Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mid July Garden Walkabout Warm To Cool Temperature in Color

Here in Western Massachusetts the horrid heat wave has finally fizzled out. 
Kinder weather patterns bring lighter, more clement days and crisp nights, but we truly need rain. 

I do so prefer intensity in colors rather than extreme temperatures on a thermometer. 
Here there are vivid, hot colors, from varying flower forms of sizzling Hemerocallis, 
found floriferous and in fine fettle within the July 'middle meadow garden.' 

A quick look back and in the opposite direction both in time and landscape . . . just for fun . . . to the cool colors of late May and early June in the 'middle meadow garden'.

Once again in Mid July surrounded by hot oranges and reds.

The tall sleek stems of this warm daylily stretch upwards towards six feet in height.
A bluebird house stands empty and quiet in the background and sadly, the gardener must report . . .
 she missed the virgin flight of the fledglings yet again.

Certainly a chorus of joy to our earth . . . if only we could hear the songs.

A parade of beauty lasting only one day.
Each sunrise swells open fresh . . . pure in intense colors . . . corollas designed and destined to collapse by sunset.

Stepping down towards our oldest apple tree and the lower garden . . . serene greens, softer yellows and washed-out-whites await. 

Looking up through the apple tree archway from the blueberry field. 

I am carrying water over to the 'lower garden' for this stressed Hydrangea and find it amazing how quickly the leaves perk up from the drink.

Walking into the north garden the scent of basil drifts amongst pure white panicles of Hydrangea paniculata, 'The Swan'.

Cimicifuga racemosa stands along side delicate clusters of another nameless Hydrangea. When standing next to 'no name', it sounds as if an entire beehive is visiting. Speaking of sound . . . I love the hisses which are formed when pronouncing Cimicifuga. Sometimes I just wish genera could stay the same . . . now black bugbane, black cohosh or black snakeroot . . . take your pick for a common name . . .  is scientifically labeled Actaea racemosa.

The ever faithful smooth Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' or 'Grandiflora' sumptuously falling over . . . 

mingling among berried boughs of Viburnum.
Numerous birds are mingling within the red berries too.
Now that the blueberries are nearly finished . . . these Viburnum berries are a real hot item in the garden.

My heart goes out to all those who are suffering terribly from severe drought . . . it is bad here but nothing like other parts of our country and the world at large.
May rain soon fall . . .  for us all . . . steady and softly . . .  for several days with sunny day breaks . . .  throughout the season.

Lastly, I leave you with some fresh and faded oranges that float about the gardens these days.
Monarchs offer another warm color to the landscape and teeny intricately crafted eggs to our milkweed plants.
The second butterfly image is proof that the toxic cardenolides within milkweed do not always protect Monarchs from preying birds.
I have nearly thirty jewel-like chrysalises hanging about my studio and look forward to sharing this years magical metamorphosis with you.

The earth sighs as Greenland falls into the ocean . . . our world's soul dreams for our awakening and action for change . . . in our daily lives and beyond.
Do our legislators know our names . . . our ideas and demands?
Why not let them hear our voices on a weekly basis.
Let's unite our voices as a chorus for our earth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Exciting Sighting Today ~ Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

A hot day brings an exciting new sighting of a Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes butterfly. 
It was really a treat to be in the garden with this magnificent creature. 
It is a rare visitor here in Massachusetts.

You can learn more about the Giant Swallowtail butterfly here

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Waxing and Waning ~ The World Around Us ~ Bluebird Broods

There is plenty of spinning, tilting and turning in our vast universe . . . as our world wobbles its way around the sun and our moon waxes and wanes . . . mirroring that center fiery sphere . . . while it sails along its own path marking our monthly ways. Luminosity of a celestial entity casting softness and shadows over a mostly sleeping landscape is quite calming though connected to lunacy. I am puzzled at how wildlife sleeps through all the brightness and it seems those that are preyed upon are more vulnerable. 

Wandering around the light filled night, I find the gardens, fields and forest mysterious and completely a different feeling from that of the daylight world I know so well. Forms stand out more boldly and imagining the numerous nests within the leafy and sometimes flowering branches . . .  I pause and quietly step between the two realms. I am not alone placidly pacing about the moonlit gardens, however. 
Growls penetrate my peace and they are meant for me . . . not the Wild Turkeys balancing in the hemlock or pines above . . . wings ruffling and rubbing against the boughs. Moving black forms are not shrubberies . . . but coyote and bear step before or after my footprints . . . creating quite a chill. A loud clap and stomp from me continues to send those unwelcome yet thrilling forms furtively further into the deeper darkness.

Just before dawn these days, the waning moon is still casting a milky film across the land from its western departure. Towards the east earlier risers may see the stunning show of Venus and Jupiter rising just before the symphony of birdsong begins. 

Each morning brings renewed sipping and dipping activity about the birdbath, though I have yet to capture the many birds who visit here. I am faithful in cleaning and refreshing the basin each day.

Sunlight casts its own magic. 

While walking about in the daylight hours . . .  the gardens today . . .  along with the Bluebirds busyness caring for their second brood . . . offer entertainment and wonder. The Bluebirds have no difficulty beginning this brood . . . but things were not so peaceful earlier in the spring when they began their first . . . 

What is wrong with this picture?

Tree Swallows do not make much fuss really . . . they tend to choose a nestbox out in the north and south fields to raise their young, but there is always temptation. I never see any real jousting between the two . . . the bluebirds do always win with the Tree Swallows.

There are more serious battles between male Bluebirds and it is hard to determine who is who. I would guess the female knows better. 

Things do calm down in April and the male and female Bluebird become very attentive to their young, always eyeing for the many insects about the shrubs and trees and along the garden floor.

Woe to the caterpillars that will never become moths or butterflies. 

Instead of nibbling, flying, flitting and ferreting about the gardens . . .  copious amounts of insects and arachnids build fine fledglings. These two Bluebirds fledglings stay near their former home. The mother Bluebird is inside the nestbox. 

Off to forage.

The parents have ceased to feed the fledglings and come back to their nest box with an incredible array of fresh morsels for their helpless nestlings.

I can now hear the nestlings crying out when the parents light on the nestbox. I hope this time to see the little ones peeking out from the round window and do marvel at what it must be like for them to see the world for the first time . . . beyond their tiny world within the box. 

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