Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Wild Child


Male Carpenter Bee
Note the white patch on his face.
White patch, male - no white patch, female.

This little guy was so active, I only got one photo.

Blue and Greenbottle Flies are as effective as bees at pollinating,
but they're usually thought of as feeding on filth, 
and sometimes passing on diseases.

They're quite pretty.  This one is feeding on nectar. 

Lovely Honey Bee

Last year... a few Honey Bees, this year... many Honey Bees.

I'm wondering where their hive is.

Visiting at the mud hole for minerals and salts.

Lovely iridescent Crane Fly feeds on nectar and aphid honeydew.
Larvae live in leaf litter, moist soil and rotting logs.

East side of rain garden

South side of rain garden

Further down south side

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) berries

Spicebushes in pots around deck

Hover Fly
Palpada furcata, a species of syrphid fly, 
resting and sunning on Spicebush leaf.
Hover Flies are almost as effective as ladybugs and lacewings 
at controlling aphids.

'Halcyon' Hosta (non-native)
Flowers hug the plant

Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
Easily grows to five feet tall.
Moved into the garden on its own.

Clematis pitcheri
Fairly heat and drought tolerant

'Hello Yellow' Blackberry Lily (non-native and non-invasive in this yard)
Actually related to Iris, not Lilies.

Liatris aspera, Blazing Star
Growing in pots with Late Purple Aster, Symphyotrichum patens

At my age, changes may come in small differences in my life.  A small crossbody purse to replace an organizer purse twice its size, causing me to drastically downsize that which I feel is essential to carry around with me.  A nothing event to others, but a significant happening in finally admitting to myself that the organizer bag was beginning to feel like a fully packed suitcase hanging from my shoulder.

Ideally, my garden rooms weave a tapestry of adjectives and adverbs that are a self-portrait of me, but I've been slowing down as the years pass by, and the changes I make to my garden lately are a reflection of my health, not of my spirit.  As I walk my backyard pathways today, then sit on the front porch to look out over my front yard filled with trees, I question how these changes cause me to feel.  Like that little crossbody bag, I have exchanged more for less to keep my quality of life in a good place.  I'm a little bit sad about the loss.

I’m a wild person at heart, and that wildness is diminishing with age while my garden’s wildness has compounded as it matures.  My garden keeps reinventing itself, while I myself have run out of reinventing.  I think the only way my old garden will ever meet it's demise, is perhaps at the hands of a new owner.  Humans often have an irresistible desire to change that which they didn’t create to that which they will create.  Come to think of it, isn't that how I approached this yard in the beginning?

I believe my garden has left me in the dust as nature seems to be a powerful force in reclaiming her.  Sometimes I wish she would just vanish off the face of the earth, but then I am reminded I created her at her beginning, and she depends on me for care to keep her safe and healthy.  She’s like a child in the household, a very demanding one at that, but still a child that can please only as heaven can when she is happy.

While June and July were the months of dryness and unforgiving heat, August comes in with a heart of compassion.  The crackling of thunder can be heard almost every late morning as the heat brings in the thunderstorms.  Usually, a bit of fleeting coolness accompanies the storms as they pass over.  If one storm skirts us and we miss the rain, another is sure to follow with a downpour.  Hopefully the month will remain generous with rainfall.

Just a note about our calico, Lacey… besides her medication for hyperthyroidism, she is now on medication for Crohn’s Disease, plus temporarily, nausea medication.  She appears to be feeling better, and goes in for her two week check up on Friday.

(Well... I thought Lacey was getting better, but her check up showed she lost more weight, so her medication was changed.  It's a living hell trying to find something she will eat.)

If anyone has been following Charlotte’s saga of Lacey bullying her; after seven years, Charlotte has now left the confines of my studio, and is adjusting to her freedom to go wherever she chooses in the house.  It’s been a tiring experience working with Lacey, teaching her tolerance.  Sometimes miracles do happen.

Native Bush HoneysuckleDiervilla lonicera
Ours grows in clay soil, and is not as aggressive as ones grown in amended soil.

Leaf-footed Bug Nymph, Acanthocephala
The adult will have wings and a slightly different shaped body.
Both eat plants.  I leave them alone.

