Entries in Red-shouldered Hawk (7)


Goodbye January, Hello Spring!

Today is why I garden.

I was in the garden, digging up baby forsythias around the edge of a shrub where tips of branches had touched the earth and rooted to produce new growth. The earth was very damp and easy to dig. Most of the diggings would go to the brush heap, but a few would go to a friend. Once every few years I prune my forsythias and dig up unwanted shoots to keep the shrubs within their boundaries. I was late to do this. Already the forsythias are beginning to bloom!

It was a perfect day with crisp air warmed by sunshine. Birds, squirrels, and other animals were frisky, and so was I. I looked up when I heard the familiar shrill call of a Coopers Hawk. I followed his flight and watched him land above me on the branch of an oak tree. I grinned. He had settled within inches of another Cooper's Hawk. I knew there were two of them, but I had never before seen them together. I think they must be making plans for nest and family.

I know I have already published several photos of my Red-shouldered Hawk, but here's one more. Don't look too close if you are squeamish!

Most of January was dreadfully dreary and very wet, but finally we have had some beautiful days, still frosty at night but with daytime temperatures warming up into the 60s. I know it's too early for all these flower buds, and there will certainly yet be a killing freeze. But I have decided to enjoy them while they are here. Goodbye January, hello, spring!

So, here are some blooms in my garden on this, the last day of January:

A view of the camellia 'Red Candles' in the woodlands. It is still a small, scrawny shrub, but it is loaded with blooms:

Some more camellia shots:Top photo is of 'Something Beautiful'. Middle photos are of an old camellia that was here when we arrived in 1985. Lower photos are of 'Red Candles'.




Here's another look at the woodland garden, taken a few days ago. Everything is wet!

Water droplets cling to a native red cedar in the woodland garden:

Another view in the woodland garden, looking over the blue bridge. The moss path is lush after all the January rain:

Gardening is about passalong plants and friendship, about lush blooms and feel-good foliage, about weather and work and wildlife and walks to think about and enjoy it all. It's often a solitary endeavor, but the results are most satisfying when they are shared. I hope you have enjoyed a peek at my early spring; and if it freezes over, I'll tell you about that, too!



January on My Mind

I'm partied out and broke. January is dreary with drab, damp days and monochromatic scenery. Spindly tree limbs form tangled masses on the horizon. Sunsets are fierce with battered skies. Only an occasional day opens blue, with sharp edges.I want to garden, but cold winds blow away the joy. A good book, a warm drink, and a comfy seat near the fireplace have greater pull, and I have no desire to venture outdoors.

But after a while I must. 

Only to find tragedy. Outside the kitchen door are mockingbird feathers, scattered across the patio. I look around for the familiar mockingbird who guarded this territory, who established a nest in the weeping yaupon tree next to the patio last year. I don't see him. Mercifully, the body is gone. Was it a neighbor's cat, or possibly the Red-shouldered hawk? I would feel better if it were the hawk.A hawk searches for a meal.

This weeping yaupon holly grows outside our kitchen. Mockingbirds love the berries.Still saddened I look around for something to brighten my spirits. I don't have to look far. Below the weeping yaupon tree, the hellebores are beginning to bloom. There are several varieties growing here, and they have intermingled and self-seeded to produce nameless, illegitimate offspring. I don't care. I think they are lovely.

As I walk in the garden I find other spots of color. The winter daphne is budding and has opened one tiny flower. I grow this beautiful, sweet smelling plant in a pot to ensure good drainage. Clay soil and long rainy days would spell death to it otherwise. An ornamental cabbage, above left, also catches my interest, as does the remains of a bright seedpod on a gardenia bush. There are quite a few of these orange and yellow pods on the gardenia bush in the woodlands.

 And then I find this odd rock:

I love rocks! I love the permanence of them; I love their varied textures and patterns and colors. Here are some more rocks in my garden, each with holes and a story to tell, if I knew it.

First, a white one:

A yellow one:

And an orange one:

Now I'm on a roll, taking picture after picture of rocks, and I'm enjoying myself.
At last I turn back toward the house, again to see mockingbird feathers near the kitchen door. The fleeting life of a mockingbird; the solid rocks that will be here long years from now. But the holes remind me that even rocks are not eternal, for eventually they too are turned to dust. I sigh. January is getting to me. It's time to go inside and fix myself a cup of cappuccino with my new cappuccino machine!