Saturday, September 4, 2021

"Our summer made her light escape into the beautiful."

 A late summer garden has a tranquility found no other time of the year.

      I walk my garden today. 

      Dark and dank

      With a heavy load

      Of clouds overhead

      Swollen with rain,

      Ready to burst forth

      When that first roaring rumble

      Gives its signal.


      The squeaky swinging bench

      A respite in this summer heat,

      As late afternoon settles over a garden

      No worse for wear

      Than this old worn out human.

      Birds call in short crisp notes,

      Then a silence settles in

      As if doom itself has entered the fold.


      Tree crickets begin their high pitched chant,

      As a group of house finch silently appear,

      One by one, to fill the feeder edge

      With beaks ready for seed

      Then that rusty red Toyota Solara

      Drives in to stay the night

      As husband exits and harnesses the dog

      To walk, out racing the sunset.


      I walked my garden today.

      No different than any other day

      Meandering muddy pathways

      Tilted plants rough with old age

      Clumps of flowers half spent

      A few falling leaves in rustic colors

      But the heavens are silent as the rains burst forth

      Over a garden already soaked from the day before.

Young Red Oat Nuts

  Dogwood Leaf falling from drought stress between rains.

Solomon's Plume under stress between rain storms

Phlox beat to ground by thunder storm

Underside of Blue Jay Feather

With the help of Traude, these are a puffball mushroom.
Upon more research, these could be Lycoperdon perlatum,
because of the multiple pore holes.
I could be wrong :)
I don't think I have enough time left in my life to try and identify
 these fungi from the thousands out there, although
 I would love to know the identity of these tiny white ones below.

Each of these mushrooms is about 1/8 inch in diameter.  
They appeared after a rain and disappeared in two days
 when the soil wasn't wet anymore.
Trooping Crumble Cap (Caprinellus disseminatus)
Thanks to David Gascoigne for looking them up.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Jeana Phlox

Old Ladies
Clematis seeds becoming hairy to float away on the wind  

Unwanted intruder

      As imperceptibly as grief

      The summer lapsed away--

      Too imperceptible at last

      To seem like perfidy--

      A quietness distilled 

      As twilight long begun,

      Or nature spending with herself

      Sequestered afternoon--

      The dusk drew earlier in--

      The morning foreign shone--

      A courteous, yet harrowing grace,

      As guest, that would be gone--

      And thus, without a wing

      Or service of a keel

      Our summer made her light escape

      Into the beautiful.

            ~Emily Dickenson

Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera)

I'm pretty sure this is Heartleaf Drymary or Tropical Chickweed
(Drymaria cordata)
Super aggressive!

Forgot the name of this phlox
 that usually has flowers whose petals bend backwards.
The soil always needs to be moist, or wilting will begin.

Blackberry Lily
The clusters of the seeds of a flower look somewhat like a blackberry.

Joe Pye Weed hanging over the rain garden area.
Who knows why it is called a weed.
It is a lovely, somewhat monstrous plant.

Rudbeckia maxima

Spicebush berries
I read their taste is likened to black pepper when green,
and more like allspice when red.
I tasted a green berry and while it was peppery, 
a resin taste was also present.
The red berry was nasty...the way I would imagine a gulp of turpentine to taste.


Growing up I never thought much about them, except that the cute jumping spiders were collected in a water glass and let go outside, cockroaches mom stomped on to crush, and I, too squeamish to consider that, tried to beat them to death with a broom…quite unsuccessfully, I might add.

Daddy long legs sent me into a panic, while black ants were always on a mission to take over the kitchen counters, and as one poisoned red ant nest passed on to oblivion, others began scouting out the yard to set up another.

Horse flies were hungry monsters, and a dive bombing western bumblebee would send even mom running for cover.  You already know about the exploding grasshoppers from a previous post, but sow bugs rolling up into tight little balls were playthings for us children.

Life in a garden is so much more complex than I ever imagined it as a child growing up.  I was never fascinated by all the goings on in the early years--those years of tackling a ground of heavy clay soil that only a sharpened steel shovel and garden spade could penetrate.