Difficult taking photos of this little guy whose body (without the legs) 
is about one inch long.
Wherever I moved it would start walking fast towards me.

It followed me to the eagle, climbed the eagle when I moved away, 
then jumped from the top to the ground to follow me again.
It climbed the eagle a second time when I moved away, 
then on into the shrub beyond.

Hairy Wild Petunia, Ruellia humilis 

Tiny Green Crab Spider, Misumessus oblongus
on Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'

This spider is capable of moving sideways or backwards without turning around.

On the pathway, it looked like a small green dot in the center of the flower.

Raised vegetable beds removed.
I'm not sure what to do with this area after we moved the stray potted plants in.

The saga of the missing stone cast squirrel

Disappeared some twenty years ago.

Itea virginica 'Saturnalia' shrub
spreads by runners and swallowed him up whole.
Last summer the Itea shrub was pruned back to make it easier to take care of the area surrounding the White Ash Tree. 

This summer, the green side was above ground... the rest buried.
I thought it was a curious rock. 
Brushing the dirt away with my fingers, I realized it wasn't.  
A spade was needed to loosen the death grip of feeder roots around him.

He's a lot worse for wear.
He has stress cracks from freezing and thawing for twenty some years.
He'll have a nice home until he begins to crumble.
Lucky guy - poor guy... depends on how you look at it.

Maybe...  Dun Skipper Butterfly, Euphyes vestris
on Joe Pye Weed, Eutrochium maculatum 

1/4th inch long Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca) with its huge compound eyes,
waiting on grass flower stem for lunch to fly by.
It's capable of catching insects in mid air.
It's considered beneficial, although it may dine indiscriminately
on other beneficial insects.
It kept moving to the other side of stem as I photographed. 

Female Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris rapae
on Hairy Sunflower, Helianthus hirsutus

Oenothera gaura, or Biennial Beeblossom

These appeared in the garden on their own, perhaps five years ago.
They grow up to six feet tall.  We use plant supports to keep them more upright,
although they do fine sprawled out in wilder areas.

They have an airy, ethereal appearance in the landscape.
Here they mingle with the tall blossoms of 
'Challenger' and 'Autumn Minaret' Daylilies.

Augochlora pura, little pure gold-green solitary sweat bee
with ants on Butterfly Weed.

Regular milkweed has toxins to deter ants,
but Butterfly Weed's toxins are weaker
and apparently do not repel ants.

Dolichopodidae, a family of Long-Legged Flies (True Flies)

Their beauty is missed until viewed close up.

“However many years she lived, 
Mary always felt that 'she should never forget that first morning 
when her garden began to grow'.”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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  1. ...thanks so much for the spectacular garden tour!

  2. Hello Yvonne,
    Your garden is looking beautiful, wonderful insect captures. I hope Charlotte and Lacey are both doing well. I enjoyed all your lovely photos and post. Take care, enjoy your day!

  3. Thanks for a great entomological parade today. I appreciate people who appreciate insects and even more those who can identify them.

  4. I don't know what to write about first! Everything you write/describe is wonderful!
    The garden is beautiful in its wildness. I like how you compare her to you.
    I was happy when I read that you found the squirrel from the stone as if it were a living squirrel! 😊
    Good health, for everyone! ❤

  5. Your garden may be a wild child but it is a delight for flowers and photos! Glad the stone cast squirrel got found and resurrected!

  6. I love the garden. Mine is going somewhat wild. I've been blurring the lines between plant and weed!

  7. Hello Yvonne, I enjoyed this post. Wonderful captures of the bees and other insects. Your garden squirrel is cute, I am glad it was rescued. We had some bunny statues that had to be rescued too. Beautiful flowers and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  8. I'm out of range of Palpada furcata. Wish I wasn't. :-( But otherwise, we have many of the same species. I learned a lot here. Thank you.

