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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. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Phone :mad:

    Joe has helped himself to buttercups for the last 46 years and they ain't killed him yet. I cannot possibly get rid of them. The clematis likewise.
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  2. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Everything in moderation is the key.
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  3. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Wow! :confused:
    This is so true! It's one reason I have so many options available for my Steve. He's becoming more open-minded with his tastes too (something which I refuse to do :rolleyes:). Buttercup, I think, is one of those plants that tort keepers have mentioned feeding and not bothering the torts at all, while there's at least one story of a tort dying that happened to have eaten some buttercup before its death. I have so many other plants that I know are safe that I can easily skip this one and not worry about it. But "everything in moderation" is perfect to describe the tort diet as a good variety is generally the key. ;) Well said!
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  4. Prairie Mom

    Prairie Mom Well-Known Member

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    Just popping in to say this thread is cool :)
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  5. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks!! I'm glad spring is finally here!! Got my baby mulberry in the mail today and planted it. I like it so far.

    mulberry.jpg
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  6. Prairie Mom

    Prairie Mom Well-Known Member

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    burns excellent.jpg
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  7. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Awesome! I covered my mulberry with a bucket last night to protect it from the frost. I can't wait for him to start growing!! :D It's almost time I've planted my many seeds as well...
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  8. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Planted some Centaurea cyanus seeds in the enclosure today. Hopefully they grow and provide some good color whenever they flower. :) I'd have put more seeds down today but I'm pretty whipped from work!
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  9. Prairie Mom

    Prairie Mom Well-Known Member

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    OH CORNFLOWER! I had to google what the heck you were talkin' 'bout :D
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  10. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hehe!!! I'll try to remember to include generic names as well. My fiancé is going for "master gardener" so we talk about plants in with their scientific names now. Also, it's how I can ensure that I'm planting safe plants for my baby.
  11. Prairie Mom

    Prairie Mom Well-Known Member

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    A Master Gardener! Sounds like a keeper:)
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  12. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Oh, he definitely is! ;)

    Today I planted seeds for Campanula americana (tall bellflower), Viola sororia (common blue violet), and Viola pedatifida (prairie violet). These are all native Michigan species. :) I'm hoping the baby mulberry bush I recently planted bounces back. It looks like it will. It seems to be a little "in shock" from being in the mail for a day and being transplanted. I put down some tasty manure for my plants too. Still waiting for the last frost to officially pass though.

    In other tortoise garden news, Steve is still pacing along the walls (mostly the northern wall). The link shows his crazy behavior, but I realize it's more serious now. My hope is that when the plants grow bigger, he won't be pacing as much since they'll be sight barriers. Waiting for that is the hard part. He looks absolutely unnerved as if he's more comfortable indoors. Hopefully things really start growing soon!!
  13. Prairie Mom

    Prairie Mom Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a nice collection of flowers.

    Since you planted the mulberry directly from the box, it may not be used to sunlight. What do you think...Stick and umbrella over it for a while and see if it perks up?
    Oxalis likes this.
  14. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Yeah, we were covering it for a little while but the buds look like they're finally starting to come around. :) I think tomorrow I'll really be able to tell. He's been getting extra water too. I named him Morris since his scientific name is Morus rubra. XD I know, I'm terrible!
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  15. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Geranium is coming along nicely. :)

    geranium.jpg

    Here are a couple photos of Steve outside on Friday. He got some good sunshine time in today too!

    outside1.jpg

    I can't wait for his plants to grow more! He looks sad as though he's thinking, "What happened to my buffet?"

    outside2.jpg

    Here's the silly boy trying to burrow into the wall.

    outside3.jpg

    After a while, he walked away and then tried to burrow into another wall... :confused:

    outside4.jpg
  16. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    More tort garden tweaking! :D I had some photos from last night but the evening light was no good. We had lots of lovely sunshine today though.

