Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday Mishmash

It has been warm enough this month that after a heavy rain we saw earth worms that were encouraged out of the soil to trek across the street to drier areas. This is normally a spring, summer or fall happening. 
This morning was a different story . The cold front has come through. After the bitter winds  we have a skiff of snow settled upon the garden.  The snow isn't likely to go away too soon as it is quite cold.
 These conditions really stir up the bird life in the garden and beyond. We have had lots of birds at the feeders mostly the usual. Like the House Finches,House Sparrows and Juncos.
Half dozen Cardinals. The heated water bowl is a good place to find all the birds at one time or another. 
The Red-bellied Woodpecker grabbed a peanut.  You can see a tinge of red on his belly.
While a Hairy Woodpecker feasted on the suet. This is one tough woodpecker. He wasn't about to share with other birds. You can tell he is a male due to the red patch at the back of his head. You can tell him from a Downy Woodpecker first by his size. Look at that bill it is almost as long has his head is wide and it is thicker. A Downy also has little spots on the outer tail feathers.
The King of the feeders is the Northern Mockingbird. He allows no other bird on the platform feeder while he is there.
He is very secure in his position. He knows I put raisins on the platform for his use only. At least that is what he thinks. It is amazing to me that none of the other birds will take a raisin. After all the House Sparrows don't mind taking bites out of tomatoes or picking peas.
So while it is so cold outside I am inside admiring the packets of seed that were delivered this past week. They are from Botanical Interests. I so enjoy their packets because the are not only beautiful but are jam packed with information regarding the seeds you request. 
I not only received the seeds I requested but got a nice little Thank You in a packet of lettuce seeds. I always need a little push to plant edibles. Lettuce  and tomatoes are my go to vegetables to have in the garden. Nothing like a seed starting guide to get me in motion.  
The Botanical Interests company does a great job of filling orders promptly and answering any questions you might have. I would highly recommend them as a source for your seeds. I have never had any duds from them. I will also say that  they haven't paid me or even asked me to say something nice about them and their products.
One last thing today. I just had to show you the beautiful apron my dear friend gave me for Christmas. It has wide pockets at the bottom of the apron and the lettering, Plant Lady, is embroidered on the front. This all makes me want to start planting even tho it is a bit early in the season.
I hope some of you got to have this day off from work since it is Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King, a man we can all appreciate. A man I wish our politicians would try to emulate. We need more men like him.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Stroll Through the Garden

It has been a mild start to this new year here at Greenbow. I have strolled about the garden daily almost as if it was still fall.   Our temps have been running 10 or more degrees above the average. 
I have been watching for any early flowers this year.  I don't think that most of the plants are fooled by this warmer weather.
I did find a few things popping up like the Snowdrops Nivalis peeking out of the duff with the Golden Alexander Zizia Aurea.
Ivory Prince Hellebore has buds on it too. According to my records this is an early date for them to be budding. 
Other Hellebores are putting on some growth! Now this is odd for January. Usually they are hunkered down awaiting more clement weather. I realized that Ivory Prince has been in this garden in this spot for many years, since 1997, and it has barely grown. I am beginning to wonder what in the world is the matter with this situation??? I did some reading and it did say it was a slow grower. I would say that this is ridiculous. Oh well, it is reliable and evergreen most years. I was thinking I would move it then I also read it doesn't like to be disturbed. Have any of you found this to be true?
Walking around the back of the garden I didn't find much but this Hairy Wood Mint is making a great winter show. I only planted one of these year before last wondering if it was a normal mint and would go rampant. No, it is clumper not a runner. 
If you look closely you can see where it gets its common name  'Hairy'. The stems and even the leaves are quite hairy.  The only draw back to this plant is that it looks horrible after it blooms. I cut it to the ground thinking it would be no loss if it died but it must have appreciated the chomp. It will be dealt with this way in the future too. I will see how it develops.
Walking through some of the other paths you can see there is a lot of brown and gray. The grass in the paths hasn't given up this winter at all. While it isn't summer green it isn't winter gray.
At the West end of the patio there is still a bit of green. The brown of the Witch Hazel leaves still clinging even gives a bit of color.
Around front is one of my very favorite plants in the garden , a weeping spruce. It doesn't get much blog love because of where it is situated. It has become a magnificent tree to my eyes. 
This year I am thinking that it is the most prolific year for cones on this tree. There is clump after clump all over the tree. I wonder if it is because of the drought we have had the past few years.  
Rain shouldn't be a problem this month if the predictions come true this week. 3-4" of rain is expected. Oh, have I mentioned the wind? In December half of the days had winds of 20MPH with even higher gusts. January has begun with about the same amounts of wind. 
On that note I will leave you here with a shot of the Holly Berries in front of the house. They are well guarded by the Mockingbird that claims this area. This is the most color in the garden other than gray and a bit of green. Here is to a more colorful spring.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Garden Excitement - Merlin

No there were no magicians in the garden. When I let Annie outside this afternoon (02/20) I saw a good sized gray bird come up off the ground.  I knew right away it was an unusual bird to see in a garden, at least our garden.
I alerted my DB then went outside to try to see if it stayed close. I knew it was carrying its prey.
Sure enough I found him up in our catalpa tree about to have his dinner. It was drizzling rain but my DB got some good shots of this little falcon
We have House Sparrows aplenty. I don't mind a bit if he takes a few this winter. 
He wasn't a bit shy about eating with us fairly close watching. This told me that he was very hungry. 
To put this sighting in perspective we often don't see this bird every year, any place, let alone in our garden. A fabulous new bird sighting for our garden, number 124 for me.  A good omen for the start of this birding year. 

Color Changes and seed planting

There has been a slight change in the color wave. A little more purple and some white. A few new visitors to the garden. This magnifice...