Wildlife Wednesday

July 13, 2016 garden close ups 032

~

“Mindfulness is not the path of chasing.

It is the path of beautification.

When flowers blossom, the fragrance spreads,

and the bees come.”

.

Amit Ray

~

July 13, 2016 garden close ups 030

~

“We need to return to harmony with Nature

and with each other,

to become what humans were destined to be,

builders of gardens and Shires,

hobbits (if you will),

not Masters over creatures great and small.”

.

Steve Bivans

~

July 13, 2016 garden close ups 024

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

~

July 13, 2016 garden close ups 027

~

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’

and sitting in the shade.”

.

Rudyard Kipling

~

July 13, 2016 garden close ups 004

~

 

“It is not reasonable that art should win

the place of honor over our great and powerful

mother Nature. We have so overloaded

the beauty and richness of her works

by our inventions that we have quite smothered her.”

.

Michel de Montaigne

~

July 13, 2016 garden close ups 002

Garden Tapestry: July and August

July 13, 2015 Our native Hibiscus are in their full glory. This seedling pokes up amidst the border of Canna Lily and Colocasia.

July 13, 2015 Our native Hibiscus are in their full glory. This seedling pokes up amidst the border of Canna Lily and Colocasia.

~

Cathy, of  Garden Dreaming at Chattilon,’ inspired me through her comment last week, to review my garden photos taken over the last year with an eye to those ‘tapestries’ of plant combinations which worked well, and also to analyze those which didn’t.

~

July 1 2015

July 1 2015 A ‘Chocolate Vine,’ Akebia quinata and a wild grapevine grow beyond the trellis and up into a Rose of Sharon tree, with Dogwood foliage providing the backdrop.  The Akebia bloomed in early summer, before the Hibiscus.

~

I started with my favorite gardening months, May and June.   I love these months because our roses always come into bloom by Mother’s Day in early May, and our Iris are at their best.  But many other interesting plants are growing, too, as the summer progresses.

~

July 11, 2015 and we still have abundant roses blooming in the garden.

July 11, 2015 and we still have abundant roses blooming in the garden.

~

Looking back over my photos from this last July and August, I’m struck by how many are close ups of pollinators and single blossoms rather than true ‘tapestry’ shots.  I’m also a little disappointed in myself for neglecting the weeds and wild grasses to the point where there are some shots I’d rather not publish.   They are inspiration to do a better job of keeping up with the weeding and trimming in 2016!

~

July 28, 2015 and the Joe Pye Weed is in its glory and covered with bees.

July 28, 2015 and the Joe Pye Weed is in its glory and covered with bees.

~

There are also several fairly ‘new beds’ which haven’t filled in quite yet.  They were more a ‘patchwork quilt’ than a tapestry in mid-summer!

~

July 16, 2015 the Joe Pye Weed, planted in 2014, towers over this new perennial bed.

July 16, 2015 the Joe Pye Weed, planted in 2014, towers over this new perennial bed.  This bed did extremely well over summer and bulked up nicely by autumn.

~

But excuses aside, there were some areas which pleased me.  The part of our garden nearest the street, where I concentrated my attention this season, was cloaked in deep shade until three major trees fell in a storm in June of 2013.  Suddenly, this shady and fairly neglected area was bathed in full sun.

~

July 16, 2015 This is the farthest edge of the new border where Cannas end and a variegated Butterfly Bush is growing into its space.

July 16, 2015 This is the farthest edge of the new border where Cannas end and a variegated Butterfly Bush is growing into its space near a stand of native Hibiscus moscheutos.  Foxglove still bloom on the front edge of the border.

~

I’ve been planting this area with perennial beds, ornamental trees, bulbs and shrubs since July of that year, beginning with our ‘stump garden.’

A sister gardener made a gift of a grocery bag full of Canna lily divisions dug from her garden that fall, which started our very tropical looking border of Cannas and Colocasia.

~

July 16, 2015

July 16, 2015 the leading edge of this new border begins where the Ginger Lily ends, in the shade of a Dogwood tree.  Some of the Colocasia didn’t make it through the past winter and were replaced by hardier varieties this spring.

