The Gardening

As you may remember, we had some (did I say “some”) work done on our garden two years ago, which left the slopes left and right to the stairs in shambles. The effort I’d made towards terracing the left hand side (seen from the garden) was undone. Last year we spent spring with building a small plateau on the right hand side where we want to put up a lamp, a project that got mostly postponed due to the fact that our friend couldn’t come over to help us due to Covid restrictions. Also, getting the area ready to put up a pool took several weeks, so all in all the gardening season was mostly cancelled.

This year, we’re working on the left hand side which is my vegetable garden. Terracing the slope means working with those nice planting stones and I must say, by now I’m pretty good at it. This is how the project looks right now:

View of a garden slope with red planting stones in rows

©Giliell, all rights reserved

You can see several things here. Number one, our ground is pretty sandy. One year I tried to plant carrots and they simply didn’t manage to grow downwards. the good thing is that it keeps moisture in the depth really well (although the surface quickly resembles the Sahara). I’ll put a layer of gardening soil on top for the young plants. The lowest terrace will be planted with chillis. The second terrace, which you can only guess from this pic is between stone rows 3 and 4. That will be for sweet peppers. the rectangular stones at the side are for flowers. We need to put them there so the side with our to be demolished one day garage doesn’t slide into the veggie patches, as there is little growth there. Now for the bigger problem:

View of a garden and a house with stairs separating two slopes

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The garden is actually a two way slope, being much higher on the left hand side than the right hand side. the perspective of the image is a bit misleading. The terraces created so far are 2/3 of the depth, but only half of the height. After the next two rows of stones we’ll run into a problem: the terrain grows wider, the stairs turn to the right, creating a triangle that sits much lower than the left hand side, which is causing us a lot of headache. Our current idea is to keep the terraces six planting stones wide, and to create a drystone wall in that nasty triangle. If you have a better one, feel free to tell me. While it all looks pretty gloomy right now, it will be wonderful and a habitat for many little critters once we’re finished and the planting has begun. On the right you can see last year’s project. That side will remain “wild”, although I always throw flower seeds there because otherwise I#m ending up with a monoculture of goldenrod.

Speaking about critters: The wild bees are alternately very happy with us and very upset. Each time we move some earth they go “ohhhhhhh, loose earth, let’s go burrowing”, only for us to destroy it again. They still got the entire right hand side where whatever loose earth we put here stays put. Here’s an ashy mining bee for you:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And, last, but not least, some of the residents to be. Sadly we’re having a really cold spell with solid frost overnight, which doesn’t allow to plant even the more robust plants outside, so my windowsills are being overgrown…

©Giliell, all rights reserved Butternut squash, already showing flower buds

©Giliell, all rights reserved Nasturtiums and sunflowers

©Giliell, all rights reserved Hokaido squash, Mexican Honey tomatoes, orange cocktail tomatoes, and on the left some sweet peppers

I also keep carrying some plants outside in the morning and inside at night. Hopefully we’ll have left the worst of the cold behind us, but it’s supposed to stay grey and cool throughout the next week.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

The Monarch butterflies have started their migration to California and Mexico, and in the last few weeks, Jack and I have seen quite a few of them. The journey is quite an undertaking, and no individual butterfly makes the entire round trip. According to Migration Joint Venture, it requires 4 generations to complete the cycle. Whereas during the summer months, the Monarchs live for 2 to 6 weeks, when they migrate, they can live up to 9 months. Once the migration begins, the butterflies enter diapause (do not reproduce) as they head south to overwintering grounds where they have never been. They will never see this home again. I think it’s a fascinating and poignant life cycle, and I’m always well pleased when I see one of these small, beautiful creatures that traverse the continent on instinct.

Can You Identify this Bug?

Avalus has sent in some pictures he’s taken on one of his many walks. The first two photos are likely a potato bug, but the red and black bug is a mystery. Can you help? As always, you can click the photos for full-size.

Probably a potato bug ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

Probable potato bug ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

A freaky bug ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

A Small Collection of Winged Things

More fabulous photos from Avalus.

First two different hoverflies, then a wasp, cleaning herself, then an older bee, a different kind of bee, and a damselfly.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

Mushroom Hunt Pictures – A Bumblebee

I find it interesting that not only is the pollen on this flower pink, but that also the bumblebee apparently collected enough of it to have pink pollen sacks on her legs.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.