Thursday, April 7, 2011

No Helecopters this Year & How Have You Gotten Rid of Voles?

Our son called last night, asking me to ask other garden bloggers and readers if they've had voles, and were able to get rid of them.  He said they've tried lots of things. They had gotten rid of a lot of them last year, and didn't have as many problems, but they are back in full force this spring.  Part of, and maybe most of the problem, is that they live on a circle, and the other neighbors around them don't seem to be doing anything about them.  He's thought of resorting to some kind of deal with poison peanuts in it, but is worried neighbor dogs or cats may eat them.  Please let me know if you've won the battle with voles.

After considering the estimates for getting the tree cut down, we ended up going with the company who gave the first estimate, which was the second to the highest.  They were willing to work with us to let us decide how much mulch we can use, once we see the amount, and are willing to cut some circles for us to use in paths.  They also said our yard will be cleaned up well, and won't be torn up.  The flower beds will be safe.

Tuesday, they said the work will be started in 3 to 4 days, depending on the weather.  They also said they will call the evening before they plan on coming.  It's been raining today, so I don't know when they will get to it.

It is hard for me to visualize what the property will look like with the tree gone.

One of my favorite views of the sky to photograph will soon be gone.

There will be no helicopters this year.  I guess I won't mind that, but the squirrels are losing one of their food sources.

Yesterday, we marked out where the underground sprinklers are for the tree crew.  One of Larry's brothers used to work for a company that sells and installs them, and he put this one in for their parents over 25 years ago.  When we use it, it's around 4 in the morning, and we don't see where the sprinkler heads are.  Larry had taken parts of the planter down, and I had started taking plants out the day before.

It didn't take long for birds to fly over to enjoy the brief shower.

Heidi likes to have Larry and I stand at different parts of the yard, and call her so she can run back and forth between us.  I usually go to different parts of the front yard, while Larry is by the driveway, and I frequently hide behind the tree.  We have fun going different directions around the tree.  She will miss it, too.

I watered in the plants I moved, but they were dry again last night.  I gave them a drink, and took their photos.   This yellow blooming columbine has lived under the tree for at least 10 years.  I hope it does OK in this spot.

I moved 2 clumps of lady's mantle.

I just planted this 'Jack Frost' Brunnera last year, and it was a bit of a splurge.  It looks like it will be OK.

I was most worried about moving the bleeding hearts.  One of Larry's brothers planted a couple under the tree for their dad.  The originals died, but I replaced them.  It would be hard to tell this one was even moved.

This is a white blooming bleeding heart.

This is the 3 or 4 foot tall coreopsis that was to the right of the garden window, up by the house.  I moved it to a better spot, near the fence, just around the corner.

There are some tall summer blooming yellow flowers in the corner of a curb on a street we drive on a lot that I have admired for years, and wasn't sure what they were.  I helped myself to some seeds from them last fall, but I don't know what happened to the napkin I put them in.  I decided I was going to be bold and go to the door to ask for  a start.  I stopped on my way home from work Tuesday.  At the duplex, one door had a big cardboard flower on it, and the other had a big snowflake.

I decided to ring the doorbell at the one with the flower.  No one answered, so I knocked on the other door.  No one answered there, either, so I wrote a note, and just as I was writing, asking for it to be given to the person who gardens there, a lady came out of the door with the snowflake.  She had just gotten home, and yes, she is the gardener.  I told her I had thought she would have been the one with the flower.  LOL

She was nice, of course, and took me to see her good sized back yard, offering other plants to me that I either already have, or don't have room for.  I gave her my information so she can come see if I have any plants she'd like to grow.

So, I am pleased to introduce what will be one of my new favorites this summer and fall.  I planted it about 12 feet from the Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne', where the coreopsis was.  I think I found its name in one of my books.  Rudbeckia 'Goldquelle' gets 4 to 5 feet tall, with a 3 foot spread.  It can be grown in zones 3 to 9.  How's that for a nice range?  My book says the flowers are good for cutting.  It can tolerate light shade.  I planted the 3 small clumps close so they would fill in fast and become one good sized clump.  I'm sure I'll be dividing it and sharing with others in the future.

Here are some more blooms from the day.  I just looked back and noticed I've shown most of these flowers recently, but since it's a new day and a new post, and there aren't many blooms yet, I decided to keep them in.

The new flowers above are in the area just to the left of the tub.  When they get tall, I may put the tub over them to support them a bit.  The 'Yellow Lady' Hellebore is near the butterfly stake.  The daffodils are more filled out now.

This hellebore in the front bed decided to look up a bit instead of facing the dirt.

I love hellebores!

Pansies are my friends.

Hyacinths are a welcome source of spring color.

I don't remember the names of my daffodils.  These bloom a touch later than the first ones, but there are others just starting to bud.

We had a nice spring rain today.  It is supposed to get into the 80s Saturday.  Spring is really here!