~

We already had native perennial Hibiscus and tree Hibiscus, or Rose of Sharon, growing when we came to the garden in 2009.  But once there was more sun available, more of the seedlings began to grow and bloom in this new area.  We also planted several additional Hibiscus cultivars, a variegated Buddleia, several perennial Salvias and Lantana along this long, sunny border.

~

July 16 This is the other side of the border, where Hibiscus and other perennials were left by previous owners of the garden.

July 16 This is the other side of the border, where Hibiscus and other perennials were left by previous owners of the garden.  The deep magenta Crepe Myrtle ( in the center of this photo ) has been growing from a seedling and finally gained some height this year.

~

This border grows better each year as the Cannas and Colocasia multiply, the Hibiscus grow, and the existing shrubs grow larger.

~

This shady bed, under a Dogwood tree, holds mostly ferns and Hellebores. The Begonias, with their large and colorful leaves, stay in pots as summer visitors.

This shady bed, under a Dogwood tree, holds mostly ferns and Hellebores. The Begonias, with their large and colorful leaves, stay in pots as summer visitors.

~

Another perennial bed, still in shade, has done exceptionally well, too.  I raised a circular bed under a Dogwood tree by ringing it with containers, and filling in with bags of compost.  This was home to a good collection of Caladiums the first year, inter-planted with various ferns and seedling Hellebores.  Plants in raised beds definitely perform better than plants put directly into the ground over most of the garden.

~

July 10, 2015 Here is my magical Begonia, which dies back to its rhizome from time to time. From its sad start when I set it out in May, it has now grown its summer crop of new leaves in a shady bed of ferns.

July 10, 2015 Here is my magical Begonia, which dies back to its rhizome from time to time. From its sad start when I set it out in May, it has now grown its summer crop of new leaves in this shady bed of mixed ferns.  It is going into its fourth year now, overwintering in a pot in the garage.

~

I add large leaved Begonias when the weather warms in May, taking them back inside in October.  The mix of ferns here makes a pleasing tapestry of foliage.  The Hellebores have finally grown large enough to bloom this winter, and now they take much more of the available space in the bed.

~

July 28, 2015 Oxalis and Hardy Begonia share one of the border pots with a division of fern. These plants are all perennial, and should fill the pot nicely this summer coming.

July 28, 2015 Oxalis and Hardy Begonia share one of the border pots with a division of fern. These plants are all perennial, and should fill the pot nicely this summer coming.

~

I’ve also planted Sedum along the sunny edge and Saxifraga stolonifera into the pots which ring the bed. This past spring I added divisions of hardy Begonias with their lovely reddish leaves, which will fill in over time.

~

August 2, 2015 our Devil's Walkingstick has come into full bloom.

August 2, 2015 our Devil’s Walkingstick has come into full bloom along the border of the back garden.

~

July and August give us Crepe Myrtle flowers and a lovely tapestry of flowers and foliage from the many trees around our garden.  A ‘Devil’s Walkingstick,’ Aralia Spinosa, grows into our garden from the woody border between our neighbor’s garden and ours.  It was absolutely spectacular this summer, and I’ve found several seedlings in other parts of the yard.  This native plant grows wild along the roads in James City County, blooming in mid-summer before covering itself with inky purple berries in early autumn.

~

August 30, 2015 Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana is a native shrub.

August 30, 2015 Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, is a native shrub which ‘volunteered’ in a stand of Ginger Lily this summer.  Considered a weed by most, I chose to let it grow for the beauty of its flowers and berries.  Birds love the berries and pollinators enjoy its long lived flowers.  But, because I let it set seed this summer, we know that seedlings will emerge all over the garden next spring….

~

Much of our garden tapestry was either  already here when we began to garden, or has sprouted as a volunteer seedling.  Nature takes a strong hand in what grows where, and what is ‘edited’ out by storms and the passing seasons.  Our best intentions and plans often get thwarted or changed along the way.

~

August 5, 2015

August 5, 2015 August brings this glorious ‘Butterfly Tree’ into bloom at the bottom of the garden at the edge of the ravine.  It is a magnet for butterflies and other pollinators.

~

As gardeners, we can certainly add plants, prune, ‘weed’ and change the landscape with new planting beds.  But at best, we adapt to the ongoing life of the garden with our own human touches.

~

A scented Pelargonium growth in a bed cloaked in Vinca and Creeping Jenny.

