Wednesday, April 29, 2015

End of April 2015 - Garden Birds are Nesting and a Broad-Headed Skink

This weeks post finds a cardinal family visiting the garden.  Below is the male.

Here is the female cardinal.  I'm still looking for the nest - I have seen both of them around here a lot.

A female ruby throated hummingbird visited the Salvia Greggii which is in bloom now.

You can see the yellow pollen on her beak. And off she goes.

We found a new herp in our garden!  Unfortunately it is deceased but I was excited anyway to see a new critter.  It is a broad-headed skink.  Here is a link telling some information about it.

I still have bearded irises blooming.

The Carolina Wren mother continues to flit about the garden.  And guess what?  I found her nest!

She laid her eggs in the petunia basket on the front porch.  I've been drenching those poor little eggs with water for the last several weeks.

I finally noticed her fly out of the basket and when I checked, I felt their sweet downy little heads.  One of the eggs has not hatched yet.

When we shown the flashlight at them, they raised their little heads in unison looking for food from their Mama.

The The Red Hot Pokers are in full bloom now. 

The hummingbirds love these flowers too.

I have a small birdhouse on my back porch - and look what I found in there -  four house sparrow chicks! 

Here is the male with his black chin coming in for a feeding.

He knows I'm watching so he is very wary to land on the house -see him on the right?

I'm closing this post with a word about the vegetable garden.  Here are pictures of our tomato plants.  We found a new way to tie them up - this is an experimental year.  We are using fence posts and twine.  See link for more information.

And finally, here is a picture of the artichokes.  I planted them last year and they survived snow and ice to come back again this year.

Friday, April 24, 2015

First Nest of Purple Martin Chicks Hatched! Life Around the Garden

Our first nest of Purple Martin chicks just hatched this week!

Two other gourds have eggs in them.  Here is one of the nests with 6 eggs.

 Here is a close up shot of the perfect little eggs.

The irises continue to bloom now.

We have had an unbelievable amount of rain around here this spring.  Luckily the rain hasn't hurt the iris blossoms like it has the rose blossoms.

I have a pair of Carolina Wrens nesting in my Yaupon holly.  Here is one of the parents.  They are both very loud.

My front yard is very colorful now - I'm enjoying it because I know that come summer, only the crepe myrtles will be in bloom.

Mr. McGregor found a bunny nest in our vegetable garden - uh oh.  We moved the nest outside the garden - Mama bunny will have to find another spot to raise her babies.

There were two bunnies in the nest.

I love the pink & purple irises.

I had my son cut down a 7 foot antique rose bush in the front garden because it was looking too ratty.  I've decided I like the less crowded walk up to the front door.

A lovely antique rose bush is blooming now. 


 Close up of this antique rose - I wish I could remember the name of it.  I'll update the post if I can find the information.

This week the clemantis bush is in full bloom. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

April is the Month of Flowers (Especially Irises)

Mid-April brings a lot of flowers around here.  Its my favorite time of year.  Every plant is putting on its best show to attract pollinators.  I'll start off with something small and end with the larger bushes.

Ajuga is a perennial groundcover that comes back every year.

Bearded irises and and a knockout rose bush are blooming now. 

A very large bumble bee visited the pink indian hawthorne. 

I'm guessing this bee was over 1 1/2" long.

The Pittisporum is blooming now.  It is also called Mock Orange because the blossoms smell like orange blossoms. It can get up to six feet tall and keeps its leaves through the winter.  This particular variety is variegated.  I intend to prune it soon so that it gives a flowing bonsai effect over the swimming pool.

Close up shot of the wonderfully fragrant blossoms.  Honeybees love it.  I tried to snap a good picture with a bee, but they were too fast for me today.

I love the red color on this bearded iris.

Another large knock out rose, pink hawthorne and the red bearded irises - all in bloom. The Althea (Rose of Sharon) has budded out behind them and will begin blooming in June.

I haven't noticed as many cedar waxwings around here as much as I did last spring, but I did see a group of them in my neighbor's tree this week.

My mammoth climbing antique roses on the other side of my backyard are blooming now.  These climbing roses are over 10 years old.  I would say they span a distance of at least 50-60 feet and are at least 9-12 feet tall.  I posted a picture of the blooming antique roses on the other side of my yard in last weeks blog post.

We are going to have a lot of peaches this year!

And finally, here is Ragnar, checking out the birds.