Gravel Mulch Muchas Gracias

pansies

Pansies

Last fall I planted purple pansies along the deck, then interspersed bulbs in between. What beautiful planters we would have come spring.

Then the squirrels dug them up. One by one, over a couple of days, they unearthed the hidden gems. Normally I add a layer of organic mulch, but in my never-ending quest to discourage snacking squirrels, I covered at least half of the pots with rough pea-gravel. I used what I had on hand, left over from a summer project.

It was a good, though unintended experiment.Those rascally squirrels dug up all the bulbs in the soft mulch pots, but left the ones under gravel untouched.

I bought more bulbs, a lot more gravel, and replanted with help from the eager day-care kiddos next door.  It worked!

Emerging bulbs

Emerging bulbs

At least half a dozen bulbs broke ground this week.  I see tiny shoots pushing up between the pansies. Muchas gracias, gravel mulch

Gardening Nirvana and gravel mulch, 1.  Squirrels, 7,364.  It’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re so darn cute.

Butterfly Sips from the Nectar Bar

I spotted this little lovely on the pansies this morning as I was sweeping the walkway. What a striking contrast against the purple flowers.

Initially, I thought it was a moth, but upon reading, it has the characteristics of a butterfly.  I’ve seen butterflies alight before, but this is the first time I saw one drink nectar from the flower.  How charming!

It’s a pleasure sweeping and raking pine needles after a storm, at least until the blisters form. Everything smells of nature’s musk.  There is nothing quite like it.  Do you think my little visitor agrees?
Orange butterfly

Orange butterfly on pansy

closed wings

PJ’s Nectar Bar at The PyjamaGardener

Blooming Thursday: Global Gardeners

pansies

Pansies

As many of my readers put their gardens to bed for the winter, I stopped by a local garden center for some annuals.  It’s easy taking our moderate California weather for granted having lived here so long. I do remember the frigid winter days in Ontario, Canada, but as a child, not an adult.

I enjoy reading gardening adventures from around the globe. It’s enriching. My friends in the Southern Hemisphere are busy planning spring gardens. To the far north, snow is already falling, and seasonal clean-up is under way.  In the warmer climates, things are fuzzier around the edges, but the four seasons prevail.

In gardens everywhere, nature and nurture duke it out.  Tiny little seeds arrive with imbedded DNA.  Tuck one under some healthy soil, add water and sun and the seed will take it from there.

Sometimes, it is that simple. Often, it’s not. Birds vie for those seeds while small critters eat the seedlings. Insects take a bite out of leaves or host on tender stems.  This can kill a young plant before it gets a foothold on life. Mold, fungus or unwanted pesticides from a neighbor’s yard can wreak havoc on a garden life.

Yet year after year, we gardeners garden. Like the tiny seed, we too have our own gardening DNA. I know gardening is in my genes.  How about you?

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

Halloween Countdown

The letter B pumpkin

Today’s pumpkin is brought to you by the letter “B”