August 7, 2015  A scented Pelargonium grows in a bed cloaked in Vinca and Creeping Jenny in the ‘stump garden.’  Vinca minor is one of the default groundcovers which encroaches in every part of the garden.  Beautiful, it quickly takes over new planting beds; and so often chokes out other desirable plants.

~

Woodland Gnome 2016

~

July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015

 

 

Sunday Dinner

August 2, 2015 garden 013

~

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

~

August 2, 2015 garden 037~

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order,

confusion to clarity.

~

August 2, 2015 garden 072

~

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

~

August 2, 2015 garden 085

~

Gratitude makes sense of our past,

brings peace for today,

and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

 

Melody Beattie  

~

August 2, 2015 garden 012

~

Inspired by The Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration 

~

August 2, 2015 garden 021

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

~

August 2, 2015 garden 066

 

Lavender Lovers

August 19, 2014 lavender 016

 

When Jennifer issued her One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender this morning, I headed out between showers to capture a few photos of our lavender flowers in the garden.

We have been admiring the lavender Rose of Sharon from the living room windows.

 

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

In fact the hummingbirds have been hovering near them them all morning between the showers, and we enjoy watching them come and go.

But I suspected there might be other lavender flowers blooming this morning, if only I’d go out and notice them.

Chocolate mint in bloom

Chocolate mint in bloom

How does one draw a firm line between what is lavender and what is blue or pink?

There are so many shades, and all shine differently depending on the light.

Salvia nemerosa with Artemesia

Salvia nemerosa with Artemesia

 

Soon I was straying off the patio and into the wet grass, following the trail of lavender flowers through the garden.

August 19, 2014 lavender 011

And despite the wet, overcast weather, the garden was still buzzing with hungry creatures flying from flower to flower.

August 19, 2014 lavender 019

Perhaps moving a bit more slowly today, they seemed not to mind  me closing in with the camera to capture their portraits.

I wonder how these flowers appear to our bees, and to our dragonflies.

Bumblebee on Joe Pye Weed

Bumblebee on Joe Pye Weed

 

Do their compound eyes see these colors even more intensely than ours?

Can they see flowers in ways we can only dream them?

A butterfly shares the Joe Pye Weed blossoms with the bee.

A moth shares the Joe Pye Weed blossoms with the bee.

What must it be like to spend one’s entire lifetime in pursuit of flowers, and the sweet nectar and pollen they hold?  Might bees, like whales and dolphins, have a level of intelligence in advance of our own?

We have learned much about bees, and their language of dance, in recent years.  

Now scientists have learned they can be trained, even more quickly than dogs, to sniff out certain odors.

August 19, 2014 lavender 017

New technologies are in development which use trained bees to sniff out drugs and other substances.  It is all quite amazing to realize that bees can communicate with us in so many ways.

The low hum of their contented buzzing filled our garden this morning, much like the hum of a cat’s purr.

Hearing from friends across the country that bees are scarce in some gardens this summer, we feel special appreciation for the bees who choose to visit ours.

 

August 19, 2014 lavender 001

Another vital link in the web of life which brings food to our own table, we  appreciate the lives of bees;

and all of the other small creatures who spend their lives in pursuit of nectar, moving from flower to flower in the garden.

 

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender… Forest Garden

More One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender photos

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

A new butterfly visited the Joe Pye Weed today.  Can anyone identify it for us?

A new butterfly visited the Joe Pye Weed today. Can anyone identify it for us?

 

Texture, like color, presents itself to our eye and fingertips absolutely everywhere we turn in the garden.

Every petal, leaf, trunk and bit of gravel or soil present intriguing textures for us to explore and enjoy.

 

August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 038

 

But so do the creatures who live here with us.

 

A grasshopper "hides out" on Creeping Jenny.

A grasshopper “hides out” on Creeping Jenny.

 

And of all the creatures buzzing and skittering around the garden today, our welcome guest, hummingbird moth,  presented the softest and most inviting texture.

 

Hummingbird Moth feeding on Lantana in the garden this morning.

Hummingbird Moth feeding on Lantana in the garden this morning.

 

Would you love to reach and and stroke its velvety back?

 

August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 080

Hummingbird moths are much calmer guests than hummingbirds.

Though their movements from flower to flower are so similiar that many people mistake the moths for the birds; the moths are less skittish around humans with cameras.

