Thanksgiving in the North

This year we headed north for Thanksgiving and were greeted by snow and deer. As usual, I spend much of my time exploring nature while traveling.

The cold snap and snow motivated a squirrel to add leaves to its nest.

A few days later the snow melted and revealed Princess Pine in the woods. Princess Pine looks like a perfect little pine tree and is actually a club moss.

Lycopodium obscurum reproduces with spores and prefers acidic soils and shaded woodlands.

Milkweed was still sending off some seed “fairies”. The northern ones are much larger than the tropical Butterfly Weed I grow here.

Best of all I found some fossils.

We had to say goodbye to family and travel to the airport. As usual, we stopped at rest areas where the employees lovingly decorated their space to bring Christmas cheer to travelers. The elves were modified with tissue paper clothes and many wrapped gifts were under the tree.

A fireplace with a lace curtain repurposed for the mantle cover was created for Santa’s arrival.

The display was completed with paper and pencil to leave a note for Santa.

At the next stop, Mrs. Gingerbread was greeting everyone at the Ladies’ Room entrance, but Mr. Gingerbread was gone. Maybe he needed a bathroom break.

Soon it was time to fly back to the warm South and we took to the sky at the crack of dawn.

The Last Straw

What I found on my sidewalk is not something you want to wake up to in the morning. This is the last straw and even though I feel that way, there is nothing I can do about it.

I have had an errant little deer visiting my front yard all season. The animal has no idea what it is NOT supposed to eat, as these plants are deer proof. The deer has chewed on everything including my newly planted for winter color Dianthus. And as every deer should know, deer do not eat them. I thought after a few tastings it would stop. But oh no, it kept coming back until all that was left, was to pull the plants up by the roots.

This is my Blue Plumbago, which is normally 4 feet tall and a sweep of five bushes. It has grown in this location for 21 years and was never touched. Not with this animal. It ate the large bushes nearly to the ground. We live in a lush area with hundreds of acres of manicured lawns perfect for grazing deer, but not good enough for this one. My winter flower display is ruined and if I get written up by the home owners association, some little deer is really in trouble.

PS Of course, I’m chuckling while I write this as I know nature always gets her way…as so does this bad little deer.

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.