Sun and Rain

Yesterday, we had sun and rain. It was alternately rainy and sunny today, but we also had sun while it was raining.

sun and rain 2

The day started with rain and ended with rain. Thunder and lightning kept me indoors during the rainstorms, but I did get a chance to spend a little time weeding a flower bed during the sunny part of morning.

sun and rain 1

My dog, who likes to sunbathe, let me know it was time for us to go in when it clouded over. Within a few minutes, it started to pour again.

sunbathing 2



Spring, up close

3 march 2016

This is one of my favorite plants in our yard, simply because it was a beautiful surprise. It was a volunteer plant that into a lovely tree. There is no other like it in our yard. We do have a wild cherry tree, but it has racemes of white flowers, unlike these delicate pink blooms. I do believe it is a cherry tree of some variety, but not sure.

oak leaf hydrangea leaves

Further up hill, along the lower path in the front yard, is a pair of Oak Leaf Hydrangea bushes that are starting to leaf out. They have such interesting texture: the new leaves are hairy and the the trunk have exfoliating bark. Later, there will be fabulous clusters of white blooms.

Lining the path is a low stone retaining wall, almost more of a border. Tucked in the crevice of several stones was a small one with moss growing on and around it. The little sporophytes in the picture on the left were sunlit and caught my eye when walking down the path. When looking at the pictures on the computer I could zoom in further and I saw another tiny little moss world underneath the small stone, which is the picture on the right.

bee and pieris andromeda

On the upper path, there is the Pieris andromeda, which was pictured in the previous post as well. While it is in bloom, you can hear when you are near the bush because of the drone of bees that the flowers attract. Here is one of the bees hovering over the blooms just before it lands.

yellow flower gournd cover

At the base of the the bush is a plant that I don’t know the name of, but suspect it is in the marsh marigold family. It has very shiny flowers and leaves that make almost appear to be plastic.

blue flag iris seeds

On the other side of the bush is a small area that tends to be wetter than the rest of the yard because this is where a couple of drain pipes empty. So, plants like blue flag iris do well here. These are seed pods that have opened but the seeds have not fallen out yet. Maybe it might be worth trying to grow some from seed.

bloodroot flowers

And the last picture is from the back yard. The charming white flowers of the perennial Blood Root come up and bloom before the leaves unfurl. Each plant has a single basal leaf, a leaf that arises from the base of the stem. They are snow white on top with a blush of pink on the underside. I saved this picture for last since this is one of my more cherished plants and one of my better pictures of it.




Almost Spring

It is almost Spring. Even though we had snow several days ago, the plants in our yard are telling me it is almost Spring.

My body also tells me winter is passing. It is difficult for me to tolerate the cold, so not much time was spent in the yard this winter, hence the lack of posts to this blog for a while.

The weather was beautiful here today- a lovely spring like day. It was good day for working in the yard  and for wandering around to enjoy the landscape. Both working in the yard and taking pictures of the yard provide me with excuses to spend time admiring nature.


helleborus bloom

The modest green blooms of the helleborus will soon give way to seeding and be out-shined by the brighter colors of spring blooming flowers in the yard.

daffodil bloom

One of the first plants to bloom in our yard is the daffodil, providing bright splashes of yellow scattered around the yard.

pieris andromeda

The Pieris Andromeda is just starting to bloom. This clump of flowers is one of the first to open on the bush. They have charming bell shaped pendulous racemes.

Jordan's Pride camillia bloom

Our Jordan’s Pride camellia got a severe pruning  last year, so I was surprised to see that it had any blooms on it this year.

tulip leaves

Tulip leaves are up. I have no idea what color the flowers will be, so it will be a nice surprise when they come up. One of the tulip leaves had to be rescued from an oak leaf. The leaf had grown through a hole in the oak leaf and was constricting the tulip leaf.

mums spring growth

The dormant perennials in the container garden are starting to leaf out. The mums in the large pot are first. Years ago, when these mums were purchased, we did not know if they would survive winter here, but they return each year and provide a nice display of white blooms. The hostas in the long planter are just tiny little tips that were too difficult to photograph.

lily seedlings

In the pot around a sedum plant, I planted bulbils collected from our Tiger Lilies. These were planted last year and they have just sprouted. They will probably have to be transplanted from the pot sometime this spring. Otherwise they will hide the sedum.

Today, I looked for and found Spring in our yard. I also found plenty of yardwork that needs to be done. This was the third day of cutting back liriope, which has to be done by hand and is not yet done.

The next garden project will be planting some gladiolus bulbs in pots. I’m thinking of layering them with other bulb to have an extended blooming time.

