In the Pink

After a sweaty morning of gardening–tweaking in one area, planting in another, I was wrapping up the work by stowing shears and shovels.  As I bumbled down the pathway, a single deep pink spot on one  petal of a Rock rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, caught my eye.  It was no heat related mirage that I spied, but a resting Pink moth, Pyrausta inornatalis.

The pink winged thing wasn’t nectaring, flying, or laying eggs. It perched–very still and very pink–on the topside of the petal, its deeper hue augmenting the floral pad on which it rested.  As I maneuvered for a photo, the moth attempted concealment.  I found it on the flip side of the petal, readjusted my position, took one quick shot, and left it to its day.

I spent the morning focusing on a big picture project in one part of the garden, but it was a gentler, quieter scene which made my morning in the garden worthwhile.

I’m pleased to join again with Anna and her Wednesday Vignette.   Check out her blog, Flutter and Hum, for musings of various sorts.

Waiting

It’s been a week or so since I last saw a hummingbird in my garden. Perhaps I haven’t been out at the right time or maybe Ms. Hummer isn’t around at the moment.  She’s probably a nesting female, busily tending her little ones somewhere nearby.

When I last observed, there were two hummers: two females, pursuing one another from Turk’s cap blossoms to Mexican orchid tree blooms, with a quick turn about the sunflowers.  Continuing the chase, they zoomed off, heading away from my garden.  Now, I’m waiting to see either one, or both, again.

Not long ago, I bumbled out the door while Ms Hummer was slurping at the salmon blooms of the Red yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora.  She darted up and settled onto the Desert willow, Chilopsis linearis, whose foliage is lacy over the front garden.

She rested, alert but relaxed, waiting for me to exit the area.   I snapped some shots while she posed prettily.  She eventually grew tired of my presence and sped to another place, presumably where no one was taking her photo.

This begins the time of year when the hummingbirds are most active in my garden.   No doubt, I’ll see the females again, but I’ll also begin seeing the males, especially in August and September, as they prepare for their journey south.

To garden with wildlife is all about waiting:  waiting for the right moment to feed, to forage, to observe, to photograph.

I’m pleased to join again with Anna and her Wednesday Vignette.   Check out her blog, Flutter and Hum, for musings of various sorts.

 

A Roof with a View

With apologies to E.M. Forster, it’s always interesting to see someone or something through different eyes.  But first, some background: we’ve had a raccoon visiting our back garden.  We haven’t actually seen him or her, but twice it has knocked over one of my bird baths.  This is a blue ceramic that we all like:  the gardener, the birds, the bees.

This photo is several years old and the bird bath sat in a different area of my garden at that time.

It’s an old bird bath and has been knocked over before, but this time the fall was fatal–the fall busted the basin to the point of no return.   I purchased a commercially made, large, heavy, container pot drainage plate and glued it using E6000 to the original and undamaged bird bath pedestal.

Voilà!

Two nights later, the marauding monster knocked the entire bird bath over again. Scoundrel!  The plate, now bird bath basin, wasn’t dislodged from the pedestal and no damage occurred, except to my back as I Iifted and set the bird bath upright once more.  That the now heavier bird bath can be upturned and its basin remain attached and intact is a testament to 1) the strength, and perhaps size, of the raccoon, and 2) the adhesive power of E6000.  I learned about the magical powers of E6000 when I was studying art, specifically ceramics, in recent years.  The stuff works!

I can also tell that the masked miscreant has been mucking around in my pond.  The fish are skittish, the pond lilies askew, and the water murky.

Additionally, once or twice recently and well after dark, we’ve heard a sort of thump on our roof or patio cover (it’s hard to tell exactly where).  Is this a visiting raccoon or is he/she  perhaps squatting somewhere on our property, possibly on the roof?  Raccoons have moved in under our solar panels in the past, but they were juveniles, small and oh so cute, and their homesteading occurred in late summer/early fall after their mamas booted their fuzzy butts from parental care.  We’ve installed a metal protective barrier between the roof and the solar panels to prevent such critter habitation, but raccoons are strong–remember the bird bath.  Could one have busted the barrier?

So out comes the ladder and up goes The Hub to check out any evidence or damage indicating raccoon invasion or vandalism.   From the ground, the only thing I could see under the solar panel was a suspicious lump.  Might that be a raccoon, snoozing in the morning? The Hub verified by spraying water from the pitch of the roof downward and under the panels.  The lump didn’t move, didn’t shift. Turns out, it was a bundle of leaves, but when you’re on the hunt for a rascally raccoon, it’s good to check out all suspects. Thankfully, there was no obvious raccoon renter on or near the roof.  Whew!  That’s good news, though I’m sure our mischievous mammal is still around, most recently squashing some plants at the base of a tree.  Varmint!!

While on the roof, The Hub took pictures of the garden with his phone.  We live in a one-story home and I’m not one to hang out on rooftops often, so it’s a view I don’t enjoy often. The photos demonstrate a different and delightful view of the garden I know so well.

The back garden is pie-shaped and the far corner is completely obscured by the tree.  The rest of this part of the garden is also mostly hidden by the lush canopy of the Red Oak tree, but two of our three bee hives sit in an open area.

 

Moving leftward, the main garden with the pond, comes into view.  My back garden is shady (pop-up sunflower, notwithstanding) and growing showy flowers is challenging, but I’m pleased that foliage variety is apparent from above and lends interest to this large garden.

 

The central and narrower part of my back garden hosts the pond, seating areas (some of which are out of camera view) and two other perennial gardens, left of the photo.

 

The northern, left-most part of the garden is where the raccooned-targeted bird bath sits.  The new basin is shallower than the original, but I think the birds will like it, though so far, they’ve been shy about taking a plunge.  The bees however, approve; they were ready for sipping before I added water.

At the left of the photo and hidden by the overhang of the roof is a fence with a gate which leads to the compost bin and a work/storage area.  If you look at the bottom right of this photo, you can see the remains of the broken bird bath basin.  Darn raccoon!

I’ve allowed some late summer and autumn wildflowers to seed out in this area, where I also house yard waste bins, extra mulch, and other garden paraphernalia.  This area becomes messy, but sometimes, I tidy it up.  Sometimes.

The front of the house hosts a raised bed in conjunction to the driveway.  You can see an edge of the solar panels and the darkened spot is where Hub ran the water underneath the panels to flush out, the “raccoon” that wasn’t.   This part of the garden enjoys significantly more sun than the back garden, though it just barely qualifies as “full” sun.  Still, I can grow many bloomers which please the pollinators. Yay!

The last major part of my garden lies in front of the garage, to the right of the above photo.  Shaded by a declining Arizona Ash tree, it’s a nice place to sit and pet the cat (if he’s out), finish the crossword puzzle, or chat with neighbors–all of which we do.  The mulched walkway leads to a narrow side garden.

I take photos of my gardens at least once during each season because it’s a good way for me to see things that, somehow, I don’t directly observe with my eyes.   The view from the roof is revealing and instructive, seeing my garden like the birds see it–looking down upon diverse and mixed foliage, and viewing the flow of pathways and islands of gardens.  I now recognize that there are things and areas that I might change, but I’m glad my space is all garden, full and lush, and a welcome home for critters.

I wouldn’t mind, however, if the raccoon critter would move along to another place.

I’m pleased to join with Anna and her Wednesday Vignette.   Check out her blog, Flutter and Hum, for musings of various sorts.