 

August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 069

This guy allowed me to take perhaps 20 shots over several minutes, asking only the nourishment of Lantana nectar in return.

The hummingbirds who interrupted the photo shoot buzzed in and out before I could focus on them; chasing one another away from these Lantana flowers, and across the roof of our house towards the hummingbird delicacies growing around in the back.

August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 073

They are also silky soft; immensely “petable” creatures… but I’ve yet to master the art of hummingbird whispering to draw them to land on a finger.

And so my focus returned to the little hummingbird moth; the insect who masquerades as a bird.

When in doubt, look closely for antennae, compound insect eyes, and clear wings.  This identifies the creature as an insect, not a true bird.

 

August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 082

This is the first one we’ve seen this season.

It is unlikely he is alone, so we will keep an eye out for his companions.

This Painted Lady butterfly shared the Lantana with our Hummingbird Moth.

This Painted Lady butterfly shared the Lantana with our Hummingbird Moth.

 

Other visitors sporting interesting textures today included butterflies, dragonflies, a grasshopper, and bees.

 

The first of the lifeless bees we found today rests on a Pelargonium leaf.  Hypertufa stepping stone, made this spring, in the background.

The first of the lifeless bees we found today rests on a Pelargonium leaf.  Glass topped stepping stone, made last winter, in the background.

 

I was especially disturbed to find several lifeless bees, their bodies resting on leaves.

It is most unusual to find a dead bee here in the garden.

It may be another sign of the advancing season.

 

We've been trying for weeks to identify this shrubby "volunteer."  Does anyone know this plant?

We’ve been trying for weeks to identify this shrubby “volunteer.” Does anyone know this plant?  The fruit have been hard and dark purple for weeks.  Now they are swelling and turning red.  What a wonderful pebbly texture to their skin.

 

Just as a few leaves have begun to show gold and red, warning that autumn is coming sooner than we expect; so too the animals begin to respond to the ever turning wheels of time.

 

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon, still in bloom, with a visitor.

 

But our garden was alive for another summer day, animated and  buzzing  with a satisfying array of creatures.

 

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

 

Scaly skinks climbed the walls and window screens of the house.   Shiny blue black wasps played in the grasses.

August 3, 2014 butterflies 094

 

Bright red cardinals, and their mates, foraged among the ripening Hickory nuts.

 

Dragonfly has wonderfully intricate texture in his wings.

Dragonfly has wonderfully intricate texture in his wings.

 

And finally, the garden has come alive with several species of butterflies.

 

Painted Lady on Salvia

Painted Lady on Salvia,  with culinary sage with its pebbly texture behind.

 

Noticing the varying textures of all this life is simply another way to appreciate its beauty.

Another way to drink it all in, while August lasts.

 

August 9, 2014 hummingbird moth 037

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

Weekly One Word Photo Challenge: Texture

 

 

Painted Lady on Salvia

Colocasia: First Flowers

August 7, 2014 garden 035

We have a bit of tropical beauty where the  Colocasias, Hibiscus,  Canna, and Ginger Lily have woven themselves together into a beautiful out-sized screen in the front garden.

The tallest in the group are over seven feet high, and still growing, scarlet flowers stretching high above our heads.

 

August 2, 2014 020

Hidden among the leaves, the first of the Colocasia flowers emerge, elegant and creamy white in the shadows.

Such beauty is completely unexpected and absolutely appreciated. 

 

August 7, 2014 garden 034

Planted for their enormous and unusual leaves, these Elephant Ears have made themselves at home; first sending out runners to increase their real estate, and now offering  these exotic flowers.

 

August 7, 2014 garden 037

We haven’t seen them visited yet, but hope our nectar loving insects will find them soon.

Our experiment in growing these Colocasia and Cannas has proven a beautiful success.

 

August 2, 2014 019

This part of the garden has transformed itself this season from a largely neglected area to one of real interest and beauty.

The transformation began with a grocery bag of Canna Lily roots,  offered by a dearly loved friend to help us reform this area left sunny and bare after the loss of three oak trees in summer storms last June.

 

August 7, 2014 garden 032

This just goes to show how a sincere gift, given in love, can sometimes initiate transformation and beauty beyond our wildest imagining.

