The county truck arrived early this morning to retrieve the curbside waste (hedge trimmings, branches, etc.) John assembled earlier this week when he pruned the Viburnum overhanging our garden bench.
I don’t usually prune shrubs at this time of year, but it was the shrub or us as the branches, heavily laden with blossoms, hung so low we couldn’t use the bench. As this particular Viburnum is a sterile variety (no berries), I asked John to prune it and told him to leave the Choke Cherry and Arrowwood Viburnum for later, after the birds had eaten their fruit. I also told him to leave the holly trees as Cardinals were nesting in them.
John removed the dead trunks from the Crepe Myrtle and the overgrowth of Arum lilies from the beds containing the new Skimmia shrubs. It’s nice to have someone to help me with the heavy stuff now that my granddaughters have left home.
I don’t put the larger pieces of plant material in my compost bins (I have four bins), but the county collects, shreds, and composts material gardeners leave along the curbs throughout the year. Even as I did years ago, enthusiastic younger neighbors apply the resulting mulch to lawns and garden beds.
I discovered the hard way, the county compost heap does not generate enough heat to kill the odd fungus or seed carelessly tossed into the debris. I am very careful to separate ‘weeds with seeds’ and diseased plant material from other plant debris. Thus I don’t worry about the heat generated in my compost bin.
Besides, I have four bins containing material in various stages of decomposition. At the end of year 1, I mix the oldest yard material (at least two years old) with the composted kitchen garbage (in a covered bin) and let it sit another year. I spread the mix in bin 4 on the perennial beds every fall. David has helped me in the past, but John will help me this fall.
I watched as the operator lowered a huge claw-like tool from the truck bed to the curb to scrape away the plant material, and caught a fleeting glance of something hopping across the driveway into my white peonies.
I figured it was a rabbit as we see them on our dog walks, so I stepped outside to chase him away. Suddenly a whole family of well-fed rabbits took off across the lawn for the neighbor’s yard. “Good, I thought to myself, let them eat Ada’s horrible yard.” They will be back of course. My plants are tastier than hers.
Last year David and I added more wren houses to the 3 we had. Walking around the yard, I noticed all of the new houses have tell-tale twigs escaping through their seams. I don’t know if I have 6 pairs of mating wrens, or one pair of hyper-wrens. I read in my bird magazine the same pair will build several nests. A few weeks ago, I watched a male wren fly from house to house calling to his lady-love, ‘Come here, come here, see what I have found.’ Now I hear wren warbles from all corners of the house. That is one energetic male or he has friends.
David has discovered birds late in life. The other day, he found a baby wren on the porch and opened the screen doors to let her out. She took one look at him and then walked out the open door before flying away. He was thrilled.
Wild City Rabbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I like House Wrens. They eat their weight in insects every day. When they have babies the insect population drops dramatically. Now if I could only get them to chase rabbits.