A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Garden Growth

Not only do we have our garden growing like gangbusters, thanks or no thanks to all the rain we’ve had this summer, but we also have a baby robin who looks ready to leave the nest very soon.

We’re not sure what happened to the other two eggs, but there always seemed to only be one that hatched. Here he/she was three days ago:

And now this morning, looking much fluffier, standing on the edge of the nest while mom was out foraging for breakfast:

Elsewhere, in the vegetable garden, the tomatoes are starting to get bigger and the basil is HUGE. I really have to pull those today and get going on making pesto. I’ll also chop up the leaves and freeze them in ice cube trays for pre-measured cubes of fresh basil to use all winter long in soups and stews.

In the backyard, between the house and garage, the Elderberry bush has flopped a little and hides the variegated dogwood bushes, but it also does a good job of hiding the expanse of vinyl siding on the garage.

On the trellises in front of the AC units, the vine on the right is definitely a much slower grower than the other. The one on the left is Virgin’s Bower (Clematis virginiana) and the one on the right is Leather Flower (Clematis pitcheri). Both nice, but since I want to hide the AC unit more, we may have to add something else on the right.

In the side yard, between the patio and vegetable garden/alley, we planted a bunch more native plants and most of them have done a decent job of catching up with the established plants, which we either transplanted from the old house or planted our first year here.

I planted some quick-growing but usually short-lived black-eyed Susans (on the left) while the other plants get more established. There’s one plant that I bought by mistake. I may get rid of that one, whatever it is, but some of the others are Stiff Goldenrod, Wild Quinine, Purple Love Grass, and Rough Blazing Star. The ones surrounded by fencing are Pale Blue Aster—the bunnies obviously love the taste of those.

Another view looking toward the back yard from the neighbor’s side.

The birdhouse my grandfather built is housing more sparrows. We really need to decrease the diameter of the opening to try and attract smaller, more desirable birds to nest there, like the Black-capped Chickadee, which can fit into a 1-1/8″ hole, or the Downy Woodpecker with a 1-1/4″ hole.

Of the established plants, we have Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), the ubiquitous Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and several grasses such as Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium).

Here we see the same bunch of flowers but looking toward the alley.

The Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) is about 9 feet tall. It’s in full bloom right now, which makes it very top heavy and makes a great backdrop even though it can get out of hand. I had to cut a bunch of it back and tie the branches together because it was really splaying out. It’s definitely keeping the bumblebees busy though, and we’re getting frequent visitors like Monarchs and the Swallowtail shown in the photo below.

If this weather would just get a little bit cooler, I’d spend more time tending the garden. If the heat and humidity keep going like this, the garden is going to get even more out of hand, but I’ll be too hot to care.

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