Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fork-tailed Flycatcher

If the title to this post didn't ring a bell I wish I could tell you how excited I was to see this bird. We read an email that told us of this sighting in Owen County, Indiana this morning. This young bird is a South American bird that has been seen in the United States only about 10 times. We were fortunate enough to be able to drive to the site to see this little beauty today.

Don Whitehead was out with a group of people doing a Breeding Bird Atlas Route when they found the bird. With modern technology the word was spread and people came from all around to see this unusual vagrant.
These are my pictures but if you want to see a little better picture you can go here to see a few pictures that Scott Evans has posted. I am sure there will be plenty more to view too. The photography equipment that was hauled out to photograph this bird was something to see too.
Happy weeknend all...
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A correction about how many times this bird has been seen in the Untied States. It has been seen about 60 times in 100 years. I don't know where I got the info about 10 times but it was wrong. I wish I knew how to mark through words as a correction. This will have to do. Let us just say it is RARE.

New Water Garden

This is the new Water Garden. It is tiny on anyones scale but it is beginning to bloom and I am quite happy about this. I bought pre-planted water plants in a handy dandy basket. I had never seen this done before and it gave me the desire to try a small water garden. So far it is doing great.

Of course I bought the larger basket of the ones available. I kinda wish I had bought a smaller one but there were more plants in the larger basket of course and I loved the way they looked all packed in there together. When I got home I found that the basket was almost too large for the container I had already purchased. I found this container early in the season. I had originally envisioned just putting a couple of water plants in this container but when I saw this one all potted up well, common sense went out the window and greed overtook me.

I am not sure what all the plants are in this basket. The big red canna is a given. There appears to be a Cardinal flower. There is a plant that looks like a small papyrus. After that I am not sure what they all are. There is a varigated grass of some sort it is actually sending up a bloom which is a small cluster of lavender flowers. Then there is a big green thing and another varigated bit of foilage. What ever they are I liked the combination and here they sit in the garden.I wondered if there would be enough light for blooms but it looks as if there will be. The canna is already putting up a bloom and there are other buds. I just love this red orange color in the garden. This is the bloom from the varigated grass. Do any of you know what this might be? If I lived closer to the nursery where I bought it I would go there and get the scoop about all the plants. The day I bought it we were traveling and I barely had time to stop. So here I am with mystery plants once again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Entertainment This Evening

This evening has been cool, windy and rain is lightly falling. I settled into my desk chair to read up on all of todays posts when I heard the wrens in the nest box just outside my window start begging. Sure enough the Momma and Poppa brought in some bugs for their dinner. Even though I need to trim some limbs so I can see the nest hole better and the conditions for photos were lousy I attempted to capture the parents at work.
Pappa Wren almost always announces his arrival. He had several of this type of bug when he came in. Sometimes he had to wait for the Mrs to leave the nest before he would feed them. I figured that is why he usually announced his arrival.Sometimes one of the little ones would meet him at the door. I don't think he played favorites because he would push on through the door rush and disappear.
Then of course someone has to do the housekeeping. I believe that the Momma is usually the one that takes the fecal sacs away from the nest. Difficult to tell when the birds are zipping in and out so quickly.
Maybe I will be able to sit here when the sun is shining some time to get some really good pictures before the babies fledge. I will also trim a branch or two. However when the sun is shining I am usually working in the garden now. There never seems to be enough time to do the things we want to. Sigh~~

Japanese Iris

It rained some on Monday. Not a bad thing since the house has been neglected so much with all of the outside spring chores being worked on. This pretty yellow Japanese Iris is blooming its heart out. It is a species that goes wild. I have seen these around a home owners pond and it appears to behave itself but the homeowner told me that it could be found in any watery area. I don't know the cultivar but it is very hearty. Mine is planted in the corner of the garden that can and does go under water when there is heavy rain. This beautiful white Japanese Iris is called Seagull. Of course I couldn't reisist a plant with a bird name. It is also very hearty. I have divided the original plant and scattered it all around my garden and the gardens of my friends.



