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Photos of Our Outdoor Russian Tortoise Enclosure and Garden

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by Oxalis, May 10, 2014.

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  1. Romeo Serback

    Romeo Serback Active Member

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    Nice! I like your comment about the 8 ft height and how you didn't want to restrict the growth of plants. Lol Hindsight is 20/20. Did you chicken wire the top as well? And what kind of wire. Size and type, that is.
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  2. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The chicken wire should be the standard size, which you can see here. I have a small amount of bird fencing around the very bottom of the walls just in case of rabbits. I picked it up at True Value, but stores like Lowe's and Home Depot have it too.
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  3. Romeo Serback

    Romeo Serback Active Member

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    Good deal! I'll keep you updated next spring when I try it. I might just go 6 ft as I'm well below that height and should be able to walk about freely without hitting my head. Lol Thank you!
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  4. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    It is nice to have some headroom. Good luck! :)
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  5. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The asters have been in bloom again. Lots of native purples! :<3:

    asters543.jpg

    The Malva is still in bloom too; a nice color as the cooler temperatures approach.

    malva543.jpg
    Pearly likes this.
  6. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    @Oxalis, I love your Tortoise Garden and envy the parts of your climate where things grow big and robust in the Summer and you don’t have to worry about where to plant your things so that your heat-tender plants don’t get beat up by the afternoon blaze in June/july/august. Over here it’s always a guessing game. That is unless you go with all the Texas natives... which are beautiful... but I do miss the beauty and fragrance of lilacs, peonies, jasmine, Poets’ Narcissus, apple tree blooms in a Spring, and those BIG asters and chrysanthemums (flowers size of head of cabbage) in a Fall. Here we are kind of in the middle, can’t go with tropicals either, due to those 3-5 days of freezing temps we typically get each Winter... and I hate dragging my big heavy pots in and out! Too much work. Too heavy... so I will just enjoy reading your threads and looking at your garden pics. Your Stevie is one little lucky tortoise:)
    Oxalis likes this.
  7. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you for the kind words. I always enjoy hearing from you, @Pearly! :)
  8. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Gasp! It nearly hit 75°F today! And it was sunny! A shocker for Michigan. Steve got to play outside for several hours; I was impressed. We still may have more snow in the forecast. I spent much of the afternoon pulling out the dead sticks from last year's growth. ...So many primrose stalks!! :confused: It's much cleaner now; ready for some new plants to grow. My new step will be to remove a good chunk of the red clover (Trifolium pratense) since it's very aggressive compared to my native plants. Then, depending on what grows back, maybe I can add a few new plants.

    Steve getting some vitamin D:

    sunshine.jpg

    playtime.jpg
  9. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Happy Earth Day!! :cool: We just enjoyed a couple days of solid rain so the sunshine today was just lovely. Steve got lots of exercise while I got lots of work done. I'm feeling old this year so I wanted more stepping stones. Steve makes it hard for me to find him under his plants, so I needed more space to more around. I put most of the pavers in spots where the ground was low; hopefully this prevents some future flooding.

    I removed some red clover and put in a couple plantains I found hiding in the yard. I moved his rose "tree" out to another part of the yard since the "trunk" died but the roots are growing new branches (and thorns). I planted a couple pansies a week ago and pruned the spirea bush. I also put in a couple small terra cotta pots, one with calendula seeds and the other with artichoke. If the seeds don't sprout, no big loss. I'm planning to get a couple new plants next month: campanula/harebell, geranium, and one coneflower (Echinacea sp.). If I need more space, there are plenty of primrose or aster plants I can remove. I think Steve approves. :)

    Looking north:

    new_bricks.jpg

    Looking south:

    new_bricks2.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  10. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    * move around
    * new stems

    Man, I'm tired... :confused:
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  11. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Steve is spending some time outside in intermittent sunshine, 70°F +. Not bad for May. We just got a ton of rain so the plants are growing well.

    steve_outside1.jpg

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    The dandelions are in bloom; Steve's favorite treat!

    steve_dandelion.jpg

    The native woodland phlox is in bloom now. Steve enjoys its young leaves.

    phlox_in_bloom.jpg
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  12. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The native wildflower additions for this year are in the ground now. We bought them from our beloved Wildtype nursery again. :<3: While I only added a few wildflowers to the inside of the enclosure, my husband helped dig a trench around the outside eastern and northern walls of the enclosure to provide a barrier of tortoise-safe plants. The lawn and some invading wild yarrow have been trying to grow under the enclosure walls and around its buried bricks. While some tort owners are fine feeding yarrow (Achillea millefolium), The Tortoise Table recommends not feeding it due to its furocoumarins. I prefer to err on the side of caution, and Steve has so many other safe treats already available. The yarrow roots cluster together like spaghetti, resembling sod and has even choked out some patches of our lawn. And since I'm not sure what type of grass the lawn is, I'd rather Steve not have access to it. Instead, the Carex genus of grass is safe tort food, so I am hoping the grass roots form a sort of root wall, preventing the yarrow from invading the enclosure. We'll see if it works this summer.

