Thursday, June 22, 2023

"Rain before seven, clear before eleven" ~~~~~~~~

Up at 6 AM today. It was quiet except for bird song, however it wasn't long before rain started. Darkness enveloped the house as rain became heavier, pounding on surfaces still damp from the heavy showers of yesterday. I wandered, coffee mug in hand, lighting candles rather than putting on lights. The forecast is for rain most of the day with possible thunderstorms this afternoon. THIS IS SUMMER? 
Hopefully it will improve soon. The cooler temperatures are pleasant. The greening up of the grass after turning crunchy and tan the past week is awesome. The neighbor's veggies are flourishing and I have no need to water them, Nature is doing a great job!

So, it did rain before seven and now at 8:30 AM it's still pelting down. 
Doubtful it will clear before eleven as the old saying goes. Best place to be
is at home watching somewhat bedraggled birds looking for shelter on
 the porch and under the fig tree . . . . and smiling as the green grass
 and tomatoes grow!

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Variegated and other greens in the garden -

Although there is some color in the garden, hydrangeas, daylilies, butterfly bush, jasmine and roses, today I'm focusing on shades of green. With temperatures about to increase and the humidity rising, usual weather for the southeast at this time of year, I really enjoy having so much green around the house. A cooling, comforting array of so many shades and hues, green is Nature in all her glory.  

The term, "variegated" is applied to a flower or, more often, a leaf that has
 more than one color. Most often, it will be two-toned (bi-colored). This means
 the foliage is blotched, striped, or bordered with a lighter color than that on
 the rest of it (or vice versa). 

In full bloom now, wild ginger is not variegated, the white flowers
 make it look that way from a distance though. It makes a great
ground cover but needs to be kept in check or will take over the garden!

The fig tree is awesome. It's palm-shaped leaves are all one shade
 of green, but note I have pots of variegated ivy tucked underneath.
I know I have a habit of saying every year once the tree has fully leafed
 out and the branches are loaded with fruit, that this tree is quite spectacular.
 Last year we had the width pruned a little to keep it off the driveway.
Seems that it has made it even more healthy! It truly is huge, and quite
 beautiful. If a tree ever had a 'fan club' this one might be the winner
with more people commenting on it when passing by . . . . . . and then
 lining up late summer to pick luscious sweet figs by the bowl or

How are your fig trees this year?  I know some of you started out 
small as did I with this one so many years ago. Hope you are getting
 figs by now.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

A little night music ~~~~~~~

The Northern mockingbird. . . . . . . . is known for vocal mimicry as they imitate songs of many other birds. Proof of their repertoire, often up to several dozen songs, have been recorded, plus sounds such as a squeaky wheel, human whistling, even a dog bark. Many of those 'melodies' offered by a young male mockingbird filled the garden last night. Sleeping with the windows raised made the songs coming from that one bird enjoying his late night out, even louder. He had to be on a tree branch right outside the window and he stayed there singing non-stop from midnight until around 1 am. I was reading, who could sleep during such a beautiful serenade. BTW, mockingbird males prefer to sing in the middle of the night so this was nothing out of the ordinary.

Northern mockingbirdMimus polyglottos

Silvery gray head and back with light gray chest and belly. 
White wing patches seen in flight or during display.  
Tail mostly black with white outer tail feathers. 
Black bill. Male and female same coloring.
Non-migrator in North Carolina. 
Food : insects and fruit, they come to suet feeders too.
Territorial and a family will stay in the same garden for many years.

I've managed to take photos of a lot of mockingbirds over the years, 
above are a few of my favorites.
Do you live within the sound of these true song birds?

There will be no more sleeping with the windows open - at least
for a while. The air quality here is now being impacted by the 
 smoke drifting south from the horrendous Nova Scotia 
wildfires. I'm sad for Canada losing so much of its beautiful
forests and countryside as these fires sweep across the country.
Hopefully they can soon get rain and enough human assistance
to put the fires out.
Stay safe all my Canadian friends.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Still a thrill!

It's late Sunday afternoon and I'm writing this post in the gazebo. The day started overcast but the sun came out around 1 PM and it has been a perfect afternoon. I was able to take a lot of photos around the garden. The birdsong is beautiful, feeders are full so many are enjoying supper. 

Perhaps you are tired of seeing my hydrangeas! If you were here in person I would probably be boring when I insist on traipsing through the garden showing you the massive blooms - actually it's not a very large garden and we could cover it in less than 10 minutes, and then I'd offer you a cup of tea in the gazebo so you could sit and listen to the birds. If you really love flowers I'm sure you'd enjoy it at this special time of year. The daylilies are lovely now - just wish their gorgeous blooms would last longer, 'weeklilies' would be great after all the energy they put into flowering for such a brief moment in time, and making us sigh at the splendid colors shining from dawn to dusk.


My neighbor is leaving town again this week - taking Ms. Nala cat with him as he'll be gone quite a while. Instead of cat sitting - which I did all last week - I'm now garden sitting as he has given me authority over his vegetable patch! Instead of flowers I may just be checking in here with notes on tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes, all of which are already coming along nicely out there in the sunshine. It's just a hop over the low brick wall where I've planted sunflower seeds which the deer haven't discovered. . . . . . yet!  A healthy looking squash of some type has joined the group, things are getting quite exciting and visions of fresh tomatoes in my salads are making me happy. Cook books are being leafed through for new ideas for summer cold plates . . . . . . 

Wishing you a great week ahead. Thanks for stopping by, you are great friends and knowing we can still blog and stay in touch means a lot to me.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Out of the Blue!


Oh my goodness, where did May go?  Time never stands still of course but you have to agree the merry month of May flew by on wings of busy little birds, wind driven rain - a lot here - and, for me, flying over and back to the West coast.

Now it's June and although no long trips are planned, perhaps some short drives into the countryside. To see the green and golden fields and farmland of this beautiful state will be a pleasant change. Brief times away from the garden outside the windows is sometimes refreshing.

My garden is perhaps at its best right now. The cooler days here were a blessing whilst we were overheating in a northern California early heatwave with every day in the 90's. Granddaughter Jasmin came by to water the pots which was perfect, and the remainder of the garden managed itself quite nicely. The figs are swelling and look especially prolific this year, dozens on each branch. The roses, buddleia,  daylilies, hostas, jasmin, honeysuckle, hydrangeas are all blooming and wafting their fragrance through the air, especially in the damp evenings we've been having. Even the carpet of perfumed wild ginger is smothered in white blooms and provides great ground cover in the shaded back garden.

Despite the very wet holiday weekend, a couple of evenings we dined in the gazebo, cool but not uncomfortable. Have been enjoying good home cooked dishes and eating healthy as we settle back into our routine. I have worked in the garden the past couple of days, weeding, trimming, removing the last of the spring bulbs leaves which had turned brown, pruning oversized azaleas and of course clipping hydrangeas for the house as there are so many blooms this year. They of course love the cooler weather we've had for nearly two weeks, and soaked up the rain. I tried the latest tip of keeping the blooms fresher longer - have you tried this?  After cutting plunge the heads into a bucket, or the sink, of fresh, cool water and swirl gently around a few minutes. Shake off the water, cut bottom of stems on a sharp angle and place into a vase/container of hot water.  These were cut last Friday so are now a week old inside the house - I refreshed them yesterday - and they still look amazing. Definitely great water lovers and the most beautiful flowers.

Enough of the blues, next time I'll add more color!