It's tick season as I was reminded yesterday when I found one of the nasty pests lodged near my collar bone. A trip to urgent care for removal and a round of antibiotics should take care of the matter. Of course I asked about contracting Lyme Disease and the Physician's Assistant told me that it was unlikely. However, he did mention that there is something similar to Lyme Disease here in the south--STARI or Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. I had never heard of it before but it is carried by the Lone Star tick, one of the three ticks prevalent in the South. The good news is that if the tick is on you for less than 48 hours, possibility of transmission isn't likely. Be careful out there and check for ticks after being outside!
It seems as though every Rose in the yard flowered at the same time. Roses can be fussy, but to be honest, other than pruning and fertilizer, I don't do a lot for mine. They still bloom so I guess I found the right spot for these lovely plants.The one above is the fiery Fourth of July Rose. I love the variegated petals.
Below is a Knock Out Rose. They are low maintenance and bloom wildly all season long. Too bad that the deer love to munch on them.
This Red Climbing Rose is a true heirloom plant that brings back memories because it was my Grandfather's favorite rose. My Mother loved it, too, and rooted cuttings which lined our back fence when I was growing up. This one came from her rose plant.
This is my favorite Rose, a Pink Sweetheart. My grandparents had a massive one in their yard. I always think of them when this rose blooms.
I just realized that most of my Roses are red--maybe I should branch out a little next year with some yellow and lavender!!
Great excitement on the lake--we have ducklings!! I spotted the Mother Duck and her brood yesterday. The babies are probably newly hatched because they are so small. I counted 14!! Mother Duck is going to be tired keeping up with them.
It's very rare to see the Beaver out and about after dawn, but this morning when I raised the shades, I spotted him in his little lake. He started gnawing on a decent sized wild willow trunk and a mere 10 minutes later, it dropped. The Beaver gnawed on the stump for a short time then started eating the branches. Guess he was ready for a "fresh" meal after a night of hard labor maintaining his little kingdom. What an amazing creature!
Right on cue for Easter, the bare branches of Dogwood trees are filled with their signature creamy blooms. This small native tree only grows to about 20 feet high. Dogwoods prefer part shade. Morning sun is best.
This year seeing Dogwood blooms on my trees is special. About 10 years ago, I planted three seedlings. However I put them in too much shade under three huge oak trees and they never flowered. Last year, those oaks died and after they were removed, morning sun began to filter in. For the first time, my Dogwoods are loaded with blooms and that part of my yard looks just like I had hoped all those years ago. Sometimes nature is a better gardener than humans.
The spicy-sweet scent wafting through the yard signals that the Sweetshrub, or Carolina Allspice, is in bloom. This native plant grows wild along the east coast from Pennsylvania to Northern Florida and west to Mississippi. Sweetshrub can tolerate full sun but part shade is much better. The one in the pictures is a true native--it somehow escaped the bulldozer when my house was built. Lucky for me--it's nice to have such a lovely fragrant shrub in my yard.
If you are looking for a low maintenance shrub with arresting spring color, the Loropetalum or Chinese Fringe Flower is an excellent choice. I have a group of three on a bank near my driveway and the mass of vivid hot pink blooms is gorgeous. Loropetalum is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 15 feet high, but can be pruned after flowering to control the size. There are also dwarf varieties for smaller spaces.
The Belted Kingfisher searches for fish from his high perch in the Birch tree, then brashly dive bombs into the water for his catch.
These stocky birds nest in burrows excavated in river and lake banks. They don't often fish from my side of the lake so it's a special treat to see one in the Birch tree. Happy New Year to all from the creatures and birds of Georgia Backyard Nature!
I have lots of heirloom plants from my Mother's garden, but these Spider Lilies bring back bittersweet memories. When she was in the nursing home, my Mother never stopped thinking about her garden. Once when visiting she told me it was time to dig up some of her Spider Lily bulbs to put in my yard. I had always admired their autumn beauty lining her driveway so I hoisted out the shovel.
They had multiplied wildly over the years so I found enough to festoon my yard and those of a couple of friends. Even though her health was failing, Mother was so happy knowing that I'd enjoy her Spider Lilies for years to come. She was right. Every fall I love Mother's last spectacular contribution to my garden.
The big clumps of Pampas grass have sprouted feathery plumes of white that sway gracefully in the wind. This grass needs plenty of room because it can grow up to 10 high and wide. If you need a fast growing, low maintenance filler for an empty space, Pampas grass might be the ticket. However, the big clumps offer excellent hiding places for snakes and rodents, so planting Pampas grass away from your house is a good idea.
