The Gardens - In the Beginning

Monday, August 22, 2011

Island of Suburbia

Far and few in-between, our yard of lush native nature, an extension of the wild and wooly countryside that city folks often run to on their escape mode weekends...we are not the darling of the city planning association.

The wild ones visit us less often then before, as the expanding neighborhoods isolate us from natural nature.  The box turtle migration is relegated to past memories, and the raccoon tots filling up on ripe juicy grapes haven't been back for many, many years.  Rabbits surprise us seldom with our yard now far from wooded terrain.  We lament their babies are no longer viewed in the gardens.  Skunks still roam the nights and some days, but they must be one of the most misunderstood creatures to roam our world.  I've researched their ways, and have successfully gardened with them close at hand, but not out of worrisome eye sight.

I know I have lizards in the rock piles, but they are impossible to be viewed easily in all this haphazard greenery and fluff.  Pond frogs plop-plop into water before I get close for a view.  Tree frogs have delighted us visiting on the sliding glass doors.  Garden toads are sometimes viewed in the early evenings as they make their rounds for yummy ants and garden slugs.  The leopard frogs haven't been seen for more than a decade, and one summer a Norwegian rat caused quite a stir.

A pair of voles busied about a few summers ago while friends panicked and assured us they would overpopulate the grounds; but you know they disappeared with hawk and owl visits.  I miss them munching about the wildflowers and grasses.  Mice are few now, but amazed once to stand in their path as they crossed in front and behind me until I uttered a sound that sent them scurrying for cover with their bad eyesite not to their advantage.  And those wonderful winged and earthbound creatures we call bugs, insects, beetles, arachnids...their varieties numbering into the multi-thousands...totally amazing.

It's mostly about the birds, though; those angels and devils of the heavens that are always searching for new digs as man wipes out the old.

The ones you don't give two hoots sparrows and starlings.

The ones you give one hoot about...northern ravens, american crows, rusty blackbirds, common grackles, and rock doves.

The ones you give a lot of respect to...cooper's hawks and barred owls.

The ones you give ten hoots about...northern mockingbirds, blue jays, cardinals, house wrens, carolina wrens, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadees, song sparrows, white-throated sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, flocks of american robins, american goldfinch, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, the common flickers that haven't been seen in the gardens for almost twenty years, eastern bluebirds, red-breasted nuthatches, cedar waxwings, mourning doves, common nighthawks, tennessee warblers, slate-colored juncos, purple finch, common redpolls, and on and on and on.

Nature's always in flux as species thrive and species die.  She adapts the best she is able...I'm a mere dot on the horizon in my small efforts to give her half a chance of at least lasting my lifetime.

            No Hope

            She has enslaved my weary heart in chains,
            so demanding and much unforgiving...
            only on me will I lay any blame,
            such vanity so intoxicating.

Pink Turtlehead

Wild Senna

Light orange Butterfly Weed

dark orange Butterfly Weed

Dark Green Bulrush pond plant

Southern Bush Honeysuckle 'Butterfly'

            The Nature of Beggers

            Weet weet
            weet weet...
            two mockers
            in baby fluff
            call impatiently
            for momma
            and food.
            She stuffs
            them plump
            with sunflower
            chips stolen off
            the deck railing.
            That same railing
            the night before
            found an opossum
            in search of
            bird treats;
            with Dustin barking,
            growling with intensity
            safely behind closed doors
            at that long tailed intruder
            adorning the deck trellis
            watching safely
            from his perch...
            for drought has a way
            of bringing nature
            closer to my backdoor.

Woke up one morning to find this 3 pound
concrete statue in a new position.
Maybe the opossum?

Clematis viorna seed heads

Spicebush berries

American Beautyberry-White

            *why two cats and a dog
            should never have adopted
            a gardener*

            sweat burned eyes
            peek through wisps
            of wind frizzed hair
            aching fingers still
            in a death grip
            around those
            dulled pruners
            as the sun rests
            below the horizon
            with the job
            half unfinished
            and resignation
            is erasing the
            of a tomorrow
            absolutely free
            of #%!(&* work
            are wondering...
            will dinner
            as they wait
            and wait

Coolest place in the gardens

Persimmon just before Dustin gobbled it up...crazy pooch!

Prairie Patch Dragons

May all your problems be ittsy bitsy ones
all your blessings more than a hundred hands full.


  1. Usually there are tons of starlings around here. Haven't seen that many this year though.
    Or killdeer, or red winged blackbirds. Kind of strange, wouldn't you say?
    You take such great pictures.

  2. Oh that was just lovely, I feel I've 'actually' visited :o) Wonderful!

  3. Nature is just glorious and you've captured so much of it here in your photos and words.

  4. Fantastic photo's as usual.

    I agree with Deborah . . . feels like I've actually visited your garden.

    Hugs, Sandra

  5. For some reason the picture of the Dark Green Bulrush pond plant (the photo above the label, in case the label is for the one below) really stands out for me. We are all just dots against the might of nature

  6. Ruth - Thank you. Our tons of starlings and blackbirds are more in the fall and winter. I guess they move further south in colder weather. I do see some starlings earlier, and the grackles visit in flocks in the spring, then fewer in summer. I think they nest somewhere in the yard. When it's starling and blackbird time, the noise is extremely irritating and the poop is everywhere. I keep a cheap square cake pan and a large spoon handy, and bang the hell out of it outside to chase those birds out of my huge ash tree in the backyard, lol. I sometimes wonder what the neighbors think of it all. Some of your birds could be declining in your area. Things always change.

    Deborah - Thank you. What a nice comment :)

    Autumn Leaves - Thank you, sweet lady. Nature is so very glorious.

    Sandra - Glad you enjoyed the gardens. I always love friends stopping by.

    Glen - you know, that bulrush seed head stands two feet above the plant. It makes sure it is seen. You are a bit like that with your may be a little dot, but you sure make your presence known. You're great fun to read, and you do stand above many of the others ;)

    Kristy - Thank you so much.

  7. What beautiful pictures you share...
    I'm smiling at the upside down planter, I'd say it WAS an opposum, they do seem to get into mischief :)
    Such a variety of visitors in your garden !

  8. What a wonderful post. Makes you wonder what was under the statue they wanted. Gorgeous garden, I love your dragons!

  9. Jo - Thank you. Your pictures are a joy to view also.

    Deb - I love dragons, too, as I seem to be sticking them all over the gardens. At first I thought the little statue looked like maybe a foot or body wasn't lifted high enough and it was caught and flipped over as the animal scurried over it. Hard to tell. I've moved it though cause it happened again, and the third time might find it smashed on the patio :( You take care.

  10. Beautiful photos!
    Years ago my mother commented on the fact that she didn't hear the toads (or is it frogs?) singing at night, and were are the fireflys? I haven't seen them since I was a kid.

  11. Beautiful photos! I appreciate that you included blooms, statues, arbors, and yard art. Everything is lovely!


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