Monday, July 27, 2009

Busy Woodpecker Parents!

In the middle of June a pair of our resident Hairy Woodpeckers began bringing their offspring to the suet cage for a feed, and we had the privilege of witnessing this sweet example of parental care.

Both parents took turns feeding the baby (that's Mom in photo above), ......

....and while Mom seemed quite calm and efficient, (baby is below her)....

......Dad always appeared to be rather frazzled (that's him on the left).
Perhaps he's a first-time father.

Notice that the baby (Dad is reaching down to her) is as large as her parents. Posted by Picasa

Dad collects some suet.....

While baby waits anxiously below.

If you click to enlarge you'll see that he appears to always have a worried expression on his face :) Due to our frequently rainy weather, he also often looked damp and bedraggled.

Please hurry Daddy! Posted by Picasa

That's quite a mouth to feed!

More please, Daddy!

Here, she waits on the porch post on a foggy morning....

......but then decides to hurry the process along!

Sometimes the smaller Downy Woodpeckers would try for a turn at the suet. Dad was hanging underneath when this fella landed. He hopped up quickly and scared the wits out of the poor little guy.

Speaking of wet's the Red Bellied male woodpecker on a rainy afternoon.

And looking sleek and handsome on a sunny day. Posted by Picasa

It's not often that you can see the red belly for which he's named, but it shows well in this photo Posted by Picasa

Here's the little lady Red Belly. If they're a pair with a baby, we haven't seen it. The Red bellies are shyer than the Hairies and Downies. They fill their beaks and head for the hedgerow across the road.

All the woodies like sunflower seed too.

Notice how the red on the female's head doesn't go all the way to the beak, but has a gap. Posted by Picasa

Meanwhile the Hairies continue madly trying to fill up "Baby". They could often be seen hopping about with the little one in tow. The parent had just disappeared behind the tree branch, so I'm assuming that's the little one on the fence. Posted by Picasa
Remember, this was June, and the Foxgloves were still blooming.
Those Daylilies on either side of them are stealing the show now, along with the Gloriosa Daisies (Black-eyed Susans/Rudbeckia hirta), Bee Balm (Monarda) and Shasta Daisies, among others. I've been busy with the camera, so stay tuned for the lily parade......
I hope you too are enjoying the delights that nature provides for us on these summer days.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day-July '09

It's interesting to notice the differences between what was blooming for this Bloom Day last year, and what our garden has to offer today. Some plants are about the same as last year, but it seems to me that most are behind their last year's schedule. My opening photo last July 15th presented multitudes of Phlox blooms, while this year they've barely begun to open. The June weather pattern has continued into July, bringing us cool, even cold, days and nights, with mostly gray skies, rain showers and frequent thunderstorms.

The past 2 nights I've had to close the bedroom windows and put an extra blanket on the bed. Does that sound like summer to you?

The only good thing is that it's been good for weeding and planting.....between the raindrops, that is.

But without further ado, let's see what's blooming.....quickly now...because the sun is actually shining this morning, and soon I must be off to the garden to continue weeding and planting!

The little Rose/Clematis Garden is brimming with blooms, most notable of which are the Clematis vines. Jackmanii, on the left, is loving the abundance of rain, and Carnaby, in the corner, has more flowers than ever before.

I'm loving the absence of silver paint splatters on the blooms this July (caused last year by the painting of the roofs)!

Evening Primrose is still spreading cheer throughout the gardens. I love it with these blue Pansies and white Alyssum.

I'm happy to report that my 2 "Oak Hill" Hydrangeas (macrophylla) are blooming beautifully, after such a disappointing display last summer. I fed them coffee grounds all winter, but I have no idea if that made a difference. If anyone has good advice to offer on Hydrangeas, I'd love to hear it.

Here's a combination that I love: "Summersong Rose" Argyranthemum (Marguerite Daisy), which looks like little pink powderpuffs, and "Homestead Purple" Verbena, which blooms right up to frost and beyond.

Just to the left of that grouping it pairs nicely with yellow Coreopsis.

Mr. Lincoln Rose has one lovely bloom. The roses have been slow, with just a few blooms so far and the bushes are still small, except for our one climber, which I'll show you later.

Queen Elizabeth Rose can be seen in front of the Clematis, and Shasta Daisies are on at their peak on the corner. Windowboxes are filling out nicely but the petunias need pinching back now to keep them from becoming too leggy. Posted by Picasa

Beyond the Shastas, in the Sideporch Garden, this vivid orange Lily is always the first of the Asiatics to open its blooms.

But before we head down to look at the other lilies, let's have a peek at the Pink Garden. Here, Lollipop Asiatic Lily has about a dozen spectacular blooms.

Behind it the Spirea has grown into a large bush and is looking lovely. Posted by Picasa

Other plants, like this pretty self-sown Catchfly are blooming at it's feet, and there's a dainty "Siskiyou Pink" Gaura, a "Madeira Pink" Argyranthemum, Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), pink Snapdragons, white Alyssum, Dwarf Campanula and purple Lamium.