My fatal attraction with insects manifest itself when my focus changed from ordinary suburban gardening, to all out wild gardening that soon became wilderness enough to sustain all things in balance.  Acquiring a smart phone that took amazing photographs was the icing on the cake.  

I’m amazed at the complexity of so many details on an outrageously magnified photo of an insect.  It has captivated me more these past two years than anything else in my entire life’s span.  If I’m asked what feature surprises me most, it’s the multitude of different kinds of hairs that appears on them all.  Their smooth appearance to the naked eye is so deceiving.

In another lifetime would I take this same path again?  I hope not!  I'd buy a cottage in the lush countryside where no city rules applied and just chill out while nature did all the work.  But then again, in another lifetime I might also be a blade of grass in my neighbor's front yard with my head mowed off every Saturday morning before breakfast.  Perhaps it's best to be content with my two gimpy knees and an armchair that loves me.

Common Green Tree Cricket
on storm door glass backlit by the foyer light

Skipper Butterfly

I think this is the same type of skipper butterfly, but the lighting is different.

After a cicada exits its underground home, 
the outer shell is split open and the mature cicada emerges from the top back.

Annual Cicadas , whos life span is between 2 to 5 years,
emerge every year throughout the summer.
The entire insect is from 2 to 2 1/2 inches long
with green and black (sometimes brown) coloring.
They camouflage well in the leaf canopy.

Killer insect profile: The "assassin fly" or "robber fly"

More than seven thousand species already identified
 Size: 0.2 – 2 inches

This one is about 1 1/2 inches long

From the Smithsonian's website
If you are squeamish, forget about reading this.

According to Torsten Dikow, curator in the entomology department at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, assassin flies are “aggressive, visual predators that perch on vegetation and rocks to look for insects flying by. Once an assassin fly spots its prey, it follows and attacks it in flight by grabbing the insect with its legs, biting it on its back or side, and injecting it with venomous saliva that kills the insect almost instantly. The assassin fly is able to hold on with strong, bristly legs that form a basket to carry its prey to a perching site where the fly can eat at its leisure.”

“The saliva not only kills the insect, it liquefies its insides too, which the fly sucks up through its mouthparts,” Dikow explains. “Once it’s done eating, the fly leaves the empty carcass behind and starts looking again for more prey.”

Common Green Bottle Fly

Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)
About 3/4" to 1" in length
I read that males have a lighter patch on their face,
but I've never noticed.
I'm on the lookout now to discover the males,
if the rains ever stop. 

Houses in Tennessee are built to resist termites and carpenter bees.
Since our garden is a wildlife sanctuary,
I don't particular care to kill these lovely creatures of nature,
as they will just be replaced by more.
Nests are usually in the porch rails or fence rails.
I can live with that.
We also provide 4x4 lumber in certain areas and dried tree logs.

Males can't sting and females rarely do.
They just intimidate the hell out of you, 
if you happen to be too close to their nest.
It's a bit unsettling to have a pair of these big babies 
chasing after you and circling you like they're coming in for the kill
in the springtime.
They'll hound you until you escape to the house,
or the other side of the yard :)

Okay...after I read that males have a light face patch, 
I tracked down two after the rains and the patch is different on each one.

Leafcutter Bee - a solitary bee that lives on its own

Common Garden Sage

Winterthur Viburnum berries turning from white to pink.
You may notice the birds are already eating them.

Red Oak leaf in rain

A pocket of water on the rocks

Dustin will be fourteen years old this November.
He's been the best friend ever.
He's in the early stages of kidney disease.
Near the end of this month, 
his system will be flushed out with fluids, 
his teeth cleaned, 
then his system flushed out again by twice as much fluids.
This is to give his kidneys 
a fighting chance to slow down the progress of the disease.

Daylily without a name
Blooming early spring and again in late summer

Swamp Rose Mallow Seedpods

Beautyberry with white fruit

Clematis Arabella still blooming

Blue Lobelia in rain garden

     There is a voice that doesn't use words.



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  1. Beautiful poem Yvonne..loved all the photographs!

  2. What beautiful photos.
    The poems are also very beautiful.
    Greetings Irma

  3. Hello Yvonne,
    What a lovely post, the insect images are amazing. Love the beautiful butterflies and the skippers. Gorgeous flowers, the Blazing Star is one of my favorites. I would love walking around your garden. Best wishes for your sweet Dustin. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend!

