Yesterday was like heaven on earth. 70 degrees, light breeze, bright sunshine dimming to a more gentle milky light in the afternoon so it didn't get too hot. Today was still very warm but even early in the day the threat of storms pushing our way was evident, with a lot of wind and clouds. The horses kept spooking at imaginary things. As they do every year the chorus frogs have set up camp in the low area below the paddock and when I step outside onto the back porch their song is almost deafening. It almost sounds as though they've taken over the paddock too. lol Tommy, who hates thunderstorms, wanted in at 12:30 pm even though the main line of storms still isn't here at 11:30 pm.
Prince had a re-check ultrasound on the 12th and the injured tendons are healing, with good alignment of the fibers. Check ligament looked enlarged though, (probably as a result of the secondary injury at the end of November) but with no tears. The horses are still up behind the house full time. I hand walk them twice a day whenever the weather allows. Prince is up to 20 minutes per session now, to the creek and back, so 2 miles total per day. The slough near the creek has filled back up and we've seen wood ducks a few times.
I haven't seen the turkeys since I last posted about them. I think they moved on after the coyotes showed up. At least the coyotes were only here about a month. At that time I saw a covey of about three dozen bobwhite quail too, and then none until today. They were at the edge of the woods ~ there's a place where I stash old Bidens stems and they were in that "trash" pile. They flew up in all different directions into the woods. There looked to be roughly a dozen. I think their groups are fluid and fracture and come back together often. When I've flushed them (always by walking right by, not knowing they were there until they took off) they often call to locate each other as their escape flight is scattershot and they end up all over the place.
On the other hand, I see one of the Red-shouldered Hawks every day. They hunt from the neighbor's fence or persimmon tree, or our apple trees, or at the edge of the woods, or from our pasture fences. They've become so used to us now that they don't fly off unless we get close. For the past two years they've nested within view of the house.
I haven't cleared many of the old Bidens stems in the gardens yet, except where I've planted bulbs, because as I've said before the birds love them so much. Song Sparrows, White-Throated Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Goldfinches, Cardinals, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Carolina Wrens, Hermit Thrushes, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers are always foraging in these areas or using them for cover. I will have to start tackling them at some point though, as they aren't going to magically go away when spring gets here.
While the garden is still withered and brown, here is another set of pictures of the garden next to the house, this time in 2011 and 2012. The majority of woody plants in this part of the garden are roses and in May they put on a good show.
Most are rugosas, not by plan, but by survival of the fittest and most rambunctious. Of the rugosas only Hansa was purchased for this part of the garden. I bought two 'Foxi Pavement' in 2004 and put them in the big perennial bed, and when they started suckering I dug up division and brought it up here. All of the ruguosa albas and rubras were grown from seed.
'Foxi Pavement' looking toward paddock, 2011. R. rugosa rubra is on the right.'Renae' is on the horse shelter in the background.
'Sir Thomas Lipton', a hybrid of the polyantha 'Clotilde Soupert' and Rugosa alba, grown from a cutting. The original was a rose I bought for my MIL for her birthday or Mother's Day and I figured she wouldn't mind sharing. ;)
Sadly, this possible-'Madame Ernest Calvat' was eaten by the bee balm. I say possible because the tag didn't match the rose at all and MEC is a guess.
'Archduke Charles' has been moved to a spot west of the front lawn, where I hope its absence of foliage in the summer won't be as noticeable. It doesn't get much blackspot, but like 'Cl. Old Blush' some sort of caterpillar eats its leaves from June through August.
Rugosas may be dominant here, but there are a few others that have done well here too, such as the purple China/gallica nicknamed "Delia's Purple" pictured below. I'd like to have a bed with just purple roses but I have enough roses already. Still doesn't mean I can't covet more though. ;) Vintage Gardens in California has an amazing collection of purple old garden roses and if they stay open I may order some of those. The NC Botanical Garden has a beautiful purple no-name China/gallica in the medicinal plant section that has flowers that are even more of a true blue purple (rather than the pink/wine highlights of Delia's Purple), a sweet spicy scent and a more wispy stoloniferous habit than my passalong. After seeing the rose in Chapel Hill in full bloom for the first time I was strongly tempted to order more, in the hopes of getting something like that one.
Delia's Purple cons: she gets large, doesn't have any extremely high bud count, and is once-blooming. Pros: she's purple, fragrant, and mostly thornless. Pros way outweigh cons.
Clockwise from top left, Delia's Purple, 'Foxi Pavement, delightful pink sorrel, and that I got in a trade.
'Aloha' is the only hybrid tea I have, and was obtained as a rooted cutting in a trade, just like Delia's Purple. I've tried some of the old tried and true hybrid teas like 'Radiance' roses and they died almost immediately. 'Aloha' has done very well. Probably because of its climber genes. One of its parents is 'New Dawn', which explains everything. From what I've seen in real life and read about 'New Dawn', owners spend time hacking this rose back, not coaxing it along. I've had 'Aloha' for about five years and it's a perfect balance of vigor and manners.
More later. I still have a lot of pictures left over!