Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bring it on, Barry!

The first tropical storm of the season is heading this way from the Gulf but I’m afraid it’s heading east of us to the coast.


This photo was taken through my bathroom window. Week after week of hot, dry air has made the birds pant. I enjoy seeing them cool off in the pond. The drought is taking a toll on all life, including mine. Instead of posting on this journal in the evenings, I’m hand watering the fragile shrubs and plants that the irrigation system doesn’t reach. I don’t mind caring for them, but I miss posting more often and having my camera around my neck.


My reptile friends don’t mind the drought. “Hey, neighbor! Nice hot night, ey?”

I postponed shopping for flowers for a few weeks due to the drought. Michael and I threw caution to the wind today and visited a nursery and I bought several Spiderwort and Foxglove for the hummingbirds and butterflies.

My knowledge of plants is minimal, but Michael's knowledge earns him a “zero”! He does like certain types of plants - especially grasses. He has a grass fetish for the feeling and healing types. I laugh to myself when I see him pat and rub ornamental grasses. He asked the nursery attendant about a plant he likes and he used his Jimmy Dean sausage fingers to illustrate how they open in the morning and close at night. I exchanged glances with the attendant and said, “Oh, I know just what he’s talking about. It’s the Starbursts I saw over there…” I saved her! He would have never been able to describe a succulent with his fingers.


I should identify this butterfly but I don’t have the energy to look it up on the internet right now. It’s pretty and that’s all I care to know. My guide will be here soon!

Laura recently asked, “So what's blooming where you are?”


Well, Laura, not as much as I wish, but some of my Gardenias are bursting with a nice fragrance. I have ten of them and a few are near death, but I’m working to save them.


The first bloom on my dwarf Magnolia! This tree should be closer to a window of my house because the fragrance puts me in a stupor. All of my shrubs and plants are very young since we’ve only been here for less than two years. I’m in love with watching them grow.


It seems like yesterday when the late April frost took the life from the growing Canna around the pond. Well, look at these beautiful flowers now! The hummingbirds love them. I do, too.


Watching hummingbirds is my favorite use of spare time. I’ve taken so many photos of them and most of them are good. But, I am waiting for that MALE RUBY THROATED IN THE SUN. I’ve taken a few decent photos of the males, but I’m holding out for the ACE shot!


Hummingbird Silhouette. When I thought there was only a pair of hummingbirds around, my observations now prove that there are several pairs. The females are showing competitive behavior at the feeders and the activity is non-stop. There’s a feeder on the back deck that has action but I haven’t been able to convince them to trust me enough to get a good photo while standing so close. I’m having a blast with hummers! Sometimes, I’ll put the camera away and just sit and watch… They’re so interesting and beautiful.


Later in the afternoon, Michael went off for a round of golf and I headed out for more “color”. There’s a small, road-side nursery nearby that has an abundance of glorious flowers! I bought a few Zinnias. My Mom always gloated over her success with them.

The clouds were darkening and the breeze was cool. The hot sunlight took a back seat for a change. I rolled down the windows in my car and listened to a radio station I recently discovered and the weekend theme of music made my day. I bounce to Eighties and some Seventies music and cranked up the volume. I lusted over George Michael’s “Father Figure” and Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible”. Prince. “Freak Out”. The Breakfast Club. Disco. Oh boy, did I enjoy that radio station, even after I pulled into the garage and started vacuuming the house. Maybe I’m alone with my music choices for a woman my age, but Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow sink my boat. Blech. Give me something to dance about.


It’s raining very lightly. I smell the rain. Sock it to us, storm Barry.
Gently, please.


NatureWoman said...

After you have your nice gentle rain, please send it this way in the same gentle way. Everything is getting parched here, too.
I love your cannas! I'm glad they survived. And your other blossoms are beautiful. Zinnias are another favorite of mine, so beautiful and so reliable to grow.

NatureWoman said...

Oh, and I'm with you Mary, bring on some music that makes me move, not something that puts me to sleep!

LauraHinNJ said...

Hope you get your rain!

Your butterfly is a silver-spotted skipper. Skipper's are mostly non-descript brown fluttery things, but that one is very common and easy to know by the white patch on its wings.

I would love to be able to grow gardenias, Mary. I love their fragrance, but here they're short-lived (for me at least!) houseplants. To have them in the garden would be a treat!

Thanks for sharing your garden pics. I wouldn't think of cannas as a flower that hummingbirds would like - maybe I should add some by my pond. Do you have to dig up the bulbs like we do here?

Alyssa said...

Hi Mary, Lack of rain can be such a bummer. I get depressed when we have drought conditions but you seem to be making the most of it. What is that little lizard you caught on film? He's cute. Plant your new foxgloves in a cool place 'cause they don't like the heat. I'm with Michael, I always touch plants and grass just invites touching. What kind of plants are Starbursts? The plants you do have blooming look great and those zinnias will be a good jolt of color. I sure hope that you get some rain and won't have to hand water so much. Alyssa

Mary said...


We don't dig up the bulbs here. They came back this year more abundant than last year. The hummingbirds hung aroud them last year, but I haven't seen them linger much this year, so far. They would be a great addition to your pond. I'll post a photo of them full-size behind the waterfall soon. They're quite hardy.

Annie in Austin said...

That's a very summery looking Canna flower, Mary - nice color! We can leave our cannas in the ground here, too, but had to dig them and hope some would survive winter in the basement in Illinois.

Your elusive quest for the perfect hummingbird photo just means you keep snapping and we keep smiling at the wonderful stuff that's not good enough for you!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Susan Gets Native said...

We got some rain today, thank be to the skies.
I will finally be able to get a shovel into the soil without breaking the handle.
My DH is the opposite of yours...he likes the "pretty" flowers...I am drawn to the grasses and the plants that will feed the critters.

And I think it's wrong that George Michael is so hot. It's not fair.

Unknown said...

Great photos. Your gardenias are lovely and make me miss my old garden in Palo Alto. I could grow gardenias there but it's too cold in the winter here.

We don't have to dig up bulbs here either. I just found out that my mother-in-law didn't know that and has been digging up bulbs every year. She has lived in California since she was a teenager and just doing it the way she always saw it done back in Wisconsin. I finally understood why she thought that daffodils were a lot of work! :)

Here's my question though . . . when you have a naturalized field of daffodils . . . are *those* all dug up too? I can't imagine that.

Mary C said...

Hi Mary - Japanese beetles! My gosh, I remember those as a kid growing up (in Maryland). They loved to attack my dad's roses. I hope they don't do too much damage to your magnolia. And your canna - wow! I've never seen one that color and so full of buds. And those hummingbird pix are something to crow about (pardon the pun). I'm still trying to get a decent shot worth "posting." They are such a joy to watch.

LostRoses said...

Sounds like everyone wishes Hurricane Barry had brought more rain, not what we usually hear when talking about hurricanes! We had quite the downpour tonight, the streets were running with water, and when I heard hail on the skylight I made a mad dash outside to save a few pots, but fortunately it was tiny hail so I didn't bother but got drenched in the process!

Oh, you have gardenias and magnolias, I'm jealous! And I'm still laughing over your description of your husband trying to convey what plant he wanted! Tell him I pat and rub ornamental grasses too.

Jayne said...

My gardenias are blooming too Mary and I am putting two or three on the kitchen table just to soak in the aroma. Love your hummer photos girl! And, love your choice of music too. ;c) P.S. NOOOOO rain here. None. Nada. Zip. Boooo hoooo hoooo...

Mary said...

Pam, I hope you get a nice rain soon. Everything looks clean and brighter now even though it still pretty cloudy.

Laura, thanks for the b-fly ID.

Alyssa, I think it's an Easter Fence lizard. We have several types here. Aren't they cute? LOL!

Annie - you wait. I'll know the best shot when I get it. :o)

Susan, yes, it's not fair. He just too hoooooot!

Liza, that's a funny story about your poor mother-in-law digging up those bulbs in CA... And I wonder, too, about the daffodils in open fields. Hmmmm.

Mary - we hae a beetle problem every year but the bewds like them ;o) So far, there hasn't been too much damage to plants. They munch on the crepe myrtles, especially. They were more of a problem in Maryland.

Lost Roses, did you remember to get your bucket placed under that skylight?

Jayne, I can't believe you are still dry. Something gotta give! We didn't get much rain out of this. It's pretty much over.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Great photos as always, Mary! You have a gorgeous garden! My garden have been constantly eaten by ants! And the ground in my yard is very sandy. Fortunately the beauty in my garden are the trees! (LOL)

Have a good Sunday!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I have been watching this storm, hopefully head your way.
Thank goodness you have some rain.
Your Hummingbird photos are grand. I too love to sit with them.
So many flowers for so dry! My zinnias are up but it will be a month before they bloom.
Enjoy your rains!

possumlady said...

Thanks for sending the rain to the DC area!! It started with a slow steady rain at 9:00 this morning and except for a few breaks, has been steadily increasing with the winds picking up. I love it!! Everything was looking a bit parched, but I don't think we were in as much of a drought as you all were in NC.

I still don't know how you get such great photos through you windows? Yours obviously must be MUCH cleaner than mine ;-)

Susie said...

Hi Mary,
Your photos are gorgeous as always!
Hope you get that gentle rain soon!
I've never been able to grow gardenias, but I love their fragrance. Mom had one, but it never did really well either..
Your hummingbirds are a joy to see. I so enjoy watching ours!

Larry said...

Beautiful photos-I see you i.d.'d the butterfly.I'm curious to see if a hurricane pushes rare birds inland for a visit some time this year.