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In the June Garden: Tragedy, Blooms, and a Little "High Fashion"

Tragedy struck my garden a few days ago, and I am still shaken by it. I was inside when I heard horrific shrieks coming from outside. I stepped onto the patio and searched for the source of the commotion. A hawk was sitting on a nest high up in an oak tree. This is a Red-shouldered hawk that lives on our property; photo taken last year.Two blue jays were desperately assaulting the hawk. The hawk was ignoring the attack as it calmly ate the blue jays' babies, whose pitiful cries could still be heard. Again and again the parents swooped down and physically tried to knock the hawk away, to no avail. A large black crow soon flew over to investigate; and although it did not attack the hawk, it added its harsh cries to the cacophony of noise. It seemed to take forever, but at last the hawk flew away, pursued by the blue jays and the crow. The blue jays soon returned to the nest, but only deathly silence greeted them. 

I know it happens, but this is the first time I have witnessed one of my resident hawks eat another bird. I have often seen them attack voles and ground squirrels, with my blessing. I preferred not to think about other parts of their menu. I have to remind myself that I like to eat chicken, and I don't think too much about what happens to the chicken before it arrives at my home, neatly packaged and ready for preparation. 

Well, enough of that! Here are some photos of my June garden. It is hot here, but we have had abundant rain, so the garden is lush. clockwise from top left: A tiny sedum pup; A bee enjoys nectar from a Pentas bloom; Japanese maple helicopter seeds, called samaras; Spent Clematis bloom; 'Tropicana' Canna lily bloom; 'Tropicana' canna leaves.


An elegant lady in the woodland garden:

And how is this for high fashion in the garden:Sometimes I complain about my husband's garden duds, but my own don't look much better! How about you? What do you wear in the garden?

Clockwise from top left: 'Snowflake' hydrangea; Day lily; Summer blooming native azalea; Another day-lily - sorry I don't know the names; Hosta bloom; 'Endless Sumer' hydrangea.

A friend recently gave me an enormous hosta in bloom. The catch was we had to dig it up, in June, in 90 degree weather! She had erroneously planted it in full sun, and it was burning badly. Transplanting this time of year is a definite no-no, but the plant was suffering and was likely to perish.

We tackled the chore with shovels and garden fork. Once we had the plant loosened we were faced with the challenge of moving it; the root ball must have weighed at least 150 pounds! We could hardly budge it, until we decided to use a forceful stream of water from the garden hose to knock most of the soil off the root ball. At last we were able to maneuver it (barely!) into the large waterproof garden bag I brought for the purpose.

When I got home, I filled the bag with water and let it soak a few hours until I had a chance to prepare a hole for it. Later that day I finally had the hosta settled into its new home. I cut off all the sunburned leaves, as well as other leaves damaged during the transplanting process. I was delighted to find many emerging blooms nestled amidst the foliage. Despite my removing many leaves, the plant still is at least three feet across, and it is blooming abundantly in response to its new shady environment in the woodland garden:

Here is a view of Deodar cedar 'Feelin' Blue' and a large gardenia blooming at the edge of the woodland garden:

Peacock fern, which is actually a moss, is seen in the right foreground here.Can you believe it is almost July? Already! Happy gardening to you all! Deb

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Reader Comments (18)

Nature can be brutal. Every time I hear about a cat or dog carried off by a coyote, I shudder and watch my cat all the more closely and thank my luck that, on the couple of occasions that she's managed to get out on her own, we've gotten her back safely. Bunnies have recently invaded my garden and I've chased them back into the canyon, conceivably into the path of coyotes or other predators. Tonight, when I saw yet another bunny in my garden, I decided that I'll let them go about their business, protecting my tender plants as best I can with temporary cages, and let nature take its course without any other interference from me.

Your summer garden is beautiful! The rescued hosta already looks great. I wish I could grow them but they REALLY don't like it here.

June 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

I am sure my gardening duds would scare away small children and puppies. I always have a hat and what ever clothes I happen to throw on. Nothing designated for a chore.The hotter it gets the less I wear. Compared to your garden my garden is quite small. I just don't worry about what to wear. I have gloves for seriously difficult work.
How nice to receive such a large hosta. I know it will love your garden. I find they are fairly easy to transplant in that I have moved them in all sorts of weather at almost any time of year except winter. Good luck.
Your moss garden is gorgeous. I am having moss envy. I have a small, and I do mean small start of a moss garden. I am letting it develop naturally. It is about 1' x 2'. Don't laugh. It is coming along nicely. I have a good area for it. I am ever hopeful.
Mother Nature can seem cruel sometimes. I watched a crow do the same thing the other day. It makes me sad, yet what is the alternative?