 

August 3, 2014 butterflies 059

Photos by Woodland Gnome, 2014

August 7, 2014 garden 031

Always Evolving

August 3, 2014 butterflies 019

 

Why do you choose certain plants to add to your garden, and not others?  What drives your selections?

My answer shifts from garden to garden, year to year, and even season to season.  Perhaps your priorities for your garden shift, also.

 

Basil, "African Blue" grows in a bed of plants chosen to be distasteful to deer.

Basil, “African Blue,” Catmint, and scented Pelargoniums  grow in a bed of plants chosen to be distasteful to deer.

 

We garden to fill a need.  Some of us need to produce some portion of our own food.  Some of us want to grow particular ingredients or specialty crops, like hops or basil.

Some of us want to harvest our own flowers for arrangements, or produce our own fruit or nuts for cooking.

 

August 3, 2014 butterflies 074

Once upon a time I focused on growing flowers, and am still struggling to grow decent roses in this wild place.

And our garden is filled with flowers; some already growing here, some that we’ve introduced.

But our current inventory of flowers is driven more by the wildlife they will attract  than by their usefulness as cut flowers.

Lantana attracts many species of nectar loving wildlife to our garden.

Lantana attracts many species of nectar loving wildlife to our garden.

 

Although I could still walk around and clip a decent bouquet most any day from February to November, we rarely harvest our flowers.  We prefer to leave them growing out of doors for the creatures who visit them whether for nectar or later for their seeds.

Purple Coneflower, a useful cut flower, will feed the goldfinches if left in place once the flowers fade.

Purple Coneflower, a useful cut flower, will feed the goldfinches if left in place once the flowers fade.

 

Our gardening  focus is shifting here.  It began our first month on the property.  I moved in ready to cut out the “weedy” looking Rose of Sharon trees growing all over the garden.

I planned to replace them  with something more interesting… to me, that is.

And it was during that first scorching August here, sitting inside in the air conditioning and nursing along our chigger and tick bites, that we noticed the hummingbirds.

 

 

Hummingbirds hovered right outside our living room windows, because they were feeding from the very tall, lanky Rose of Sharon shrubs blooming there.

The shrubs didn’t look like much, but their individual flowers spread the welcome mat for our community of hummingbirds.

And watching those hummingbirds convinced us we could learn to love this Forest Garden.

This butterfly tree and Crepe Myrtle, volunteers growing along the ravine, normally attract dozens of butterflies each day during the weeks they bloom each summer.

This butterfly tree and Crepe Myrtle, volunteers growing along the ravine, normally attract dozens of butterflies each day during the weeks they bloom each summer.

 

Our decision to not only leave the Rose of Sharon shrubs, but to carefully prune, feed, and nurture all of them on the property marked a shift away from what we wanted to grow for our own purposes, and what we chose to grow as part of a wild-life friendly garden.

August 3, 2014 butterflies 098

After a year or two of frustration and failure, hundreds of dollars wasted, and a catastrophe or two; we realized that we had to adapt and adjust our expectations to the realities of this place.

A dragonfly and Five Line Skink meet on a leaf of Lamb's Ears.

A dragonfly and Five Line Skink meet on a leaf of Lamb’s Ears.  Lamb’s Ears is one of the ornamental plants we grow which is never touched by deer.

 

What had worked in the past became irrelevant as we had to learn new ways to manage this bit of land.

And how to live in a garden filled with animals large and small.

August 3, 2014 butterflies 094

The other major shift in my plant selection has been towards interesting foliage, and away from flowers.

Fig, "Silvre Lyre" and Sage

Fig, “Silvre Lyre” and Sage

 

Although the garden is filled with flowers loved by hummingbirds, butterflies, bees of all sorts, wasps, moths, and who knows what else; the ornamentals we choose for our own pleasure run more towards plants with beautiful and unusual leaves.

 

Huge Cannas and Colocasia chosen as a screen between home and road have interesting leaves.  The Cannas also produce wildlife friendly red flowers.

Huge Cannas and Colocasia chosen as a screen between home and road have interesting leaves.  The Cannas also produce wildlife friendly red flowers.

 

If they produce flowers, those are secondary to the foliage.

There is such a wonderfully complex variety of foliage colors and patterns now available.

 

Begonias in a hanging basket are grown mostly for their beautiful leaves.