  9. I like seeing the honey bees at work and the hover fly is a funny fly to come across! Love the flowers you have too!

  10. Hello Yvonne, I'm a retired high school teacher so I like to use the expression "high marks." And that's exactly what I'm giving you for this post. Most of our fellow humans could be out in your garden and totally unaware of amazing little creatures around. You have been able to get out there with your camera and snap some wonderful views of the little creatures at work. Very nice work! I think we share an eye for the random beauty around us that most folks just walk on by. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your write-up about your garden, its creation, and its evolution. After your writing, the 10th image … an overview of part of your garden … it looks so welcoming and neatly organized. I could spend some serious time out there! 😊 I’ve seen several of your posts now and my impression of your blog is leaning clearly more toward perfection than less. 😊Thanks for sharing and take good care. John

  11. Excellent post! I like the insect ecosystem you have in your garden. You write so well, it is a pleasure to read.

  12. Thanks for stopping by my blog! What lovely flowers amazing gardens and sweet bees!

  13. Hello Yvonne. I was very taken by your photos of small insects.That takes both patience and perseverance. Flies do get a bad press and I am not averse to the odd swat if one appears near food but I do like to make them fly out of the house if possible. Sometimes they do not help themselves. I watched one today climb up the window glass several times in trying to escape but it hadn’t the sense to see that I had opened wide the window just 10 inches away from its marathon climbs. Eventually I managed to waft it sideways and it flew out.

    Of course, if they didn’t buzz so much we might be less likely to hate them. Why do they buzz? I must Google that.

  14. What a delightful post! Your attention to the small critters, and your engaging writing. Make your blog a must visit now that I know you're here! I have been playing a game. I call "Normal aging or pandemic?" I appreciate your ruminations. Have a beautiful day. Something tells me you will. Aloha

  15. I know what you mean about the garden. I shudder to think what mine at home looks like after I've been away all summer and more weeks away to come. I've always liked the wild garden look versus the overly cultivated but -- and it's a big but -- enough is enough! Your photos, as always, are really stunning.

  16. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Your garden looks beautiful, the pictures you have taken are really great, we only have a balcony.
    I enjoyed it.
    Greetings Irma

  17. You have a beautiful garden with a mixture of wild plants and their flowers. The little insects love your garden. Hope the new medication will help Lacy get better. I like the clematis petcheri. Glad you found the buried stone squirrel.

  18. Great tour of your garden. Such beautiful photos of the bees and pollinators too. The clematis and the asters were gorgeous.

  19. Gorgeous photo! Lovely flowers and so many insects that obviously feel at home in your garden! And the return of a long-lost squirrel! :-)

  20. Oh your post is divine and your photography of nature is wonderful ~ love the discovered little stone squirrel ~ and wishing you best for your cats ~ Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  21. interesting to find the squirrel after soo many years. Love all the closeups. :)

  22. Beautiful captures and interesting captions.

  23. Your photographs of all the different blooms are so beautiful and I especially love seeing the pollinators doing their thing! Love the surprise of finding the lost squirrel too!

  24. Wonderful collection! Beautiful images!

  25. I am struck first of all by the beauty you capture so wonderfully ! I love your constantly evolving and increasingly wilding garden. It is exactly at the stage where it should be. Also noted I am so impressed with the patience you demonstrate -- caring for your sometimes recalcitrant kitties, sticking with the interesting insects long enough to capture and share their behaviors ( so many of us would just ignore) and of course your patience in accepting that which we cannot change as we age! I appreciate that most of all!

  26. Das war eine wundervolle Reise durch dein Gartenparadies, herrliche Fotos und
    besinnliche Gedanken hast du auch eingefügt. Niedliche Berichte über die Kätzis. Rundum habe ich mich wohl gefühlt beim Lesen und Betrachten.
    Ich grüße dich herzlich in deinen Tag, Karin Lissi

  27. Hello Yvonne, :=) What a beautifully written reflective post. We have to make changes as we grow older. I also wear a purse round my waist,both outside and inside the house.I have learnt that we don't need half the stuff we once thought we did, and strangely enough, thinking bout the similarities between us, only two days ago, Pedro unearthed a metal sculpture of a dachshund I lost years ago, so now it's back in place facing another one at the front entrance.. I'm so pleased you found your squirrel. I think we appreciate these little things, more than we used to do!

    Moving on to your delightful array of flowers, your garden is lovely. You keep the beautiful stray plants,as you would a stray cat, and nurture them the in the same way, with care and the love of all living things.I enjoyed looking at all the insects and am impressed at your knowledge. They are fascinating creatures.

    I hope Lacey improves with her new medication,.fingers crossed!
    All the best.


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