Garden 2010, Phase I Complete

April 29th, the whole length

Last night we planted the prairie plants that were delivered last Friday and some of the plants that I started myself from seed.  Nothing is very tall yet, but I put the tall ones like big bluestem, compass plant and downy sunflower near the back and short plants like bottle gentian, phlox  and prairie dropseed near the front.   The “back” is actually about the middle of the garden because we plan on putting vegetables behind the tall plants closer to the house so they can’t be seen from the street.  We plan to grow roma tomatoes, Jimmy Nardello peppers, basil, beets, radishes and asparagus out there.  In the picture you can see some light-colored mulch which was also the packing material that came with the plants.  Behind them toward the house is a layer of newspaper covered with leaves.  That is where the vegetables will go.  In the foreground, there are some larger green clumps and those are the prairie plants that went in the last two springs.  Most prairie plants are pretty late starters.  Pasque flowers, however are already done and prairie smoke is currently blooming.

Prairie Smoke is blooming now

Things should go pretty fast from this point.  In a week or so, we can put in the tomatoes, basil  and peppers without worrying about freezing temperatures at night.  I’ll probably need to take pictures every week or two to keep up with the changes.

Right now the new plants are really small

The other thing that is related to what is going on in the front yard is that we have a pair of purple finches or house finches nesting in the wreath on the front of the house.  This is their second attempt this year.  Their first attempt, they had three eggs.  Then one egg disappeared, then another.  One egg stayed.  I don’t know if they figured out that the eggs weren’t viable or if a predator (it would have to have been another bird) got to the nest.  After an absence of a couple of weeks, they came back.  The first time I looked in the nest, I saw one of their eggs (possibly the old one) and a slightly larger whitish egg mottled with brown.  I know cowbirds lay their eggs in songbirds nest and leave it to the songbirds to do the incubating and the feeding of the baby birds.  If I were my mother, I would have tossed that egg out, so that the small birds wouldn’t need to feed a baby bird that will be larger than them in short order.  I’m not my mother so I’m going to let nature take its course.  Well, sort of.  I fear that tomorrow they will abandon the nest again.  Our roofing project got moved up a few weeks since they had a cancellation from another customer.  I can’t imagine the birds are going to be happy at all with the chaos of the tear-off and the noise of roofing.  Weather permitting, the project will take Friday, Monday and Tuesday.  If they abandon the nest again in the next few days, maybe they will try again in the next few weeks.  Last year, in the same nest, they raised their first nesting, but the second set of baby birds disappeared and never flew.  It’s a rough world out there for the songbirds.

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