Cats and plants and dogs, oh my

Cats and plants and dogs, oh my

Well, just one dog.

This is Lola:

Lola

She’s an almost-5-year-old black German Shepherd Dog (with lots of white dustings, and in this picture a stray white hair stuck to her nose), and she is very cute. You will be seeing more of her in future posts.

As promised, here are some pics of growing things — and also a few cats, because they like the nice weather, too.

First up is Logan, who at almost 15 is the oldest of the pets (or varmints, as I like to call them). He also is very into catnip, so this is his favorite place during his brief trips outside:

Logan

Next is Bruno, the second-oldest (11). He’s the biggest bully, but he is also fluffy and cute.

Bruno

All the cats like rolling around on the sidewalk. Bruno looks the silliest when he does it though.

Now we begin the “fun with macro” section! (That link has a way-too-close-up picture of a bug, so be warned.)

chives

These are chives I’ve been growing for a few years. (And this picture may not actually be in macro.) They started off in a container, but last year I transplanted them to the flower bed and they seem to be enjoying it. They’ll have pretty purple flowers later! (And yes, I need to weed the flower bed. Preferably soon, before it gets unmanageable like last year.)

echinacea

This is echinacea, or purple coneflower. I think this is a returning plant, but there are quite a few this year so I’m sure at least some of them are new from self-seeding. Echinacea doesn’t (usually?) bloom its first year, but since several new plants started last year, we might get coneflowers blooming all over the place this summer. It’ll be awesome.

rudbeckia

This little fuzzy guy is rudbeckia. This one’s growing up in the same spot as one from last year (you can see part of the leftover stalks) so it might be the same plant, or it might be a self-seeded newcomer. I dunno. There were tons of those last year. And rudbeckia does bloom in the first year, so there were lots of happy yellow flowers last summer. They actually kind of took over most of the flower bed eventually.

yellow rose

This is the yellow miniature rose bush that’s in one corner of the flower bed (I know, I know, the weeding). I pruned it down not long ago, and it’s got quite a bit of new growth on it already. It got pretty tall last year after I put it in the ground, so I think I’ll try to keep it a little more compact this year.

orange rose

Rose bush #2 is a miniature orange rose. It also got put in the ground last year, but it’s in a different spot and was a smaller plant to begin with. I don’t know if either of those was the reason, or if it’s because of the type of rose it is, or if it was something else entirely, but it never got much bigger after it was transplanted. It also was looking pretty rough by the end of the year, and it was hard to tell if it survived the winter, but it’s back!

I need to find some fertilizer for it (I know very little about fertilizing plants — I tend to just let the ground take care of it), and then if it doesn’t seem happier this year I’ll move it to a different spot. The little orange roses are very, very pretty, so I want it to do well.

hydrangea

I’m not sure if this plant’s in the right spot, either. It’s a hydrangea, and it was planted two years ago, but it hasn’t gotten any bigger or bloomed since then. It’s doing the same thing this year as last year — new leaves are growing out of the ground, but there’s no new growth on the existing branches. I keep forgetting to do some research and find out if there’s something I need to do for it. (The neighbors, on the other hand, have a giant hydrangea bush that is frankly annoying and in desperate need of pruning.)

Oh, and the new leaves are looking a little burnt now, as you can see. I don’t know if that’s from sunlight (in which case I probably should move it) or if it’s from the frost the other night. Another thing I need to look up.

strawberry

Tiny little strawberry leaves! This is another plant I’ve had for at least 3 or 4 years, I think. I got a clearance-special red strawberry planter with at least 5 plants in it, which did well the first year and not so much after that. Last year I took the only plants left alive and put them in a bigger container, which they took to quite well. By the end of the summer the container was full, both of the original plants and some offshoots, plus I had another small pot with an offshoot. (I do not remember the technical name for those.) I think this year I’m going to put what’s in the smaller pot in the ground somewhere, but I’m not sure where yet.

The strawberries from these plants are very tiny, but they taste pretty good. I don’t remember if I actually got any strawberries from them last year or not; I might have been pinching off the flowers to help the roots grow in their new container instead.

I want more strawberry plants of different kinds, but I’d have to look into what would be good for this area. I want blueberry bushes too, but…we’ll see, I guess.

mint

Last but not least are the tiny mint plants sprouting back up in their container. I don’t know which kinds these are, but I hope all 3 will come back. They smell so nice when you brush by them.

Finishing up the post is Yuki, smallest and youngest and meanest of the 4 cats. (Connie did not venture outside while I was taking pictures. She was probably sleeping in her chair or in her cast iron skillet.)

Yuki

She saw me crouching down to take a picture and decided to come say hi. (She’s actually quite nice when she wants to be.)

I have no idea what she was pouncing on here, but she stared at it for a good long time before making her move.

Yuki pouncing

(As a note, just because I feel compelled to say this, the cats are all indoor cats, but when the weather’s nice they like to explore the backyard. I think it’s good for them to get out a little bit.)

Thursday I am going on a trip to Cincinnati with my mom and my niece, to eat sushi at Fusian and probably shop at Ikea and Jungle Jim’s. My mom’s never been to Ikea so it should be an experience. I will report back on the trip next week. (And I will try to remember to take pictures of my sushi before devouring it. Because obviously people want to see pictures of my sushi.)

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