I am finishing this up, and going see what's going on in other gardens. I've been so busy outside, that I've gotten behind again.


  1. I hope all goes well with the tree removal. I also hope all of your moved plants do well. Way to go stopping to ask about the flower you admire. Sounds like you may have found a new gardening friend. I really like that pink pansy you photographed. Very pretty.

  2. Sorry about the tree. It will be a sad loss. But it will open up more avenues of planting with full sun.

  3. and by the way the helicopters are doing quite well here in south kansas, even after a hail storm.

  4. What pretty spring flowers. It is sad to think the tree will be gone soon. Just one tree affects on so many things than we usually realize, but you really put it into perspective. Good luck with the removal.

    As for the voles, glad your son prefers to stay away from the poisons. I've heard voles like to take up residence in old mole runs, where you can set traps for them.

  5. Sounds like you found a pretty good tree service to help you with the removal. It's hard to lose a tree, especially one that was such a big part of the yard.....but I'm sure you'll find something wonderful to do with the space.

  6. I, too, am going to miss your tree :( It adds so much character to your home and garden and now, with spring having arrived and everything greening up so beautifully, and all your glorious flowers beginning to explode from the earth, it seems to spread its calming aura across the whole scene. But, things have to make way in life for other things when time demands it...and I'm sure you have something beautiful in its place. Your garden is beginning to really come alive again...such a miraculous transformation you have each spring!

  7. We have some similar blooms.I had voles , but have a cat who brings them to me.

  8. It's so nice to see all the new life that spring offers!! I plan on doing some plant moving tomorrow. .and then a flower swap with a co-worker. .we both have a list of flowers that we would like from the others' yard. .I'm really excited about getting some different plants that way. .and also excited that I finally have enough success in my own garden that I can share too!! Have a GREAT spring weekend!

  9. Wow, that will really be something with the tree gone. Bittersweet I'm sure...

  10. Oh wow, it's finally going to happen isn't it? Think of all the amazing opportunities you are going to have in planting new things!

  11. Hi Sue, I don't know about voles--but some blogger once mentioned that cats would catch them... ????? Good Luck--I've heard they are a nuisance.

    Why are you taking that gorgeous tree down? Is is dead or sick? I love big shade trees--even with the helecopters and leaves to rake in the fall. We have LOTS of big trees in our yard...

    Love your home and yard... It looks a little like the home I grew up in in Virginia... I LOVED that home...

    Looks like you are going to have lots of gorgeous flowers this year... Glad you met a new 'gardening' friend. Keep on sharing them with us.

  12. I was wondering about the reason for removing the tree as well until I saw the picture with the roots partially exposed. We've had to have some storm-weakened trees removed over the years and it always makes me feel sad. Some we replaced, others we used the space in different ways.
    You'll find a lovely way to use that garden space, I am certain.

  13. Hello Sue,
    you posted some gorgeous pictures again and I enjoyed reading your post like always.
    I know how hard it is to make a decision of cutting such a beautiful tree down. We just today had to talk to our neighbor about a really big Pine tree right on the fence line in is his yard. That tree is leaning right over our house and shows a big and very weak looking spot about 30ft above the ground. You can tell, this big hole in the tree trunk where once a big branch was, is getting bigger and bigger. My neighbor of course doesn't know about that since they are hardly never out n their backyard at all. With the upcoming hurricane season and us never knowing if another hurricane like Ike might hit our area, this tree really scares me. If this tree might break in a storm, it definitely will cause big damage to our home.
    He seemed to understand our concerns and now we have to see if he really will take actions. Unfortunately we also know he is much more of a talker than him really taking care for things.
    Have a nice weekend
    Paula Jo

  14. Hi fellow bloggers,
    Thanks for your comments. The reason the tree has to come down is because when we were going to have the tree trimmed, they did an inspection, and found holes from past pruning that hadn't healed over, but had gotten bigger, and there was rotting wood in them. One in particular made a huge branch unsafe. Cutting just that branch wouldn't have stopped the other ones from rotting more, and would have made the tree unstable. The extension office said we would continue to have problems with the tree. Also, there are borers of some kind in it. Here's a link to the first post I did on it. There are several others in my "trees" link in the sidebar.

  15. I can't wait to see how things look without the tree. Kudos for going to the neighbor about the plant. Looks like you've made a gardening friend.

  16. I know it's traumatic losing the tree, but it does open up lots of possibilities for your garden. I hope all you transplants like their new locations and hope you get to visit with your gardening neighbor again.

  17. You might look into putting down some Milky Spore powder for those voles. The voles are tearing up the soil as they search for grubs. The Milky Spore kills off the grubs and voles go elsewhere. I used it in my yard in town and my yard was the only one last year that wasn't full of ruts from the underground tunnels. Previously they had even gotten into my raised beds, and they killed a lot of my plants. The stuff is expensive but lasts for several years before application is needed.

    Your yard is looking great, it will be gorgeous when everything is up and blooming!


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