Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Birds and Blooms

I enjoyed having my coffee this morning on the patio, (the swing was a bit damp). I spotted a hummingbird on the feeder, I was able to get a picture but it was too blurry to share. That is my new mission, to get a good picture of the hummingbirds. Boy are they fast!

I love Old Country Roses china.

Baby robins in a nearby Colorado Blue Spruce.

The peonies look good enough to eat, at least the petunia thinks so.

Monday, May 28, 2007

End of May Blooms

We were gone from home for only a few days so I was quite surprised at how things had grown in my absence. It looked as if everything had been given a heavy dose of Miracle Grow. Thankfully, it rained while we were gone, so I didn't loose anything. I was very glad to be there with my mom and dad, however I couldn't help but think of all the plants that I had nurtured through the long winter, especially the purple wave petunias. All of them were in my containers and I was concerned they would die since they wouldn't be watered. The Superbell's on the front porch didn't get watered since it's under the eave of the house, yet they still look great.

On Tuesday only one of the elephant ears had fully opened and only two of them were out of the dirt. I was quite surprised at how they had grown.

I have great success with miniature roses but don't do well with the regular roses for some reason. I've planted several and they all either die or look so pathetic that I pull them out of the flower bed. This is my lone bloom, (there were two but the rabbits got the other one) on this red rose bush. It's blurry, but you can see the holes in the leaves of this scrawny bush, something is eating it, it's so ugly. This one may have to go too. It's taking up space and not very pretty.
I wish that I had started garden journaling earlier because I have some things planted that I don't know what they are. I think the plant above is a butterfly weed but I'm not sure.
I've searched my books to identify this one and I think it is campanula or bellflower.

Our golden, Lily, sheds quite badly, especially in the spring. I bought a suet feeder and placed her fur in it. It's been hanging since early spring and just yesterday, while I was out checking things after our return home, I spotted a bird getting the fur. This morning while I was out I saw it again. I was hoping the birds would use the fur to line their nests.

A very sad sight, the petal of a peony.

I had wanted to get a picture of the iris before leaving to go home but didn't have the time. I'm so glad I still had a couple in bloom.
The Clematis is blooming, but not yet in its prime.
The lighter pink peony is now in bloom.

Sweet Home Alabama

We made an emergency visit home to Alabama after getting a call that my mom had blood clots in her lung. I spent most of my time at the hospital with her and one of the evenings with a friend whose brother was killed in a car crash earlier that day. It was not a pleasure trip, to say the least. Thankfully, Mother is doing better and was released from the hospital on Saturday.

I've never been fond of the Mimosa tree; it's one of those trees that's so plentiful in Tuscaloosa, you sort of ignore them. My mother-in-law had one that popped up at her home and she cut it down after several years because she just didn't like it either. It was very messy and seedlings came up everywhere. Since I haven't seen them in bloom in several years they actually stood out to me this trip home and for the first time I enjoyed their unique beauty.
The crepe myrtles were in full bloom. They are planted in clusters all around the city in the center area of the exit and entrance ramps. Masses of purple or dark pink blooms. It's so beautiful. In the spring I miss the azalea and in the summer I miss the crepe myrtle.
This is the porch at my parents home, it goes the full length down the side of their house. It's one of my favorite spots in the whole world. I love sitting here early in the morning, before anyone else is up, watching the birds while I have my quiet time. I love sitting here on this swing with my mom. It is a very special place indeed.
I didn't have as much time this trip to enjoy the porch swing, but I did get up about 6:00 A.M. each morning so I could have my morning coffee and watch the birds before heading to the hospital. It was a bit hazy and smokey due to the forest fires in Georgia and Florida. My parent's neighbor has several bird feeders, so there's usually quite a variety of birds. Mocking birds had nested in the dogwood tree behind the swing. I spotted wrens, who were looking on the porch for a place to build their nest. I saw a blue jay, ( one of my favorite birds), cardinals, robins, sparrows, wood peckers and a nuthatch.

My mom's hydrangea was in full bloom.

Across the fence at the neighbor's house is this lovely spot. There is an arbor beside the bench that is covered with a pink climbing rose. Sadly, I was a few days shy of seeing it in it's full glory and it was covered in spent unattractive blooms.

