Clean glass just might be more of a threat to birds than cats and cars are. I've caught two exotic birds here this year- first time ever.
We totally take our bodies for granted, of that I am 100% sure. The sensory perception sensitivities that we are endowed with are so acute it's not even funny, and we walk through our lives not fully appreciating how finely tuned we are to detect the slightest movement in the landscape with our eyes, to sense a tiny tick crawling on our legs even though we can't see it, to hear the slightest sound at night as we lay in bed, or to smell the honeysuckle flowering hundreds of feet away.
I was working this am and caught a split second movement out of the corner of the corner of my eye. I glanced over and saw nothing, but then it happened again. Finally I saw it- a hummingbird caught in the store against the large plate glass window.
I opened the doors then got a rake to usher the bird out the doors but the dummy was unusherable, choosing to keep banging against the glass. I reached forward two dozen times before I was able to make contact, ever so gently squeezing enough to capture, not hard enough to break the fragile little thing.
I was (obviously) able to grab my phone to record an event that I am sure will never ever happen again. My eyes and brain told me that I was holding a live wriggling object, but my hand and arm denied that reality, with muscles telling me that I was holding absolutely nothing.
Hummingbirds are an engineering masterpiece. They weigh almost nothing so they can perform high speed maneuvers as they dart from blossom to blossom then migrate to Brazil for the winter. How can something that teeny-tiny be so aggressively territorial yet so delicate and lightweight?
It's just one more example of Mother Nature's engineering of our environment, mysterious, complex, not fully understood, fragile, and worthy of our appreciation.
Dreary drab staining on the roof is caused by a fungus that eats the lime in the shingles. Once every six years or so you gotta spray a solution on it to clean it so it looks presentable. Easier said than done.
Chlorox and jomax and water and a 22’ ladder snugly placed on the roof. Not a job for the faint hearted. Downright scary, but I gotta do it because the roof looks like shit! Spray on and allow the rain to wash it off- then I get what looks like a new roof for about $30-40 and a few hours work. Do not do this yourself unless you have the proper equipment and a roof that is safe (there is probably no such thing as a safe roof).
Domestic honey bee busy tonight on a creeping groundcover Veronica. So many flowers to pollinate, so little time! Wild honey bees are totally wiped out because of you-know-”whomans.” Humans SUCK. I stopped spraying our nursery preventatively over a decade ago so I would no longer kill innocent insects. Glad I did- lotsa-life around now!
Fragrant dianthus next to bellflower. Smells like sweet sugar in the air around this plant.
Unfurling, uncurling, wish I had time lapse to catch the order and perfection of mother nature’s magnificent design.
Black and blue annual salvia- our very best hummingbird flower. Hummers come to this plant many times a day and stay for a very long time. It’s the very best hummingbird plant available. Black flower bud sheath and profuse violet-blue flowers give this awesome plant it’s name.
Another hummingbird plant- red hot poker- with downward pointing tubular flowers offering constant nectar to butterflies also. Insane arrangement of florets, couldn’t pack one more flower onto this stalk.
I do not know much about clematis other than they live FOREVER.
Let’s not ignore an unflowered sedum with a tiny unknown pollinator cleaning pollen off him/herself in the warm afternoon setting sun
Delphinium has its own pollination strategy, starting with mind-numbing violet-blue coloration. Classic delphinium. Insect crawls up to get nectar and the hair grabs pollen from other delphiniums, thus ensuring DNA is swapped for genetic diversity in the species. Cool!
Pink Veronica spires in profuse display on a 5” tall plant.
Leathery flawless leaves of fall flowering aconitum hint at a tough durable plant’s ability to endure harsh environments all summer till flowering time, saving up energy for one of the most stunning flowers of all.
Delosperma flower (ice plant) and flower bud covered in sparkles. Desert-like plant looks like tortoise food.
All of the above flowers flower for a reason, and the reason is to continue the existence of their species for yet another year. All the “pretty” flowers just happen to be pretty for us in our visible spectrum. Insects see differently than we do. Maybe insect/flower relationships are so entirely complex that some insects see only one flower species. Out of all the diversity on our planet, some bugs just see one color spectrum, just one flower, with the flower entirely relying on one insect and vise versa, a marriage made in heaven. A dangerous strategy now-a-days, with mankind destroying the environment with global warming and incredible pollution.
Im positive that unknown insects have gone extinct and their plant-partners going extinct not long afterwards.
Margaret Renkl- American author, naturalist, artist extraordinaire.
When she writes about "whatever," she brings my mind into her world and out of mine. Each and every word she uses is like a paintbrush stroke that paints a colorful picture and makes the reader's brain want to dive into the scene she is describing, into her world.
One of her best works had a title something like "How to rake leaves on a windy day," something about finding hope living in a red state, where she draws analogies and secretly tells two stories at the same time that most readers missed, I'm sure.
But this story draws the reader into their own cobwebby past, and I'm not going to say any more except to suggest that if you do click on this New York Times link at the bottom, I suggest that you also read some of the comments that other readers wrote back to her thanking her for their own trip down memory lane.