    I moved my mushroom "chair" to the corner near the door where I can easily sit and watch Steve play outside. I shifted a brick around to better suit the front entrance of the garden too. The purple Geranium in bloom (middle of photo) is new; transplanting it didn't seem to bother it at all.

    garden1.jpg

    In the giant mushroom's place is the rose tree I wanted to purchase last year. I'd have gotten the one with more purple flowers but the pink is apparently slightly more cold-hardy. Hubby dislikes that it's a non-native rose, but it provides good shade for Stevie, and when it rains rose petals, he'll think he's died and gone to tortie heaven! :p The small raised-bed garden of raspberry bushes is in the background.

    garden2.jpg

    Last season Steve had a hole in the ground for a hide but now I've raised it up and added a little wooden house on top of two bricks. The hide last year had too much flooding so we'll see how a small hill does this summer. I added 2 or 3 bags of dirt to the area! I also tried to remove some dandelion from the garden before it takes over everything.

    garden3.jpg

    Stevie checks out his new house. He tried to burrow into the corner of it! :confused:

    garden4.jpg

    The small tunnel we threw together to try to prevent Steve from pacing along the north wall has helped a little. He seems to stop and rest under there, especially since there's a tasty dandelion plant growing right under it. We may build a couple more along the wall or some sort of "canopy." Hubby also had an idea -- to plant Carex sp. grasses (safe for the tortie and native to Michigan) along the north wall, with the thinking that Stevie can see the wooden wall and that is making him crazy. Not sure why only the north wall, but maybe some grasses to hide it could help? Any feedback on that is always welcome.

    garden6.jpg

    Here's my view from the lounge chair on the deck. It was a great day for a sun nap. :rolleyes: I love hammocks.

    garden5.jpg
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  17. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Today I planted some wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) seeds from PrairieMoon.com. When we were at Lowe's for dirt, I found a little baby tears stonecrop (Sedum album) for the garden and planted it. :) I covered the rest of the open space with white Dutch clover seed from Burgess. Plenty of extra clover seeds!
  18. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I've had a cold for the last few days and am just now starting to feel better so I can post some updates on the tortie garden! :)

    We recently visited Wildtype Nursery in nearby Mason, MI, to purchase several native plants for the yard (hubby bought more than I did). He was taking so long looking at all the plants that I just started grabbing a few more tortoise-safe plants. I also got a milkweed and Michigan lily plant for the butterfly garden in our front yard. Here's most of what I bought:

    Wild petunia (Ruellia humilis)
    Rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
    Tall bellflower (Campanula americana)
    Heart-leafed aster (Aster cordifolius)
    Sand coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
    Short's aster (Aster shortii)
    Hairy hawkweed (Hieracium gronovii)
    Big leaf aster (Aster macrophyllus)
    Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata)
    Russian hunger gap kale (veggies were $1)

    Because I got sick right when we arrived at home, I didn't have the energy to put the plants in the ground for a couple days. A few plants were drooping a little but they've all perked up since. Go natives!

    Here's the evidence: I once had cute little pansies! They're gone now. ^_^

    pansies.jpg

    Using old bricks, I tried to make a small sight barrier and wall so he doesn't walk in straight lines as much. He kind of uses the spot to stop and make sure the coast is clear before moving on. Or for destroying some dandelions.

    spy.jpg

    The monkey flower (Mimulus ringens) came back like an absolute nut. I did not see that coming in its second year. Stevie can officially "swim" in his greens now.

    monkeyflower.jpg
    monkeyflower2.jpg

    Still waiting for my hibiscus to come back. I guess I was only supposed to prune the edges of the branches?

    hibiscus.jpg

    He's getting more used to his cinder blocks tunnel. :)

    checking.jpg

    Got a terra cotta pot with a small crack in it? Not useless anymore!

    new_hide.jpg

    Here's the view from my little mushroom bench. I thought potential gardeners might enjoy some handy labels!

    garden_labels.jpg

    The clover is clearly everywhere. ;)

    When I bought this aster, there must have been some grass growing in the same pot with it. I finally separated the grass out; hopefully the little guy grows bigger now that he doesn't have to compete.

    baby_aster.jpg

    More photos of Steve exploring:

    explore.jpg
    explore2.jpg
    explore3.jpg

    When the tortoise heads for cover under the Spirea bush, it may be time for bed.

    bedtime.jpg
  19. Prairie Mom

    Prairie Mom Well-Known Member

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    Impressive!!! I love it!
    Oxalis likes this.
  20. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you!! :) All worth it for my Stevie.
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