Entries in Box turtle (2)


Walk in the Misty Summer Garden

Recently I took a stroll through the garden in late afternoon after a storm. The air was misty, and water dripped from leaves.A view of the front garden. The shrubs with lavender blooms are dwarf crape myrtles.

I am enjoying summer. Abundant rains have benefitted the garden and generally kept high summer temps from becoming oppressive, although I avoid being outside when the humidity soars and the sun is brightest and the pavement sizzles in the heat.

The Tropicana Canna Lily looks good. I have had this photogenic plant for years, and every summer I take new photos of its amazing leaves.

A whimsical bug is at home next to the Tropicana:

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you may remember this creature playing in the snow last December:

Nothing like a snow picture in July!

Another plant that looks great in photos is this colorful succulent:

My succulents grow in pots with very well draining soil. With all the recent rain, some of them are looking a bit mushy, but this one is doing well. I bring most succulents inside in late autumn before winter's heavy rains and freezing temps arrive.

My recently transplanted hosta in the woodland garden is still doing well, no doubt thanks to plentiful moisture.

Ferns in the fern glade are also prospering. The ferns in this area have taken several years to become established, but many of them are now reaching mature size:

Variegated Algerian ivy grows in a pot hanging beneath a birdhouse in the woodland garden. Algerian ivy can become rampant if planted in the ground, but it behaves well contained here. I trim it when it grows too long:

Finally, as the sun was setting and I was about to end my stroll through my very wet garden, I was rewarded with a movement at my feet:

I was delighted to see a young box turtle. One of my most fun posts was about a box turtle. You can read it here:  Encounter With a Box Turtle

Best wishes!  Deb


Encounter With a Box Turtle

Lou came inside the other day and announced we had a visitor...a box turtle!I had not seen a box turtle in our garden for a couple of years, so I grabbed my camera and went outside. The box turtle was nestled against our walkway by the patio, with his head poking up out of pine straw. I wanted a photo, but I wanted one with a clear view; so I sat down on the walkway and carefully removed most of the pine straw, whereupon he pulled his head into his shell.

Box turtles are North American natives, land dwelling members of the American pond turtle family. They protect themselves by hiding, by biting (as my son Josh once discovered!) and by tightly closing up their shells. My visitor pulled his head in but did not close his shell, so I was optimistic he might relax if I stayed very still. I lay down on the walkway so my head was not too far from the turtle and waited. In less than five minutes I was rewarded when his head began to cautiously emerge, little by little. Soon we were eye to eye with each other.

I was impressed with his nostrils. I also noted his red eyes. Red eyes indicate the turtle is probably a male, whereas females have yellow brown eyes. I have no idea what he thought of me, but he looked me over for about ten minutes. I shot a bunch of photos of his face; I do believe he was posing for me! Then I slowly adjusted my position to shoot some side views.This turtle has been around a while, and he has had at least one close call.

Deep scratches and bite marks are symmetrically placed on both sides of his shell. Was it a raccoon? Or a dog? One thing for sure, he is fortunate to have that tough shell for protection! Young turtles with softer shells often fall victim to predators, but once they reach adulthood, they can live a long time. The average life span of an adult box turtle is fifty years, and it is not uncommon for them to live longer than 100 years! With lots of wear on his shell and a mature countenance, this turtle is no spring chicken! I would not be surprised if he has been around as long as I have.

After a while, the box turtle decided to move along.

The end!