I myself dusted off the neurons and lay sadly thinking back at what used to be, and realized that it is Margaret Renkl who does it to me every time she publishes some work of hers, and that illustrates the mind of true genius.
I just found the answer. Trollius evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in synch with a species of fly called Chiastocheta. The structure of the trollius flower is designed to keep larger pollinators like bumble bees out of the flower so the tiny fly is the only one who gets in. The adult fly is the one who does the pollination. The juvenile larvae is teentsy, and feeds on the seeds of trollius after pollination. Isn't that weird? The flower is designed totally around letting only one species of insect pollinate it, insuring it's survival... then the offspring of that very same insect eats half of the seeds produced. Kinda makes no sense, but there is certainly an evolutionary reason for this but we humans cant figure that out yet.
I just thought that I would add some interest to some of the perennials that we sell so people look at them and see more than "It's such a pretty flower!"
Everyone knows the ant/peony relationship exists because the peony feeds the ants as a reward for killing each insect that dares to threaten a peony plant when it is flowering. This relationship took millions of years to develop. The ants help to open the flower buds and the plant feeds the ant colony with sugary sap. How do the ants know to go to a peony plant?
Why isn’t this little bee/fly killed by the protector-ants while I took this picture? Did the ants know the bee/fly was helping the peony and not hurting it?
These and other questions add an entire world of intrigue to the complicated world of flowering plants.
New cultivar of ‘gaura’ that attracts pollinators with the colorful backsplash of four brachts and nothing below for a pollinator to cling to whilst feeding on nectar. Again I ask: Why, for whom, how long did it take to evolve? Mankind does not know the answers to the evolution of most of the species we share this earth with, even as these species die off because of our lack of respect/knowledge for them.
Female snapping turtle today after or before laying eggs in the soil pile by our irrigation pond.
Ive been finding these for decades. I usually unearth them when mucking around with the machines. The bucket disturbs the earth and the golf balls roll down- shiny white orbs ‘a-tumblin’
I always collect the unsquished ones and try to bury them at what I hope is the correct depth. Snapping turtles are maligned creatures, remnants of the dinausaur age. People hate them. People eat them.
But closer inspection reveals a wonder of evolution.
Butterfly weed. Horrible name for a great plant that serves an important role in the life cycle of many insects. Adult butterfly lays just one egg per plant so junior has plenty to eat and doesn’t have to share.
At my house, Asclepias tuberosa thrives unattended in hot sunny desiccated soil. I put the old seed heads into the bed of my pickup truck so the wind can distribute the silky parachute seeds along highways and roadsides. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I think it is a little “off” but the monarch butterfly is not exactly thriving thanks to humans, and if they have more food to eat, then maybe it’s not so crazy after all.
Zoom in on the individual flowers both before they open their buds and after. Really interesting, beautiful, complex florets.
I have a self-deprecating story about this tree (black locust).
I’ve been staring up at this black locust and others for decades because they surround the Southwest border of our property. To the untrained eye, it is a scraggly, wasteland-like tree better suited for a mad max movie in a run down urban setting.
In all my cocky infinite wisdom, I always used to point to it and bad mouth it to customers.
“Look at that shitty tree over there! Scraggly, poor shaped, weedy-looking.”
All would agree because they really had no choice- talking to someone who probably knew more than they did. They probably never noticed a black locust anyway.
When I researched what type of wood lasts the longest as a post in the ground, I found out that- you guessed it- BLACK LOCUST lasts the longest, like two or three times longer than cedar. I marched straight out there and cut a few down to make posts. As I removed the bark, banana peel yellow flesh was exposed. I had never seen yellow wood before. A day later the color was gone, turning the color of all other debarked trees. My admiration and appreciation of/for black locust grew immensely, and my scorn turned to thanks to black locust as a species, grateful that they are in my life. I never looked at them with anything other than love ever again.
The year that I researched honey bees and kept them in my yard, I discovered that black locust flowers sitting atop the 100’ (+) tall trees are THE favorite food of honey bees at that time of year that they flower -early June. Because the entire tribe of bees is directed to the black locust by the one ass-shaking discoverer bee, the honey produced in June is almost clear like water. My honey did just that, and my love and admiration for black locust trees grew exponentially.
Now with the news telling us that 75% of American insects have been wiped out because of mankind’s bad polluting ways and habitat loss to strip malls and the like, I see the scraggly black locust as an oasis for those insects that are left to cohabit this earth with humans for as long as they can. These remaining insects go to black locust trees to mate, eat, and get shelter.
Black locust, as shitty as it looks to humans, sure deserves our respect and admiration.
The point of my story is getting lost in the telling, so I’ll wrap this post up by mentioning that I learned something about myself because of this tree. I learned not to be so critical, so self-important, and so judgmental, possibly a lesson for all of us.
As much as you think you know, you might just not know much at all.
Clover spreading with my permission through my lawn. I’m not unhappy with this. It’s keeping other weeds out I see, and blends nicely with turf grass. I also notice that my most hated turf pest- sod webworm- is absent where the clover is! No more of those crappy moths to hate. So far my experiment is proceeding well.
Norway spruce loaded tonight so I can deliver them tomorrow to Westport for planting Wednesday.