Mine

Mine, mine, mine!  The Ruby Throated Hummingbirds are making a migration stop in the Automatic Garden.

It has been pandemonium or hummermonium around the feeders.  Some clever little birds decided to guard the feeders and chase the others away.

Dueling Hummers sit opposite each other fiercely defending the food source. The fights have been brutal, including wrestling each other to the ground. The hits are loud and are accompanied  with Hummingbird screams.

I have located 4 feeders in the yard and the Automatic Garden came through the storm rather well with flowers continuing to bloom.

From the perch on the back porch, this Hummer can survey all the feeders.  The bird was so absorbed with keeping an eye on the others, it never noticed me standing 12 inches away.  (This photo was later taken through a window.)

I know the Hummingbirds need to head south, but I am hoping they will stay for awhile.

 

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Recovered and Covered

This is the aftermath of an unexpected freeze last winter.  The split leaf philodendron looked very hopeless.  Its main function was to cover up utilities.

Happily, the plant was able to come back and serve its intended purpose.


Service with a Smile

I noticed some motion on the back porch and spotted the rabbit named Patch near the back door.  Apparently, it was rabbit snack time.  Patch waited for me outside the garage door for a afternoon snack of sunflower seeds.


Birds Hate It

I recently got a new birdbath.  It is clear, yellow, looks great in the garden and can be seen from my kitchen window.  It is a replacement for an old one,  that the birds loved.  As it turns out, the birds hate this one.  I thought it was because of being clear, so I added some stones.  Not one bird has stopped by.

The new birdbath is easy to keep clean and always has fresh water in it, but that does not seem to be enough to entice the birds. The very cute Carolina Wrens prefer a bath in this toad station that is always dirty.

Or sometimes they use the rim of  the upside down fire pit when it holds water.

The wrens, Frick and Frack will even take a soak in plant saucers, which are not clean at all. Even the Cardinals prefer the water from the dirty saucers.

I found evidence of the Wrens enjoying a couples’ spa day.  After a soak they finished with a mud bath in the planter (notice two dents).  Sometimes we can try to do what we think wildlife would like, but it doesn’t always work out that way.  I guess the new birdbath will just have to please me and not the birds.

PS  I am shopping for a new one that they will like and I have another one that the rabbits and squirrels enjoy along with the birds.


Dirt Bath

The planter on my patio table has been constantly  dug up.

Dirt from the planter is flung all over the table and floor.  What animal was doing this?  Naturally, squirrels were the first suspect.  I even put red pepper on the dirt.

One day the culprit was finally revealed.  It was none other than my Carolina Wrens, Frick and Frack that have been taking a dirt bath in the planter.  The first time I witnessed the bath, one of the Wrens enjoyed the dirt for quite awhile and ended with a grand finale of throwing dirt high in the air.

I caught them again and was able to snap a quick photo through the kitchen window with my cell phone.  Frack enjoyed the bath while Frick watched from a chair.  I didn’t get Frick  in the photo.

 


Camellias, the Jewels of Winter

 

As snows blow across the northern parts of the country, Camellias begin blooming here October through March, catching the eye like beautiful jewels.

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This gorgeous huge flower is from the Royal Velvet Camellia.  It has had a rough start, as during its second year in the natural part of the yard, deer decided to taste it.  This year the Royal Velvet was able to put out quite a few 5 inch flowers.

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Shi-Shi Gashira is a tough little gal.  These Camellias are planted in full sun and have never disappointed with their abundance of blooms.  The Camellia has been covered in snow, taken heavy rains, drought and recently frozen.  The photo is of a bloom that was in bud during our recent heavy freeze.

dsc_0624Professor Sargent is new to the garden and I am very pleased with it.  The Camellia is covered with blooms up to 3 inches across and the shrub can reach a height of 8 feet.  Camellias are generally very slow growers, so it may be years before it gets that large.

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One of the oldest Camellias in the garden is White By the Gate.  It has been a reliable bloomer over the past 15 years.  This photo was taken against a cloudy sky.  The shrub has been making blooms in triplet. Notice the half open bloom and a bud behind the flower.

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As a test, I sent this photo to some friends to identify it.  They all guessed it was a rose. But no, it is Southern Secret Camellia.

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Southern Secret Camellia is new to the garden this year.  I purchased two of them to replace roses that died, probably due to the increasing shade from the native trees on the property.  Camellias grow well in shade and also enjoy the acidic soil in this area.  Pine needles are their friend.  So many needles drop from the trees, that I often have pick them off of the flowers before I photograph them.

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These Camellias with their 5 inch flowers should be stunning as they grow up to 10 feet tall.   They are planted along the back fence and can be seen from my kitchen window.  These beautiful Camellia jewels brighten the winter months.


Bees, Butterflies and Hummingbirds

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Our record breaking Christmas heatwave has encouraged flora and fauna to emerge from their winter rests.  The bees are finishing off a feeder a day.

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Butterflies are feasting on the last of the summer flowers.

Caterpillar eggs are hatching and thankfully the Passion Flower has replenished its leaves for the babies.

Azaleas that are supposed to bloom in March are beginning to open.  A Gardenia has also popped out.

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The Buff-bellied hummingbird is still hanging out in the yard, but is now also using the feeder as the flowers dwindle.  The weather forecast is showing temperatures dropping down to our normal “warm” winter weather with no freezes for awhile.

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My post Christmas plans are to clean out some beds and plant winter annuals while the weather is nice.