Saturday, May 27, 2023

A Bit of This and That in a May Garden

Things stay the same sometimes in my garden.  The pathways are trimmed of all vegetation, including the strip along the sides of the pathways if it contains grass.   Personally, I feel it’s difficult to garden in the south once the weather begins to warm up, and the abundance of blood sucking ticks takes all the pleasure out of becoming immersed in vegetation.

A sheet of toilet paper was used last week to catch an illusive one trying to flee further up my leg.  Sounded like Velcro pulling apart when I loosened its legs from my skin, the little devil, and flushed it down the toilet.  Yesterday was spent carefully cutting down batches of bottlebrush grass that someone else failed to trim while it was shorter. 

Well, that someone else, while cleaning up the cuttings, brushed them against me when passing by.  Brushing my hair out afterwards over the sink, a tick fell into the washbasin, causing my demeanor to sink along with that creature as it was dropped into that swirling vortex of toilet flushing blues.

I don’t dally much in the garden area now.  Whatever we haven’t planted will be waiting until late fall or finding a new home in the trash can.  It’s so tricky now with the heat and cool in the house.  Days have been close to ninety degrees F., while the evenings still cool into the low sixties.

Okay, so much for the weather and its effects on my well-being.  I did manage to find enough interesting things to photograph for a decent presentation, although the focus is a bit off on a few.  Telephoto shots of a bird at the bird bath… almost in focus, but I deleted about a hundred photos of Grackles at the bird feeder that were nowhere in focus.

It’s a tad frustrating… okay, truthfully, it’s a screaming fit of screams frustrating that this new cellphone is getting the best of me.

Today started with a new door put in, then a new door ordered to replace the new door put in.  It’s what happens when the sales representative flubs up the order.  I suppose we’ll wait another two months for the second door to be made.

The afternoon was heavenly.  A cool breeze and comfortable humidity – it won’t get any better than that, if you pooh-pooh the existence of ticks.  We cut down the bottle brush grass along the pathway by the prairie garden, and braced the grass further in with plant supports to keep swaying in the breeze to a minimum.

As a child with a mom who loved the wildflowers in the desert of Nevada, we always accompanied her in the early spring after it rained to find the wildflowers that only grew a few inches tall with their amazing blooms that would fade away too quickly when the drought period came.  My love of wildflowers has never ceased since then.

Clasping Venus’s Looking Glass wildflower (Triodanis perfoliate) is an annual that would appear in springtime in my garden when the landscape was mostly in sun.  It is capable of growing three feet tall, but in our clay soil all it could muster up was about a foot in height.  As shade took over the garden, it disappeared.

After years of looking, I found a nursery specializing in wildflower seeds sold individually, instead of in a mix.  Four packets were bought last fall, and when I emptied all four packets into a cereal bowl, it looked less than ¼ teaspoon.  It was mixed with a handful of dry dirt and scattered into the prairie garden. 

I found one plant of Venus’s Looking Glass blooming today.  Of course, the photos were out of focus, but tomorrow’s another day.  One miracle out of a thousand seeds… I’ll take it.  I’m hoping to get them established in the prairie garden, even though their time in the spring is so fleeting.

I’ve rambled on long enough, and it’s so late... I’m not telling you how late.  

Until next time…

Eastern Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea

Flower just opening up.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

A cultivar that attracts pollinators, but not as many as the species attracts.

Cicada exoskeleton clinging to 
Primula meadia, Shooting Star seed pods

Clematis viticella 'Purpurea Plena Elegans' (non-native)

Since this is a double clematis, it is of no use to pollinators.
It can serve as protection for birds and other wildlife, 
if it has lush growth. 

I thought these had died years ago from drought during the summer,
but with much rain our last two springs, they are a large vine once again. 

I watched this honeybee search each flower, 
trying to find a way to any nectar, with no luck.

Wild Garlic, Allium vineale
Non-native and quite invasive.

Flowers are usually followed by bulbils (small bulbs), 
and sometimes bulbils grow instead of flowers.
Small and purple, each bulbil sprouts a stem,
which makes it look pretty wild.

Daylily with a small purple flower.  
Not sure what its friend is.
(At first I thought a tick, but the shape and coloring is wrong.)

Tree. weed. friend or foe?

This is not the same type of native clematis 
that has grown here in past years.

Winterthur Viburnum flowers

Small Wolf Spider

Woodland Pinkroot, Spigelia marilandica

Ilex verticillata "Sparkleberry"
flowers with a black hover fly.
Although a cultivar, it attracts plenty of insects.

Five foot tall plant, opening bud looks like a Fleabane.

