The Lenten Roses, or Hellebores, certainly live up to their name. Blooming right on schedule to herald the beginning of Lent, these evergreen shade perennials bring variations of pink, purple, and white to liven up the winter garden.
Warlike Warbler. You’ve seen the famous “Angry Bluebird” photo, now see the Angry Warbler. Doesn’t he look like he’s ready to go to war? This Yellow Rumped Warbler has discovered the mealworm feeder and waits in the Hawthorn tree for the bigger birds to leave, then nips in to steal a treat. Although these birds prefer insects, in winter their diet shifts to mostly fruit. Unless of course the Warbler discovers a daily cache of mealworms! Sweet!
Today is both Valentines Day and Ash Wednesday, the first time since 1945 that they occur on the same day. For some the dichotomy of the two days causes a dilemma, but not in the garden. Despite being battered by ice, snow, and frigid temps, the double crimson Camellia burst into bloom on schedule. This lovely red flower serves as tribute to love as well as a reminder of Ash Wednesday obligations.
Lent begins in a few days so the Hellebores, or Lenten Roses, should be in full bloom soon. Most of these shade-loving evergreen perennials come in hues of pink, lavender, white, and purple. I had no idea that they could be yellow, but I spotted this one at the garden center last year. There was only one lonely plant left, so of course I didn't hesitate to bring it home. It's the first Hellebore to bloom this year. The plant is still quite small but I’m thrilled to have even a few sunny blooms.
Winter Widgeons. Yesterday was a day for ducks. Lots of rain made the lake high. Mergansers and Mallards enjoyed the rain but the highlight was a visit from a small flock of American Widgeons. I rarely see them in winter because they usually spend the cold months in Florida and Central America. Maybe the Widgeons didn’t hear the Groundhog’s prediction and are heading back to Canada expecting an early Spring. I hope they don’t leave right away and dabble in our lake for a while.
It's a sunny day here, meaning our Georgia groundhog, General Beauregard Lee, saw his shadow which delivered the disappointing news that we can expect six more weeks of winter. So did his Northern cousin, Punxsutawney Phil. Weather prognostication based on a big rodent seeing his shadow or not seems odd for modern times, but Groundhog Day has been good fun for over 125 years. By the way, Phil's accuracy is rated at just under 40 percent, while Georgia's Beau is about 60 percent. Either way, winter isn't over yet!
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.