My backyard is quite the eco-system.Â We have cut back on the pigeons now that the roof is closed up.Â I havenâ€™t seen them in a while so I assume they have found a new home.Â The squirrels are as feisty as ever but I donâ€™t think they are back inside.Â We have a Grackle nest in the sewer vent pipe but the rest of them mostly just squalk and try to get in.Â Iâ€™m hoping by winter they will have given up and found a different poorly maintained house to live in.Â Iâ€™m also going to put a gazillion birdhouses in the backhard.Â I figure I had better give those feisty birds plenty of places that arenâ€™t my attic to live.Â I also want to manage to keep some robbins and blue-bird nests from getting ransacked by the Grackles.
Iâ€™ve got a ton of rosesâ€¦covered in Aphids and what the neighbor thinks is a Spirea that has swarms of them.Â I also have a host of weeds.Â Goutweed is one of the worst around here.Â Iâ€™ve got a couple patches but my behind neighbor was kinds enough to work on them for a while earlier this spring when I didnâ€™t have the time.Â It was spring vacation week and she made her kids help clean out my backyard.Â I think she considered it preventative maintenance/boredom buster/whining discipline.Â Hey sure, I can always supply some punishment chores.
My first bloom. B-E-A-utiful!
A bit of trumpet vine in the front. I need to get rid of it but I hate to kill a good plant. The stuff is a nightmare though. Perhaps I’ll get it started up the shed once we have that in place. I believe it is the tendril type vine not the sucker type so it’s relatively safe. It grows a mile a minute it seems.
Here is a photo of the Spirea-candidate.Â She should get pink and white blooms if she is indeed spirea. She was covered in Aphids and so far the spray I used seems to have worked. You can see a bunch of dead aphids on her.
I found a small bit of goutweed to show you. Â It doesn’t look like much but it’s the underground spreading method that is so difficult. It’s the little 3-leafed plant.
I do have plenty of mustard which runs rampant but isnâ€™t nearly as hard to get rid of.
It pulls up real easily which is a definite plus.Â The yard is also covered in Bugleweed.Â I think itâ€™s bugleweed.Â Itâ€™s either that or catmint.Â Can any weed experts tell? It has a square stem, little purple flowers, and it seems to spread like a ground creeper rather than upright like catmint. Â It smells great and doesn’t seem to mind being mowed so I think I’ll just let it compete with the grass for now. Â I moved a bunch of it to the front yard hoping it would take over.
I also have this vine growing on the ugly chain link fence on the right side of the backyard.Â I believe it to be False Virginia Creeper.Â It definitely has little spiral grabbers and the characteristic 5 leaves.Â I just hope it isnâ€™t something bad like Poison Sumac but I donâ€™t think that grows up here.Â Iâ€™ll tear it out once I have a chance to get rid of that fence but I donâ€™t want it to take to my deck or something in the meantime.
There are also always the dandilions and Violets that scatter the lawn but those arenâ€™t too interesting.Â There are a couple strange ferns and some plants with carrot-y leaves that Iâ€™ve pulled here and there but nothing recognizable.Â Iâ€™ll have to let some grow up and see if anything interesting blooms.
Here is one odd one. Looks viscous.
Oh, another great addition to the wildlife, we were gifted a squirrel tail this weekend.Â It seems some neighborhood cat has adopted us.Â I hope to get a peek at him sometime but so far, I havenâ€™t seen any cats around.
I love all the nature in our little .15 acre lot.Â So many birds and plants.Â Iâ€™ve seen bluejays, bluebirds, a robin in her nest, lots of chickadees and of course the ugly grackles and the pigeons that we evicted.Â I even saw a hawk grab a chickadee out of the tree next to the house!Â It looks like there used to be a big hawk nest in the tree next door but it has been abandoned probably since the grackle population has drastically declined.Â Maybe next summer Iâ€™ll put out a bird feeder and a bird bath and see who comes to the neighborhood but until we have these grackles under control, we wonâ€™t be encouraging birds of any kind.
My Robin nest that was prematurely abandoned:
I’m not a huge fan of this weeping cherry. Sure the robins nest was cool and It’s beautiful in early spring but I don’t love the placement and I don’t love the shape especially in the winter. Here is a picture of it at its most beautiful:
Here it is from the side yard. Â You can see deck building going on in the foreground.
I need a National Audubon Society book so I can identify all the birds that I see. I know Finches and Chickadees and the blue-jay but there are so many that I don’t know. Do you know of any good regional weed books? I’d love to identify some of the things I’m pulling in the garden.