Monday, May 26, 2008

Out of the Garden VII

This weekend the clouds kept rolling trough trying to bring us rain but the sun persisted so we were out and about some. Most of the passerine migrants have gone on through the area. We did have some shorebirds, Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper and Glossy Ibis.
It was cool during the morning hours. Just great for birding and watching nature. This large snake crawled onto the gravel road to sun itself. It was trying to warm up. The Bald Eagle chick is getting quite large now. It won't be long and it will be out of the nest. We missed the cute fuzzy chick stages because of all the flooding this spring. The road that comes nearest to the nest has been flooded almost all spring.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hellebore Rx Needed

Just take a look at this sad sack. It is one of three Hellebores I moved last summer. They were merely existing in their previous spot so I moved them here near the blackberries. They appeared to be doing well until this week when I noticed this one lying down on the job. As the tag says it is Blackthorne Strain Lenten Rose. I don't know if this would help with a diagnosis. The other two look quite happy about themselves. One has a fern that is trying to encroach upon its turf. This I can easily deal with but it is the sickly one I am worried about. I figure I should be making funeral arrangements for it. Compost or dump? I wonder if what it has is catching?
Here they grow all together. Does anyone have an idea what might be wrong with the sickly one? Is it a gonner? I believe so but I wonder just what has caused this?? Ihave never had a hellebore do this before. I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend. The weather here is sure cooperating. We are having gorgeous spring weather.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Something other than Irises

Yes friends I do have things blooming in my garden other than Irises. For those that are tired of looking at Irises I will show you something else that is in bloom in the garden. My old stand by Clematis, Jackamanii. This guy is a real work horse in the garden. I have divided, moved and divided this clematis again and again and it just keeps on growing and blooming. I can't imagine the spring without it's blooms.


A new, as of last summer, bush in the garden is a Ninebark called Summer Wine. This is the first time it has bloomed since it has been in the garden. When you look at the blooms up close they look like small bouquets.


The foilage is what I really planted it for. It doesn't get full sun but the foilage stays that nice wine color.

I know you fruit lovers will appreciate this bloom. It is a blackberry blossom. Our tame, thornless, blackberries are beginning to bloom. I can't wait for some good ole blackberry cobbler and ice cream.
I am sorry gang but I couldn't resist one little picture of one more of my irises. It has just started looking good. With all the rain we have had the Irises have had a difficult time keeping


themselves upright. They can't help it that they are fatheads. I forgive them. I hope you can too.

My Dearly Beloved has been mulching the flower beds while I was at work this week. I am looking forward to helping him get the rest spread the next couple of days. The garden looks so "finished" when all the mulch is spread anew. I just wish it would keep that just mulched look for a longer period.






Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happiness is...

I was walking around in my garden yesterday morning. Walking around is the best way to describe my walks since most of my flower beds are round...anyway. I got so excited when I glanced across the garden. A bright bloom caught my eye. Do you see it over there in the corner??
Lets get a little closer...now do you see it??Here it is. My first poppy bloom of the year...
If I could still do it I would be doing flips and shouting hooray... This is the first time I have had a poppy come back. I planted it last year. My sister gave me a good healthy start. I planted it in the best place I could and voile, I have a poppy. Not only that but there are three other buds on this plant. I do hope they bloom and them make more poppies. Happy happy happy...
My happiness stems from my inability to grow poppies in the past. I mean I can't tell you how many times I have tried starts given to me. I've bought I don't know how many different types of poppies and failed. I have tried seeds. Most recently this spring Kylee at Our Little Acre sent me some seeds to try. Some had been sent to her from Jodi at Bloomingwriter which she graciously shared. I don't know if the seeds were drowned with all this spring rain but Ihave had none pop up. I saved some of the seed so I will winter sow them and see what happens. I won't give up hope for more poppies.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Unfurling Iris