Begonias in a hanging basket are grown mostly for their beautiful leaves.

 

And leaves are far more durable than flowers.  While flowers may last for a few days before they fade, leaves retain their health and vitality for many  months.

Begonia foliage

Begonia foliage

 

We enjoy red and purple leaves; leaves with  stripes and spots; variegated leaves; leaves with beautifully colored veins; ruffled leaves; deeply lobed leaves; fragrant leaves; even white leaves.

 

"Harlequin" is one of the few variegated varieties of Butterfly bush.

“Harlequin” is one of the few variegated varieties of Butterfly bush.

 

While all of these beautiful leaves may not have any direct benefit for wildlife- other than cleansing the air, of course –  they do become food now and again.

These Caladiums are supposed to be poisonous, and therefore left alone by deer.... But something ate them....

These Caladiums are supposed to be poisonous, and therefore left alone by deer…. But something ate them….

 

It’s easier to find plants with distasteful or poisonous leaves, than with unappetizing flowers.

Our efforts to grow plants the deer won’t devour may also drive our move towards foliage plants and away from flowering ones.

Scented Pelargoniums offer pretty good protection to plants near them.  This pepper has survived to ripeness.

Scented Pelargoniums offer pretty good protection to plants near them. This pepper has survived to ripeness.

 

Our interests, and our selections, continue to evolve.

Gloriosa Lily, new in the garden this year, is hanging down off of the deck.

Gloriosa Lily, new in the garden this year, is hanging down off of the deck, still out of reach of hungry deer.

 

We choose a few new plants each year to try; and we still seek out a few successful  varieties of annuals each spring and fall.

The garden never remains the same two seasons in a row.

 

Spikemoss is a plant we've just begun using as groudcover in pots and beds.

Spikemoss is a plant we’ve just begun using as ground cover in pots and beds.

 

It is always evolving into some newer, better version of itself.

As I hope we are, as well.

 

August 3, 2014 butterflies 018

Photos by Woodland Gnome, 2014

 

August 3, 2014 butterflies 105

One Word Photo Challenge: Bronze

One Word Photo Challenge: Bronze

July 13, 2014 029

These beautiful dragonflies, living in our garden, look metallic.

I wonder sometimes whether they might be tiny drones made to look like dragonflies.  One reads about these things.

This same dragonfly, or its twin, landed right beside me on a plant stake yesterday morning while I was watering on the patio.

Tame as a companion cat, it sat peacefully as I admired it and encouraged it to eat plenty of bugs that day.  It never moved until I turned away, and then only to continue its swooping aerial dance around the garden.

 

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 136

 

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge: Bronze

A “Dirty Hands” Garden Club

Colocasia, "Blue Hawaii"

Colocasia, “Blue Hawaii”

~

I would love to join  a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club;
One whose members know more about fertilizers
Than they do about wines…

~

July 19, 2014 Container 044

A gift of Glads, from a sister gardener…

~

I’d want our meetings spent wandering through nurseries,
Learning from  expert gardeners,
Or building community gardens…

~

Bumblebee on Lantana

Bumblebee on Lantana

 

~

Not frittered away in chit chat over hors d’oeuvres .

~

 

Bumblebee on Basil

Bumblebee on Basil

~

And all of us would be at least a little expert in something,
Glad to share what we’ve learned;

~

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

~

And we all would love putting our hands in the dirt
To help something grow.

~

 

Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

~

My club would collect species, not dues;
Re-build ecosystems rather than plant ivy and  box.

~

Blue dragonfly on Lantana

Blue dragonfly on Lantana

~

We “dirty hands” gardeners can band together
In spirit, if not in four walls.
We can share plants and insights,
Instigate, propagate, and appreciate;

~

Rooted Begonia cutting

Rooted Begonia cutting resting on a bowl of Pitcherplants

~

Perhaps we can even help rehabilitate 
Some sterile lawn somewhere
Into something which nurtures beauty
And feeds souls….

~

A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

~

Others can judge flowers,
Decorate homes at Christmas
And organize tours.
These things are needed, too.

~

Native Hibiscus

Native Hibiscus

~

(But I would rather be out in the garden;
Where cardinals preside over the morning meeting,
And  hummingbirds are our special guests for the day.
The daily agenda ranges from watering to transplanting;
From pruning to watching for turtles and dragonflies.)

