Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

Yes, the garden is going to the dogs, literally. We are dog sitting for my Sister's dogs, Sonny and Cher.
The ever present Annie keeps an eye on the little rascals.
One never knows where they might get off to and what they might do in the garden. They like to go up and down and around the paths in the garden.
Not a whole lot blooming in the garden right now but if you look around there are spots of color. The Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, Rudbeckia and hostas are thrumming on.
If you look really close you can see a few more colors. 
We have been so rain deficient that the holly hocks haven't grown tall nor have they many blooms on them. The poor monarda has absolutely flopped over. 
The Limelight Hydrangea scoffs at the drought. 
The turtlehead is another plant to consider if you need late summer early fall color. This is a hybrid 'Tiny Tortuga'. It doesn't get as tall as the straight species and isn't quite as aggressive but it can and does hold it's own in any weather. 
We have had lots of butterflies flitting through the garden. I think the only way I was able to get a shot of this Tiger Swallowtail is because it was worn to a frazzle and took a rest on a sunny Witch Hazel leaf. 
We herd the dogs to the park daily for a good walk. While there this week I spotted this HUGE fungus growing at the lower 2feet of this tree. 
It is huge as you can see with my hand being there to compare. I don't know what kind of fungus this is but it is a beauty. 
It also is in layers. If you know what this fungus is I would appreciate any information you can impart about it.
I hope you are enjoying the Dog Days and your garden is thriving not just surviving. 

EDIT:  I found out what kind of fungus this is, Dryad's Saddle.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Wildflowers July 26

Gail at Clay and Limestone has a meme for the 4th Wednesday of each month about the wildflowers in your garden. I often like to participate and I hope you will too.  This month I am cheating a little bit because I saw a sight I just had to share with some of you that appreciate wildflowers.
While out driving through a mine reclamation area we found a couple of miles of fields full of Queen Anne's Lace. I realize it is an introduction to the States but it has been around so long that most people consider "one of ours". 
It was quite a sight. It appears as a monoculture but if you look closely there are some other colors in this mix. A tall purple thing in front and some clover mixed in. This area of the reclamation has been used for cattle grazing and there are farmers making some of this into crop fields. 
It wasn't only the plants that drew us here. It is a place where there is enough space unmown and not used for agriculture that there are specialty birds to seen.
This Henslow's Sparrow is one of the most rare sparrows in Indiana. It is actually becoming rare in many places. It needs this type of area to breed in.
While driving down the road we saw at least four of them in this area. 
Please excuse the quality of pictures. It was high noon and the bird was really out of range for our little camera. 
I was so thrilled at finding such a large cache of these sparrows I wanted to sing along with this lusty male defending his little swathe of territory. Now when I say large cache, I meant there were four of these sparrows that we saw/heard here. You don't find them in many other places in the state.
Grasshopper Sparrow and Upland Sandpipers also nest in this area. We also saw and heard several Grasshopper sparrows, it is a rare sparrow in Indiana too. The Upland Sandpipers weren't to be seen at this time of day. It just means another trip to try to see them.
This goes to show that we need places where the wildflowers can grow to sustain the wildlife that we all love not to mention our selves.
Happy Wildflower Wednesday.