  4. A lengthy and lovely post, filled with gorgeous images, a wonderful narrative and organisms correctly identified. I will delve into my mushroom tomes and see if I can identify the fungi for you.

  5. I am going with Trooping Crumble Cap (Caprinellus disseminatus).

    1. I looked up your selection, and I believe you are right, although the mushrooms I have seen are not quite as large. Thank you for taking the time to help me.

  6. Mushrooms are such a tempting subject for photos -- they seem so different from birds and butterflies. Your collection is very beautiful.

    best... mae at

  7. Your Dustin is so sweet looking -- a good friend, I think. I love seeing your fabulous fungi and all those astounding blooms. Lovely photography, Yvonne.

  8. Another set of gorgeous photos! I particularly enjoyed the bees. And I love the concluding little poem by Rumi!

  9. What an epic post Yvonne. A mix of beautiful photos, meaningful poem and thought filled narrative. I think I would love to be one of those assassin bugs. I could find lots of targets in this modern age.

    1. Thank you. Oh, to be an assassin fly with those bugged out made me laugh.

  10. so much beauty and interesting wildlife in your garden and this post, I can´t even start to comment on anything. You certainly have the eye for nature.
    I loved it all.
    Take care, stay safe!

  11. Your photos are top notch, you made interesting choices for your post. I love insects too,and brightly coloured flowers and leaves.

  12. Your garden is filled with interesting plants and insects. So much to see and enjoy. Pretty mushrooms in your garden.

  13. Happy to share with you , my first book is available in US
    Hope you like it

  14. Such a beautiful post Yvonne. All of it -- the poems -- both yours and some other lady's ;))) -- and your poetic prose describing your wonderful wild gardens. Your photographs are works of art also! . I love it all and since we no longer garden, it is all kind of a cross between beautiful memories and wild fantasy! Must say that "old lady" clematis has more hair than this old lady does.

  15. Thank you for such lovely and amazing captures!

  16. Beautiful poem. And such incredible photography.

    I always enjoy the beauty and fascinating wildlife in your garden, Yvonne.

    Happy September!

  17. Dear Yvonne,
    you find so much beauty in small things with your keen eyes. And the words to your poetry-filled pictures, whether by Emily Dickenson or by you, fit wonderfully!
    This Dogwood Leaf, what a work of art the drought has created! The beautiful Blue Jay Feather! As for the mushrooms - David Gascoigne has already determined the little ones for you. And the spherical ones: My identification app claims it's an Apioperdon:
    I feel like you with insects - as a young person I wasn't interested in them - today I find them fascinating, both visually and their way of life. I am glad that you let the carpenter bees live.
    I wish your beautiful Dustin (and of course you!) that he can withstand his illness for a long time to come. I don't know if you've read that we had to let our cat Maxwell walk over the Rainbow Bridge - . He was 17, with bad kidneys and a weak heart, and ultimately his liver also failed ... It's sad, but I comfort myself with the fact that he had a good life with us - and we with him.
    Hugs and best wishes,

  18. Wow, it has everything there.
    Wonderful and beautiful.
    Greetings Eva

  19. Hello, and what a lovely and cozy place to sit and ponder and just enjoy everything around you. Lovely words too, very enjoyable to read, thanks so much.

  20. Hi Yvonne, After looking over this post I must say that you are truly closer to perfection than most bloggers. Love all the photos, your commentary, and the poetry. I can see a lot of work in putting this post together ... thank you for sharing it. Thank you also for recent comment on my blog. I loved it when you said, "It is always best to live in the present." You are so right! Thank you Yvonne, take care and be well. John

  21. Beautiful pictures and poetry. Thank you for sharing.

  22. You're a master at capturing the garden's nuances, Yvonne, as well as the beauty in things others may miss. Insects seem to be very attracted to Liatris, a plant I've never grown. I'll have to look into its water requirements to see if it might be suitable to add here.

  23. You've captured the beauty of a special time of year, Yvonne, in your descriptions, photography, and poetry all together. There are so many small things that make it what it is.


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