I know you have noticed but I am consumed by the collection of Iris I have this spring. I know I have noticed them before but it seems this spring they have my full attention. Especially the way this one unfurls. It is just beautiful when it is curled up in a colorful wrap. It seems that the color is on the outside... Then when those colorful petals begin to fall...an apt name for this part of the blossom.The bashful white center begins to reveal itself .
This fully opened iris is being tickled by a Columbine seedhead. I think the oposites of the dark and light color make this iris special. I don't remember where it came from or who gave it to me. With the camera I wish I could capture the colors correctly and the texture of the wrap in the first photo. For me the beauty of the garden is often seen only by the inner eye.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Snail migration

I must say I haven't thought much about snails unless they are in my garden chewing on things. Today they made me pause for thought. I wonder if they migrate as turtles do?? We were walking at the park and found several snails crossing the road. As usual they appeared to be bustling, as much of a bustle as a snail can manage, right across the road. This is one creature I don't want in my garden or on my dinner plate. This creature has a face only a mother could love after rolling in something perfectly stinky. I wasn't paying any attention to her as I was trying to see a warbler in the trees above us and I felt a little tug on the leash. Nothing out of the ordinary but when I turned around to see why...ugh...too late. There she was trying to squiggle onto her back to get the full affect. Thankfully I came to my senses and got her away from the nasty smelling stuff. Luna was quite proud of herself. Just look at that big smile on her face.
After a good face washing she looked rather angelic lying there in the grass taking her afternoon nap.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

This morning as we were heading out to bird we could see the sun coming up and the front that brought another 3 inches of rain was moving on to the east. It made an interesting sky so I decided to participate in the Friday Skywatch that Tom hosts each Friday. Another view of the front moving out with the Baptist Church down the street in the foreground. Marvin over at Three Steps Forward also has an interesting building in his sky.Happy Weekend to you all...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - May 2008

The past couple of posts I have made were about what is blooming in my garden right now. Since I have been out of town for a day or so and it has been pouring rain since I arrived home this evening this lone Iris is all that is new blooming in my garden that I can show right now. This Iris was given to me by a friend of my daughter. I think it is such a beautiful Iris. It almost looks like an orchid to me. I just love it when it starts to bloom. This one was just a bud when I brought it in Monday afternoon. It had been broken off by a big furry dog walking by or the mower man. I stuck it into water and when I arrived home this evenign it was blooming. A wonderful welcome home. If you want to see what more is blooming in the garden right now you can look at the past two posts. Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to everyone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Few More Blooms

It has been a fast paced few days for me. We worked on the Illinois Spring Bird Count. That took an entire day. Mother's Day was a a wash out in that it rained and the wind blew the entire day. I wasn't able to get into the garden until today. I found this mass of honeysuckle lying on the ground. It must have fallen over during the storm yesterday. I wouldn't have minded so bad but there was a robin's nest in the top of it with three eggs. This robin has nested here successfully the past several years . I didn't get the honeysuckle cut back before she took up residence this year. I was just going to wait until the first clutch hatched before I trimmed it back. I wish I had gone ahead. I guess the it was top heavy and it went over. The vine is fine but our little momma has to start all over.On a happier note the small varigated Wigelia I planted during the drought last year survived the winter. It is now blooming. Its blooms are very pretty. They are white with a pink blush. This was one of my $12 bushes I guess it didn't come with a tag because I can't find one with a name for it. When it grows up to be a $100 plant I think it will be gorgeous. With all the rain there are several different types of mushrooms popping up out of the mulch. I always wonder what the names of these things are. Mushrooms are so difficult to id. The Irises took a big hit with all the wind and water. This is one of the dark yellow ones that survived. At least I will get another chance at some blooms with all these buds. You can see the native Columbine blooming up a storm in the background. They make great companions in the garden.
Here is a blue and white Iris I had forgotten that I had. It has several buds yet to bloom.

