Thursday, July 28, 2011

Garden Overspill

This time of year the garden is filled to overflowing.

I have been watering a lot the last few weeks and am grateful for the rain we've gotten the weekend. Highs are expected to go back up to 100 this week.
That little dot at the end of the drive is Prissy.

In high summer plants lean out into paths.

Plants take over paths, as the strawberries and Lemon Balm have done in the vegetable
garden. The corn we have harvested from the garden has been delicious, very sweet.

'Ellen Bosquanet' is blooming at the end of the vegetable garden.

I planted Malabar spinach next to the tripod and hope it has time to get going before the season ends. It's supposed to like hot weather.

Even the new plantings by the drive above the house ~ American beautyberries, prairie roses, rugosas, mints, and blue mist shrubs ~ are filling in.

It's a little scruffy up there but too far from the house to keep pristine in this heat, and I like the variety of colors and texture and overall effect.

Meadow Beauties are in bloom in unmown places beside the drive and next to the woods, looking as they were strewn there by magic.

I finally have good stands of Phlox 'David' growing by the house again since the move.

The horses' view of the very full side
garden from the paddock. I see it a lot too.

Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'

The daylilies are finishing up. This is a Bachman seedling, not sure of the parentage. I love the ribbony kinetic look of the petals.

'Lavender Stardust'

'Prissy Frills'

I do not want to be without these Rudbeckias again. I love their warmth of color.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot Animal Kingdom

Like almost everywhere it seems, it's been hot here. Official highs of over 100 at the airport for the last several days with heat indices of 110 and higher.

The result: hot sweaty horses.

We have been blessed the last couple of days by rainstorms though.

As always, cats know how to be comfortable. And they can create cute Hallmark moments with their tails.

A mockingbird pair raised a second brood in the fig tree next to the house and the young fledged Friday. DH said one of them was hopping on the ground in front of him and he could have caught it. Since then parents have been on hyper alert and while remain so until the young can fly. The babies managed to get to deep cover in one of the front garden beds. A couple of days ago I witnessed one of the parents opening a can of whoop a$$ on the Gray Fox in the front yard; he or she was scurrying as fast as possible with tail tucked with the Mockingbird in hot pursuit. I think the Fox is living in the woods between our house and our neighbors', as I've been seeing it near the horse trailer almost every day.

A male Bobwhite Quail has been calling nearby for the last week. Yesterday I happened to see him perched low in this tree next to the neighbor's pasture.

Wish I could have gotten a better picture but he was over 200' away. Bobwhites are so cute.

Speaking of cute, Saturday morning I was watering near a patch of Brazilian Blue Sage next to the driveway when a female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird flew up to feed and then settled on a twig to watch me, perhaps hoping for a bath. However when I raised the nozzle she elongated her neck in alarm and then whizzed off down the hill to the sage in the big perennnial bed. I could almost hear the tiny screams trailing after her. lol She will probably learn about hoses before the summer is out.

The temps will remain in the mid to upper '90s this next week, so I am extra grateful for the rain we got this weekend.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Animal Kingdom

The last couple of days have been a reprieve from the 100+ heat indices and high humidity, which in the middle of the day felt a lot like slogging through hot soup under a broiler. No rain with the weather change, unfortunately. Also unfortunately the cooler weather has brought on a flare-up of fibromyalgia, which has kept me down and out for the last day and a half.

The puddle next to the water trough is now home to 4 frogs. (The water is murky because I just emptied the trough, causing the frogs to leap from the fence and the puddle margins into the water and stirring up the silt.) I'm not surprised to see these frogs in the puddle, as there are what sounds like hundreds in the spring pools between the paddock and the woods. What's funny is that before now, I've actually seen one of those frogs only a few times, maybe two or three times, as they always fall silent if you get near them and they're very good at hiding.

Leopard Frog?


To see how small this tiny frog kingdom is, here is Tommy next to the trough, with the puddle to the
right. The little bumblebees that feed on the Bee Balm come here in droves to drink during the day.
Tommy will venture into the paddock as long as one of the horses isn't too close by.

Prince's coat has faded under the fierce summer sun. He and the pony spend some time under the shelter of the stalls during the day, but most of the time they stay outside. We will probably move them back down to the pastures tomorrow.

View to the neighbor's horses, regular sized and minis.

The deer family that was sampling my daylilies, down near the old house site.


Yearling buck

A couple of nights ago I saw a Gray Fox in the driveway near the horse trailer. At first I thought it was Prissy, then I realized that it didn't have a white chest and was too tall. Foxes are so graceful and cat-like. I've seen Gray Foxes many times over the years here on the farm, at times surprisingly close up. I've seen a Barred Owl in the woods behind the paddock at twilight recently as well. Gene has seen him or her a few times when he came home after dark (usually on Thursdays, when he works evenings), hunting at the wood's edge next to the driveway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bog Plants at the NC Botanical Garden

When we visited the NC Botanical Garden in June the bog garden was in full bloom.

There was lots of Plymouth Rose-Gentian, whose fragrance is as exquisite as its beauty.

And lots of Pitcher Plants. Pitcher Plants live in bogs that are very low in
nitrogen, and they have evolved to digest insects as their nitrogen source.

They have unusual-looking rounded flowers, and the plants themselves
come in so many different colors and patterns because they hybridize freely.

Insects lured by the promise of nectar find that they cannot crawl back
out and eventually fall into a liquid-filled cavity at the base of the plant.

These Common Grass Pink Orchids are exquisite too.

The Sundews are elegant in a surprising sort of way, and even have
beautiful little pink flowers covered in fuzzy down that are in bud
in the picture. Like the Pitcher Plants Sundews are carnivorous.

Whereas the Pitcher Plants utilize a "pitfall trap" to catch their prey, the fine sticky hairs on the stems of this Tracy's Sundew attract insects and then capture them, even physically curling around their prey, although at much slower speeds than a Venus Flytrap.

Venus Flytraps are native only to an area within a 100 mile radius of Wilmington, NC. Historically Pitcher Plants had a much wider range than that of Venus Flytraps, with the range of the Purple Pitcher Plant extending even to the mountains.

An artist's representation of some of what Pitcher Plants and Sundew Plants enjoy eating.

Looking for more vitamin C?

Those Orange Milkworts do look yummy.

Last but not least, Few-Flowered Milkweed. Besides liking wet
conditions, this is a much taller and more airy plant than Butterfly Weed.

The display almost makes you want to build raised peat beds and water them 3 times a day doesn't it? Perhaps a nice-sized pot or tub would be doable..

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