March 31, 2016

Savoring Spring

I'm enjoying every moment of this spring!  Each morning something new escapes from winter's grasp, much to my delight.  Flower beds have fresh mulch, the vegetables are planted, and a few annuals have gone in here and work is done.  Now, I'm just enjoying the coming out party.

'Climbing Iceberg' Rose

Most of my roses are covered with buds, but still only a few are blooming.  This is 'Autumn Sunset'.

'Don Juan' Rose

Desert Roses are blooming too.

First red daylily to bloom is 'Challenger'.

Also, out in the front garden, the Red-Leaf Plum trees are blooming...

I'm at the southern end of their growing range, so I don't expect fruit.  I planted them for their red foliage.

Beautiful morning...

Agapanthus and Daylilies are ready to burst.  I should have separated a few
 of the Agapanthus clumps, as some are nearly four foot year, on my list. 

One of the new beds this year has been planted with an array of seeds...Zinnias, Tithonia, Purple Coneflower, and probably some surprises.

A sweet garden adornment, from a sweet sister-in-law.

Under the oaks, the shade gardens are slowly beginning to fill.  I'm in no hurry, as I'm enjoying watching each Caladium leaf unfurl.  Hostas are popping up everywhere, and I'm glad I took the time last year to divide them ...wish I'd gotten around to those Agapanthus.

 Hostas are emerging at the front of the bed, and many more will follow.  In just as few short weeks, you won't be able to see the ground in any of the shade gardens.  I won't say, 'I can't wait'...because I'm making a conscious effort to enjoy spring slowly this year.

Rex Begonia

Farfugium japonica,  or 'tractor seat', is going to do well in my shade garden.  This plant was purchased in February, setting new blooms now.

Long post, but I have to include a few birds.  Red-Bellied Woodpecker, male, in our oak...

His mate in the feeder.  Subtle difference in their red caps , his being larger.

Pileated Woodpecker

Female, because of the black forehead.

Female Wood Duck...she's been coming to the box each morning.  After checking everything out, she goes inside, presumably to lay an egg.

Her mate swims around in the canal, waiting for her to get through.  This was the first time I've been able to get a picture of his 'good' side, with his long crest revealed.

Resident, Carolina Wren, singing joyfully.

Thank you for visiting.  I hope your spring is wondrous, and you are all doing well.

March 20, 2016

Vernal Equinox ~ 2016

Happy 'first day of spring'!!!  Everywhere we go, we see signs of it...Redbuds in bloom, trees leafing out, and racks and racks of plants for sale everywhere.  I'm waiting patiently for a week or two when I can see if I have room for any new purchases.  Meanwhile, I'm happy to see the return of some old friends...

'White Queen' Caladium, first of many.

Salvia Farinacea's returning everywhere, it's 'Victoria' or 'Sally'.

'Formosa' Azalea

'Mrs. G.G. Gerbing' by the back deck.

Saucer Magnolias, M. x soulangeana...I have no idea of the cultivar.  While trying to identify them, I learned that there are over 100 named cultivars, so mine will be the light ones and the dark  ones.  Real scientific, huh?

Light pink bloomer...

Dark pink...

Devil's Backbone

Even prettier with a Gray Catbird visiting.

These begonias have been in this pot for years.  I trimmed them up a few weeks ago and they're ready to bloom another year.

Holly Ferns are putting on their luscious new growth.  They spread around easily in the shade gardens by way of spores.

Desert Roses are beginning to bloom, but still scantily clad with leaves.

Yesterday, while enjoying a drizzling rain on the front porch, we saw our first Hummingbird of the season.  He headed straight for the Aloe, but the flowers have not quite opened yet.  There are numerous plants on the market sold as hummer enticements, and I have some of them.  I can only say that I've never seen a hummer on some of them, while Aloe has always been a magnet for hummers in my yard.

Some of the last Camellia blooms of the season, 'Dr. Tinsley'.

What could say spring better than a Carolina Wren building a nest?  We watched these two work together all morning.  I was delighted to see this one find a piece of  hydrangea bloom for the nest, next year I'll leave more scattered about...

By the end of the day, a beautiful nest!  We have enjoyed watching these two for several years.  The first year they nested on the porch, they built on top of the post that's under the box.  My husband added the box after the first brood flew.

One last thing to share,  this morning the Wood Ducks were on the bird feeder.  I took this photo through the window, but he's still magnificent.

I hope you're having the spring of your dreams!

March 17, 2016

This And That

Hell-o everyone.  I hope you are all enjoying this time of year as much as I am.  We've raked up a ton of oak leaves this week, so the shade beds are running over with good, free mulch.  We've also put out several yards of pine bark mulch.  I planted my vegetable garden...string beans, peppers, cucumbers, several varieties of squash, carrots, radishes, okra, etc.  I sat out my tomatoes that I started from seed, and also some Romaine.

I planted 21 tomato plants in all, some in boxes along the fenced garden, a few inside the fenced area, and the rest in a new garden area.

This is what they looked like a few weeks ago.  I don't know that they're any better than buying plants uptown, but it's just a satisfying feeling growing them from seed.

Onions, tomatoes in the background, and my new Passion Vine on the inside of the garden.  


I love saving seeds from the garden, like this's been hanging in my garden shop since last fall.  It only takes one pod to plant an entire garden.  This is the 'Cow Horn' variety.

So, I'm saving flowers for a later is birds again.  There are a pair of Osprey building a nest on my neighbor's antennae, when chicks arrive I'll post a photo.

The other cool thing happening now is we have two pairs of  Wood Ducks nesting in our boxes.  These two were roaming around the yard, looking all pretty.

Spring 2013, before I was blogging, we got to see the little ones emerge from this box.  The next three photos were taken in 2013, with my old camera.  They nest here every year, but we have never been lucky enough to see them come out again.  My husband just happened to be in the yard when the mother flew in and called her chicks out.  I grabbed my camera and was lucky just to see the last one bailing out of the box.  The whole thing only lasted five minutes, so you can see why the event can easily be missed.  

2013 Photo

2013 Photo
Beating a hasty retreat to the water with her ten ducklings.

2013 Photo
And away they go...

This is the box the other pair uses.

He is so perfect...he looks like a decoy.

Gray Catbird, male.


Face off.


Last one, I promise -  Brown Thrasher.

Happy gardening during this most lovely time of year.