Wednesday, May 6, 2015

State of Our Yard Address

Yesterday after school, the kids and I arrived home to find our front porch was the scene of a terrible crime.

At first glance, it appeared that the Command hook I'd attached to the siding for the purposes of hanging a Christmas decoration had finally given up the ghost.  I was really pretty impressed; that thing had endured major temperature fluctuations, including winter temps well below zero, along with wind, snow, and rain, when I really hadn't known if it would stick at all, as the pictures on the product package showed a pampered indoor life of holding up umbrellas and cleaning supplies.

All this to say, I was not surprised to find that six months later, the thing had finally given out.

Upon closer inspection, however, all was not well here.

I actually gasped when I saw this.  Let's just say my life is not abounding in drama and variety.

But look!

We have four survivors!

We'd all noticed increased avian activity on our front porch this spring, especially in the vicinity of the wreath hung by the front door, but I had assumed the birds were using the faux yellow berries to liven up their nests.  I'd never thought to look on top for a nest!  (Nor would I have been tall enough to see it up there- but I could have asked Derek to check.)

So here's my question:  Do we leave the nest where it is, perched atop the fallen wreath?  Do we try to position it in the tree a mere twenty feet away, in front of the porch?

These branches are the usual home of nests.

Or is it too late, all folly, folly, folly at this point- that mother bird is gone forever and her eggs are doomed?  (I am only passing on the language of our daughter, here; she became instantly invested in the fates of those probably dead baby birds.)

In other outdoor news, the last of my tulips are still going strong.

These are new this year, and when they first bloomed I couldn't figure out why the heck I'd planted them; they were a creamy yellowish color at first with the tiniest bit of purple, and not all that pretty, but the longer they bloom the more lovely their colors become.  I took these pics at least a week ago; now they're more purple with white streaks, and they're one of the longest lasting tulips I've had this year, right after my Royal Jubilee tulips:

Yes, I've shown you photos of these already this year, but they're still going strong weeks after first blooming, with the more orangey tulips becoming more pink every day.  

All the tulips were more successful than my crocus bulbs I planted last fall:

Do you see what I see?  Because what I see is ZERO BLOOMS.  The nice variegated leaves came up, but no flowers.  I'm wondering if this is related to my daffodil problem; I have right around a dozen narcissus plantings around our yard, and got one single sad daffodil this year.  I think our soil is too high in nitrogen, and need to figure out what to do about that, but I'm also going to move these crocuses to a sunnier location, because the level of angst I felt at ZERO CROCUS BLOOMS was just the tiniest bit outrageous.  

Thankfully my variegated Solomon's Seal didn't let me down this year:

I planted it two years ago as a Mother's Day gift to myself, and it began as a single, arching branch, and stayed that way all last year, too.  This year it's finally begun to naturalize and spread, even displaying these little white bell blooms.

Along with the columbine, it's providing some welcome height and variation to the bed of snow-on-the-mountain that surrounds our giant pine.  

And finally, lest I give you the idea that all is green and flourishing in an Iowa spring, here are the rain lily and Boston fern I carted out of the basement yesterday:

They're looking a little worse for wear, because Iowa winters are harsh, indoors or out.  I'm hoping the spring air will perform some kind of magical rejuvenating powers on them.  A 10-day forecast featuring rain every bloody day probably won't hurt, either.


  1. First, do you have two cowbird eggs in that nest? Are you familiar with them? If not, read this link: I don't know if you should leave or move the nest. That's a hard call.

    I have a bunch of daffodils in my front bed that sent up green but no buds either --I didn't know that could be the result of too much nitrogen. I think I need to work on fertilizing that bed. I love the bi-colored tulips :-)

  2. I agree with Cassi--those look like cowbird eggs. I don't know what is best to do either, but I do hope you'll keep us updated.

  3. I need tulip help. (Ha! Autocorrect or in this case auto add inserted bad at the end of that first sentence.) I want them. I have never planted them therefore I still want them. I'll trade you tulip bulb planting for something- maybe a 5k, 10k or some other k. Lemmeknow. Yours are lovely.

  4. I have tulip envy. Yours are so beautiful!

    I have no advice whatsoever on the bird's nest. It does look like two of the eggs are a different color than the other two.

  5. Does Derek fill like he is living in a jungle


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