Garden Visitor Who Slithered By

Sitting in a spot of sun and immersed in reading a book, I was surprised by a visitor that went slithering by so close I could have reach out and touched it.

black rat snake in garden

The black rat snake passed by me, unconcerned with my presence until my son and I started taking pictures. Then he took cover in my almost dead rosemary plant where he stopped to look at us from his shelter.

black rat snake in rosemary

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker at the Birdfeeder

We often see Red-bellied Woodpeckers  climbing and foraging in our trees and during spring, we can hear them in the morning beating on the gutters.

female red bellied woodpecker

Today was the first time we have seen a Red-bellied Woodpecker visit our feeder.

Our beautiful visitor today is a female. She has red above the bill, gray cap and red at the nape of the neck whereas the male has a red patch that extends from above the bill, including the cap, to the nape. A small hint of the reddish color on the  belly is barely visible above the tail feathers in this picture.




Camouflaged Bird’s Nest

Yesterday, I bought a few annual flowering plants for pots and planters around the yard. The planter under the shed window is an excellent location for Impatience plants which do well in shade and give a bright spot of color to the shed. I had my plants and trowel in hand and ready to plant my colorful treasures, when I discovered that someone else thought it was an excellent location for their treasured ones.

bird's nest in planter

At first, I thought the mess of leaves was a squirrel’s nest that had fallen from the large oak tree that towers over the shed. A closer look revealed a lovely nest with a couple speckled eggs.

bird's nest in planter close up

I suspect the nest is made by a Carolina Chickadee, but will know when I finally see the elusive owner. For now, the planter belongs to the birds and my flowers will have to wait for their home.

Inchworms Invading Again


Oh no! The inchworms have invaded again this spring. This is the third year in a row and today is the third day this year that I have seen them. And there is more of them every day. There were so many on my car that I had to hose it down before going anywhere today.

Bounty of Blooms


pjm rhododendron 1

This is the first of the rhododendrons to bloom in our yard this spring.

What a fabulous display of blooms the PJM rhododendron is putting on this spring. This bush is a good example of how pruning effects blooming. The poor bush has taken some abuse over the years, otherwise it would be much bigger and probably less blooms.

I know that sounds contradictory but it is not. I will explain. At least two, maybe three times, tree limbs have fallen on the bush. Each time I would despair that it was ruined, then I would get out the pruners and have a go at reshaping it, radically. The first time, half the bush had been broken off and the pruning had to be severe, cutting it way back.

Each time the bush got smashed, I would have to do major pruning, which would lead to the bush branching out and becoming more full with more branch tips for  blooming.

So, for all of the abuse it has taken, followed by pruning to reshape, it has responded with a bounty of blooms. If it weren’t for the smashing, I might never had the courage to do the severe pruning.


pjm rhododendron 2

Winter into Spring

Bare branches,

oak leaf hydrangea branches

dried flowers

oak leaf hydrange blooms

and bare ground

getting veggie garden ready

are giving way to the flowering of Spring.

jordan's pride camilia blooms

Although this camellia bloom looks to have been kissed by Jack Frost, it is my hope that since this is the first of the camellia blooms to open, that the others will fare better. It is Jordan’s Pride, which I planted about 20 years ago, and is still going strong.

pieris andromeda blooms

The blooms of the Pieris Andromeda are always a welcome sight as it is one of the first things to bloom in our yard, letting me know that Spring is really here even when the weather is deceiving. The weather forecast for our area has a mix of rain and snow in store for us tomorrow.

daffodil bloom

When our daffodils finally decided to bloom, a little late this year, they did so all at once. This is lone daffodil nodding in the sunlight that caught my eye. My grandmother, who loved her flowers, thought yellow was a cheerful color. I can see why as it is a bright splash of Spring on a chilly day when not much else in the garden offers color.

blood root blooms

I saved this picture for last as it is my favorite. These are blooms of blood root that have yet to open. When they do, they will be snow white. But for now, their delicate pale pink petals, still closed hold promise. If you don’t know, Blood Root is named for the obvious reason that the roots of the plant are blood red. It is a charming little plant that likes to reside in the shade. Here it is just under the canopy of a rhododendron bush.

A Blurry View of the First Day of Spring

The only pictures I have of the garden on the first day of spring this year are blurry.

window 1

I was so distracted by what was on the window, that I forgot take pictures of what is on the other side of the window. Well, I mean further outside as this is on the outside of the window.

window 2

What a lovely pattern. No, it is not frost. It was too warm for that and it is still there decorating my window. It is only visible when the light hits it at the right angle and I just happened to be walking by and see the glare and then really looked.

window 3

To really get a good look, I had to take a close up picture and then zoom in even closer with photo software. I haven’t a clue what it is other than lovely when the sun makes it sparkle. The window décor will remain until we have a warm enough day that I feel like window washing.

Today was chilly enough that twenty minutes of yard work in the sun was enough for me.