Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hummingbird returns

It's a black-chinned male, and we've seen him almost every day for two weeks. He prefers the Turk's cap flowers, but doesn't disdain the pride of Barbados or lantana. He flies quite close and sometimes at eye level, but the light always seems to be behind him. His preferred perch is in a lower limb of the pecan tree. It's such a shame for people to uproot Turk's cap and then put out those ugly plastic hummingbird feeders.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

New in the pleasure grounds

Our greatest discovery today was a beautiful yellow rain lily with a very slight apricot tinge on the outside of the outer petals (zephyranthus). This is appearing in a new place, near the fig tree. Should we thank the squirrels? We know that we should thank the downpours of these past several days. We are seeing the first flowers on the hyacinth beans. Yesterday brought us the first two ruellia flowers ("Mexican petunias"). Yesterday was the first day that flowers appeared on any of the new shoots of Pride of Barbados. We have our first zinnia, and it is, of course, pink, since we seldom seem to grow any other color. Four o'clocks are now covered with flowers, and the bees are pollinating the agastache florets one by one. No milkweed (asclepias) made it through the winter. The volunteers began opening their flowers yesterday; all are entirely yellow, with no red-orange and yellow bicolored flowers so far. The figs are tested every day by the blue jays, but have not yet been found to be ripe. There ae more morning glories, of more varieties, than we've seen for some time. As always, Grandpa Ott is most prolific. Turk's caps and lantanas are coming on strong with flowers for the first time this year, both on new shoots. Roses of Sharon are covered with blooms, probably because of the rains and somewhat cooler temperatures. Conchita is making tomatoes, and we harvest jalapenos and serranos at will. Our last viola (Johnny Jump-Up), in a pot, stopped blooming only a few days ago. Before the rains, geraniums and nasturtiums (both in pots) weren't liking the heat. Although everything close to the street has been picked or dug up, we still have delphiniums and bachelor buttons in Mack's yard. Fennel plants are covered in flowers for the first time this season and the plants are attracting the usual caterpillars.