Friday, May 21, 2010

Spidey Sense

Spiders are not creatures I'd be inclined to keep as pets, but I do appreciate the work they do around the garden. In fact, it's forbidden in my house to kill a spider. The correct method of elimination is to make use of the Eviction Jar and relocate them outside somewhere. If you're brave, like my husband, you can pick them up with your fingers to deport them, but squashing is not allowed.

This odd-looking fellow turns up every year and hangs out in the same spot on my live oak tree. He makes his web high enough not to be a problem to anyone. Apparently, he's called a spiny orb-weaver and you can see that he's busy making a snack of a careless fly here.
The most numerous spiders in my garden are the orchard spiders. For years I thought they were brown widows, until I looked closer and saw that they are more green. The problem with these guys is that they tend to make their webs in pathways. So, every walk through the garden includes a Spider Stick to clear the way.
Does anyone else see a smiley face on this spider?

I have hundreds of other spiders, of course. Black widows, brown widows, little jumping spiders, huge wolf spiders, and those pale ones that hang from the oak trees, to name a few--all doing a great job of eating insects in my garden.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Doing the Garden, Digging the Weeds. Who Could Ask for More?

The thing about really diving into the garden and getting some work done, is that at the end of the day you don't always have the energy to blog about it, let alone run around with the camera. I am happy to say, though, that the garden is finally starting to shape up.

I've been weeding and transplanting and keeping the local economy afloat by visiting my local nursery several times a week. It's dangerous when you have an amazingly awesome nursery barely a mile away from your house.

My bananas have finally woken up. My property may wind up looking like a banana plantation, because I purchased two more banana plants, just in case the old ones hadn't made it. That's okay, though. I'm using the new bananas to block an ugly view of our neighbor's property.

Most of my caladium did not survive last winter's frost, but I snatched up bags full of them when they went half-price at Lowe's. They were already sprouting in the bags, so they put out their leaves almost immediately when I planted them. I'm also happy to report that I have achimenes plants popping up.

I was fussing so much at a gardenia shrub that has been so yellow and sickly for so long (and not blooming yet), that I completely overlooked one deep in my "jungle" that is blooming like crazy.
I wandered outside with my camera, and the lens fogged up from the humidity. I thought I'd wiped it enough, but the pictures came out blurry anyhow. I do like the soft dreamy look, anyhow. That's the bottom side of my Queen Anne's lace which has grown to about five feet high.
A pair of mourning doves have built a nest in the live oak tree just outside our front door.
This dragonfly was napping on the same twig for hours. I was beginning to think he was dead, but then he suddenly flew away.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Shore Thing

So, what do Gulf Coast gardeners do when the heat kicks up in the garden? We get in our boats and ride.
In keeping with the gardening theme, I did see these brave little flowers growing in the sand on Santa Rosa Island. 
We walked across to the Gulf (of Mexico) to see that our beaches were still un-touched by the impending oil slick.
The beach was still clean and beautiful. There's much at stake here. We have some of the whitest sands in the world. (No kidding, I've been to beaches all over the world and I've never seen any as pretty as ours.)
They've set out numerous orange barriers in various areas of Santa Rosa Sound. It was great to see that even though the pass that feeds our sound will probably be protected, that they are taking no chances with the wildlife. 
We'd just jumped off the boat and were walking back home, when we spied this osprey high in a dead pine tree enjoying some sushi.

NOTE:  Last night we received our first whiff of the stench that folks in Louisiana are complaining about when the wind blew in from the direction of the oil spill. Yuck! 

Monday, May 03, 2010

Rain and Daisies

I've always loved wild daisies. They don't grow as rampantly down here as they do farther north. The weather has been foggy and overcast all weekend--not much for photography. I did pick some daisies and posed them in my kitchen window beneath my "bottle curtain". 
I did manage to catch a photo of this tiny bee working on one of my oxeye daisies.
We've had lots of rain this weekend. It's welcome, as is was becoming crunchy-dry around here, and even though we have a well-fed sprinkler system, there's nothing like rain to perk a garden up. 

This is my crazy season, though. This is the time of year I prefer to spend every available moment planting, weeding, and beautifying my garden. This is the time of year when I don't care what I look like, and most money I spend goes on plants. May is the month when I can finally assess the damage from the harsh winter. It looks like my pygmy date palms (roebelenii) did not make it. My bananas, however, are finally making an appearance. I still don't know if my caladiums are coming back. 

I keep hearing thunder, so I probably should post this...

PS--Here's a full picture of my bottle curtain: