Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Drama

I thank an unknown former gardener
for planting dozens of these fragrant happy daylilies.

A raw swiss chard salad with decorative edible nasturtiums.
Young chard is not that bitter and raw greens
are said to be more nutritious.

An indescribable pink lily

Titmouse fledglings splashed in the bird bath.
This one then basked in the sun on the roof of the shed.

The surprise of new life after months in which this sword fern,
left outside all winter, appeared dead. 

First sungold cherry tomato of the season

Hydrangea after rain. I am developing a preference
for the varied shades of pinkish purplish blue flowers
that emerge in the absence of acid fertilizer. 

A hibiscus with blooms bigger than my hand drapes over the driveway.

We've been having frequent late afternoon thunderstorms,
and I'm rarely having to water the garden. 

I came home from work to find this top-heavy heirloom tomato plant
collapsed, breaking the stake. Miraculously, its stems were not broken
and my husband was able to prop it up and restake it. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Southern Beauties - with a Maine Interlude

Imagine being a honeybee crawling on a fragrant gardenia. 

Gardenia fireworks - the shrub exploded into bloom almost overnight. 

Here we have a dramatic transition of subject, from the closeup views of a quarter-acre suburban garden to ....

the wild beauty of a rural Maine island in Casco Bay. 

 I slightly expanded the definition of backyard photos while in Maine. The bay with its changes in tides and winds and weather and sun draws me to it inexorably. It teaches me things 
that I cannot articulate. 

I try with the camera to evoke the mysterious beauty. I fail, of course, but I do not care. Life is happening according to rhythms that we cannot fathom or capture. Somehow that is a relief, a prayer.

But I am drawn to share the beautiful, and here's a bit of what I saw. 

A view from the walk to the stairs leading down to the beach.
This is one of the oldest cottages on the East End of the island.

The evening sun lights up the bay, seen from the porch of our cottage. 

High tide breaks on the ledge at the point.
How many hours (days) have I spent on this point I cannot say.  

Sunset at the wharf as seen through a lobster trap.
Lobstermen were just beginning to put in their traps for the summer. 

Twilight and eider ducks with their babies on the bay near the point. 

The beach at low tide. The rockweed has a beauty of its own,
and is home to all sorts of sea life. 

Eastern phoebes nested on the rafter of the front porch.
This phoebe alit in a lilac bush not long after fledging. 

In the miracle of modern airplane travel, I was transported reluctantly back to North Carolina. The lilies (not eaten by deer) and beginning to peak were a consolation. 

This post is the fourth in a series of "10 Days" posts featuring daily photographs from my backyard.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer Blooms and More: 10 Days

Mr. Cardinal

Nasturtiums are beautiful and edible.

The female towhee, well camouflaged

A baby bunny I didn't have the heart to scare out of the garden

This past week the gardenia exploded with blooms, so many that I don't feel guilty at all about cutting them and bringing them indoors. 

Bean flowers in their tiny perfection

I didn't know squash flowers were so lovely.

The new oakleaf hydrangea "Ellen Huff" seems happy near the foundation.

The first lily to bloom in the garden this year. 

Tropical Storm Andrea dumped 4.5 inches of rain. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Just Before Summer: 10 Days in Photos

Here's a look at 10 days in the garden in mid- to late May.

Ah, this was before the lettuce bolted and we still had kale.

I saw the rabbit as I walked to my car to go to work. So far, it has stayed away from the veggie boxes. Could it be true that nasturtiums really do repel rabbits? Or does a mix of fragrant herbs confuse the bunny's sense of smell? We have rue, oregano, thyme, basil, dill, sage, parsley, cilantro, catnip, and probably more that I'm forgetting. I feel a superstitious sense that as I write this the bunny is out there munching...

The peony flower's life span is short. The peonies are done, a bedraggled mass of tattered pinkish white petals turning brown. But how beautiful to watch them unfold. 

Birds are peeping everywhere in the yard. For days, every time I walked in the backyard I heard rustlings and flutterings in the bushes as a group of four tiny Carolina wrens moved about. This little one is too young to have tail feathers. Adorable!

This is an unknown but very tall rose bush (more than 8 feet high) with lovely translucent pink flowers.

The cherry tomato plants were the first to begin flowering. 

A view of the side yard. In early spring, we took out a deck that took up much of the yard, including the sunniest spot, where the veggie boxes are now. 

The star jasmine is growing well off the front porch. 

The white-breasted nuthatch is one of the most common birds seen at our feeder. Today I saw a juvenile nuthatch sit on top of the pole with its mouth open and the parent feed it with seeds.

A fading but still beautiful rose. 

I am continuing to take daily photos in the garden. Please visit again in a few days for the next set of 10!