Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Heavy Rain & a Tale of Two Trellises

We need to remember to buy a new rain gauge!  Our old one was broken and leaking, and we keep getting these monumental amounts of rain, with no way of knowing exactly how much we got.  Inches upon inches, Monday evening/night.  (Edit:  Donald reports that Grandpa and Mom both recorded over 8 inches!  That's a lot for one 24-hour period, even around here.  Donald brought home a new rain gauge, which is now in place, ready for the next deluge.)  The ground still squelches when you walk in some spots-- but we're lucky; we live in a place that drains pretty well.  No flooding.  Just some puddles and very saturated soil in low spots.  

After the rain pushed through, cold air followed, and temperatures plummeted down to near freezing, last night.  Possibly freezing in mid-April, down here, when you've planted vegetables and tender annuals?  Not fun.  We took the precaution of covering lots of things, which means not only covering them, but also uncovering them.  It seems like a lot of work to a lazybones like myself.  ;o)  But we did it.  As it turned out, we only got down to 34, just above freezing.  Could've saved ourselves the trouble.  Oh well.  Such is life! 

Photos of the very full pond:

The Pond Overfloweth

The Pond Overfloweth

The Pond Overfloweth

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When we were inspecting our raised beds yesterday afternoon-- (sprouting squash, zucchini, okra, beans, radishes, and Swiss chard!)--  we found a snake toward the end of the new bed-- actually in/on the raised bed!  Fortunately, it was a kingsnake, one of the good guys. (g)

Here he is heading toward the "forest".  (I guess he wasn't in the mood for company.)


I think this is the third snake we've seen this year.  There was a garter snake making repeated appearances in one area of the yard, a couple months ago, and then more recently I saw a plain black snake of some sort-- nonvenomous-- hanging out near the raised beds.

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I posted the "before" shot of a new trellis for the passionflower vine, a couple of entries ago.  Here it is with the vine on it:

Trellis for Passionflower

No blooms at the moment, but it looks happy enough.  I do wonder, though, if we shouldn't have woven it as high as possible... Reading about ivy-- (see next item)-- I've learned that if you try to make it grow vertically too quickly, it can get leggy, with all its leaves at the top.  You want to go slowly so that it fills in the bottom, too.  Of course, ivy and passionflower vine aren't remotely the same plant.

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Speaking of ivy... ;o)

Here's a "before" shot of the area where we put our second trellis:

Before Ivy Trellis

It's an ugly spot, with all those boxes and wires and pipes-- and it's right by the door we (and most other people) use 99% of the time.  I think most houses are planned so that these unattractive utility boxes aren't in plain sight, but the way our house was situated, this is just the way it worked out.

(Side note:  This photo highlights the need for some future improvements, such as painting the door, touching up the paint on the covered patio, and finally putting in a permanent step to replace the shabby-looking, make-do tripping-hazard that has been there "temporarily" since the house was built.)

I had the idea of putting a trellis over as much as possible of this mess (while still leaving access to the breaker box and the electric meter), so Donald planned one out, and we built and put it into place over the weekend.

Here it is with the ivy planted:

After Ivy Trellis

After Ivy Trellis

The path between the planter and the post of the patio cover isn't roomy, but it's not too bad.  We made the planter pretty narrow, and most of the time we'll be using the wide passage across from the door.

(The blue rope on the ground is where we've been planning out the placement of some new gravel pathways we're going to put down in this part of the yard.)

Of course, after building the trellis and planting the ivy, I decided to look it up online... So I had the pleasure of reading that (some people say) ivy doesn't adhere that well to vinyl.  (NO!  Our lattice is vinyl!!)  And then there were the people telling how terrible ivy is, period-- so destructive to brick.  (What if the ivy outsmarts me and gets onto the brick?  Our house is DOOMED!!) 

Well, it might do fine.  This isn't slick vinyl.  It's textured, and there are small holes so I can try to weave it back and forth to help keep it in place, too.  If it absolutely refuses, we could try it somewhere else (away from our precious brick) and try another plant on the trellis.

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