Category Archives: Delaware Ohio

Articles about Delaware Ohio

The birds need your help

The past few days the birds have been emptying my feeders on a daily basis. I’ve noticed some new visitors such as the Juncos and another long curved-bill bird that I haven’t identified yet*. The upcoming week is predicting more snow and single-digit temps. Make sure you keep your feeders filled and brush off the snow or chip away the ice, so they can get at the food. That is a little challenging given our frequent snows.

The front-yard feeder below is filled with Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess Mix – a more expensive food, hence why it’s in a smaller feeder with a tray to capture the spills. It contains shelled sunflowers, white millet and peanuts. All types of birds LOVE it – finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, cardinals, doves and the Juncos and titmice when they stop by. Since there’s no corn in it, the starlings leave it alone. I also have a suet cage in a nearby tree for the woodpeckers. I bought a seed wreath but it’s not working out because it got soaked with rain and it seems it must be hard for the birds to get the seed out.

birdfeeder

The backyard wooden feeder below simply contains oilers. The hanging feeder contains thistle for the finches. I have a second finch feeder in another part of the backyard, plus another hanging suet feeder. In addition to the finches, doves also like the thistle seed and will clean up any spilled seed on the ground.

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These photos are a little “fuzzy” because I must take them through an inside window to prevent scaring the birds away. I really enjoy having the birds around and have planted certain plants for them. They especially like a pyracantha for protection and it is usually filled with 20-30 birds when they take time out for resting. Its thorns prevent the occasional stray cats from bothering them.

If you would like to start feeding birds, I strongly suggest visiting Wild Birds Unlimited to get quality seed and a good feeder. The seed you find at discount stores or groceries contains seed types that birds don’t eat (like red millet) so you’re wasting your money and it makes a mess under the feeder. Why pay for seed that doesn’t get eaten? I also recommend avoiding any seed mix that has corn as those mixes will attract starlings. As for a good feeder, definitely choose one that’s easy to get the lid off and filled when the temp is 10° and fingers are cold. Plastic feeders can crack when frozen. I hope you enjoy watching the birds as much as I do.

* The unknown bird is a Carolina Wren

An Update On Chinch Bug Lawn Repair

In September I wrote about the chinch bug damage that I had in my lawn. The critters did a lot of damage throughout my neighborhood. As they suck out the juices of the grass plant, they inject a toxin that kills the plant so if the damage is to large areas, re-seeding is required. Some neighbors had their entire front lawn demolished.

I hired Terra Horticulture* to aerate the lawn prior to the final September weed & feed application from Scotts Lawn Service. I seeded the areas that were “larger than a dinner plate” knowing that the areas smaller than that would eventually fill in with the bluegrass rhizomes. Then in mid-October I applied Scotts® Green Max which contains iron to give an extra green boost to the grass.

Here’s a “before & after” photo of a section of the back yard that was damaged.

Chinch Bug Repair

This section of the front lawn didn’t sustain as much damage, but it has responded nicely to the Green Max fertilizer. These photos were taken about a month ago.
Front lawn fall 2012

With the continued rains during November and frequent leaf raking, my lawn is now going into winter looking really good considering how bad it looked in August.

* Later I also had Terra edge the beds, prune the ornamental grasses and add mulch. Let THEM do the back-breaking work!

Read Update: Spring update

Nasty Critters – Chinchbugs

Many homeowners in southern Delaware County had spotty-looking lawns this summer. The very hot, dry weather was perfect for the chinch bugs to come out. They quietly chewed away while we were thinking the lawn just needed rain. Well the rains came and we ended up with polka-dot lawns.

I use Scotts Lawn Service so when they came out for a treatment, I asked the technician what my problem was. CHINCH BUGS! I had not had an insect treatment done due to low-rider Murph. Don’t want him exposed to the insecticide if I can prevent it. So now I have to repair all the dead grass in my lawn.

I have “connections” at Terra Horticulture, so they aerated my lawn. (See my daughter)

I applied fertilizer on Sunday, and will be sowing the grass seed soon when we’re to have some rain so I can avoid a high water bill. I used Scotts® Green Max based on the suggestion of a Scotts friend. We’ll see if his suggestion works. I’ll post pix when all this works and my lawn is a gorgeous dark green.

Read Updates:

An Update On My Landscaping Renovation

It’s been a year since I hired Outdoor Makeovers to redo the front and east side of my home.  The plants are growing nicely … except for the one that the chipmunk is ruining no matter how many times I refill the hole.

The only part of my lawn remaining to be landscaped is the immediate area along the back of my home. I plan to add a deck at some point, but wanted to do the landscaping first so that when I added the deck, I would already have privacy. Once a deck is added, then I’ll work on the section along the house.

My overall plan has had certain objectives:

  • Plants that appeal to birds, butterflies, bees and offer food, nesting cover or hiding safety.
  • Contrast colors of magenta and yellow-green.
  • Easy maintenance.

Fall or Winter Berries: Cotoneaster; Pyracantha; Callary Pear; Spice Viburnum; Leatherleaf Viburnum.

Bees: Autumn Joy Sedum; Purple Salvia.

Thicket for cover: Cotoneaster; Pyracantha; Barberry (pygmy & full size); Norway Spruce.

Interesting/unique plants: Vanhoutte Spirea; Dappled Willow; Pieris Japonica; St John’s Wort.

Remember, if you buy a home without any landscaping, I suggest adding it prior to spending on other major projects. That way, the plants can be increasing in size – and value – while you live in the home.

Over the time I’ve been working on my home, I have spent “around” $10,000. (If you are young with a strong back, you can do the work more inexpensively yourself.) That amount equals only about 5% of the price my home would sell for, so a home without landscaping, can easily need to reduce the price by more than that if buyers prefer privacy. Landscaping is likely the one upgrade you can make to your home that will return 100% of its value.

As an aside, I attended a large neighborhood party recently. While we don’t always know exactly where the people live, we often recognize them by the dogs they walk. During the evening, a lady asked me which home I lived in. When I described which one, she said, “Oh, you live in the home with the landscaping.”

It’s nice to be memorable. 🙂

Spring Landscaping Ideas

pierus japonicusIf you’re making some landscape plans this spring and would like an interesting plant, I recommend the “Lily of the Valley” shrub (Pieris japonica). It’s colorful year-round and is ever-changing its colors. New leaves are burgundy and contrast nicely with the light-green older leaves. Year round it has flower fronds that resemble lily-of-the-valley flowers.

The plant in the photo is near my front door so it’s easily seen. The way it looks now is pretty much the way it looked all winter long – although our winter was very mild. If you click on the above botanical name link, you can read more details on Monrovia’s website.

Spice ViburnumOther plants that I’m really enjoying – and also in the front yard near the sidewalk – are Spice Viburnums. The flowers have been open a few days now but they’ll soon go away. As the name indicates, the flowers are a very spicy fragrance, similar to a hyacinth. I recommend putting the plants where you will be able to enjoy the fragrance. Around a patio would be perfect, since the shrubs also provide a nice screen.

Eventually small berries appear where the flowers were, but the birds will soon clean them off the branches. I have a bird feeder nearby, so the birds love to use these shrubs as quick cover because they’re so dense. The shrubs in the photo are about 4-ft tall and are several years old – so they’re slow growers. A word of caution … rabbits like to eat the lower leaves and will stand on their hind legs to do so!

There are several varieties of viburnums but the flowers on other types aren’t as fragrant. I have three leather-leaf viburnums in the backyard for high screening. They’re much larger plants and faster growing, but the flowers aren’t very fragrant. The berries are larger and the birds REALLY like them. The rabbits eat the bottom leaves on those plants as well. Wascally Wabbits!

Happy Thanksgiving to your family

thanksgivingThis is Thanksgiving Week AND it’s OSU-Mich week. If you’re in to shopping, it’s also Black Friday week. Since I’m one of those people who hate shopping, there is NO WAY I would ever go to a store on Friday.

My family has reached the point where we must coordinate Thanksgiving dinners around other grandmas, other in-laws and other “might-be-in-laws-someday”. Bottom line, this year dinner is at my house on Saturday – the day of THE GAME.

This week will be spent getting everything ready … cleaning and planning groceries. My cupboards and fridge are mostly empty throughout the year because I nuke my food. That means I must buy fresh stuff like flour, brown sugar and spices. My girls always check the expiration date because they know I don’t cook or bake anymore.

We don’t do turkey, but prefer a ham from City BBQ. They are so good, we inhale the whole thing. I am also charged with fixing scalloped oysters for my sons-in-law and myself. One of my sons-in-law is a great baker of pies (as well as a great BBQ cook) so his job is to fix a pecan pie or two. My daughters will be fixing the salads, candied yams, and of course, green bean casserole. Naturally there will be other snacks and goodies as well. Hasn’t it been estimated that at the typical Thanksgiving dinner,  people eat between 3,000-5,000 calories?

I’m sure this year the Thanksgiving prayer will include thankfulness that we have jobs, have roofs over our heads, food on the table and that we’re all healthy. Yes, like others, we have recent college grads that aren’t working in their profession and we have others that are working two jobs to pay all the bills, but so far we’re OK, and I’m thankful for that. The main thing is that we have each other. I hope your family can enjoy the holiday.