Uh oh! Do you remember the post a few days ago about the Beaver munching grass at the edge of the marsh? Well, clever devil--he was really a scout, sent to survey my yard for tasty treats. He struck last night in a brazen attack, clipping a few branches from a Butterfly Bush and a Beauty Berry. I've seen enough of the furry lumberjack's mayhem to recognize the clean cut of a Beaver's teeth. Beavers raise water levels in order to access vegetation more easily and now that the marsh is flooded, they have an easy route to my yard. Guess it's time to haul out the chicken wire an wrap a few trees because he'll be back.
When I raised the shades a few mornings ago, I saw a big brown lump at the edge of the marsh. In the dim light of dawn, I couldn't tell what it was. I hauled out the binoculars and was surprised to see one of the beavers casually munching tender grass. Yes, the furry lumberjacks are still busy reshaping the marsh! You can see the big pile of saplings that the beavers have cut down and stripped the bark.
Not to worry, with hundreds of wild willow saplings still in the marsh the beavers will have plenty of food for the winter and material for their building projects. I love these guys!!
More deer pics? Yes, but there's a good reason--TWO young males wandered into the yard. I rarely see male Whitetails, so seeing two together is an event! The antlers are small indicating these deer are probably yearlings. Perhaps these are the twins from last year.
Male Whitetails reach sexual maturity at about 1.5 years, or their second fall. The mating season , or rutting, begins in November and is hard on the guys. They lose weight because all their energy is spent fighting with competitors, chasing females, and mating with as many as possible.
I hope these two shrub-eating machines don't wander to another territory so I can see them with bigger antlers every year. Who knows? Maybe I'll see their twins next spring.
Blue Jays love meal worms. Every morning they wait rather impatiently for me to put them on the deck railing. The second I'm back in the house, they attack. Blue Jays are extremely aggressive while feeding, but are also good parents. You can see them on the video clip stop eating to feed their juveniles. Nice to know their babies are a priority for these boisterous birds.
32Yesterday while working at my desk, I heard a cacophony of bird calls which were clearly sounding an alarm. I thought it might be a cat, but the noise was unusually loud and persistent. A snake, maybe? After watching a few minutes, I saw that a small Cooper's Hawk had landed in the yard. The birds were right to sound a warning because this predator was looking to put one of them on his lunch menu! He loves to eat medium sized birds. Here's a clip of the bird alarm.
Grabbed a pic of this little chipmunk perched on top of the cat statue on the front porch like he's saying, "I'm king of the yard!" OK, but just wait until Rusty the cat comes around the corner. Now who's boss?
The neighborhood cats haven't been lurking around the yard much this year. As a result, there is a lot of Chipmunks in the yard. These two are foraging under the bird feeders and you can see their cheeks are puffed out, full of seeds.
Chipmunks have lots of natural enemies (cats, hawks, and even Herons) so despite the glut of them early in the summer, they'll be far fewer in a couple of months.
Twins!! Today was the first time I've seen a doe bring her fawns to the yard--and twins, no less!! They look very young so this might be their first outing but they didn't act like it. Usually new fawns stick close to their mothers until they gain confidence, but these two were running up and down the yard, leaping and playing. I think Mother Doe will have her hooves full with these two imps!!
Bearded Irises are flowering in a rainbow of colors. These late spring bloomers have three upright petals and three that curve downward. They’re called “Bearded” because the hanging petals have a fuzzy strip on them like a beard. Irises grow from rhizomes which are like long, thin potatoes. They multiply quickly and can be separated, so after a few years you’ll have lots of them.
Several of my Iris are heirloom plants handed down from my Grandfather to my Mother to me. He may have gotten these from his Mother. Who knows how old they are?
I was so happy to spot the first Red-headed Woodpecker this season, but seeing this poor fellow scrounging for dregs in the peanut feeder gave me a bad case of the guilts. I had filled up the feeder with the last of the peanuts at mid week and I forgot to buy more. Of course, I dropped everything and hustled off to the store. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Red-head and the other woodpeckers had plenty of peanuts. Yes, hungry creatures know how to get me moving!!
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Eagle Cam 2014 This camera streams the activities of the eagle nest located 110 feet up, in a tree on the grounds of the US FWS National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia.