you can just yank, toss somewhere else (such as rock crevices) where it will quickly establish itself and return each year, and since we have lots of rock crevices, it comes in handy as a filler plant that will grow where others won't ... so, it's gone from being considered a pest to a valued member of the garden. Funny how things like that happen....

Now, just in case anyone was feeling puppy deprived in the last post, here are a couple of shots of Hanna playing with one of her favorite toys, her red Kong. Usually we stuff it with a few pieces of her food, some of the "Kong Stuffing" (peanut butter flavor), a little biscuit and any other treats we can pack into it. Being the quick puzzle solver she is, Hanna usually only needs about 10-15 minutes to get everything out, but then she loves to have us toss this Kong and make it bounce for her, something she never seems to tire of doing, unless, of course, it happens to land in Pepa's old bowl, which for some reason terrifies her....

Recently we have discovered a few little odd "issues" she has about things, and one of them is Pepa's bowl ... when Lacey was visiting we needed a bowl to feed her, so I was using Pepa's old bowl (which has only ever been used as a dog bowl) which we left out after she left. A week or so ago, we were tossing the Kong around for her (it has a crazy pinball type bounce to it) and it landed in the bowl. Hanna would not under any circumstances retrieve the Kong from the bowl. So Fernymoss tried sliding it across the floor to her, but the closer it got, the more terrified she got and ended up barking at it and running away from it. And now, she won't even go near this bowl, no matter what. She won't even retrieve a toy that is just close, but not in, the bowl ... we don't know whether she realizes it was someone else's bowl or if Pepa is haunting it and intimidating her, but I guess if we want her to leave something alone, we know where to put it!

Today we discovered another "issue." The garden rake! Our rake is so old that the wooden handle always gives us splinters when we use it, so Fernymoss decided to wrap it with duct tape to protect our hands and brought it into the dining room ... as he was wrapping it, Hanna was in the living room and saw the rake end moving a bit as he wrapped ... at first she had a freaked out look about it and the more it moved, the more perturbed she became, until she started barking at it and eventually ran away after Fernymoss shook it at her a couple of times just to see what her reaction would be. The longer we have Hanna, the more we realize just what a little individual she is as she reveals her idiosyncrasies! This one made us laugh a lot that she would be freaked out by a common garden implement, so now we know to tread lightly with the rakes around her ... who knew a simple rake could be so terrifying to a puppy?

But the thing with the bowl mystifies us still ... maybe she senses Pepa's presence too strongly by it (after all it was Pepa's exclusive bowl for her entire life ... I bought it at Target for her right after I got her and it has only been used as her food bowl all these years) ... but whatever the reason, it truly spooks her! If this means that Pepa is still around here constantly, that makes me feel relieved she's still with us in some form. But I'd hope that Hanna would feel more gratitude toward her (maybe she will in time) because without that dream I had with Pepa in it where she gave us permission to adopt Hanna, she very well might not have ended up living with us. But then again, maybe she's just teaching her that it's not nice to poach from another dog's bowl? Whatever the reason, it's really odd that she would develop bowl and rake phobias! Just another one of those moments I wish I could read her thoughts to find out what she's thinking! But I just haven't developed that super dog power yet....

18 comments:

Roses and Lilacs said...

I hope she outgrows these puppy fears. I'm sure she will. When she spends a few hours outside helping in the garden she surely will get over the rake-monster thing:)
Marnie

FARfetched said...

Yup, stuff is greening up all over. Thankfully, the days are getting long enough to actually get stuff done after work!

Samson (our big dumb Akita mix) doesn't like getting anywhere near the road… the one smart thing about him, actually. He doesn't trust anyone but the immediate family (and Mrs. Fetched's mom, who feeds him when we're gone), but he especially has a phobia about my dad. That can be hilarious when he's here to visit. OTOH, he'll stand still and let me brush enough hair out of him to stuff a jacket, and I'll probably have to do that in a couple of weeks.

CONEFLOWER said...

Oh, your garden is doing so well. I can hardly wait until I have an established garden to watch for the returns of old friends each spring

Hanna is such a cutie. Our furkids have very strong instincts. Maybe you could have a "talk" with Pepa to ask her to explain to Hanna that it's okay for Hanna to use the bowl and to not be afraid of the rake.

But, I have an EMERGENCY!!! I just received to 'Top Hat' blueberry dry root plants from Spring Hill Nursery. There are all sorts of directions about how to plant and what the sun needs are but nothing is said about whether they need a dry spot or will they tolerate wet or even dry feet? Do you know about this? Or do you know someone I can contact who would know.....other than the obvious which is calling the nursery. LOL Thanks!

CONEFLOWER said...

BTW, I'm not kidding about "talking" to Pepa. I believe these things work. They seem to understand this better than direct audible conversation. Geordie (#2 Cairn Terrier) paid me a visit just as I was about to take a nap, saying he'd found Murdo (#1 Cairn Terrier) who had died about 4 years previously. Ok, so I'm nuts, but it's worth a try...

CONEFLOWER said...

Geez...I can't seem to tell a story all at once. The day Geordie visited me in the above comment was the day he passed on.

boran2 said...

Those Hanna stories are really interesting, IVG. How odd it is that she won't touch Pepa's bowl. Perhaps Hanna knows something that humans can't sense.

I love those ferns!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I'm sure these puppy fears will disappear at some point too ... it's been amusing to see what has been spooking her though. A rake ... whooda thunkit? :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
Yeah, the longer days are finally here and we're enjoying them too.

That's good that Samson won't go near the road ... we can't trust Hanna about that until some of the puppy energy dissipates, so we keep her leashed at all times outside. When we get the fence fixed, we'll give her more freedom but only when we're out with her!

I bet that it's the Akita in him that makes him so stand offish, that's kind of in their nature. I knew an Akita-Shepherd mix once and he was a really nice dog but only when he knew you ... it was my dog Coco (at the time) who had him cowed and submissive, lol. She broke the ice and told him I was an OK guy, I think! We sure are not missing all the dog hair around the house ... Hanna's coat is so short she doesn't seem to shed at all!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower,
If you focus on a lot of perennials or hardy annuals this year, you'll have returning friends next year, but it does take time, but that's what makes it all worth it!

I should talk to Pepa ... it's not an issue of Hanna using the bowl (she has her very own) ... she could just be being ornery (she was a playful terrier after all), but I think she has already communicated lots of things to Hanna, mostly good ones!

Hope the link I emailed answers some of your blueberry questions, but I'd guess that in general they want a well drained soil, but ample water when they are in berry producing mode. That will take several years, you know....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Oh, the things a puppy comes up with! We're really enjoying her little oddities and yes, we do think she knows things we can't know/see!

Leatherwood Ferns are really easy to grow in a shady moist area and are super tough. I haven't looked, but I'm sure they're hardy as far North as you are! They even stay green pretty far into winter before turning brown too ... these are the kinds of ferns florists often use in floral arrangements just because they are so tough!

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