Friday, May 29, 2015

French Lilac in bloom

Ahhh...the joys of late May flowers. The lilacs are in bloom all over Maine. I planted a lilac pup many moons ago, but it was in a depression of the ground where its roots were too wet, and it didn't gather enough sunlight. It was moved to a new location about 3 years ago, and I wondered if it would survive. Survive it did, and now it is giving us its first blooms ever. Sweet...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Catbird bathing sequence

The catbirds have arrived for the season. They love the bird bath and often take several baths per day. Drew thinks that they may have a nest behind one of our wood bins, in a thicket of trees and shrubs. He said that catbirds usually nest somewhat close to the ground, around 4 feet up. It will be interesting to find the nest and see if any babies result from it in the near future! Here are a few photos that Drew took this morning. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy 25th Anniversary to Us!

Wedding Day - May 20, 1990
 Wow! 25 years together has just flown by, and we feel so fortunate to have found each other. Soul mates forever;-)

January 2015 - 24 years, 8 months later!
2007 - Sharing a love for nature photography
2007 - Searching for the wonders of the world.

2003 - Having fun and being silly together.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Patio Veggie Planter Box

Drew is the best hubby in the world. I don't know of any other man who could possibly put up with all my neuroses. He will do anything to keep me happy, and that includes helping me out in the gardens. 

Since we have fenced in the backyard for the Greyhounds, we have lost our vegetable garden space. That didn't concern me much as my knees have gotten so bad over the last 3 years. But, this year, I decided that I couldn't bear to lose out yet again to eating home grown, fresh garden veggies. So, we bought a City Pickers Patio Garden Kit. My mother had something similar for quite a few years and was very pleased with the results.

Drew adds plant food
Today, we decided to assemble it and plant seeds. Drew had to admit that the height of the garden kit is perfect. He used two plastic saw horses as the base for the kit, and it is incredibly sturdy. 
Planting mix gets mounded up

I am sooo excited to eventually see the fruits of our labor, so to speak! I planted 2 rows of cucumbers, one on each outside row, and then lettuce, arugula, and parsley in the middle. 

Black plastic covers the soil to keep it warm
Holes are cut for the seeds

I may have been a bit too enthusiastic with my plan. 
Eight cucumber plants might just take over the planter! Ummm...they are supposed to be short stemmed, but I cannot figure out how I am going to keep them from falling out of the planter!

I may have to stabilize them 
with some supports eventually. But, then again, I am getting way ahead of myself;-) Let the growing season begin! (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

The seeds

Fractured feelings and the rebirth of springtime

Azalea coming into bloom gladdens my heart.
Wow, there are days like today, when I feel as though I am drifting... It seems so surreal, and I cannot wait for the work day to be over. The emotional pain I feel, and the emptiness in my gut are so difficult to address as I work with kids in the classroom. When I finally arrive home, I am extremely drained and wander aimlessly through our property trying to find something to smile at...something to lighten my soul. And, there is always a burst of happiness, a little light, and then the darkness threatens to snuff out the flame. Such is the roller coaster I am riding after the death of my dear sister...
Wild blueberry gives me hope of sweet fruits

Begonia is so bright and cheery
My good friend, Lynne, had some wonderful words to impart through a letter she wrote to me. She said, "I was so saddened to read your blog and find that your sister had passed away. These losses leave us with few words that can bring any comfort. I suppose it is age that makes us suddenly aware of how precious life is. Every day brings more loss but I hope you find solace in your garden. I know that is where I go when I need peace. It is reassuring to see how nature constantly renews itself. Someday, we will all drift with the stars. I take some comfort in that..."
Solomon's Seal is incredibly elegant,
and is a feast for my eyes.

I find that I need my garden. I need nature. I need to see life renewing itself. This constant provides me with an anchor that I know will always be there when I require comfort. Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving me solace each day. Although I weep with deep sadness, I also find time to smile and give you a high five for all the wonders you impart to this world...

Lilac has me jumping for joy as this is
the first time it has ever blossomed
in the 10 years since I planted it!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring Peepers accompanied by the famous American Toad Backup Singers

If you want to be blown off your feet, go down to a pond and ponder... Last night, I needed hearing protection as I made an audio recording the current amphibian population at Caesar pond. Even though the toads were harmonizing and trilling their fool heads off, I could barely hear them over the cacophony of sound that the peepers were making. It was quite exhilarating.

Okay, if you want to know the truth, I was jumping up and down, and dancing around, as the peeps, toads, ducks, and barred owls voiced their pleasure at the arrival of warmth during this spring season in Maine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

I was photographing some tulips, in front of one of our hummingbird feeders, when a pair of hummers got a bit territorial with each other. They were flying all around me, chittering like crazy, whilst asserting their dominance over one another as to who "owned" the feeder. I guess the female won, because she is the one who settled down to feed just a few feet from me. FUN!

