Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year End Little This and That

2017 seemed to fly by. Several people have posted pictures of their year and more. I was inspired to look back through the year to see what caught my eye and share it with you. 
January we had a smattering of snow. When we were out birding we came upon some Whoooping Cranes. They left their big foot prints in the snow. I love to find wildlife tracks in the snow. These are some unique tracks by endangered birds.
February I noticed in my garden that one of the older dogwoods was sporting some beautiful moss and lichen. These colors enliven our home. I just realized where I was inspired.
March warmed enough that the bees were out and about. It is always fun to see them inspecting the flowers so early in the season.
April was even warmer. Being outside cleaning out the flower beds I looked down and noticed what I thought was an elephants foot. Not really but do you see the elephant foot as a base of this tree?
Also in April the blackberries were flowering up a storm and more bees were taking advantage.
May brought us a dreaded chipmunk. It harrassed the birds at the feeders and the poor wrens in their box. He eventually settled out front someplace. I rarely saw him but I had a UPS driver tell me he saw him as he was delivering so he was still around later in the year.
June the wren box was about to explode.
Also in June as we were out birding we came upon a King Rail. King Rails are not plentiful around here so it was a particularly choice sighting. As you can probably tell by this photo they don't like to be seen. We hear them more than see them. 
July I just love this wild iris. It always makes me happy to see it and it is beginning to make a little colony.
August didn't bring us much rain. You could see the wear and tear on not just the garden but the visitors.  
September the grapes were over ripe. I didn't get any jelly made this year. This doesn't please me a bit. After I have had homemade grape jelly it is difficult to go back to store bought. In my defense we did some remodeling in the house during this time, I was busier than usual.
October is when I found this mushroom that I had never seen before. It was in an unlikely place. I believe this is an Amanita muscaria.
November held a wonderful surprise. It had been cold but we were having near record temps. On a sunny day a little bee came to one of the few blooms left in the garden. Of course this is a hover fly as Cheryl kindly corrected me. I don't want anyone to be misguided by my  bee brain. 
December brought some nice sightings. While we were doing a Christmas Bird Count we came upon a covey of Northern Bobwhite. They sat in the road pretending to be rocks so as we wouldn't notice. Notice we did. My Dearly Beloved took some great pictures of a few of them huddled together. We more often hear these birds singing their name sake song. It was a delight to see them out in the open.
Another even more unusual sighting we had in December was a first winter male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It is the latest we have ever seen one and it was coming to suet just outside my home office window. What a way to end the season. There are only a hand full of sightings of this bird in Southern Indiana at this time of year.
I hope you have had some delights through the year. I and wish you many more this coming year. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

After Party

Now that the largest hooplah is over we are going to settle in for a long winter's nap. That is right after we take Annie for her morning walk. With it being only 18°F and feeling colder we hot footed it to the park with Annie for a quick walk around the park. I was stopped in my tracks by what Mother Nature was sharing this morning. We had a good dusting of snow and many of the leaves that were on the walk had been blown off this morning making little leaf snow angels. I couldn't resist taking their pictures.
 There were several different kind of oak leaves.
 I am not sure what kind of oaks. Do you see anything you can identify?



 The one below here is a tulip poplar leaf...I think.
 This one a maple of some sort.
This one is a Ginko. Easy to id with an actual leaf right beside it. 
Here is another.
I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some of this crispy winter weather and see some of natures surprises. Now it is time for that nap. Night night.



Friday, December 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - December 2017

Since we have had a mostly mild December so far I actually have an outdoor bloom to show today. This is the first in a few years that I have had an outdoor bloom. Hmmmm on closer inspection maybe I should call these buds. They formed after a cold spell when temps went above normal.
 The Lonicera Sempervirens has two clumps of these bud/blooms on it. As you can see it is in protest though. The leaves have turned yellow and the blooms will soon freeze off for the winter. 
Inside this is the first winter in some time that I haven't a Orchid bloom to share. The orchids have plenty of buds. Maybe next month.
There is one air plant that has a bloom or two. They are so intriguing. This one looks sort of like an octopus when it isn't blooming but the pretty purple buds open with the flower. You can almost see the pollen. You can see at least 2 spent flowers on it and one yet to come.
This time of year wouldn't be the same without an amaryllis in bud or bloom. This one is named Minerva. It is the most odd acting amaryllis I have ever had. The blooms aren't lasting very long. They are sure pretty while they do last. It has had 5 blooms so far and still has a bud. I can't complain...can I? I do wish they would last longer. 
Here where we have so much frost and cold tho it is nice to have a few blooms to warm us.
Do you have any blooms this winter?  Please do share with everyone over at Carol's blog who hosts the Bloom Day on the 15th of every month here. When you go there you can also see what is blooming all over the world. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

December's Entrance

When I peeked out the back door this morning I could see that there was frost all over. This has been a usual sight this past month and December is carrying on where November left off. 
I don't mind all this frost because it has not been cold enough to dash every green thing to the ground. As a matter of fact November was warmer than normal this year. December is beginning as November ended yet it has that bit of later golden color as the sun rises. 
I couldn't help but to put on a jacket and go out to see what was shining in the garden.
As you can see the East side paths were golden.  
Frost all over the leaves. 
Even the lambs ears were looking more frosty than normal. 
Oakleaf Hydrangea was looking splendid with the green leaves coaxed into an autumnal burgundy. The bit of green at it's feet is Rosanne Geranium. It doesn't want to give up quite yet either. 
The arbor above represents all the arbors in the garden. Naked. I wonder if there is an evergreen vine that would survive in my zone 6a garden? I am not aware of any. 
The shadows are long now. 
This hollyhock is the most persistent plant. It grows in the edge of the gravel path. I have tried to dig it up to get rid of it. It just won't let go.  Frost doesn't bother it. Cold will soon melt it.
I have had to put chicken wire around this pot with miniature hosta in it. I hope the squirrels haven't already destroyed the plant. The squirrels dig in all the pots. Some worse than others. 
Around front the Silver Ponyfoot is hanging on quite nice. It has spread far this summer. This plant isn't supposed to be hardy here. Last year it died back to the ground but as you can see it grew back with great exuberance. The bit of green frills in the foreground are leaves of crocus. The drought this summer have quite a few spring bulbs confused. 
The golden light is spreading fast. 
I will leave you here in it's warm glow. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - November 2017

I am quite astonished to see that I have something to offer in the line of blooms this month. Normally my last post for outside plants blooming is October and even then they are slim pickings. This year I have a few blooms to offer despite the heavy frosts that have been taking place here.  Between the frosts there has been some above normal temps and delicious rain. The roller coaster weather has given us quite a surprise. This 'Landmark' azalea was just planted this spring.
What with the drought time this summer and then this lovely rainy fall it decided to put on a show. I wonder if it will bloom again in spring when it is supposed to?? We will just have to wait to see. 
The Salvias Black and Blue and.. 
Blue Spires are keeping up the bloom cycle. They get a little protection of trees but not for long.
With the Geranium Rozanne X marks the spot. 
One of our native bees is keeping these last few blooms company. 
I also had a Red Admiral yesterday when I took these pictures. The sun was keeping the plants warm. 
I found the Red Admiral on this alyssum. It keeps on blooming. 
The Tall Aster Tataricus takes frost and keeps on blooming. I don't know why but I just love this late blooming aster that holds it's blooms up high where you can really admire them.
Most blooms are remanents such as this Tall Garden Phlox, 
Witch Hazel 
and Honeysuckle. 
Is there anything blooming in your garden this month? If so you can share them with other gardeners around the world by going to Carol's May Dreams Garden who hosts this Bloom Day meme.