Spring Has Begun Part I

 

Spring has started here along the Gulf Coast area.  Snowflakes or leucojums are some of the first to bloom.

Wendy’s Wish Salvia has made a comeback from flooding rain and freezes.  It didn’t bloom at all last year.

Paperwhites bloom along with Snowflakes.  Both are bulbs that can survive our climate.

Fire Spike, Odontonema strictum begins its blooming in late winter.  It is a hummingbird favorite.  Most Fire Spikes are red like fire, but somehow I have pinkish purple one.

Violets, of course, are early bloomers and this Australian violet, Viola hederacea, is growing happily on rocks and the patio after relocating itself more than 5 feet from where it was originally planted. The first time I bought this plant, it was called Confederate Violet.

Mixed in with it, is what I have always called Mexican Knot Weed.  As it turns out, the plant is from China not Mexico.  Its proper name is Polygonum capitatum and its common names are Pink Button, Pink Knotweed, Pink Fleece, Pinkhead, Smartweed, Pink Clover and Punching Balls.  I could not find the name Mexican Knot Weed, except on the single pot I bought over 20 years ago.  This little plant came along when I moved by hitchhiking with another plant and it has popped up here and there all over the yard.  In China it is used to cure many aliments.

Part II coming.


Toads Hunkered Down

While moving a pile of bricks, I came across six toads that were hunkered down for the cold days.  The toads were tucked between the bricks and each had a mate by their side.

They were sleepy and slow moving. I carefully relocated the toads to a safe spot and put a broken clay pot over them.

I camouflaged the pot with bark and leaves to keep the toads safe for the time being.  It will be interesting to see if they will stay in their new digs.


Sugar Bees

The sugar feeder has become really popular.  Now bees have taken over.

I’m not sure where the bees came from, as it took months before they discovered the feeder.

The competition is high and the birds only have access to their sugar treat on cold and rainy days.

 

 


Birds and Sugar

My Sugar Bird is back.  This little bird is crazy for sugar and I do believe it is the same bird that has visited in previous years.

As it turns out, I identify this bird differently every year.  This year I’m going to say it is an Orange-crowned Warbler.  I can look at those bird pictures all day and not quite tell what this cutie is.

I was really surprised to see that a Chickadee had been observing Sugar Bird and decided to see what was so delicious.

When Chickadees feed, they go to the feeder and take a seed to a tree to eat.  They are very quick.

I have the sugar feeder set up outside my kitchen window, so I can be entertained while I eat.  I also took all the photos from my table, through the window that is about five feet away.

It took me weeks to get a shot of the fast moving Chickadee and I was thrilled when I got these four during one visit…and in focus.

 

 

 


Decision Made

A rose bush I bought many years ago was mislabeled and turned out to be a climbing rose.  As I did plant it under a Bottle Brush tree, it took full advantage and made its way to the top.

I had been debating on whether or not to cut it back as it is probably stressing the tree. A recent windy thunderstorm made the decision for me and knocked the long cane from the tree.

I haven’t cut it back yet, as I’m enjoying the roses dripping down from the tree and the pollinators like the winter treat.


Winter Salad

This is the second year I used my very tall rabbit- proof greens garden.

I planted the seeds, went on a trip putting Mother Nature in charge and came home to a full bed of lettuces.

My rabbit- proof garden does not grow much, but it makes a nice small salad to go with lunches.  Here is a quick recipe for dressing made from ingredients you probably have around the house.

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

1 TB of olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

4 garlic cloves minced or jarred garlic

The dressing has a bite to it, so I use it sparingly.  Store in a small jar in the refrigerator.


Surprise Fall Bloomers

This Fall I had some plants decide to bloom after many years of being flowerless.  I’m not sure what could have caused this.  Maybe it was the two hard freezes we had last winter.  The Ligularia has been nothing but big green leaves for years. But, this year put out several stems of cheery yellow flowers.

The Pink Japanese Anemone, which is a butterfly favorite, has only put out a few sad flowers in the past.  This Fall there was a record breaking 12 stems that have bloomed for weeks.

The most surprising is my Angel Trumpet.  It is in its second blooming and started while temperatures were in the 30’s.

Will the flowers last and be Christmas Angels?