Turtles in Our Garden

June 18, 2014 turtles 003

A slight movement under the Coreopsis caught my eye this morning while I as watering in the lower garden.

Moving closer, bright orange markings moved slowly between the leaves.  I quietly approached and saw a good sized turtle lumbering across the wet Earth.

I wanted photos to share with you, and made a quick trip back inside for my little camera.

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Now, if you’ve ever tried to photograph a moving turtle crawling under the foliage of a flowerbed you understand the challenge I faced.

And so I silently walked around the perimeter of the bed looking for an intelligible angle for the shot.

But, something was odd.  Body parts weren’t where body parts would be expected to be on such a simple creature.

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Slowly I realized this wasn’t one turtle hiding from my lens, but two!

I had intruded upon a couple of turtles seeking a private interlude between the Coreopsis and the Salvia.

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So, having been raised with manners, I backed away, powered down the camera, and stashed it in a pocket while I returned to watering…. elsewhere.

Eventually I dragged the hose back uphill and headed for the long butterfly garden.  Newly planted Basil would appreciate some moisture in the soil before the heat of the day set in.

But once again, something orange was moving beneath the foliage.

And once again, I turned off the water and silently moved in for a closer look.

June 18, 2014 turtles 008

Another turtle!  Which, of course, meant more turtle photos this morning.  My reward for kindness and discretion, no doubt.

We’ve been finding Eastern Box turtles in this garden from time to time.

There was the tiny guy in early spring burrowed in the hillside where I was weeding.

I gently moved him out of the bed and into a wooded area… only to find him returned to his burrow an hour later.

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My partner has found turtles on this bank several times when he’s been out mowing and trimming.   We leave them be, or gently move them out of harm’s way whenever we find them in garden or street.

Eliza Waters also encountered a wood turtle this weekend, in her garden, and took some wonderful photos of the large female she found.  Please visit her post for more information on the meaning of turtles.

It must be the season when turtles allow themselves to be seen…..

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And we appreciate all who come to the garden to help us along with tending it.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

17 responses to “Turtles in Our Garden

  1. Turtle Loves! You have a keen eye Eliza. 🙂

  2. The eastern box turtles are great to have in the garden, you are lucky to have more than one!! 🙂 On the mountain it seems like I don’t see them unless we have had a lot of rain. Great pictures! A good friend of mine uses red fingernail polish and paints a small dot on their underside, this way he can see if he has seen that turtle before. We are back at Hilton Head for a few days, I hope you have a great week! 🙂

    • Thanks, Michael. So far so good this week. We’re out in the garden early each day to water and look around, but lots of time later in the day to read and write. I wonder what the turtles think of the nail polish marking…. We haven’t noticed them digging much, other than to lay eggs. Makes me wonder what else may be lurking out in the garden 😉 Hope you are all having a great time in Hilton Head. Best wishes, WG

      • If they are laying eggs, then they will return to your garden every year to lay eggs, that’s great! We have not had any rain in a week, we need rain too!

        • We had a large snapper laying eggs our first spring here. We never saw the babies hatch, and we have only caught a glimpse once or twice of the parent since. That is one I would prefer not return! We are happy to let the generations of box turtles enjoy the garden in perpetuity, however 😉 We could see the rain last night, but it never came. They say maybe this afternoon…. Our weather guys were actually showing how it was all stopping west of I 95 and couldn’t cross the heat barrier of the highway. Hope your garden gets rain soon. Best wishes, WG

  3. how cool to have wild turtles in your garden !

  4. how cool to have wild turtles in your garden !

  5. how cool to have wild turtles in your garden !

  6. how cool to have wild turtles in your garden !

  7. Great post, lovely to see box turtles and to know you appreciate them & keep them safe.

    • Yes, we’re always happy to find them. My partner found another this morning up near the street, but it moved on before I came out. Sorry to have missed it. We are happy to see how many of our neighbors will stop the car to get out and move a turtle out of the road. Best wishes, WG

  8. How fun! I love when I find new “friends” in the garden!

  9. What lovely little garden friends! So happy that you can enjoy their company. Blessings to you, Sarah

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