The hills I walk I've walked before. I will give them space. They will give me more...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summertime Sound Bites: Curious Cat in a 'Lunch Pail Tree'



video

With food prices ever increasing, SAM and I have been working on turning our landscape into more of an edible one. As part of that effort, the Loropetalum tree--not edible as far as I know but too beautiful to cut down--that shades the front porch now holds pots of herbs. Can you spot the Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) in one of them? Not a true oregano, also called Indian Borage, it has large variegated leaves, is very aromatic, and tastes wonderful in just about any dish that calls for oregano. I purchased it earlier this year at a Santa Rosa County Master Gardener plant sale. After watching its vigorous habit in a pot, I'm not about to turn it loose in the landscape. It might get carried away and cover everything in sight with its aromatic self, at least until freezing weather knocks it out. It's more suited for much warmer climates. 

The Loropetalum might as well be called the Lunch Pail Tree now. Remember that unusual tree in Frank Baum's story Ozma of Oz (you might have seen it in the film Return to Oz)?  It seems that Peanut the cat would agree that lunch is right at hand, only it's not herbs she has a taste for. The mockingbirds attracted to our edible landscape delight in taunting her. Now I'm not encouraging her to "thin their herd," but I won't discourage her from putting the Fear of Gardener into them.

Shortly after we moved back here, I noted that the local mockingbird population had exploded. We had already made great progress on the edible landscaping with the addition of blueberry bushes and plum trees a few years ago, and then pear and persimmon trees were planted shortly before we moved away. A few weeks ago, I told Peanut that I would be very disturbed if all of our work were fruitless on account of the birds. At least this time, she must have been paying attention to me.

11 comments:

tina said...

Did Peanut get the mockingbird? They can be pesky birds going after all the berries. It's very interesting how she is determined. The wind chimes sound nice!

LTM said...

oh, man! What a flashback. I read Ozma of Oz waaay back when I was little. I remember liking it! Geaux, Peanut! Get those mockingbirds! I love the idea of an edible garden. Hubs is always talking about doin that. Good luck w/it! :o) <3

Lola said...

I hope my Loropetalum doesn't turn into a tree. If so It will have to go. I too have planted trees that will give me food. Also I plant in half whiskey barrels or big black tubs [that trees come in] from nursery. I had salads all winter. I have 2 apples left, so hope they will stay with me. My persimmon tree is full. They can be eaten like an apple or do whatever with them. Just waiting for "maters" to ripen. I lost my chocolate cherry "mater". Booo Hooo, my first yr to try it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi W2W .. the setting sounds lovely - it's great to see the wild life fluttering around the garden and if Peanut can keep some control so much the better .. I love the idea of the Indian borage - sounds quite interesting .. but glad you're keeping it restrained within its pot ..

The blooms, blossoms and bounty of a garden are great aren't they .. enjoy .. cheers Hilary

sue said...

This is encouraging. We've just (well, to be honest I stood by and gave advice!) removed a few straggly bushes, weeded, dug is some compost and planted garlic and broccoli. My first trial of something "challenging"... fingers crossed :)
Sue

cosmos said...

Edible landscape is too attractive to any kind of plunderers! So far, Peanut seems to be doing a good job, though at the little bird's mercy.
You planted persimmon trees?I hear from an American I know that you rarely eat persimmons like we do here. Maybe ours are called the Japanese persimmon.
Your loropetalum tree has cream blossoms? Some plant a hedge of loropetaulum trees here.
I wish Peanut's work will be paying off.

Cosmos

walk2write said...

Tina, Peanut's determination wasn't rewarded this time, but she never gives up trying to snag one. Hopefully, she's sending the birds a message. The wind chimes are some I purchased a few years back in Fort Meyers. They're called Corinthian Bells. They have the most beautiful sound when all of the pipes are being struck.

Leigh, I love revisiting those old childhood stories. The movie RETURN TO OZ is a little different than the original story but quite good. Daughter and I love to quote lines from it. I hope your hubby gets to start his garden. It will be a little different up north than you're used to. You might want to contact the local extension office for advice on what works best in your area.

Hi, Lola! I think some varieties of the Loropetalum have a more restrained growth habit. Maybe yours is one of them. Our persimmon tree is too young to bear anything this year. I can't wait to try them. Chocolate cherry tomato? Sounds like something I want to try. This year, I've got Homestead, Floradale, and Amelia. Some are in pots, some in the ground, and they are in different areas of the yard. I'm trying to find out which spot works the best for them.

walk2write said...

Hi, Miss Hilary! I really don't mind the mockingbirds being around as long as they don't get too greedy. It's funny how they love to taunt Peanut. She will be minding her own business on the ground when the bird lands close by and squawks at her. What's a cat to do but climb the tree and try her luck? Unfortunately, she's out of her element up there. Cheers to you! Hope you have a great weekend!

Hello, Sue! I hope your efforts (even if it was just moral support) pay off handsomely with a good crop.

Cosmos, rest assured that Peanut wasn't successful in catching the bird. I do like her attitude, though. Never give up! Regarding the persimmons, we have a native variety here in the States that is not good at all unless it's very ripe. The Oriental persimmon is what most people prefer, and they can be grown in our area. The Loropetalum has pink blossoms, and it blooms most abundantly in late winter and early spring. Then it has some blooms off and on the rest of the year. The leaves are a pretty color too. I like the fact that they're small and quick to disappear into the soil.

Brigitta Huegel said...

Dear Walk2write,
what a lovely video of your cat! You are right: she might strengthen your arguments :-)
Oregano can seed pretty wild - though I love the smell of it when it is trodden on.

walk2write said...

Britta, Peanut is probably the best defense I have against pesky birds and even bugs. Yesterday, I watched her grab a beetle and pop it into her mouth. I guess she likes a little variety in her diet. The oregano in this post isn't really oregano, and I think I like it even better than the real stuff. It has a very strong scent and is really showy.

Rose said...

I'm glad Peanut listened to you. We have an abundance of sparrows and sometimes starlings, but it seems the great white hunter of our household likes to catch robins instead, which doesn't make me too happy.

I never would have thought of putting pots in the tree--very clever! Loved the windchimes in your video; it sounded so relaxing.