    New Plants:

    Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
    Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)
    Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis)
    Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
    Muskingum (Palm) Sedge (Carex muskingumensis)

    Here are a couple photos of the new grasses around his enclosure.

    new_grass1.jpg

    new_grass2.jpg

    Dandelion flowers are in season now, so Steve's been stalking them lately.

    dandelion_stalking.jpg

    dandelion_stalking2.jpg

    Steve leaned against the wall to grab the last of the sunshine for the day:

    late_sun.jpg
  13. ShirleyTX

    ShirleyTX Active Member

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    Happy happy boy....
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  14. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    :) Steve is so fun to spoil.
  15. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Here are some more photos of Steve outside in the past few weeks. His plants have really grown since then; the native Hibiscus moscheutos has really shot up recently, especially with some recent heavy rainfall. I can't wait for it to bloom! Some common weeds here that I'm looking out for now are lamb's quarters (Chenopodium album), ragweed (Ambrosia spp.), and wood sorrel (Oxalis spp.), if anyone is interested.

    more_sunshine1.jpg

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    "All right, crazy lady, you're done with the camera..."

    more_sunshine7.jpg

    The geranium is almost done blooming now, but here's a photo of the lovely flowers in mid-May:

    geranium_blooms.jpg

    The new geranium plants I put in this spring; they don't seem to mind being transplanted at all!

    new_geranium plants.jpg

    It is now "snowing" cottonwood seeds. :confused:
  16. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Here's a photo I forgot to post last month: Steve's yellow hawkweed (Hieracium sp.) in bloom in early June.

    hawkweed_in_bloom.jpg

    Here's most the garden now, already needing to be thinned out a bit more... There's a hollyhock (Alcea sp.) stalk taller than me again. The spirea is done flowering, but the prairie phlox (Phlox pilosa) is still in bloom, and we're enjoying its long bloom time. The Hibiscus moscheutos is about to bloom, yey! And Steve is impatiently waiting for his evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) treats to bloom. Lately I've mostly been pulling out nettle and nettle-like weeds, lambsquarters (Chenopodium album), smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum), and a few ragweed.

    garden_early_july.jpg
    ShirleyTX and Turtulas-Len like this.
  17. MPappagallo

    MPappagallo Active Member

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    Loks like he is in paradise! I am sure he is loving it!
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  18. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks!! Steve is definitely loving being outside rather than inside right now. With so few rainy days so far this summer, he's getting plenty of playtime in his garden.
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  19. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Here are some updates from Steve's salad bar. Recently it's been way too hot and humid for gardening. Steve's had a lot of access to water, and I've even had to bring him indoors at the hottest part of the day. It's finally cooled off a bit. The evening primrose just started to bloom, and Steve got the very first flower as a special treat.

    The wild petunia (Ruellia humilis) bloomed! Here it is next to some geranium and chicory flowers.

    wild_petunia_bloom.jpg

    More chicory flowers, my favorite wildflower, with some sedum.

    chicory_and_sedum.jpg

    Steve taking a break. :<3:

    Steve_resting.jpg

    Some of the hibiscus buds; soon we'll have lots of blooms.

    hibiscus_buds.jpg

    One of the hollyhock stalks, which has grown through the enclosure ceiling. :D

    tall_hollyhock.jpg

    The big leaf aster (Eurybia macrophylla) has bloomed too, which I thought was early for the season. Maybe the recent heat wave triggered it. Apparently this plant isn't guaranteed to bloomed every year, which makes it all the more special.

    big_leaf_aster.jpg
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  20. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    It's a nice sunny tortoise day. Here's Steve sniffing around:

    Steve_sniffing.jpg

    The first native hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) bloom of the season, next to some lovely native American bellflower (Campanulastrum americanum):

    first_hibiscus_campanulastrum.jpg

    Steve chowing down:

    chowing_down.jpg

    Mmm... sun...

    Mmm_sun.jpg
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