Entries in spring garden (13)

Sunday
Mar122017

Close Encounter with a Hawk

I recently was pruning a shrub when Lou, who was standing nearby, whispered, "You have a visitor."A Red-Shoulered Hawk, photo taken in my garden on another day

I looked around, and not ten feet from me on a low tree branch, sat a large hawk. My heart thumped a bit, for he was clearly watching me. Sizing me up for prey? I doubt it; I would have been more than a mouthful!

He was nearly level with my head, and for a few moments I found myself locking eyes with him, briefly transcending the gulf that naturally separates humans from wild creatures. Finally, in no hurry at all, the hawk lifted his wings and took flight.

My garden is blessed with several predatory bird families, including both hawks and owls. I am thankful, for they help keep the vole and chipmunk population down. Voles have been the nemesis of my garden, destroying the roots of many valuable plants.

The chipmunks are much cuter than the mousy-looking voles, but they are cohorts in crime.He just looks innocent!They have dug an extensive series of underground tunnels for themselves, and the same tunnels are also used by the voles who want to snack on my roots.

This was not the first time predatory birds have shown an interest in us. An owl once followed Lou around the garden, flying from tree to tree to keep him in sight. Maybe his nest was nearby; maybe he was just curious!

It is always a delight to be outside this time of year, as the birds and other creatures go about the business of building nests and making babies. A symphony of twitters, chirps and calls of all sorts greets me every morning. New life is emerging along stems and branches, and many plants are blooming. Spring's verdure seems premature this year. We are expecting freezing temperatures this week, but the birds are telling me: No worries; spring is here!

 

Monday
May092016

Am I a Crazy Gardener?

Recently I was helping a friend in her garden when I became aware that she was looking at me oddly. 

"Oh, I guess you noticed I talk to the plants."

"Yes," she replied. "And you also talk to worms."

It's true. I talk to all sorts of plants and critters. Since none of them have talked back yet, I don't think this makes me crazy, though some folks may have a different opinion.Wrens are raising a family in this red birdhouse next to the patio. I usually say good morning to them, and they answer me with song.

I am hanging on to each moment in the garden, treasuring the fresh air and the glorious spring blooms. In the front garden, roses and other shrubs are flowering along with annuals and perennials. The vibrant foliage of Japanese maples adds to the colorful scene.

Confederate jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides, grows on the arch near pink Anthony Waterer Spirea.

Clockwise from top left: Daylilies in front of the pink bird house will soon be blooming. Behind the bird house is purple Loropetalum and to the left is Anthony Waterer Spirea; Persicaria 'Purple Dragon' grows next to potted Hosta Aureomarginata; Coral Drift roses by the patio; Confederate Jasmine.

Clockwise from top left: Foxgloves; Rosa Mutabilis; Anthony Waterer Spirea; Rose 'Orchid Romance.'

The woodland garden is taking on an enchanted, deep green atmosphere that gleams with golden tints in late afternoon sunshine. I love to walk along the moss paths and watch the light glinting over the plants.

Blooms in the woodland garden are more subdued than those in the sunnier front garden. Above are on the left, Heucherella 'Alabama Sunset' and, on the right, a white woodland phlox.

Clockwise from top left: Fatsia japonica 'Spiderweb' in pot, seen with Strawberry begonia flowers; Ligularia; Indigofera; Bird's Nest Fern, a tropical plant that spends warm parts of the year in the woodland garden.Ground covers seen here are Liriope and Indigofera.

Summer will be here soon, and bugs and fungal diseases will arrive with the heat and humidity. Flowers will retreat. Some plants will wilt overnight. Others will reach and twine and proliferate like true denizens of the jungle.

Meanwhile, I continue to talk to my garden, and because I am so tuned to it, it responds to my care and love. How about you; are you a crazy gardener, too?