Zigging and Zagging

I love the zigzag web this spider makes.  The zigzag is call a stabilimentum and the web radiates out from it. The spider is the yellow garden spider (Argiop aurantia).  This one is probably a female as she is really large.  The spider eats bugs, as well as small green anoles and geckos.  I almost always have one on the potted plants next to the porch.


Freak of Nature

It was a hot and steamy morning.  The backyard critters were lined up waiting for their breakfast.

I walked outside, not totally caffeinated yet,  my eyeglasses fogged over in the humidity.  As I trudged across the yard to feed the animals, my skin was becoming wet from the moisture in the air.  And that is when I saw it.

A freak of nature.  The dark red plant had the wrong flower blooming on it.  I dried my glasses and shook my head awake.  I then realized it was a zinnia perfectly centered on a celosia plant.

I retreated to the cool of the air conditioning, finished my morning coffee and contemplated on what I had just seen.


Stealth Planting

 

The Oenothera grandiflora Evening Primrose collected by William Bartram is one of my favorite plants to grow.  It is also a favorite of rabbits.

So I came up with a plan to do stealth planting, strategically putting the Primrose among plants rabbits don’t eat.  In the middle of the photo is one planted with Shrimp Plants.

In this photo a Primrose is planted with Salvia.  I bet you can’t even find it.

Rabbits never touch the Gulf Coast Penstemon and neither do I as they smell bad, but make up for that fact by being pretty.

The Primrose in the front yard are the tall plants that were surrounded by the Penstemon when they were small.  They look darn good.

Yup, I was feeling pretty clever thwarting those rabbits.  As it turns out, deer like the Primrose too and they start eating at the top.  The tall plants in the front yard were just about finished off by the deer (not the rabbits).

I guess I will have to count on the Evening Primrose I planted in pots, in a high planter, in the fenced in backyard.

 


This and That

I have taken various photos around my yard that don’t really go together so here is a post of “this and that”.  I was trying to change the focus on my camera and took I shot into the wooded area.  It turned out pretty good.

I came across this giant 3 inch bug on the cobble rocks.  It was dead and not something I want to see flying at me while alive.  I’m not really sure what it is and spent some time looking at pictures of cockroaches to identify it. I had enough of that and gave up.

Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria psittacina) is pretty, but don’t ever plant them.  I was looking for its botanical name and an article came up asking how to get rid of them.

This chubby skink with no color or stripes was sunning on a rock one afternoon.

I had to buy a new Passion Flower plant this year as the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly caterpillars totally ate my last one.

I just thought this Rosy Wolf Snail was pretty against the moss rock.

And that is it for “this and that”.

 


The Babies Have Arrived and Other Lunchtime Amusements

While eating my lunch, I noticed some activity outside my kitchen window.

Baby Cardinals just out of the nest were having a nice mud bath in my flower bed.

Dad was keeping a watchful eye on the kids.

As soon as Cardinal family left, this Green Anole hopped on the sill to do some bug hunting on my window.

Yup, I know that window needs to be cleaned, it always does.

All the photos were taken through the kitchen window.  I planted the bed with flowering plants that attract all kinds of backyard critters and there’s a feeder for Hummingbirds.  I am always entertained while I dine.


Garden Drama

All life is full of drama or what we like to call “the circle of life”.  These poor caterpillars had really bad timing and made their chrysalis right before a hard freeze.  The chrysalis dropped to the ground and dissolved.

If you can enlarge the photo, the spots on the butterfly wing can be seen.

Luckily, I was looking up before I walked into this scene.  The scary looking spider captured a meal that will probably last  for days.

Yes, in the circle of life every creature has to eat.  This predator is  hanging out near the bird feeder.  It will not be a good day for some poor bird.

Plants are major players in life’s drama, but sometimes it works to their advantage.  I call this plant raccoon grapes.  Raccoons love to eat the wild grapes that grow nearby and apparently like to relieve themselves while climbing up trees.  I often find raccoon scat at the base of my trees.  This process is definitely a win, win for the grape vine.  The seeds get moved to a new location to grow and the raccoon deposit the grapes right next to a tree for the vine to climb up.

A garden is just not a garden, it is full of life’s dramas.


Birding at Twilight

We were sitting on our patio at the end of the day, when the action started. First, a Hummingbird slap down occurred right in front of us.  I swear I saw tiny feathers fly.  The Hummer that hit the ground backed off to the safety of a low branch.

Then I heard a call that I haven’t heard in the backyard for awhile.  I was very pleased that I recognized it was a Summer Tanager.  Tanagers are not seed feeders and are harder to find in the trees.  I used a trick that I learned in a birding class to lure him out.  I turned on the Summer Tanager call on my bird app.  Soon the bird started coming closer and buzzing us as he flew over.  I managed to snap a photo, which is not great in the dimming light, but I did identify him with my binoculars.  After teasing the Tanager for awhile with the bird call, we started feeling bad for the poor guy looking for another of his kind and stopped.

While all that was going on, an American Crow was having quite a fit in a neighboring yard.  Usually, this means that a predator is near.  I finally spotted the raptor and could make out a white head.  I was hoping it was an Eagle, but it flew away quickly through the trees in the twilight with the Crow in pursuit  and I couldn’t get a good look.

All in all, it was a very entertaining evening.