Small Orange Fly, about 1/4th inch long.

A set of Joe Pye Weed leaves unfurling.

Then the stem will grow and a new set of leaves will unfurl.

Joe Pye Weed plants on left, and Turtlehead plants on right.

I thought this was a Carpet Beetle on the Fleabane, 
but the color pattern is different.
I haven't found a similar photo to identify it.

Butterfly Weed flower buds

Taken at birdbath by back deck.

My commentors identified this as a female House Finch.

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  1. Hello, Yvonne
    Those ticks are nasty, a reminder we should all check ourselves after being outside. Beautiful photos of your garden, flowers and all the insects. The bird at the birdbath looks like a female House Finch. I love the cute photo of the cat tail at the end of your post. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend.

  2. I agree with Eileen above - female House Finch. She might even eat a few of those ticks that are bothering you!

  3. ...since is can't stroll through your garden I was settle for scrolling through. There is so much to enjoy, "The End" is fabulous.

  4. Lovely post and photos. Be very careful of those tics

  5. We're having four-star weather, too. I'm sorry about the ticks.... not seeing them here yet, though a recent presentation Rick went to told how many ticks were found on a given day in our arboretum (sp, sorry) and I thought "I'm never going there again!" Well, ticks or not, it is absolutely gorgeous in your world with these wonderful blooms and that finch. Lovely!

  6. I miss the wildflowers of my childhood. They were a big part of Spring, Summer and Fall for me.

  7. Enjoyed your beautiful garden and love for wildflowers! The End is witty and gave me a laugh.

  8. Hello Yvonne :=)
    What a lovely post with so many beautiful flowers from your garden and some amazing insects, all I may add in perfect focus. I once had three Ticks on my legs. I hate Ticks, and have learnt to wear a pair of ankle socks and then push my garden trousers legs inside. I also wear a hat to prevent insects getting into my hair, You would think I was off to the north pole if you saw me gardening. Great photo of the Finch, and your last photo made me laugh, what a cool way to end your post, which I really enjoyed.
    All the best.

  9. So many wonderful flowers to appreciate. I love this time of year. It's just amazing with so much colour and fraggrance.

  10. What beautiful flowers you have in your garden.
    Be careful with ticks they are dangerous and can give you Lyme disease.
    Just keep an eye on the place where you were bitten, there will be a red circle around it that you should immediately go to the doctor.
    Putting on a hat and putting your socks over your long pants is the best option, so the ticks have less chance to get to your skin.
    I enjoyed your photos.
    Greetings Irma

  11. Coneflowers look great.... I never seen purple in nature....
    thank you for sharing beautiful photos and details

  12. I think it's a House Finch too and have them in our feeders right now. Love wildflowers and took pics of some on our hike this morning. I wish I could learn all of there names!

  13. Beautiful and interesting stroll through your garden! I love the Woodland Pinkroot and how the Joe Pye Weed leaves unfurl.

  14. Oh those pesky ticks! I'm sorry that they decided to live in your garden, buggers. Fortunately, I haven't found any ticks in my garden yet and I hope I never will. There are plenty of them where I walk, so I'm always careful. Your garden looks beautiful - mostly plants I cannot grow here, so this was even nicer to see. I wish I could grow Joe Pye Weed since it's so beautiful, but it just doesn't work. Your climate and therefore gardening is very different from ours - yes, it can be very hot here, but it's not humid at all. Usually there is no rain between May and October - this year, of course, was an exception with rain in May and lots and lots of rain throughout the winter which was more than welcome. I love that you can identify all the insects. I should consult that big fat "Garden Insects of North America" book more often.
    It's been a pleasure coming here and I will be back.

  15. A beautiful post and I also love wild flowers. We get a lot of ticks here but thankfully none in the garden, or very rare!!
    Keep well and take care , Diane

  16. Absolutely Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Dear Yvonne,
    this is not just a "decent presentation" of photos, but many very, very beautiful pictures. I'm always amazed by your keenly observing eye - you discover such filigree treasures as the Cicada exoskeleton, the tiny "friend" in the daylily or the 1/4th inch long orange fly and these enchantingly twisted unfoldings of Joe Pye Weed. Your photos give me a lot of joy because they testify to love and poetry. I have my fingers crossed that your prairie garden will be full of magical wildflowers.
    All the best and a wonderful month of June 🌻🌼🌻!
    Hugs, Traude
    PS: I also had a tick on my neck this spring - terrible creatures!

  18. PPS: You wrote that you especially love the sloth photos - there are more to see in my current post 😊🦥


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