Sunday Chat – Garden and Wildlife

The rain last weekend really did bring out the green in the countryside, in the grass and ground covers, bushes and trees. The range of green in spring is wonderful, an awakening of the land. Settle in with your favorite cuppa, and enjoy a long and picture heavy post. As the hostas are coming up, I’ve noticed the deer stopping by more often. This day there were three, this one was at the edge of my hosta bed.

The other two were in the meadow. The meadow grass is growing now, and the trees behind are starting to leaf out.

On a rainy morning, there is a wide variety of green shades in the trees across the valley.

One delight, the flowers are now coming out. This white dogwood was gorgeous at the edge of the meadow.

I have one lonely tulip in this dark pink, almost burgundy color.

I’ve been doing a final bird count for Feeder Watch. It ends at the end of April, and this time I have plenty to report. Some of the birds are so pretty, and some I don’t see often. This is a female downy woodpecker. There are two here, her mate stops by often.

The goldfinches have a flock of about 12, now wearing their summer frocks in bright yellow.

A pair of cardinals have returned, the male was taking advantage of the seed bounty.

The azaleas were coming out when a single deer came back by. She is not afraid of me, and I stood on the veranda talking to her for a few minutes. She just watched me for a bit, then lowered her head into the hostas again. Brazen hussy.

The azaleas have been damaged by the unusually warm February and March, followed by freezes late in March and early April. A large section of the white ones will not bloom at all now. But some are yet to come, even though you can see some brown on the buds. This section baffles me, it produces three purple flowers on a white bush most years. It isn’t a grafted section, there are white ones right next to these. Strange, but just another wonder in our world.

Walking around the right side of the bushes, the pretty white and pink flowers look much better and fuller from that viewpoint.

The pink is so lovely, in the brighter sunshine, the delicate color is gorgeous.

The bushes lower in the driveway are looking a bit scraggly, another consequence of the crazy weather.

Looking down the driveway, the usual explosion of color isn’t coming this year. There are some flowers, and we just have to enjoy what we get. In prior years, this has been a mass of pink and white flowers all the way down the right side to the bend in the driveway.

The white flowers have the most damage, showing brown spots and many buds that will never open now. Still, I love them.

The pink flowers on the lower bushes were also very pretty.

I couldn’t resist trying to get some of the bumblebees working hard to gather pollen.

There were several of them, all industriously working.

While I was in that part of the driveway, I looked for the lady slippers. You may recall that I tried to carefully clean out the mass of dead leaves, not knowing how that might affect these delicate plants, even when they were dormant. But, now I have my answer. I was both happy and sad. I am happy to find one lady slipper has survived and is going to bloom. It is sad, though, that I have apparently killed the other two that have bloomed for several years. I hope this one will proliferate.

The female turkey has finally come back, and I was delighted to see her. I’ve named her Cornelia. I have no idea why, it just seems to fit. She came alone last fall a number of times to get a bite of whole grain bread, disappeared for months, and just came back this week. Last spring she brought her little ones with her, five little baby turkeys.

She remembered this house and a strange lady that will give her food. She cluck-purred while she ate. Then, about an hour later, she was back with a friend, another female more shy and took a bit more coaxing to come closer to get a tidbit. I think I’ll call the second one Beatrice. Just because it is old-fashioned.

They each got about half a slice of bread that I moisten a bit with some water so it won’t stick in their throats. Then they were off to peck at the ground for seeds and bugs. Cornelia and Beatrice were back again later, I could hear them cluck-purring outside the windows of the sewing room.

I’m pretty sure Oliver and Jack are gone, whether from natural causes or a predator, I haven’t seen them in some time now. The only one that comes for food is this one with the white tufts behind its ears. There are two or three that are here at one time, all with the tufts, so might be offspring of Oliver and the white squirrel I’ve seen from time to time. But only one will come up for a sandwich. The other two run away when I open the door. I think I’ll call him Jasper. It just seems to fit.

It is getting close to the time that I can transplant my seedlings. They are now about 8 weeks old, and looking strong.

My Farmers’ Almanac says the next best days to plant and transplant above ground crops is April 20-21. I have that Friday open, so provided it doesn’t rain or turn cold, I plan to put them in the ground that day. For about 48 hours prior to that, I’ll put them on the veranda to harden off for lower night temperatures so they don’t get shocked by the move. Luckily, the planter box is tall, and I don’t have to kneel on the ground to plant in it. It will soon be time to move some plants to the veranda as well. I want to get my hanging baskets planted soon so they will have ample time to fill out before company comes in May.

What is happening in your garden?

22 thoughts on “Sunday Chat – Garden and Wildlife

  1. Oh, I’ll miss Oliver, but Cornelia and Beatrice will be fun to watch, as will Jasper! We have some perennial seedlings up, we are going to add some medicinals to our garden this year. Things are slow here, the new garlic is still not up, and we are just now able to get in and possible dig deep enough to plant some potatoes. We just started some tomato seedlings, will keep some and either sell or give away the rest. I did find my hyacinth bulbs! They are poking up through the ground, and look pretty happy.

  2. Diann@ Little Penguin Quilts

    I always enjoy all your wildlife photos, Carole! We’ve been seeing goldfinches here, along with downy woodpeckers, and some kind of sparrow that we can’t identify. I loved your story about the female turkeys – I’ve never been close enough to them to hear their sound. The azaleas are beautiful, in spite of being hurt by your crazy weather. We’re just starting to see some leaves on our trees here.

  3. Carole, our azaleas were also nipped by late freezes. Love seeing your wildlife views. I stepped out outside early this morning and the turkeys were gobbling! Wishing you a lovely week!

  4. Judy Andrew

    Dear Carole, this has definitely been a busy time for me! Have been packing & moving my stuff from old Apt to my friends house. At my friends house I then organize & condense my pile some more. Outside @ my friends house I have started my gardening once again in pots. I also have a Green Stalk w/5 tiers ( any taller, I would have to stand on a ladder, haha) I have planted in this chives, parsley, spinach, baby broccoli & white & purple Assylum for thier sweet smell, mixed in w/some pansies & yellow Biden’s as well. Have planted in other pots lettuce, onions, Brussel sprouts & 1 green basil & 1 purple basil. Have also planted in pots on the fence pink bubblegum petunias & dark colored sun coleus. Planted in front of garage red geraniums. Then the other day I went back to the nursery & got marigolds to plant around my Sweet 100 tomato plant. Also bought a sweet Italian red pepper & 2 bush cucumber plants (one of them is a pickling kind). Everything is looking good & the onions seem like they grow an inch every day! So am quite pleased so far w/everything I have planted! Am one 😁 gardener!

  5. You have so much wonderful wild life that comes to visit, I love that you have names for some! Sorry about the late freeze, that is always a worry in our area too, but we didn’t have much of one this year. The blooms you do have are beautiful, and the bush with the white and purple flowers is so interesting! Have a lovely Sunday Carole!

    1. Li

      Snow is falling here….again… this Sunday morning in Mn. Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos of the wildlife and beautiful floral blossoms. Refreshing to look at after a long,too long,

  6. the azaleas in Arkansas have suffered too and not many have flowers on this year and I have heard of a lot of people who have cut them out and planting new bushes as the whole bush appear to be dead – especially when you break a branch off and it is so brittle it snaps off when bent – you know it is dead.

  7. Every thing your way is looking good. Here there is some color coming out but the freeze damage is pretty serious. My DnL and I both are pretty sure the blueberries took a hard hit. I’m still not sure the figs will make it and several trees look really bad. It’s my understanding the sap had already started up and got frozen. Hmmm Nature can be a challenge.

  8. I so enjoy your blog postings! We’ve only been in this home not quite 2 years – since there were no trees (previous owner cut down everything!) we’ve been quite busy. Retaining wall (75′) and french drain in the back to the front for water and now we’ve built huge planters on the level above and smaller down below. Put in about 27 trees and plants with 2 more to go, then have probably 18-19 yards of rock to put over weed paper – no more lawns for us. Finally feels more like a garden! With our new patio (nearly the length of the house) we have a sheltered place for gardenias, hydrangeas and azalea. Looking forward to building the 10′ x 25′ gazebo off the patio to put in other plants that need shelter from No. Calif. extreme heat in summer (and for us!). Looks like it will be fall before we get started on the front…had surgery this week on my left knee & that’s taken time away from projects….

  9. Julie

    Lovely photos & narration. We’ve been in a heat wave with temps over 85°, plants are coming on strong. Tomorrow we’re supposed to return to something more seasonal & we still have 4 -6 weeks before the danger of a hard freeze is gone. Perhaps Oliver & Jack are actually Olivia & Jacqueline at home tending babies? We’ll have to wait & see.

  10. Weather changes are making my head spin, hot, cold, rain, sun – all before breakfast! Some of our birds are back, the hawks keeping watch on the field behind the tennis court, the nasty blackbirds but haven’t seen any finches yet. Just found a box of tulip bulbs I ordered so will plant them (when it stops raining) hopefully they’ll come up next year. Your photos are stunning! Thanks!

  11. Margaret Nelson

    I don’t have a garden or flowers to tend but I have a year round cardinal. He is very territorial and attacks our windows and fights with himself in all vehicle side mirrors and leaves his poo too.

  12. poodlegirls

    Growing up in PA we had rhododendron and Azaleas at home. And we would go exploring in the Poconos for Pitcher Plants and Johnny Jump Ups. When Galen goes to East Texas for Dragonflies they ofter stop at a Pitcher Plant Bog in a wildlife management area. Here in central Texas we have the Wildflowers and they have put on quite a show this year.

  13. I just love the chartreuse trees — I wish they could stay that color all summer as they fill out! It’s lovely in your world. Ah, deer and hostas. One day I looked out the window just as Bambi bent down and took a big chunk of hosta! I don’t know what to plant with them to prevent that. Ah, well. A girl’s gotta eat. I’m sorry to hear about Oliver. I hope he’s just visiting elsewhere. Have a wonderful week!

  14. Sue

    Carole, I so enjoy your wildlife and garden pictures. Your azaleas are beautiful and I am wondering if your deer bother them? I have a long driveway too and am thinking of adding a few for color. Do you have a water system to them? You are so kind to share your hostas with the deer! I have not planted any of that “deer candy”!
    Sue, Deer Park, WA

  15. A lovely and interesting tour, Carole. What is growing in my garden is whatever wants to grow! LOL Dogwoods and lilacs, mostly, which I love. Too early here where I live for the rhodies and azalias, but soon. We have heathers still blooming, some soft pink, others darker. My tulips and daffies are mostly in pots, just coming up. I recently purchased a pack of 3 gerbera daisies that are temporarily living outside my kitchen window. So pretty and a comfort to see the pretty color after a crazy winter here, weatherwise and otherwise. Hugs, m

  16. Patricia Evans

    I’ve been in NC for the last ten days and have enjoyed the dogwoods (pink and white), the redbuds, and the azalias. I even saw a few blooming German bearded iris on my way out of Greensboro. I’m afraid of what I will find outdoors when I get home as the weather prevented me from spraying deer repellent before I left, so I know the beasts have had a feast.

  17. Elaine Nemeth

    You are such a wonder. I love the photos, your names for the critters , and just everything about your blog. Starting my second quadrille of only white and blue snowflake glittery fabrics . Got to mark all the blocks..
    And get on schedule with the first one. Thanks for all you do for your blog.

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