Hummingbirds

When we first moved in, a gigantic trumpet vine was intermingled with honeysuckle; it was lovely… and a red light for any hummingbirds in its path. I thought the trumpet vine was choking out the delicate honeysuckle so I removed it.

Our Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle is in full bloom now and the hummingbirds love it!

Our Hummingbird Feeder

A few weeks ago my daughter spotted a hummingbird in our area and I immediately retrieved the feeder, placed it on display, and rang the dinner bell!

I don’t leave the feeder out during the winter months… although I know of a few who do. It’s been my experience that our hummingbirds find us year after year (like we tend to return to the same beach house year after year).

Make your “nectar” by mixing one part sugar to four parts water. Boiling the mixture will ensure the sugar has dissolved. Store unused portions in your refrigerator and fill your feeder only partially—you should clean it every three to four days anyway and to fill the feeder would just be a waste.

The sugar-water you provide is not meant to “feed” your hummingbirds…merely provide energy to make it to their next feeding. So, keep your feeders clean and full and the area around the feeder “attractive” (remember, they love the color red) then sit back and wait for the hummmmmmmm….

Pretty

Pretty INVASIVE, that is!!

I’m talking about “Gooseneck Loosestrife.”

I purchased the perennial at a favorite greenhouse four years ago when I was “constructing” my flower beds.

I always read the description of the flowers I’m purchasing and I don’t remember the description suggesting “contains roots,” or “spreads quickly.”

For the past three years, I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to yank it out of the flower bed. It has spread so voraciously that it chokes out other tender perennials vying for the smallest of growing areas. The stem reminds me of a succulent; it’s always full of moisture. If you try to pull it out, it snaps at ground-level, leaving the root to begin a path elsewhere.

I’ve had the worst time ridding my flower beds of it. I pull new shoots constantly throughout the summer months.

I believe the only way to completely rid the flower beds of this dastardly villain is to turn over the topsoil and pull the roots, once and for all.

For now, I’ll pull the new shoots to allow the others their rightful sunlight and rainfall allowance.

It is pretty though.

Daylilies in Bloom

Daylilies are in full, blooming glory along our Pennsylvania roadsides now. I always assumed, because of their location, that these were the native variety. I was wrong (not for the first time, mind you).

According to daylilies.org (hey, where else was I going to look for answers?) daylilies that dot roadsides “escaped” at some point–that is, they are a hybridized version of the wild/native and the domesticated varieties which have been around since the 30s.

Underground bulbs of the wild lily reproduced vegetatively or were dispersed by hungry rodents. Native Americans also ate the bulbs, boiled; Cree referred to the species as “mouse-root” because of its association with voles. (Mind you, the lily family contains species not safe to consume).

Hemerocallis is the genus name meaning “beauty” and  “day”, hence the name “daylily” (each flower lasts only one day). However, I’ve learned through my online research that each daylily clump can produce 200-400 flowers in a season. Multiply that by the hundreds of clumps in any roadside stand of daylilies and you’re in for a spectacular show lasting throughout the better part of the summer!

Up Close And Personal

Look at my little freckled friend—freckled with pollen, that is.

I love taking my camera around the yard and finding new subjects. Take, for instance, the pictures of my sedum. I was traipsing through the flower beds noting the faded blooms, dead leaves, and broken, spent stems when I came upon my three sedum plants. All three were ablaze with bumble bee activity! 

Nothing else was going on in those tired, old flower beds except for the little energized world on those sedum blooms. 

It’s funny:  I’ll slow down to capture something and end up being captivated by what I’m viewing through the lens.

Gee, who’s catching whom?

Look at the Sunflowers

End of summer and everybody’s sad…just look at the sad sunflowers!

The children have been back at school for two weeks now and we’ve started to harvest butternut squash which can only mean one thing: summer’s officially over.

It’s funny, really, that you can’t wait for the summer season to begin and when the “end” rolls around, it’s almost welcome.   

I’m tired! And just look at the sunflowers; I think they’re tired, too, of holding up their large, seeded heads in the unbearable heat and blinding light of the sun. I look at them thinking they give up at about this same time each year.

I noticed the sun setting at 6:30 last night. Two months ago, I’d be weeding at this time, thinking “Thank goodness I have two more hours to work.” Now? I’m happy to be thinking ahead to apple butter, early morning frosts, and Indian corn. That is, until the seed catalogs come at the end of winter and it’s time to choose those sunflower seeds again.

Wildflowers – Webisode 2

Our host, Tracy Toth, completes our tour of a riparian buffer while demonstrating how native plant species can support a healthy ecosystem.

Blog Post About Our Wildflowers Webisodes

  

The third summer we were here I noticed cars slowing and occasionally stopping on the road nearer the pasture. I thought, for the longest time, they were looking at our animals.

  

One day, while I was out back noticing the tremendous number of butterflies, it dawned on me. The cars were slowing to take in the activity on the wildflowers—all the pollinators that had found their way to the native species we had let “come back.”

I hope this webisode, in particular, serves as a simple lesson in conservation: that something so easy as letting native species propagate a waterway buffer can naturally accomplish so many vital “tasks” that are necessary for a healthy ecosystem. That, and you get to enjoy one heck of a butterfly show!

Wildflowers – Webisode 1

Our host, Tracy Toth, demonstrates how providing an opportunity for native plant species to propagate a waterway buffer can naturally accomplish so many vital “tasks” that are necessary for a healthy ecosystem.

Lavender in Bloom

I wander around the yard and barn capturing images I think would make nice accompaniments to blog entries and snapped this one of the chair in my flower bed.

Pausing to look at it in the downloaded images, it occurred to me that I’d never really SAT in the chair?! Not once! I seem to scurry about, in all different directions, here and there, between the barn and the house and the flowers and the compost area and the chicken coop that I just don’t pause for that good old-fashioned breather.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve long-since admired the little ice-cream parlor chair…heck, I even smile at the chair…I just don’t sit in the chair. Maybe it’s time to re-think that……especially since the lavender’s in bloom!