June 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLisa at Greenbow

Not only do I dress very badly in the garden, I usually wear my garden clothes (pre dirt) to go out in public.

The Hawks here--well, I've seen some upsetting stuff as well--and try to accept it as the way of nature. It's tough, though.

Your garden looks magnificent and the mossy path with the bridge is magic. With the results you are getting, I would say dress how ever you like!

Hosta--I would think it was worth the work, but then again--I didn't do the work! It is a gorgeous one though. Hope your summer is lovely and not too hot.

June 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterhb

The hosta is gorgeous - hostas are my soft spot, and I have many. Your garden is lovely, as always, and I'm thankful you continue to share with us! xo

Oh, I know: Nature can be so cruel. I've seen hawks swoop down and take out chattering chipmunks. And crows knocking over nests of hummingbird eggs. And baby turkeys gutted and strewn across the landscape by...not sure what unseen predator...a coyote? An owl? It is so difficult to witness it, and some of the situations bother me more than others. Sorry you had to witness that! So many beautiful, lush plants in your garden, though, including the new hosta! Regarding garden duds--hey, anything goes! Whatever makes you comfortable and protects you from the bugs and the sun! (Your hubby looks like a pro!)

June 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

Hearing the cries of the chicks must have been harrowing but it is natural and I think we should learn to accept that this is the way balance in numbers is achieved. Because there are so few raptors now magpies here are very numerous and they also raid the nests of smaller birds but they now have only man to control them. Your garden is looking fabulous.

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Sorry to hear about what happened to the birds, must have been distressing indeed. But your garden continues to amaze!

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

aww, I feel with you about the Hawk's dinner. I had to watch our resident hawk eat a baby mourning dove on top of our bird feeder. Horrorshow! And I could not turn my eyes away.
Congratulations, your garden looks lovely as always :-) By chance, do you have the name of the white sansevieria? Mine should be the same one.
hahaha, I complain about my hub's garden clothes all the time, saying, what if the neighbors see you *gasp* but yep, I don't look much better and I finish the look of the stained clothes with sweat and red face and muddy feet :-)

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGoneTropical

It's much easier to be philosophical about predation in nature when it's not happening right in front of you. You did a heroic deed saving that oversized hosta from a life of misery.

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Hi everyone,
It is great to hear from you all; I enjoy reading your comments! Gone Tropical, the name of the white sansevieria is Sansevieria trifasciata 'Bantel's Sensation.' This is one of my tropicals that lives outside in warmer months but comes inside for the winter. Best wishes to you all!

June 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Your hosta has transplanted really well, you've made me think that I could move one of mine, maybe when our drought is over! Love all your photos of your flowers, it is a wonderful time of year in the garden.
Nature in the raw is a bit much some time, but we have to let nature keep a balance no matter how much it upsets us.
I just wear my oldest clothes when gardening and just hope that nobody calls and sees me!

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

We had mourning doves build a nest in the hanging fern on our covered deck. After the babies hatched we saw a huge crow pecking in the nest. I cried. But that evening we discovered that somehow the parents had gotten the two babies out of the nest. They took up residence on a fallen seat cushion under the little breakfast table on the deck, where mom/dad visited and the babies remained safe until they grew enough to fly away. We see them in the trees close by periodically. Nature is nature, but sometimes there are happy stories, and the predator misses a meal.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjae

That hosta is very lucky. I am sure it will thrive in your beautiful garden. How awful for the blue jays! This is the reason why I am alway torn between joy and fear when a bird decides to make a nest in my garden.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

My high fashion sense is on par with your husband. I, frankly, don't care what anyone thinks of my looks. At least I'm trying to make my yard look better... The hosta looks great. The Tropicana Canna, too. I've looked for one with that bloom color but can only find the red.

June 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Oh I would find that tragic, too, though I know it is just nature! Your garden looks so pretty. I love your woodland garden! Much of my wardrobe is now gardening clothes, which consists of cheap tank tops, baggy t-shirts, and ratty shorts/pants. I used to start gardening in my regular clothes until my husband told me to stop as I was ruining my few pairs of decent jeans!

June 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

I would have been greatly disturbed by that hawk too. Sometimes it’s best not to know all the gory details in our gardens. The worst I saw was when I thought a monarch butterfly was flapping its wings in the oddest manner. Turns out it was being eaten by a praying mantis! I was horrified.

July 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Ruff Leja

No wonder you were freaked out with the hawk business. Hostas can fairly cope with rough manhandling, you don't half grow them big in your part of the world.

July 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Your rescued hosta must think it has landed in heaven!

July 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

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