DIY Sarah

Craft, Decor, Art, Garden, and Dessert


My backyard is quite the eco-system.  We have cut back on the pigeons now that the roof is closed up.  I haven’t seen them in a while so I assume they have found a new home.  The squirrels are as feisty as ever but I don’t think they are back inside.  We have a Grackle nest in the sewer vent pipe but the rest of them mostly just squalk and try to get in.  I’m hoping by winter they will have given up and found a different poorly maintained house to live in.  I’m also going to put a gazillion birdhouses in the backhard.  I figure I had better give those feisty birds plenty of places that aren’t my attic to live.  I also want to manage to keep some robbins and blue-bird nests from getting ransacked by the Grackles.

I’ve got a ton of roses…covered in Aphids and what the neighbor thinks is a Spirea that has swarms of them.  I also have a host of weeds.  Goutweed is one of the worst around here.  I’ve got a couple patches but my behind neighbor was kinds enough to work on them for a while earlier this spring when I didn’t have the time.  It was spring vacation week and she made her kids help clean out my backyard.  I think she considered it preventative maintenance/boredom buster/whining discipline.  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.  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.  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 isn’t nearly as hard to get rid of.

It pulls up real easily which is a definite plus.  The yard is also covered in Bugleweed.  I think it’s bugleweed.  It’s either that or catmint.  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.  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.  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.  I believe it to be False Virginia Creeper.  It definitely has little spiral grabbers and the characteristic 5 leaves.  I just hope it isn’t something bad like Poison Sumac but I don’t think that grows up here.  I’ll tear it out once I have a chance to get rid of that fence but I don’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 aren’t too interesting.  There are a couple strange ferns and some plants with carrot-y leaves that I’ve pulled here and there but nothing recognizable.  I’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.  It seems some neighborhood cat has adopted us.  I hope to get a peek at him sometime but so far, I haven’t seen any cats around.

I love all the nature in our little .15 acre lot.  So many birds and plants.  I’ve seen bluejays, bluebirds, a robin in her nest, lots of chickadees and of course the ugly grackles and the pigeons that we evicted.  I even saw a hawk grab a chickadee out of the tree next to the house!  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.  Maybe next summer I’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 won’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.  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.