Down in the front yard gardens the Asiatics are stealing the show, but the Gloriosa Daisies/Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are running a close second. In the Lilac Garden, behind this one, red Monarda has spread madly, as usual, and looks great beside Shasta Daisies (click to enlarge for detail).
You can see the climbing rose ("Social Climber") at the top of the Driveway Garden. It only has a few pretty blooms on it at the moment....

...but on July 1st it was a mass of beautiful pink, which was quite a thrill, as this is the first time a rose has bloomed so well for me! We're trying to decide on a support for it (arbor, trellis or obelisk). Something that wouldn't block the view too much and that won't cost a fortune. Suggestions are welcome! Posted by Picasa

Red Monarda (Bee Balm) and Shasta Daisies make a bright splash in the Lilac Garden.

I love the height of these Asiatic lilies. The magenta fades to a lighter shade as they age.

Here we have Centerfold, looking short in comparison.

It's a mystery to me how that orange lily ended up beside the red this summer. I certainly didn't plant it there! I don't actually mind it too much with the red though, strangely enough. Posted by Picasa

The Lily Garden is finally cleared of weeds and Johnny-jump-ups, and I'm ready to plant a few other things in it. Reuben has been keeping me company as I've worked. Sometimes it's hard to persuade him that I need both hands for weeding.

Lilies respond well to lots of rain and all of them have plenty of buds. The lovely creamy yellow Atlanta Moonlight has 5 blooms open today but this was taken 2 days ago. Persian Market is the taller lily in the background.

Here's a closer look at Persian Market.

Reuben has found a spot that suits us both :)
That's the Rock Garden over to the right.
Posted by Picasa

I've been weeding here as well. Coreopsis and Gloriosa Daisies have grown very tall in this compost-rich soil.

I'm excited to notice that a bronze double Gloriosa has sprung up beside the usual color mixes and solid school bus yellows. Beth in North Dakota is going to love this one! Posted by Picasa

On the bank Sedum Spurium "John Creech" is forming a nice ground cover, thanks to the cuttings and advice on growing and planting them, given to us by our younger daughter's gardener boyfriend.

Here's another gift...this Daylily came from Country Girl, Apple's sister, when they visited us in the summer of '07. Girls, see how nicely it's blooming?

Charles Johnston, over in the Coneflower Garden, was the first daylily to bloom this year. I missed the first 2 flowers because I wasn't expecting them so early. Joan Senior was the first to bloom last year and she hasn't begun opening her buds yet. The Coneflowers are just beginning to open their lovely pink petals.

The first clump of Summer Phlox (Paniculata) have opened in the Top Driveway Garden, with a bit of purple Monarda (Bee Balm) and a daylily for company, but not much else is happening here at the moment. Posted by Picasa

A couple of Knockout Roses in containers await planting while I try to figure out where to put them. Posted by Picasa

Shasta Daisies have plenty of Gloriosas keeping them company now in the Daisy Garden. This morning, although a chilly 51ºF/10.5ºC at 6:30 was beautifully sunny, and a bit warmer by 8:30 when this photo was taken. Posted by Picasa

This Cranesbill Geranium and a light pink one are blooming their heads off in various places.

White Astilbe blooms in the shade beside the front porch.

And this pink floppy Astilbe gets more sun on the other side.
Edit: Joy of GardenJoy4Me! tells me it's called "Ostrich Plume", which I think suits it very well.

Numerous containers are filling out. The overwintered Vancouver Centennial Geranium is paired with Blackie Sweet Potato Vine and "Apricot" Calibrachoa (Million Bells). The calibrachoas hate wet feet and I've lost a few with all the wet weather we've had. Posted by Picasa

Isn't this fantastic? It's "Stained Glassworks" Kiwi Fern Coleus. New to me.

Its companions in this container are "Copper Purple" Osteospermum (Cape Daisy), yellow Bidens, alternanthera "Royal Tapestry" (the burgundy filler), and "Rasberry Sachet" Nemesia.

I'm trialing some Proven Winners plants, some of which are in this container. The Supertunia "Lavender Skies", "Snowstorm Blue" Bacopa and "Snow Princess" Alyssum are doing beautifully. I'll let you know how the others go as they bloom. Posted by Picasa

The "Pink Morn" Petunia and "Light Lavender" Lobelia basket is still giving me a great deal of pleasure on the front porch. Posted by Picasa

Needless to say, blooms are bountiful for this July Bloom Day!
Morning has turned to afternoon, with all kinds of interruptions and things to be done, so my good intentions of a morning post have been thwarted. The most annoying and time-consuming problem though has been that I couldn't get Blogger to save my post, so I couldn't publish. I finally managed to fix the problem (fingers crossed) by clearing my cache.

Be sure to visit Carol of
May Dreams Gardens, the originator of Bloom Day, to enjoy blooms from all over the globe.

Happy Bloom Day everyone, and happy gardening!