Indigo Bunting

This blue beauty came to the stump to feed on sunflower seeds this afternoon. Again, Drew was at the kitchen window at just the right time to photograph him. The Indigo Buntings migrate through, and only stay around for one or two days at most, so capturing photos of them is difficult at best.

Baltimore Oriole

Drew put out the grape jelly feeder several days ago, and we were lucky to see some orioles at the feeder as of yesterday. We often nail halves of oranges to a nearby tree stem, and the orioles chow down on that as well.

This bird came to the feeder at around 1 pm, and Drew was able to snap quite a few photos with the Lumix super-zoom point and shoot camera.

Petunias, etc...

Petunias are some of my favorite flowers because of their cheery disposition;-) Shannon and Billy gifted us this basket, so as to cheer us up a bit, after the loss of my sister. Purple is my favorite color...Thank you so very much!

Tulips under the hummingbird feeder
Glamini Gladiolus are starting to poke through the soil.
These tulips are in a tiny triangular garden beyond the well. The garden has a variety of shade loving plants as well as a few sun lovers.

Glamini Gladiolus shoot
I did not expect the gladiolus bulbs to sprout so soon! I am getting so excited to see them bloom later in the summer...

Stump Garden Update

 There are now some small, bright red tulips in the stump garden. The daffodils and giant hyacinths are just about done, and the poppy and peony are growing taller day by day.

Secondary stump garden with violets galore!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Just a few flower photos from today

Bleeding Hearts
When I returned from the airport, I raced outside to take a few photos of the flowers that were not in bloom before I left for NYC, on Friday morning. I had a special purpose for them, and that was to put them into a dedication post to my sister, Jane. To view it, go to MaineNaturePoetry.

Mt Washington (White Mountains of New Hampshire)

I made a quick trip to New York City due to the unfortunate, and untimely death of my sweet sister, Jane. And, I think my sister was smiling down upon me, and cleared the clouds away so that I got to view Mt. Washington, from the airplane, for the first time. What a gorgeous mountain. Thanks, Sis, for being with me, and for lightening my heart for a few moments...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

I dedicate this beautiful plant to my loving sister.

I have many plants that were introduced to North America from other parts of the world. One of my favorite, most colorful, small flowering plants is Lungwort, or Pumonaria. This shade loving plant is native to Europe and western Asia. Its flowers are predominantly blue with a few pink blossoms sprinkled throughout. I get an incredible amount of joy seeing this plant throughout three of my gardens.

Many moons ago, herbalists thought that the leaves reminded them of a lung, hence the name. I have a few choice words for the leaves of this plant as their hairs cause me intense pain from contact dermatitis. I must always remember to wear garden gloves when working with them.

Native Plants

I love native plants. I try to find them at plant sales whenever possible. Here are a couple more that I have around the property.

Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh, or Bugbane, is a native, eastern North American perennial plant. It grows in woodlands, and likes shady areas.

Unfortunately, I planted it near the front of one of my semi-shade gardens, and I am finding that it is spreading out into my bulbs. I may have to dig as much of it up as I can and transplant it to the back of the garden...but then again, I do so enjoy its long, arching flower spikes. And, the bees like it too. It is somewhat of a late season flowering plant, so it provides the bees food when other plants have stopped flowering. Here you see one of the shoots just having sprouted up through the soil. It has a long way to go before it morphs into the plant I so love...

Trout Lily
One of my other favorite native plants is the trout lily. I have read that the spotted leaves bring one in mind of the side of a brook trout! Oh, how I do love the looks of brookies!

Trout Lily
These beautiful little bulbs bloom in late spring and go dormant by summer. I love the nodding, yellow flowers. They seem to enjoy the leading edges of my shade gardens. In order to promote abundant flowers, I must remember to fertilize them in early spring.
Trout Lily

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hummingbirds have arrived

The first ruby throated hummingbird of the season visited our feeder this morning. It was a male. Drew put the feeders out on May 2nd just in case they showed up early this year.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I love tulips and these little beauties are some of my favorites. The buds will open tomorrow.

Stump garden

I am going to take photos of the main stump garden as it changes through the season. A set of photos once per week, or so, should suffice as that seems to be a good amount of time to allow for new flowers to appear, and for old ones to disappear. I'll take the photos from all four sides of the stump.

The poor old stump is rotting nicely. It was probably a red maple tree that was cut at least 20 years ago. It is adding some good mulch to the garden, bit by bit, as pieces of bark fall off. The amount of planting area on top is slowly being reduced in size.