Checkerboard patio

June is almost over and the checkerboard patio is finished, except for waiting for the grass seed to grow between the pavers next to the house––and maybe find a couple of great Adirondack chairs to put there?

We are thoroughly enjoying the rosebushes the former owners planted all around the house. We transplanted two of them and they are doing well, sprouting new growth and even a few buds. We hope to create a little rose garden at one corner of the house near the checkerboard patio so will probably be transplanting more roses this fall.

Moving the "nest"

We moved the hanging begonia, the one our mourning doves nested in, to the corner of the shade garden in the backyard. We'd read that doves might lay as many as four clutches of eggs in the course of a summer and we didn't want to sacrifice that begonia completely, but we knew it would be a temptation to the doves if we left it where it was on the front porch. So we transplanted it into the ground and it's revived wonderfully and provides a bright spot of color in the still quite empty shade garden.


We planted caladium bulbs under the deck stairs in the shade garden and it's so exciting to watch them come up and unfurl! I've always been a fan of caladiums, but never had a shady enough spot to plant them. We paid a little bit of nothing for 8 tubers at Walmart, and I'm just sure at least 10 or 11 plants have popped up and more seem to be coming. I can't wait till they fill this space beneath the steps.

Empty nesters again

Our little doves chose today to fly the nest so we've been watching that drama. We've loved the whole experience of "raising" doves! I looked out my office window and saw Mama and Papa sitting on the sidewalk in the same place we first saw them "courting." I knew something must be up! 
One baby was already out of the nest "off to college." This little one's been experimenting, by standing on the edge of the planter wire, peering over the edge while Mama and Papa sit close by on guard.
Here's the family of three. When I came outside with the camera, Papa flew off to distract me, Mama stayed until I got too close.
Then she flew off too and left the little guy alone. But when I got closer, off he flew too! Not very high or very gracefully, but he flew!
Now if we can just get the last one out on his own, we can water and fertilize the begonia and get on with our summer! 

Newest yard projects in process

While we wait on roofers and painters and window guys to repair the damage done by the storm May 19, we've found a few projects to do that won't get torn up by the workers. We enlarged the mulch area under the Bradford pear (you can still see how shredded the leaves are on the west side in the photo above) and moved the bird bath closer to the bird feeder. We've become real birdwatchers and bird lovers. And though we can't afford to let the squirrels drain the feeder dry every day like they've been doing, the little boogers sure are fun to watch!
We got the inspiration to do a checkerboard patio and the more we work on it, the more we love the idea! Looks great and uses half the tiles, plus you can mow right over it. Right now we have three tiles sunk in and about 42 to go. Might take all summer. :)

Update June 7, 2013:


 The honeysuckle that's growing on one of the deck supports is in luscious bloom and we're enjoying it's beauty and fragrance. This variety isn't quite as fragrant as the pink honeysuckle we had growing on the fence in the prairie garden, but it's lovely to look at.

Fly away, fly away, fly away home

Our little doves are growing quickly, and are fully (and beautifully) feathered now, so I expect it won't be long before we discover they've flown the nest. I've been reading up on doves and it sounds like it may be Papa I've photographed most, since doves mate and care for their young together. Some websites said it's the male dove who sits the nest most of the day, then the female takes over at night. It's been a delightful experience.


Weigela is a new plant for us, but we're sure enjoying it and it's blooming like mad at the end of May.
It's so pretty to bring inside for a bouquet on the fireplace. Since our weigela bush is planted on the east side of the house where we have no view out, we're enjoying it more inside than out.
It's a nice accent to mix in with a few roses, too.