Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lilies, lilies, lilies, and garlic chives

Appearing in profusion now are white rain lilies. Joining them today were two all-yellow rain lilies. These are smaller than the white ones and not so tall. They usually last for two days, not the white lilies' customary one day only. We are seeing new shoots of oxblood lilies each day, and tomorrow at least one of them will be open and providing some red accents in the yard. This year's first ones are near the oak motte. We can see just one by the front walkway, and none yet in Mack's yard. Each day we expect to see garlic chives in full bloom; and each day more white shows, but they're still in bud stage. These came home with us in a pot of something else, and have established themselves in other pots and in the ground withno assistance from us. We're enjoying about a dozen different varieties of morning glories now, and the hyacinth beans are coming into their own. This is only the second flush of lantana flowers this summer; because of a winter cold snap, they all began anew from the roots, rather than enjoying a head start on existing vital branches. Our milkweeds continue to blossom and thrive. They, also, began anew after the winter, and only about a half-dozen seedpods have been produced thus far. Pride of Barbados began anew from the roots, as well; some stalks have not yet bloomed, and the earliest-flowering branches now have green seedpods. As always, the hummingbirds prefer Turk's cap above all other flowers. Both kinds of doves are consuming seeds of the wild sunflowers. It appears that this will be a good year for pecans. The oxblood lilies seem to be appearing late this year for them, but we haven't checked our records yet to confirm this. The rain lilies are a tribute to all my early rising and dragging of hoses and sprinklers before dawn on our official watering days.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The final fig

Our figs are like most of the figs in the yards around here: green on the outside and pinky-brown on the inside. We had just one remaining and we found it yesterday morning with big jagged bite marks but only half consumed. By yesterday evening, it was gone entirely. These figs are great favorites of squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and blue jays. A neighbor used to try to beat the creatures to them, planning to make fig preserves. Rarely did she succeed.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Winged creatures

We have seen more queen butterflies this year than ever before, even though we have fewer asclepias or milkweed flowers than usual. All our milkweed froze during the winter, and only the all-yellow variety has returned as volunteers, both in pots and in the ground. We become used to the predominance of gulf fritillaries and don't always pay as much attention to the spectacular swallowtails and other visitors as we should. Sometimes visitors see no immediate difference between a gulf fritillary (orange body, just for one thing) and a queen (bright white spots on a black body). This I don't understand. In addition to our clouds of many kinds of butterflies, we see a certain hummingbird nearly every day (a black-chinned male), who visits every Turk's cap first before moving on to anythng else. Blue jays are taking the lead in consuming the ripe figs. Bees of every kind visit daily. Sometimes the lantanas and the flowers on the pride of Barbados are just alive with them. And the evil grasshoppers grow larger and larger.