Routine patrol

While this doesn’t happen daily, I frequently do a patrol of the sprawling acreage of Walkabout Estates to see how things are coming along (as well as watering all the ‘tended’ plants, which can take some time anymore.) It’s not the best of ideas to ‘watch plants grow,’ really, because they’re better off being seen at least a week apart, but it’s necessary to know what might need tending.

potted hydrangea
I think this is an ‘Early Rosa’ variety of hydrangea, but whatever – it’s The Girlfriend’s, and it got an early start in the greenhouse so it’s positively bursting now. It’s potted, and staying on the back deck to keep it away from the deer, who completely stripped another hydrangea that we had out front – we thought fatally, but it appears to be bouncing back now, and gets regular treatment with the deer repellent.

[By the way, we use recipe #2 here, because it was the only one that wouldn’t spoil immediately, and boy howdy does it work – I mixed a batch middle of last summer and it protected countless plants. The deer will try a few leaves and realize it tastes wretched, then mostly ignore it for the rest of the year, though we reapply after heavy rains. One batch lasts a while, and I only dilute it into a spray bottle as needed.]

The hydrangea flowers are looking vibrant.

closer look at 'Early Rosa' hydrangea flowers
I prefer blues over pinks and reds, but this is fine, and variety is necessary.

Nearby, the hosta is taking over.

hosta forming backdrop for lawn ornament
Formerly planted, I had to pull out two of these plants to open up the fence for the shed to come in, and they remained in pots and thrived, so we left them there. Despite not being in the greenhouse, they got an early start themselves and both now spread like a meter wide, forming a nice backdrop for one of the lawn decorations – you know I was pushing for a heron/egret.

empty greenhouse shelves
The greenhouse sits almost forlornly, only housing a trio of starter pots to keep them away from the squirrels – everything else is out now, and most of it transplanted into the yards.

potted basil plants starting to recover
The basil plants out front struggled with both a cold snap and a slug attack, but appear to be bouncing back now, which is great because both The Girlfriend and I love basil. A large number of seeds are also planted in pots and making their start now. I miss the soil at the old place, which produced a forest of basil and allowed us to make our own pesto one year (which came out great!)

oak-leaf hydrangea hydrangea quercifolia showing flowers
Finally, we have two oak-leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) in the yard, which you’ve seen before, and they’re blooming out nicely now. This one in The Jungle is spreading madly and healthily, but the one along the front walk needs to be shaped, and that can take place after these flowers fade. The flowers aren’t anywhere near as pretty as the Early Rosa up there, but the leaves turn gorgeous colors in the fall, not to mention the bushes get several times the size, so we’re good.

And, uh, you did notice that there’s a critter in every photo, right? That’s the other thing that I’m patrolling for, and will give you an idea what I find. All of these really came from just today, and just the yard, though with a little more time I’d probably achieve more variety.

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