Luna was happy that it stopped raining too. She found a high and dry spot in the garden where she could take a nap. She was just about to plop onto some Patriot hostas that are just coming up. In this same area where Luna was napping there is a white Columbine blooming. I don't remember planting it. I must have but I sure don't remember. I think I am having a lot of memory drops so to speak. Do you find things in your garden that you don't remember planting? Maybe it is just me. Hmmmmmm

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Few Blooms

The Peony Tree blossoms didn't survive the deluge of rain we had. They did their best while they could. It only had 5 of these huge blossoms on the peony tree. I am always amazed when people tell me that they have blossoms that number in the teens or twenties on their Peony tree. While I would love to have more I have learned to relax and enjoy what we do receive. I guess ours doesn't get as much sun or fertilizer as others. I just love what we do get though.
The Camassia quamash is about finished blooming too. It is just great when it blooms that beautiful blue.
The following orange is a wild flower. I have posted it here hoping that someone could help me identify it. I saw this brilliant orange blooming on a bank along the Wabash that had been stripped of all the trees and shrubs. One of our favorite spots to watch for warblers wouldn't you know it. The Parks Dept decided the hillside needed to be cleaned up. This flower is our consolation prize I guess. I just wish I knew what it was.
Have a wonderful weekend all. We will be helping with the Illinois Spring Bird Count tomorrow. Then Mother's Day. Such a busy weekend. I wish you all well.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

One Picture

This picture would make a good wordless wednesday photo only it is thursday. It started raining last evening and it hasn't stopped for long today. Over 2.5" of rain in less than 24 hours. We had just enough time today to go out to the park for a quick walk then the rain began again. Needless to say the house has been dusted and all is neat and tidy. I am ready for a sunny day. It should be good weed pulling the next couple of days.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Potted Plants

My potted plants are fillin and spillin but not quite thrillin as yet. I can't wait until they start filling in their spaces. Below are a variety of them. Since it is raining cats and dogs outside and I can't walk about to see what might be blooming I figured this would be a good time to show you what I did with most of the plants I bought while out shopping the other day. Mind you these aren't the only ones. Just the ones I had the patience to upload this evening. The above pots are on the front porch. ' Carmel' Huechera villosa, 'Red Star' Cordyline and Torenia 'Magenta Moon'. In the back pot is a parlor palm that winters over inside the house.
The oranges took over this pot. I just couldn't resist putting all of these oranges I am drawn to into this pot. The Upright Fuchsia 'Gartenmeister' is a must have every summer due to the hummingbirds loving it. This year I planted it with Calibrachoa 'Superbells Peach' and an orange tuberous begonia. Yes, I have already lost the tag to the begonia so I can't tell you what exactly it is.

This chicken planter has another of my favorites, begonia. It is a Rex Begonia Omaha beefsteak. I guess there is a series of the Rex begonias named after cities. It is teamed up with a sun loving coleus and a red million bells.
The window box this year is going to get a little more sun so I tried some of those New Guiena Impatients, 'Painted Paradise Wine' along with Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum', Fuschia 'Diva Rose/Pink, Calibrachoa 'Rose Star' and Chrysocephalum apiculatum 'Flambe Yellow' I think I am gonna like this combo when it really gets to bloomin and spewing out of the box.
Like I said I just can't resist these gorgeous begonias. The one on the left is the 'Iron Cross' and the one on the right is the only snail I want in my garden 'Escargot'. Don't you just love the looks of these leaves?? I'm tellin ya, IF I had a greenhouse where I could winter them over I would be thought of one of those eccentric old ladies with hundreds of begonias because I wouldn't be able to pass one by.
These photos don't do the plants justice but this one has a Coleus that has deepest purpley brown with lime green, then the 'Toffee Twist' Carex and Sedum 'Lemon Coral'. I can't wait until they all thicken up and glow.
Now this little short pot has hosted several sedums in the past. If I had that greenhouse I would have at least the top shelves full of sedums and Echeverias. In this pot I have Several dwarf assorted Sedums. Which is how they are described on the tag. The little cluster of rosettes on the right is a 'minature hens and chicks'. I had never seen them before so of course I had to give them a try. The taller item in this pot is an Echeveria.
It will be fun to see how they all grow fill in, spread out and up. I will show some more another time. They are all getting a good watering in right now. I checked the rain gauge before it got dark and there was over 1.5" in it. More is to come the next few days. I guess I will get my house cleaned.