Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If Only These Were Blooming in My Garden!

A dear friend invited us to attend the wedding of his daughter, Gina, last weekend. Without a doubt this was the BEST wedding from start to finish. We stayed in superb accommodations at PennState University in State College, Pennsylvania, where the wedding and reception took place. The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome, and of course there wasn't a dry eye in the church. We had great fun at the reception, where we ate far to much of the delicious food. And how I wish the exotic-looking flowers that decorated the tables grew in my garden.  When my friend asked me if I would like to take some of the flowers home, you know my answer. I had a difficult time taking photographs at the wedding -- the lighting was all wrong for me and my camera.  So on my return home, I carried the vase outside to my shade garden to better capture the beauty of the fabulous blooms.

I have trouble capturing reds and blues in bright sunlight, so I placed the flowers in the shade of the catalpa tree.

Here is a closer look at some of the blooms ...
Velvety, Red Rose


Sweet William

Stock (Gillyflower)
Miniature Rose

Almost a week later, the flowers still look gorgeous on my dining-room table.

I feel blessed and appreciative to have shared in Gina and Drew's special day. I will remember the beautiful celebration of love long after the flowers fade.

Summer has arrived at last! Enjoy your June garden, dear friends.

Pamela x

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My 'Bloomers' on June Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Don't you just love this sign? H.H. found it in a thrift store, yesterday -- he loves thrift stores and flea markets, and always manages to find a bargain.

Today, Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, I head out into the garden very early - at 6 a.m. actually - to photograph my June bloomers. At first glance, blooms are a little scarce. We are at that quiet stage between spring and summer, when the fabulous flowers of spring have gone and the beautiful bounty of summer blooms has yet to begin.

A lull in blooming between spring and summer.
The sun is very bright, making photography tricky for me. But I find enough blossoms to make my walk worthwhile and do my best with the camera. June is for roses ...

Climbing rose Rosa 'Improved Blaze"

Two Knockout roses, one yellow, one pink ...

The roses I installed last year sustained some damage from the abundant rain we continue to experience. Last week was wet and cold, and my poor David Austin rose suffered...

The rose bed installed last year.

Lupines add color to the largely-white rose bed.
Comparing Bloom Day last year with today, many of my flowers are late, including the clematis ...
Clematis Jackmanii

Clematis spp.
Lamb's ear begins to bloom ...

While I am not fond of the scruffy-looking spikes on lambs' ears, they are adored by the bees, so I am reluctant to cut them back ...

One of my many sedums is blooming by the pond ...

... and in the pond, the first water hyacinth blooms.

Clockwise from top left: spiderwort, white lavender (middle), lady's mantle, fleabane, and yarrow.
This early in the morning, my miniature horse, Dude, is still snoozing. Behind his pasture I see the catalpa tree is blooming.

Catalpa tree blossoms
Spirea 'Golden Mound"
Last year the foxgloves were prolific in the Woodland Walk. I was hoping these biennials would reseed. I am sorry to say I was able to find only two this morning.

Foxglove Digitalis purpurea 'Candy Mountain'
A white foxglove in the Woodland Walk
I love Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and bless Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly event. It is a great way to record my garden happenings regularly, and to see how each year is so very different. Most important, it is an opportunity to look at what is blooming in gardens all around the world. I'm going to Carol's blog right now - please join me!

Wishing you a very happy GBBD!
Pamela x
Lantana and calibrachoa greet visitors to my door.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Taking a Critter Walk

I'm continually amazed at the variety of wildlife in my garden. Today, I grabbed my camera and went for a critter walk. The pond is always a good starting place to spot wildlife. My favorite frog (above) was hiding coyly behind some sedum at the water's edge. He is my favorite because of his bright green and yellow coloring. The other frog is paler looking ...  but I like him, too. They are entertaining, especially when they fight.

I peered into the water looking for fish, and I was glad to see a large snail attached to the side of the pond. His sole function in life is to eat the rapidly growing algae. This pond is located in full sun, so algae can be a problem, which the snail is doing his best to solve.

I looked for some of the toad tadpoles, wondering if they had grown legs. I was amazed to find a fully-formed toad, smaller than the nail on my pinkie finger.

Tiny toad
I hope he survives to take care of the slugs in this garden!
There were not many fish to be seen, but those I glimpsed are surely growing bigger!

The fishpond is home to six koi - all named by my grandchildren.

I caught a glimpse of Nemo.

I saw something move in the grass near the old pear tree in the shade garden ... 

Can you see a little gray/brown speck in the bottom right corner of the picture?
 Setting my camera on zoom, I discovered it was the tiniest, baby bunny. How cute! I purposely didn't think about the damage he could do as he gets bigger.

Nearby, in one of the many birdbaths, a catbird is splashing in the water.

A wren is taking a morsel of food into its nest. Is someone sitting on eggs? I don't think there are hatchlings, because all is quiet in there. Baby wrens are incredibly noisy!

Carolina Wren
A pesky chipmunk climbed into the bird feeder that H.H. attached to the garden room window. This little pest is so destructive. Earlier, I caught him in the strawberry patch holding a large, red strawberry in his paws, as he nibbled away.

Chipmunk stealing bird seed
 After shooing him out of the feeder, I went to the kitchen garden to see if he has done any more damage there. A net over the strawberries, and a mechanical owl that moves and hoots when approached, does not deter the little thief.

I've been picking the under-ripe fruit before he eats all of them.

As I looked around the kitchen garden, where I recently finished planting vegetables using the square-foot method, I must admit I got a feeling of satisfaction.  Most of the seeds have germinated already. I will post about my kitchen garden soon.

While I was in the vicinity, I checked the mason-bee house that H.H. installed on the back of my potting shed. No bees yet, but we keep hoping!

There was noise coming from the bird condo. The condo is intended for purple martins, but it is currently occupied by several tree swallows and a pair of bluebirds. 

There is a tree swallow on the bottom rail and a bluebird on the roof.
 I don't know what upset the bluebird, but he flew to the tractor shed roof, looking quite indignant.

Why the bluebirds aren't living in one of the many bluebird houses that H.H. placed around the property, I don't know.

Back in the birdbath, this robin seemed very angry. I think he was upset because the catbird splashed out most of the water.

American Robin
 When H.H. was a boy in this house, there were barn swallows in the horse barn. They stopped coming to the farm many years ago. This year, at last they returned and built a nest above the electric light in the barn, much to my husband's delight.  I inspected the nest now to see if there were any eggs.

Barn Swallow Nest
The barn swallow was not happy to see me there. When they have a family to protect, I am sure it will be difficult to get into the barn to feed the horse and goat. H.H. says they will swoop down at us to scare us away. 

Barn Swallow
Billy Goat didn't seem worried, today. He was wondering if I had brought him a treat.

There are many more critters regularly visiting my garden. They must read the sign that says this is a Wildlife Habitat registered by the National Wildlife Federation, and in they come. I try to welcome all of them, but it is difficult sometimes. Especially when they steal the strawberries!

I hope you enjoyed taking a critter walk with me!
Pamela x

Froggy comes face-to-face with a fake-frog foe.

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