~

July 20, 2014 hummingbird 010

~

We  wear our muddy shoes and well worn gloves with pride,
Our spades and pruners always close at hand.

~

July 19, 2014 Container 051

~

We converse with Nature,
And re-build the web strand by strand,
Plant by plant.

~

July 20, 2014 butterflies 001

~

If this invitation speaks to you,
Perhaps we can work together,
From wherever we might find ourselves
Around the globe.
~

July 19, 2014 Container 023

~

We can each put our hands in the dirt
and create a garden,

~

July 19, 2014 Container 025

~

Nurture Beauty,
And restore health and vitality to our Earth, together.

~

July 19, 2014 Container 024

~

Does a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club
Appeal to you?

~

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
~
Canna

Canna

In Search of Silver….

 

The exfoliating bark of this favorite Sycamore tree caught my eye along the way in search of silver...

The exfoliating bark of this favorite Sycamore tree caught my eye along the way in search of silver…

Jennifer issued her challenge for photos of silver a week ago tomorrow; yet I still hadn’t found any “silver” photos to craft a post.

It has been a topsy-turvy week; lots of travel, lots of drama.

 

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 001

 

And very little time for the pleasant photo hunting we usually enjoy…

Begonia, "Sophie"

Begonia, “Sophie”

 

I was about to make do with the slim response of a shot of Begonia, “Sophie” with her silver marked leaves, but this morning was one where there was no time to post even this single photo.

 

Another crop of this B. "Sophie" photo.

Another crop of this B. “Sophie” photo.

 

And so after lunch, my partner suggested we take a bit of time to relax and head out on a drive.

Finally, an opportunity to search for “Silver.”

Granite shoring up the river's edge.  Do you see the spider's web?

Granite shoring up the river’s edge. Do you see the spider’s web?

 

Have you noticed that once you set your mind to search for something, it nearly always turns up?

We had just pulled over on the causeway between Sandy Bay and the James River when the beautiful Sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis, caught me eye.

 

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 003

 

Yes!  Silver bark!

 

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 006

Not particularly metallic, perhaps, but a beautiful rich and shiny grey at the least.

I snapped a few photos, and as I worked around the tree, the glinting silver rocks shoring up the bank of the river caught my eye.

These huge chunks of granite certainly looked silvery in the early afternoon sun.

 

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 010

Perhaps it is another of my oddities, but I find stone astoundingly beautiful.

I enjoy the color, texture, form, and antiquity of rock.

Especially when rock is host to vines or small trees, it always catches my attention.

 

Cypress trees growing in Sandy Bay, beside Jamestown Island.

Cypress trees growing in Sandy Bay, beside Jamestown Island.

 

And then, looking across the water, the sculptural forms of ancient and wind polished Cypress trees shone in the sun.

Silvery?  What do you think?  Close enough?

 

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 035

 

Not yet stumps, these trees were green cloaked a season or so ago.

I’ve never figured out what makes these beautiful and long-lived trees die so suddenly, standing among those still living.

A mystery, but a beautiful one.

Bathtime?

Bath time?

So much life and living in the world today!

Birds and dragonflies; finally some butterflies; flowers blooming; berries ripening; wind blowing grasses and leaves.

We had plenty of company on the park roads today, too.

This little dragonfly waited patiently on the curb at one of our stops.  I wondered why he was still there as we left.  Do you see his torn wing?  Such a beautiful creature, and larger than a hummingbird.

This little dragonfly waited patiently on the curb at one of our stops. I wondered why he was still there as we left. Do you see his torn wing? Such a beautiful creature, and as large as a hummingbird.

With a rising tide, the crabs and turtles living in the marshes  lurked out of sight.

The Eagles must have sought shelter in the shade,  too, because they weren’t to be seen on their nests and favorite perches.

But we know they are just waiting for the cool of evening to fish for their dinner.

 

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 046

We returned refreshed and relaxed.

And with a small cache of photos, now I can finally give you, “Silver.”

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 049

One Word Photo Challenge: Silver

 

 

Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues

Please visit and follow Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues to see all new posts since January 8, 2021.

A new site allows me to continue posting new content since after more than 1700 posts there is no more room on this site.  -WG

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 782 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com

Topics of Interest