Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turning the corner to summer

The big bed is getting ready to turn the corner for summer; the foxglove is just beginning to seed out and the Brazilian Blue Sage is taking on size. The hummingbirds will be happy when the sage starts blooming. It's their very favorite. They spend all summer bickering over it.

The chickadee babies that were in the nestbox at the back of the garden fledged over a week ago; I hear them as they move about, as they never stop talking, a sped-up constant version of the chickadee call. They sound sort of like maniacal elves. A pair of Chipping Sparrows built a nest on a lower branch of one of the pines at the back of the garden and judging from how noisy the young are they will fledge some too. I see the parents foraging on the ground around the garden all of the time, looking very dapper.

There are Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Summer Tanagers, Bluebirds, Kingbirds, Great Crested Flycatchers, Peewees, Ovenbirds and Wood Thrushes all around. Vireos, Indigo Buntings and Summer Tanagers sing all day no matter how hot the weather. I even heard a Yellow-Breasted Chat near the house the other day, and the past couple of years they have stayed down in the floodway fields. An understory border, including a lot of blackberries, has grown up around the edge of the woods and I think that's why the Indigo Buntings nest so close to the house now. Just yesterday one was singing in a tree opposite the kitchen window. The hollow created by dumping the water trough in the paddock back of the house is a very poplar spot for bird bathing. It's been kind of dry lately so I've been keeping the hollow filled with the hose. Last summer when we had a very hot dry spell even the bees drank from it.

Bobwhites call back and forth in distant fields. A pair spent the summer on our farm last year, foraging in the gardens and occasionally going up the driveway to the field up top. Once or twice a week we would flush them out from the garden as we walked to and from the horse pastures. I think they liked the gardens because there's a lot to eat in there, both seeds and bugs, there are short mowed paths they can walk on, and good cover.

The predominant color in the garden just now is green, with the exception of the spiderworts, late roses, and Carolina Bush Pea.

This Rosa palustris scandens got so big that it sort of fell over on itself, but it's still beautiful. The truck happens to be in the picture because I was moving the last of some fill dirt up the house in buckets. Later on I switched to using a wheelbarrow, which was actually easier.

Rosa carolina, Rosa virginiana, and Carolina Bush Pea.

Rosa carolina, growing together over what used to be the path through the back part of the garden. The path goes around the back of the Carolina roses now. I plan to fill the rest of the old path with more Carolina Bush Pea and Baptisias. No doubt the roses and Brazilian Blue Sage will find their own way in there too as they all spread by runners.

I have read some gardeners' complaints about the short bloom time of Carolina Bush Pea;
I have not noticed the bloom time being that short, and love it for the beauty of its
stately clear yellow spires. That shade of yellow seems to go with everything.

The Wax Myrtles next to the ditch that runs behind the garden have gotten big the last couple of years. I hope to remember to scatter larkspur seeds on the top part of the garden this fall; in the shallow ditch that runs in front of the garden I have added more Rosa palustris scandens, Amsonia hubrichtii, and Spiderwort.

In this low spot there's already Monarda 'Claire Grace', Crinum 'Royal White',
Iris virginica, Iris japonica, Swamp Milkweed, and lots of Bidens seedlings.

Yesterday we had our warmest day so far, at least 93 degrees, and it will probably reach 95 today. We're due a warm spell with May being so advanced. I will probably be hiding in the shade or the air conditioning from the afternoon sun but the butterflies will love it.


  1. Looking fabulous! I just planted the thermopsis this spring and so loved the yellow spires. But when I looked at it the other day it had passed by and I thought the bloom time a rather short period. Nonetheless, I'll keep it. You have a lot and it sure looks good with the baptisia and roses.

  2. You are feeling the summer while we are in the middle of the first really cold days. In this moment I love to see gardens like yours, so full of life and blooms.
    How great is rosa Carolina! Ive only seen her in internet little photos, now I see how nice she is!
    and Carolina bush pea! a lot of Carolinas in your garden! :)

    winter kisses!


  3. Your garden looks very soothing and peaceful. I love r. palustris and am glad to see yours is still providing some color for the garden.

  4. Just reading about all of your birds makes me happy. We don't have nearly the variety that you do, but I love watching the ones we do have. This morning the finches were feeding at the hummingbird feeder - the first time I've seen them do that.

  5. You have an amazing variety of birds in your yard. I love all the green. No doubt you'll have many colorful blooms soon. 90's already? We haven't reached mid-70's yet. Our spring has been wet and cooler than usual.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this blog post! I especially like reading about your birds and also seeing your Foxgloves.

  7. So many birds and chickadee... And of course the foxgloves and the yellow spires... I close my eyes and imagine, that I am ,for a moment, in your green, wild garden...and I am smiling !

  8. 95 % in May! I can't relate entirely as it was almost cold enough here this morning for a sweater. I am sure you are right that the butterflies won't mind the warm weather the least little bit.

  9. Oh boy that's warm - till yesterday we were shivering in the fifties - love the country feel of your blooming gardens.

  10. Your photos fill me with peace and warmth; your roses are truly thriving! How I enjoyed reading about the birds where you are, and your description of listening to their chatter and knowing some will fledge soon.

    In your veg garden, do you mulch with straw? It looks great also.

  11. Wow, it really warmed up in your area.The Sweet Peas and Foxgloves are so pretty. I love that bed. It is so full and lush. I keep moving my plants so they do not get a chance to establish themselves and look pretty like yours. LOL!

  12. We mulch with hay in the vegetable garden. Unfortunately in winter the quality of the hay decreases and at least a quarter of it goes straight into the garden as mulch.

  13. It is really hot already isn't it? You have such a collection of birds, it is wonderful. I am slowly learning the calls of some. The woods are full of birds, but they are far enough away most of the time they are just silhouettes.
    I love larkspur, they are such a great bloomer this time of year. Your Amsonia is huge!!

  14. Everything looks beautiful, Sweetbay! But I'm not ready for summer yet:)

    Tried to leave a comment on your last post, but couldn't...let's see if this works.

  15. Sweetbay, I'm loving the soft, dreamy summer glow of your garden. It is so lovely.

    I love the pic of the foxglove - one of my very favourite flowers ever.

    ps. love the idea of you giving the bees a drink. :)

  16. Of course your garden is lovely SB but what sounds heavenly to me is all the bird song and sightings you describe. I've been seeing a few new birds lately (at least to my garden) and it's so exciting. I wish I had a more mature landscape to attract even more.
    ps I can't believe it's in the 90's there! Wow. We've had one 80 degree day and that's it. Mostly we sit in the 50's or lower 60's. Can't even seem to hit 70. Not summer-like at all but at least no tornadoes so I shouldn't complain, right?

  17. So lovely! That single rose is so very charming...and your Amsonia looks so full and lush!

  18. We had similar weather here today as well, and I am not sure I am ready. I came home to a yard full of wilted plants, though the soil was moist. I guess they aren't ready either.

  19. You have so many birds I've never heard of.

    I think the Carolina Bush Pea looks superb punching up through the garden.

  20. Sweetbay, Is there any wonder that the birds would sing all day in your garden! That is a great list!!

  21. Beautiful post sweetbay! Love the colour of the foxglove in your first picture. Your HF Young (previous post) is stunning, I have one as well but am lucky to get a handful of blooms. I'm going to give it time, but am running out of patience (planted in the summer of 2009).


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