Almost home! Yea! It was raining in Indiana, a most welcome sight. Thankfully, our animals are great traveling companions. The kitty was so cute propped here beside my daughter. Part of the time she had her paw resting on her shoulder. Usually, she wants to be in a lap, (my lap), but on the trip home she was content to stay right here. It wasn't quite so tiring for me since I didn't have to hold her for 10 hours, or battle to keep her from getting behind my neck--not comfortable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Robin's Nesting Place has a baby robin...

Another peony bloom.
We desperately need rain.
This baby robin was in my Japanese maple this morning. The mom wasn't around so I was able to sneak up close and get a few shots.

Also, I just wanted to post and let you guys know that I will be away for a few days. I got a call today concerning my mom who has been in the hospital because she fell and broke her arm. She now has developed blood clots in her lungs and I must go to Alabama to be with her.

Here is another lesson learned, this one about procrastination, remember the saying "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today"? Well, I had procrastinated about planting some things, in my defense, I wasn't quite sure where I wanted to put them. I knew they would never make it if they weren't planted before I left, (may not make it anyway if we don't soon get rain). So, instead of packing I was planting and watering. It was good to be outside though, it always relaxes me to work in the yard, especially watering, and after getting that upsetting news this helped me to gather my thoughts. I had bought some Lily Turf on clearance and had almost two flats to plant. I had also made a few purchases at the Master Gardener plant sale on Saturday, (have a post to do on that later), I got those planted, I did some mulching. Hopefully everything will live while I'm gone. Things are really starting to bloom now. I saw two beautiful Irises in bloom today, I was waiting until evening to get a picture, but I was on the phone all evening with family members.
Rain is in the forecast this week I do hope we get it, otherwise my container plants will die.
Well, I best get that packing finished.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Great Peonies

This is our lovely state flower, the peony. They couldn't have picked a more beautiful flower for the great state of Indiana. These things are absolutely gorgeous! They are huge! I cut this one today so I could enjoy this bloom inside. I hope the cat will stay away from it.

I have another bush in full bud, and I am looking forward to those lighter pink blooms. I moved one of my bushes because it was in the way of our patio wall, the buds on it shriveled so we won't get to enjoy those this year. Then there is that stubborn tree peony that has never bloomed. I think this fall I'll move it and maybe it will be happier in different location.

Frosted Flowers

I'm a little behind posting these because we've had a guest for several days. A few mornings ago, on Friday 19th, we had a light frost, (past the last frost date mind you). Thankfully nothing was harmed. Here are a few pictures of the beautiful frosted flowers.

I was looking forward to seeing this rose bud in full bloom and this morning I saw that it had been chewed off, my guess is, by a rabbit. Those waskely wabbits.

Frosted Peony

Thursday, May 17, 2007

White River Gardens

I enjoyed photographing the water lilies.

White peony.

Bleeding heart

Frog fountain

Train in the garden.

The Wedding garden was beautiful with all of the pink rose bushes in full bloom.



Wednesday, May 16, 2007

White River Gardens Butterfly Exhibit

I went to White River Gardens today before meeting up with friends at the Indy zoo, (the zoo and the gardens are connected so you get to see both with admission). It was so nice to take my time at the garden, I had never been before and was glad no one was with me to rush me along. I especially enjoyed the butterfly exhibit. It was a bit difficult to get pictures because there were so many school children there.
I am trying to identify the butterflies from my National Audubon Society Field Guide. I believe the orange butterfly is a Julia Fritillary and the other one I think is a buckeye.

These may be northern eyed browns.


The black and white striped one is a zebra long wing. This is an interesting fact about the zebra butterfly; the female pupae releases an odor to attract the male. The males mate with the fully developed females while they are still in their pupal cases. During the mating the male releases a chemical which acts as a chastity belt to repel other males.

The butterflies love the lantana.

This looks like a swallowtail to me, since it has the spots along the wings, but since the tail is missing I'm not certain, however I don't see a blue swallowtail in the book.

I wish I could have gotten a better picture of this because it is very interesting. They get a shipment of chrysalises in every two weeks and they glue them to the poles in this box according to species. This is where they emerge and dry their wings before being set free in the observatory. We were told that the butterflies have a very short life span of about two weeks.