I had prepared this post over the weekend as we did the grass project. The most important part of the project was hoping for rain. Well, our wish came true many fold. Our freeways look like lakes full of cars. People spent the night sitting on high ground beside the road. All our rivers and bayous are full and running into some houses. Schools and work have been canceled. Nature does like taking us from one extreme to another. We suffered years of drought and now it is over with a bang (and a few bolts of lightening).
This part of the country is just coming out of a drought. Our average rainfall is 52.69 inches a year. The national average is 39.17 with Portland, Oregon receiving 36.15 and Jay, Florida beats us all with 70.73 average per year. The year-to-date rainfall for this area has been 58.36 currently. It is safe to say we are caught up for now.
The lack of rain has left a large area in the backyard with no St. Augustine grass. The weeds liked it there.
Finally, with day after day of rain we thought it would be a good idea to try to get the proper grass to fill in the bare patch. The plan is to put down a layer of compost and grass squares on top. St. Augustine grows like a vine and sends out runners. It cannot be seeded.
So, with a prayer and water from the sky, the bare patch might turn green again.
The Poppies are almost finished and their seed heads are ripening.
The Poppies’ seeds were scattered in late October after the Balsam Impatiens finished. Balsam Impatiens are great reseeders as their pods pop open and fling the seeds out for perfect planting. They were grown by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The Balsam Impatiens (the small plants with pointed leaves) germinated just when the Poppies are ending their growing season. Perfect timing for the Automatic Garden.
There are many ways to jolt yourself awake in the morning. I was out early feeding the birds, when I noticed a tree branch had fallen into a bed. I started to grab it and spotted a coiled snake with a distinct pattern of chocolate kisses on its side. A sure sign that the creature was a venomous Copperhead. No more coffee was needed!
The Gingers spend the winter underground. They are one of the last to emerge in garden. Rain and heat encourages the Gingers to sprout. I am prone to checking the areas they are planted in daily. I worry that maybe they have rotted or an animal has dug them up. Maybe they will just give up. But so far, as long as the Gingers have resided in this garden, they have return. Yes, I have got to have more faith.
Walking Iris (Neomarica gracilis) looks like a white chocolate kiss in the early morning.
The flowers form on long stems that eventually make their way to the ground to start a new plant.
Those who are patient can watch the flowers bloom, as one petal pops open at a time.
These beautiful Irises last just one day, but the plant blooms about five times during the spring.
Jasmin fills the humid Southern evenings with thick scent.
The plant has left its bounds and climbed high into the trees, dispersing the Jasmin’s perfume across the entire garden.
The cool winter months brought some northern visitors to the Automatic Garden. They were attracted by the flowering plants, but the supplemental sugar really kept them happy. From dawn to dusk the sugar birds could not leave the sweet nectar. It is not unusual for a Rufous Hummingbird to enjoy the liquid sugar, even a Ruby-crowned Kinglet will indulge, but I really think it might have been a new experience for the Yellow-rumped Warbler, who could not leave the feeder and spent a lot of energy chasing the rest away.
I was afraid that the birds may not be able to break their sugar addiction, but the weather changed and nature called them back to their northern homes.
And as the seasons always return, so did the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds taking their place at the feeders and flowers.