A Nerd In The Garden: Weeding, Iris and More Math (Math Is Fun)

Iris Saved

Weeding and building in the upper left corner

Weeding and building in the upper left corner

In previous blog posts I’ve mentioned that the verge on the side of the driveway is fairly large. This week I did a rough measurement of it’s area and it’s approximately 400 square feet. This was a fairly easy calculation that follows a well known formula. My driveway is approximately 40 feet long and the verge is approximately 10 feet wide. 40 X 10 = 400. Your units are feet and feet X feet = Square Feet. Putting it all together: 40 ft X 10 ft = 400 sq ft.

Before weeding 11/7/15

Before weeding 11/7/15

There’s about 60 sq ft up by the garage that I have not included in this measurement. There are two reasons for that. 1) the utilities are there and I don’t want to damage or block them. 2) Due to the layout that area gets very little sun so not a lot of plants will grow there. With these two things being the case I’ve decided to wait on that bit and see if I get inspired. Also I cleaned that up once earlier this year and mulched a good part of it. It should just need some follow up and maintenance.

After weeding 11/7/15

After weeding 11/7/15

This week I weeded around a 10 ft square space. My neighbor offered to let me use a tool to make the weeding easier but I chose to do it by hand. Not because I love backbreaking work but because I know there are some gorgeous Iris languishing in that part of the bed and I wanted to salvage what I could of them. The Iris have been overgrown for so many years that I didn’t expect too many of them to even have survived.

So far it is looking very good for the Iris. I’ve found quite a few rhizomes that had growth on them and could be saved and replanted. This will save a ton of money since I can plant them in areas where there aren’t currently flowers.

Iris Saved

Iris Saved

My goal is to clear the area along the east side of the flower bed and plant the Crocosima there. The neighbors like the idea of some kind of screen between us and the sword shaped leaves of the Crocosima get to be around 4.5 ft tall. In front of them I want to put the blue Dutch Iris I ordered and some bearded Iris. There is enough room in that bed with 10 feet on the cross section to put some shorter flowers in front of those without crowding them.

I want to keep the Crocosima because the hummingbirds love them and I love seeing the hummingbirds. Also they naturalize beautifully. The Crocosima also give the garden a bright spot of color that lasts long after the spring tulips have faded.

You might wonder about that cardboard that is down on the ground there. It’s a very good mulch and weed barrier. It’s cheap since you can use boxes you already have, rather than throwing them away and it cuts down on the grass and weeds that grow back. It also biodegrades. Right now it is protecting the bare soil from erosion due to the rain and from bad compression as I walk on it. Once I have the area planted I’ll put down the hazelnut shell mulch that I like but for now cardboard boxes work great.

It started raining so I didn’t get a picture but I scraped the mud off of some more bricks on the pathway on the west side of the house. I’ll need one of the border bricks I bought cut because I need a piece of one in two places. I called my local Home Depot and they didn’t have the equipment to cut concrete. I’ll have to see if my neighbor has something. Otherwise I may have to buy a different kind of border brick that is the size I need for the two spaces.

Next week I plan to do the other side of the walkway border and finish cleaning up the raised bed garden out back. Today I pulled the last of the tomato plants and put them in the compost bin. I need to rake the beds, do a final weeding and put landscaping fabric over them. Then they can rest for the rest of the winter.

Lastly this weekend I scraped some of the weeds out from the expansion joints in the driveway. There is a lot of work to do there and it is hard work. Like the large flower bed, I’m tackling it a little bit at a time. There is a lot to do, it’s true, but chipping away at it a little bit at a time will see it all done. And I still have time to get some writing done. K.

Weeds in expansion joints

Weeds in expansion joints

Scraped out of the joints with a tool

Scraped out of the joints with a tool

Of Gardening, Bettas, Mystery Snails and Monsters

Gipsy in the coral decoration

Gipsy in the coral decoration

This summer I let my garden lay fallow, which is code for not doing anything with it. My Gunnera was killed in a late freeze in the spring and I never got around to replanting. Work kept me so busy I didn’t get to my garden and after a while the weeds took over.

Fear not! This December we are going to have the trees pruned and then I will prepare my garden for the spring. I am going to plant another Gunnera or two and watch carefully for unseasonal freezes so that they don’t die.

Despite my neglect, the hummingbirds returned and enjoyed the flowers. They nested in the same tree, much to my delight. Next year I will plant even more flowers for them to enjoy.

Degarla, a golden mystery snail, center and Gipsy.

Degarla, a golden mystery snail, center and Gipsy.

I got a Betta this fall to shower with my repressed pet love. I can’t have a cat due to severe allergies. So I now have the most spoilt crown tail Betta on the planet. I named him Gipsy Danger (don’t judge me). I also got two mystery snails to keep Gipsy company and clean the tank. Degarla (named after the monster in The Rebirth of Mothra) is a golden mystery snail and Ebriah (Horror of the Deep: from Godzilla vs Ebriah (the sea monster)) is blue. Again, don’t judge me.

I had no idea that fish had personalities. Gipsy dances for me when he sees me and he breaches to eat bits of thawed pea off my fingers. I found, via the power of Google, that giving a Betta a bit of pea once a week helps keep their little digestive tracts healthy, plus Gipsy loves it.

Gipsy

Gipsy

Also, when naming mystery snails after giant monsters it seems that they take that kind of thing seriously. Degarla has doubled in size since I got him (or her, I can’t tell). Ebriah is taking a bit longer to get huge but is working on it. Everything I read about them said they need supplemental food to be healthy so I picked up some alge discs and give them one per day.

I was appalled by how hungry Ebriah seemed to be when I got him (or her) home. She (or he) ate a whole one by herself. Also Degarla loves to be inside the coral cave decoration I got for them during the day. I took it out to clean it and Degarla tried desperately do dig under some rocks for the day. Gipsy also loves the coral cave decoration. He likes to pretend he’s a moray eel. Ok maybe not but I imagine he might be pretending that when he hides in there and only pokes his little head out. It doesn’t help that he likes to pop the snails off the glass and watch them fall to the bottom of the tank.

Ebriah, a blue mystery snail, playing in the plant.

Ebriah, a blue mystery snail, playing in the plant.

Gipsy takes his name to heart too. He’s kind of a jerk to the monster named snails. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to name my Betta after a giant Kaiju hunting Jaeger and then name my snails after Kaiju.

Speaking of Kaiju, my review of Godzilla Cataclysm Issue #4 will be published on Fangirlnation. Look for it there. Rest assured I will provide a link. I’m also reading the graphic novel of Godzilla The Half Century War. I’m about a quarter of a century into it. K.

In The Flesh, Hummingbirds In My Garden and The Geek Girl Project

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

Since we’re getting a lot of new traffic and I’d like to keep people updated. I wrote a science fiction novel called In The Flesh. No zombies I’m afraid but I think you’ll find that the title is appropriate nevertheless. It’s available on Amazon, Kobo for the Droid, and Barnes and Noble for the Nook as well as on iTunes (my apologies but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to link the iTunes page to this blog).

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

Mankind’s ancient curse has ravaged the world and even crept to the very doorstep of The Temple of The Three Waterfalls. Generations-old treaties have spared the temple and those who call it home. Evadne, only daughter of the Holy Sybil, is content to remain hidden away in the remote mountain temple and study her craft.
But things are changing in the outside world. The emissary of a foreign prince has been sent to take Evadne away. Whispers of strange prophecies are heard from behind thick stone walls and the rumor of a powerful oracle to the east has the temple soothsayers involved. Change is on the wind.

Far away from the temple two brothers have discovered a lost continent. The promise of long lost technologies and treasures has the prince racing to stake his claim. They are not unopposed, for there are those who fear this discovery will bring about the end of the world.

Hummingbird in my garden.

Hummingbird in my garden.

On to Gardening! I seem to have a nesting pair of hummingbirds in or very near my garden. How exciting is that? I love watching them dart around and drink from the flowers. I could watch them all day long. They’re so beautiful and tiny.

The weeds are making a strong come-back and I have to get to weeding to keep them from taking over again. If I do that I will have space for a few more plants. I think, what I’d like to do is get a few more hummingbird friendly plants for my little garden. I was watering the flowers the hummingbirds seem to really like, the crocosmia Lucifer and one little humming bird was feeding right next to me and I didn’t even realize it. She was so close to me! Then I turned to water another section, all unaware she was so near, and startled her. I saw two of them hiding in one of the evergreens though so I think they’re a nesting pair. I’ve heard that hummingbirds are pretty territorial and these two weren’t chasing one another or scolding each other, so that is why I think they’re mates.

Finally, as many of you may know, I also write for a wonderful blog called The Geek Girl Project. Well this Saturday they are running a special, and unique, review of Pacific Rim that I submitted to them. It explains how I came to be such a fan of Kaiju and Godzilla in particular and why I’ve been so excited about Pacific Rim as well.

I’m going to try to get an update about Godzilla 2014 together for you later on today or tomorrow. Keep an eye on the Godzilla Encounter site. The SDCC is about to get into full swing and there are supposed to be some exciting reveals there. K.