Monday, July 30, 2018

My Little Engineer

Seasons are interpreted through rose, or watery gray, or steamy orange colored glasses by humankind. This summer has been sloppy wet and just a little on the warm side. We did have a few weeks of hot and dusty drought where the soil actually started to crack, but the last month or more has been filled with an average of six inches (or more) of rain every week.  We are moving into August and the grass is not sage green, but energy green.  As a human, I tend to think I know the seasons and where we are in them.  Ha!

This flower pot sits at the side of my front door.  We thankfully cleaned the gutters over this entry porch back in June, because it tends to block and then a large waterfall hits the steps and/or bounces into the pot and floods it.  Not too long ago I was watering this pot every other day.  That white leaved plant is a Caladium and is good at repelling raindrops onto the pavement.  Why is that of interest?

Two weeks ago I was pulling weeds in the pot and frightened a tiny Carolina wren.  When I investigated I noticed a small nest tucked at the base of this big umbrella-shaped plant.  A few days later in early July I also noticed about a half dozen eggs had been added.  I would peek at the nest now and again, but the wren was never there.  I began to think my frightening her caused her to abandon the nest.  When grandson came to visit the Third week of July I snuck up to the nest and parted the leaves and told him to check out the nest.  Of course, Momma Wren was sitting on the nest and flew right into his face causing him to scream and run!  He is 13, so the fear was a thrill and not a trauma.

I am so happy to see she is back, and I am keeping my curiosity at bay, although I do try to listen and test if I hear small chirps.  The nest is a marvel of engineering because she made it into a waterproof cave of woven moss and grasses and the tons of rain has thus far not penetrated!  Here we are with summer two-thirds past and the wren is on her third, fourth(?) nest of the season!  No wonder these brave feathered friends can sing with such a bold heart.

My fennel is growing just across the sidewalk from this pot and I do wonder if she had the supermarket of caterpillers also in mind when she built her nest?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Squish Squash or Splish Slash

With the total of over 8 inches of rains in three days one would think butterflies do not get thirsty, but here is one at the bird bath filling up in the early morning.
This time of year I become more prejudice because as we approach August some of the butterflies are tattered and torn and I get selective on only photographing those in perfect and beautiful symmetry.
Some of which are seen through various digital filters and others only sharpened a bit.
This is the time of year for dating. They manage to do that without an App. Amazing! Others are still lonely hearts.
And others just beg to be painted!!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Surviving the Winter

My daughter-in-law has the mistaken idea that I am a bit of a gardener. I am not. I just have a lot more time on my hands and more money than she does. She was helping me move something on my back patio the other day and she said: "Gosh, even your weeds are pretty."


These are coleus seeds from a tropical plant that I had in a pot and that amazingly wintered over!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Into the Light

While others are balancing their coffee cups and backing out of their driveways heading to work, while others are adjusting that slanty morning blast of sun by pulling down their sun visors so they can see the road ahead, I am out seeking the very few minutes that morning sun will enhance any photos I take in my yard. I am barefoot crossing the cool wet grass, collecting the grass clippings on my feet and still in my pajamas, startling the resident rabbit, and with camera in hand, stalking the light. Of course, there are sacrifices when shooting in low light, with a telephoto, and without a tripod. #lazyphotographer

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Almost Extinct

Shortly after my return home, this show-off started blooming in abundance in my flower beds. If you accidentally move a tiny bulb when you are transferring dirt it will bloom wherever it lands. Hard to believe that the Turkscap Lily, Lilium superbum, was once almost extinct. It is a native to my area and it seems that many years ago chefs became intrigued with eating the tasty bulbs in stews and such, which meant that it soon became endangered. Fortunately, that trend has waned and the bulbs can be easily purchased.

The name is exotic and suits the exotic shape of the flower.  It grows up to 9 feet tall if there is not enough sun!  Mine grow just over three feet.

The looks as though they would only grow in the tropics, but like many lilies they are very hardy.

Requiring rich soil with good drainage and average sun they will reward a gardener with many blossoms.  They may need staking, though.  Mine seem to be hybridized for giant and abundant blooms.

Those black seeds that rest in the crook of the stem and leaf are actually able to produce plants if you are patient for a few years.  It is faster to dig up the bulbs and use the bulblets, though.

The contrast of the dark purple anthers at the ends add just the right touch and some of the swallowtail butterflies visit.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Winging In

Summer visitors are late this year. Those that come are fewer than normal. The air is stifling and the nectar is so necessary. I am careful to water the nectar-producing factories as often as possible. Will my great-grandchildren even see a winged insect?